Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Whalley, Edward

WHALLEY, EDWARD (d. 1675?), regicide, was second son of Richard Whalley of Kirkton and Screveton, Nottinghamshire, by his second wife, Frances, daughter of Sir Henry Cromwell of Hinchinbrook, and aunt of the protector, Oliver Cromwell (Noble, House of Cromwell, ii. 141; Thoroton, Nottinghamshire, i. 248; Chester, London Marriage Licences, col. 1443). Richard Whalley [q. v.] was his great-grandfather. Edward was brought up to trade and, according to Heath, became a woollen-draper; some royalist accounts describe him as ‘broken clothier’ (Heath, Chronicle, p. 372). He took up arms for the parliament at the beginning of the war, and was possibly the ‘Edward Walley’ who appears in Essex's army list as cornet to Captain John Fiennes (Peacock, Army Lists, p. 55). In 1643 he became major of Cromwell's regiment of horse, and distinguished himself at Gainsborough fight. ‘The honour of this retreat,’ said Cromwell's despatch, ‘is due to God, as also all the rest: Major Whalley did in this carry himself with all gallantry becoming a gentleman and a Christian’ (Carlyle, Cromwell, letter xii). Whalley fought at Marston Moor, and in 1644 is styled lieutenant-colonel. On the formation of the new model in 1645 Cromwell's regiment was divided into two parts, and the command of one of them was given to Whalley. He served at its head at Naseby, and at the storming of Bristol, and was sent with it into Oxfordshire in December 1645 to watch the motions of the garrison of Oxford (Sprigge, Anglia Rediviva, ed. 1854, pp. 40, 116, 174). Banbury surrendered to him on 9 May 1646, after a siege of eleven weeks (ib. p. 259; Cary, Memorials of the Civil War, i. 28). He next besieged Worcester, which fell on 23 July, but not till Whalley had been superseded by Colonel Rainsborough. According to Richard Baxter, then chaplain of Whalley's regiment, his colonel was superseded because he was not a sectary, but orthodox in religion, and therefore in disfavour at headquarters (Reliquiæ Baxterianæ, pp. 52, 56; Sprigge, p. 290; Webb, Civil War in Herefordshire, ii. 272).

Whalley's regiment, however, was full of sectaries, and was one of those which took the lead in opposing the attempted disbandment in April 1647, and Whalley himself was very forward in representing the grievances of his soldiers (Clarke Papers, i. 33, 36, 58, 70). When Cornet Joyce seized Charles I at Holdenby, Sir Thomas Fairfax ordered Whalley and his regiment to take the charge of the king (ib. i. 122; Old Parliamentary History, xv. 401, 409, 414, 494). This led to a dispute between Whalley and the parliamentary commissioners, who ordered him to remove the king's episcopalian chaplains, which he declined to do without instructions from his general (ib. xvi. 46–9). As the custodian of the king he showed both courtesy and firmness, and when Charles fled from Hampton Court he left behind him a letter thanking Whalley for his civility (ib. xvi. 327; Rushworth, vii. 795, 843). The narrative of the king's flight which Whalley gave the House of Commons is printed in Peck's ‘Desiderata Curiosa’ (ed. 1779, p. 374).

When the second civil war broke out Whalley fought under Fairfax at the battle of Maidstone, was then sent to pursue the Earl of Norwich, and finally took part in the siege of Colchester (Clarke Papers, ii. 24–7; Gardiner, Great Civil War, iv. 142, 145). He was appointed on 6 Jan. 1649 one of the commissioners for the trial of the king, attended every sitting with one exception, and signed the death-warrant (Nalson, Trial of Charles I).

During the republic Whalley's importance was purely military; he neither sat in the Long parliament nor was he a member of any of the councils of state. In 1650 he accompanied Cromwell in his invasion of Scotland, with the rank of commissary-general of the horse, and played a prominent part in the battle of Dunbar, where he was wounded and had his horse killed under him (Memoirs of Sir H. Slingsby and Captain John Hodgson, ed. 1806, pp. 228, 302; Portland MSS. i. 608; Carlyle, Cromwell, letter cxl). In October 1650 Whalley was posted at Carlisle to watch the remonstrants under Ker and Strachan in south-west Scotland. He tried to convert the leaders by controversial letters, which failing, he assisted Lambert in defeating Ker at Hamilton on 1 Dec. 1650 (ib. p. 330; Carlyle, Cromwell, letter cliii; Mercurius Politicus, p. 429). In 1651 he accompanied Cromwell in his pursuit of Charles II, and fought at Worcester on 3 Sept. (Old Parliamentary History, xix. 511).

Whalley presented the petition of the army to parliament on 13 Aug. 1652 (ib. xx. 97), approved of the expulsion of the parliament by Cromwell, and was an active supporter of the protectorate. In the two parliaments called by the Protector he represented Nottinghamshire, but took little part in their debates, except on the case of James Naylor [q. v.], the quaker, against whom he was extremely zealous (Burton, Diary, i. 101, 153, 260). A bill dealing with the division of commons was his sole attempt at legislation (ib. i. 175). When the major-generals were established, Whalley was appointed to take charge of the counties of Lincoln, Notts, Derby, Warwick, and Leicester (31 Oct. 1655; Masson, Life of Milton, v. 49), and was very active in suppressing alehouses, ejecting scandalous ministers, and taxing cavaliers (Life of Colonel Hutchinson, ed. 1885, ii. 201, 204). Many of Whalley's letters during his tenure of that command are printed in the ‘Thurloe Papers’ (vols. iii. iv.). Whalley disliked the proposed revival of the royal title in 1657, but approved of the rest of the petition and advice, and was made one of the members of the new House of Lords established in December 1657 (Burton, ii. 43; Thurloe, vi. 668). The republican pamphleteer who drew the characters of the new lords could find little to say to his discredit, save that he was no great zealot for the cause (Harleian Miscellany, ed. Park, iii. 454, 482). In 1659 Whalley had a violent quarrel with Colonel Ashfield concerning the merits of the second chamber, for which Richard Cromwell threatened to cashier Ashfield (Ludlow, Memoirs, ed. 1894, ii. 61). He supported Richard against the army, and would have fought for him had not his regiment refused obedience to his orders (ib. ii. 64, 69). As a kinsman of the Protector he was naturally distrusted, and the restored Long parliament gave the command of his regiment to its major, Robert Swallow, and negatived the proposal to appoint Whalley to another (Commons' Journals, vii. 749). On 1 Nov. the army persuaded Whalley to go as its agent to Scotland in order to mediate with General Monck, but he met with no success (True Narrative of the Proceedings in Parliament, Army, &c., from 22 Sept. 1659, 4to. p. 63; Baker, Chronicle, ed. Phillips, p. 690).

The Restoration made Whalley's position desperate. He lost by it the estate of Sibthorpe, purchased from the Duke of Newcastle's trustees, and the manors of West Walton and Torrington, which he had bought when the queen's lands were sold, in addition to lands in Scotland worth 500l. per annum, which the Long parliament had given him (Noble, House of Cromwell, ii. 147; Ludlow, Memoirs, i. 285; Commons' Journals, vii. 14). As a regicide who did not obey the proclamation for the surrender of the late king's judges, he was excluded from the act of indemnity, and had no chance of life if he were captured. On 22 Sept. 1660 the government offered a reward of 100l. for his arrest (Kennett, Register, p. 264). But before this was issued Whalley, in company with his son-in-law, Major-general William Goffe [q. v.], had landed at Boston. In March 1661 they removed to Newhaven, and in October 1664 to Hadley, Massachusetts. At first Kirk and Kellond, two English merchants sent over by Charles II to secure their arrest, found little help in the colonies, and, though long obliged to remain in strict concealment, the two regicides were never betrayed. On 5 Sept. 1661 the commissioners of the united colonies published a declaration against harbouring either of them, but it remained a dead letter. In 1665 the commissioners sent to look into the government of the American colonies were directed to search for them, but the search was equally fruitless. A detailed account of the wanderings of Whalley and his companion, of their places of concealment, and of the different local traditions respecting them, is contained in the ‘History of Three of the Judges of Charles I,’ by Ezra Stiles (Hartford, 1794).

A letter from Goffe to his wife in 1674 describes Whalley as still alive but extremely infirm. ‘He is scarce capable of any rational discourse, his understanding, memory, and speech doth so much fail him, and seems not to take much notice of anything that is either done or said, but patiently bears all things’ (Stiles, p. 118). The date of his death is uncertain, but it is evident from the remainder of the letter that it cannot have been long delayed. The stone bearing the letters ‘E. W.’ supposed to have been erected over his remains at Newhaven probably marks the tomb of a different person (Savage, Genealogical Dictionary of New England, iv. 493). Whalley married (1) Judith, daughter of John Duffell of Rochester; (2) Mary Middleton. By his first wife he had, besides other children, a son John, who married a daughter of Sir Herbert Springatt; and a daughter Frances, who married Major-general William Goffe (Visitation of Nottinghamshire, Harl. Soc. iv. 118; Nichols, Leicestershire, ii. 736).

Major-general Whalley's younger brother Henry, who was an attorney in Guildhall in 1628, was admitted to Gray's Inn on 3 Sept. 1649, and was appointed in March 1652 one of the judges of the Scottish admiralty court (Foster, Gray's Inn Register; Report on the Duke of Portland's MSS. i. 629). In 1655 he was advocate-general of the army in Scotland, and was employed to examine into Overton's plot (Thurloe, iii. 205; Burton, Diary, i. 356, iv. 155). He represented the counties of Selkirk and Peebles in the parliaments of 1656 and 1659. Whalley was no great friend of freedom of opinion; in 1654 he was concerned in the suppression of the Racovian catechism, and in 1657 endeavoured to induce parliament to suppress an astrological work (Masson, Life of Milton, iv. 423, 438; Burton, Diary, i. 80, 305). He married Rebecca Duffell, a sister of his brother's first wife.

[A life of Whalley is given in Noble's Lives of the Regicides, and in the history of the Whalley family contained in vol. ii. of Noble's Memoirs of the Protectoral House of Cromwell. Documents relating to his exile in New England are to be found in the collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society, 3rd ser. i. 60, 4th ser. viii. 122, and in the Hutchinson Papers published by the Prince Society, vol. ii. See also Hutchinson's History of Massachusetts; the Calendar of Colonial State Papers; Ezra Stiles's History of Three of the Judges of Charles I, Hartford, 1794; Notes and Queries, 4th ser. iii. 591, 5th ser. v. 463, vii. 81.]

C. H. F.