10 March 2015

This War without an Enemy

Came across this classic quote this week. It really struck a cord with me and I wanted to share it.

Parliamentarian General Sir William Waller (pictured above) writing to his close friend General Sir Ralph Hopton of the Royalist Army (pictured below). Sir William and Sir Ralph were opposing Army commanders in the campaign for southwest England.

'Certainly my affections to you are so unchangeable that hostility itself cannot violate my friendship with your person.  But I must be true to the course I serve... The great God who is the searcher of my heart knows with what a perfect hatred I detest this war without an enemy; but I look upon it as sent from God, and that is enough to silence all passion within me... We are both upon the stage, and must act such parts as are assigned to us in this tragedy.  Let us do it in a way of honour and without personal animosities.'


  1. Usually, the approved histories omit the fact that Waller continued his letter by saying,

    "By the way, you must surely have finished with my lawnmower by now, and I'd like it back as soon as possible, you thoughtless bastard. I'd like it cleaned and oiled as well, please - not like last time. A little consideration for others goes a long way - you toadies of the King's court would do well to bear that in mind. Remember me to your wife."

    1. Well picked up indeed :-)

      Hopton's reply is similarly given less than its deserved attention by historians:

      "Dear Bill,
      Good to see you remain a puritanical toss-pot despite your lofty and over-inflated rank. I showed my wife your most recent correspondence and she laughed so hard the goodwife had to ease her corset strings while between giggles she gasped something along the lines of “I didn’t know something that small could still be considered manhood.”

      I had indeed forgotten about your lawn cutting conveyance, please excuse my absent mindedness. I’ll have one of the chaps return it to you after he finished burying the remains of your Dragoon Regiment which we found skulking on the verge last week. I’m sure the blood will wash off in due course.

      That about wraps it up for this letter, I have to get back to the wine and womanising that so typifies this glorious rampage – I don’t care about a war without an enemy, as long as we don’t end up in a war without booze!


      P.S. Your Mother is proving to be quite popular around the camp"

    2. Surely any fule kno that the lawnmower was not invented until 1830? I have grave doubts as to the veracity of this supposed correspondence..