Hacker commanded a regiment of horse under Cromwell in the campaign against the dissident Scots. We have an account of these activities in Ludlow's Memoirs.1 There are also a number of letters from Cromwell on this northern campaign in which Hacker is mentioned: 'Dunbar.'2 We have been constrained ... to dismiss 4-5,000 prisoners; the remainder, which are the like or greater number, I am fain to send by a convoy of four troops of Colonel Hacker's to Berwick, and so on to Newcastle, southwards.' The famous letter of rebuke from Cromwell to Hacker, who had remonstrated with him about a commission given to one Captain Empson, whom Hacker thought "a better preacher than a fighter or a soldier," was dated Edinburgh, 25th December, 1650.3 'Truly,' wrote Cromwell, 'I think, that he that prays and preaches best will fight best. I know nothing that will give like courage and confidence as the knowledge of God in Christ will: and I bless God to see any in this army able and willing to impart the knowledge they have for the good of others and I expect it to be encouraged by all chief officers in the army, especially, and I hope you will do so.'

While Cromwell lived Hacker continued a staunch supporter of the Protectorate; he arrested Lord Grey in February, 1655 and was employed in the following year to suppress cavalier intrigues in Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire. An abortive rising in Nottingham on Thursday, March 8th, 1655, was nipped in the bud; three troops of Hacker's horse descended on the county promptly and within a few days traced all the conspirators. A cartload of arms was found in a barn at Farnsfield and the details of the plot ferreted out of the prisoners.4 Meanwhile Hacker's men patrolled the county, disarming malignants and searching for any suspects to give security for good behaviour. A party of horse was also sent to search Newstead Abbey, but no arms were found there.

In Richard Cromwell's parliament Hacker was a member for Leicester but a silent one. 'All that have known me,' he said at his execution, 'in my best estate have not known me to have been a man of oratory and God hath not given me gift of utterance.'

In the troubled period preceding the Restoration he generally followed the leadership of his neighbour, Sir Arthur Haslerigg, whose 'creature' Mrs. Hutchinson (who disliked Hacker), termed him.5 By Haslerigg's persuasion he, first of all the colonels of the army, accepted a new commission from the hands of the speaker of the restored long parliament and was the first to recognize the supremacy of the civil power over the army. ' The ice being thus broken,'6 says Ludlow, 'the rest of the officers began to consider better of the matter, and divers of them growing more moderate, came also, and took their commissions ' (June 8th).

Hacker opposed the mutinous petitions of Lambert's partisans in September, 1659, and when they expelled the parliament from Westminster he entered into communication with Hutchinson7 and Haslerigg for armed opposition. After the triumph of the rump he was again confirmed in the commission of his regiment and seems to have retained his command until the Restoration.8

He was then taken into custody, having had assurances from Monk that he would be fully indemnified. ' But the next day,' Ludlow tells us,9 when he came to London he made a visit to Monk, and was received with all the appearance of friendship and affection. But the next day after he had thus been caressed, he was seized, examined and sent to the Tower.' (5th July). The house of commons did not at first except him from the act of indemnity, but during debates on it in the house of lords the fact emerged that the warrant for the execution of the king had been in Hacker's possession, and this fact proved fatal.

When, very shortly afterwards, he was placed on his trial, and charged with the murder of the king he did not attempt to deny the part which he had played, but answered,' Truly, I have been no counsellor, nor adviser, nor abetter of the act charged against me; but in obedience to the command over me, I did the act. My desire hath ever been for the welfare of my country, and that the civil power might be upheld.' He was told to produce the warrant, which the lords desired to use as evidence against the regicides. His wife, who was in faithful attendance on him through the trial, was sent to fetch the warrant which she pathetically thought might secure her husband's acquittal; but, on the contrary, his judges held that this order showed that he had not acted as he did ignorantly or unwillingly, and refused to listen to his wife's plea' that he was a soldier and under command, and had done what he did by the commission that she held in her hands.' The document was regarded solely as incriminating all the signatories and did not save the colonel from the scaffold. 'Colonel Hacker,' says Ludlow,10 "excepted not against any of the jury, seeing them all to be of the same stamp.' He made no serious effort to defend himself11: ' I have no more to say for myself but that I was a soldier and under command, and what I did was by the command you have read.' He was sentenced to death and his execution fixed for October 19th. At nine o'clock on that morning, he and a fellow-officer were drawn on a sled to the place of execution at Tyburn.

By order of the king, probably influenced by the earnest beseechings of the indubitably loyal brother Rowland, Hacker's body was given to his son Francis, and carried for burial to the Church of S. Nicholas Cole Abbey, in London, the advowson of which belonged to the Hacker family. There is, however, no entry of the interment in the registers of that church,12 and local tradition at Stathern suggests that the body may have been taken there without attracting attention, for final burial.

Hacker's estate was forfeited to the crown by his sentence as a traitor13; it is described in a contemporary pamphlet as 'Houses, Lands, etc., at Colston Bassett and Bridgford ad Montem, now part of the possession of his Royal Highness James Duke of York, late did belong to Francis Hacker, 1662 ' (383 acres, valued at £213 9s. 4d.). As this description shows, the estates passed into the hands of Charles II's brother. The hall at Stathern was pulled to the ground, as mentioned previously, but the royalist brother Rowland was allowed to buy back, almost, we might say, ransom, part of the estate, including the site of the hall, at an exorbitant price.

After Francis's death, his wife Isabell, continued to live at Withcote Hall, a property of the Hacker's in Rutland, and worshipped with the Somerby community of the friends. Persecution of the quakers was renewed under Charles II as their religious scruples would not permit them to swear to the oath of allegiance, and, on December 14th, 1664, the unfortunate Isabell was sentenced with a group of seven men and thirteen women to be transported for seven years to Jamaica,14 a virtual death-sentence, considering the climate and the conditions both in Jamaica and on the voyage. It is said that they lay packed on board ship in the Thames estuary before the order came for their release; and soon afterwards death finally set Isabell free. Her burial is recorded in the friends' register as having taken place at Stathern; probably she was actually buried in the nearby quaker burial-ground at Long Clawson, four miles away. Hers is the true tragedy of the whole story: cruelly robbed of her husband, of whose death she was the unwitting cause, deprived by the plague of her two small daughters and finally, in the evening of her years, martyred for the faith her husband detested. Du Boulay Hill states15 'Colonel Francis Hacker left no sons to survive him.' This is inaccurate, since his son Francis received his father's body after the execution. He had been an officer in his father's regiment during the civil war but what his ultimate fate was is unknown.16 It has been suggested that he emigrated to the American colonies, where members of the Hacker family may still be living. Of his four daughters the eldest, Barbara, was buried in infancy at East Bridgford in 1635, a second Barbara and Isabel died of the plague at Stathern in April, 1646, and only Anne survived her parents. She is mentioned under the will of Samuel Brunts, 1711, a distant relative and the benefactor of the present Mansfield school of that name, by whom she was bequeathed an annuity of £40. Whether she married and left descendants is not known.

1 Ludlow's Memoirs, T, p. 316, June, 1652.
2 Life and Letters of Cromwell, Thomas Carlyle, ed. S. C. Lomas, No. CLXII.
3 Op. cit., No. CLXII.
4 Wood, op. cit., pp. 168-9.
5 Hutchinson Memoirs, p. 308; Clar. State Papers iii, p. 53.
6 Ludlow's Memoirs, p. 90. Commons' Journs., vii, p. 876.
7 Hutchinson Memoirs, p. 401.
8 Commons' Journs., vii, p. 824.
9 Ludlow's Memoirs, ii, p. 321.
10 Ludlow's Memoirs, ii, p. 321.
11 Trials of the Regicides, etc., 1661 (Contemporary Broadsheet).
12 The Story of the Church of St. Guthlac, Stathern. Pierson.
13 Du Boulay Hill, East Bridgford, p. 45.
14 Besse, Hist, of the Sufferings of the People call Quakers, vol. i, p. 403
15 Op. cit., p. 72.
16 Briscoe, Old Nottinghamshire, p. 134.