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OLIVER CROMWELL

 
 
Setanta
 
Reply Wed 29 Oct, 2003 07:42 pm
In about 1496, a Welshman named Morgan ap William ("son of William") migrated to the London area. As was the custom, the English referred to him as Morgan Williams. Having met Kathrine Cromwell, Morgan ap William married. His sons were canny, however--and took their mother's family name, and began a new line of the Cromwell family, a "distaff" line. (Distaff means descended through a female, and refers to the "wand" a woman holds when spinnning wool into thread.) Katherine's brother was Thomas Cromwell. Although both the children of a Putney blacksmith, Thomas rose very high indeed in the service of Henry VIII. That volatile monarch entrusted to Cromwell the hatchet man's job in dealing with Thomas More, once Henry's friend and advisor, and now his personal bête noire for opposing Henry's divorce. Cromwell was eventually made Earl of Essex, but fell afoul of Henry, and was executed that same year, 1540. Through Morgan's eldest son Richard (he had two sons of that name), was descended Oliver, born in 1599 to Robert Cromwell (Williams) and Elizabeth née Steward--and he was the great-great-grandson of Morgan.

Cromwell was born in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, and later was educated at Huntingdon Grammar School, about 20 miles west-northwest of Cambridge. He then "went up to" Cambridge, and completed his education. He became a minor landowner in East Anglia (for the Americans who know a little geography, that big bulge on the eastern side of the island northeast of London--it is divided into Norfolk [the Anglian "north folk"] and Suffolk [the Anglian "south folk"]). First farming as a minor member of the "squire-archy" outside Huntingdon, as he entered his thirties, he acquired propery near St. Ives, and in 1636, he bought more land near Ely. He was displaying the thrift and industry of his "class," which was as well valued by the Puritans of whom he now was one. He had only a small inheritance from his father, who died in 1617, and an uncle who died later, and was now supporting a wife, eight children and his widowed mother. He took some part in local affairs, as a member of the small-holding gentry, who were (though not acknowledged as such) the backbone of society and the economy. One significant event in which he was involved in his native Cambridgeshire was to aid subsistence fishers in their opposition to the draining of the fens--the marshes of East Anglia. East Anglia is much like Florida in its relation to the sea. It is low lying and crisscrossed with many small rivers and streams. These are sweet water streams, but they rise and back-up in response to the tide. From time immemorial, poor folk had made a living with fishing and from the occassional windfall of a wrecked ship. Draining the fens was part and parcel with the enclosure of "commons" or previously tenanted lands which had been going on for centuries in England (and was to continue). Enclosure went on the theory that it was more efficient for one man to graze dozens of cattle on the common land, rather than that a dozen or so families would keep a steer, milch cow or sheep or goats in milk on the same land. Enclosure writs from Parliament (a body filled with the same men who often benefited from acts of enclosure, directly or indirectly, as well as their economic cousins, merchants) allowed a certain individual, often a member of the lower aristocracy, to remove the inhabitants around a commons, and their chattel, and enclose the land for farming or grazing--usually grazing. Draining the fens had much the same object, although the desired object there was usually to plant corn (meaning, for the Americans, grain, i.e., wheat, barley or rye). This advocacy on the part of Cromwell was to have profound consequences for his future career.

In 1640, a fateful year for England, Cromwell first went up to London to sit in the House of Commons. It was a troubled time, due to what one member of Parliament called "the vexed question of religion." In my next posting, i will review the origin of the political strife which was shortly to ensue, and through the agency of Cromwell's old allies, the poor of East Anglia, was to lead him eventually to the highest power in England, more powerful than any monarch who ever sat that troubled throne, except perhaps for Edward I.

The best biography, in my never humble opinion, is Antonia Fraser's Oliver Cromwell. I do this from memory of that and other sources, so if you go off and google him, and find me out in a minor error of detail, i will not be impressed. But this is tiring as well, for a retired rake such as myself, so i will continue later.
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Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Wed 29 Oct, 2003 09:08 pm
I will assume that those reading here know of the Protestant reformation well enough not to rehearse it's early details. What is signficant from this is the rise in influence of a French Protestant, John Calvin. Calvin wrote The Institutes of the Christian Church, and with Ulrich Zwingli in their "godly republic" in the city of Geneva, commission and participated in the production of the Geneva Bible, an new translation. One of the admirers of Calvin, who visited Geneva on more than one occassion was John Knox. Knox was very much involved in the process of Reformation in England, something which burst out with vigor after Henry VIII established the Episcopal Church of England--he had let the genie out of the bottle, although he likely did not understand that himself. Returning from Geneva in 1555, Knox had toured Scotland, visiting preachers of whom he had heard good things, and preaching in his own right. From his introduction of "Calvinism" into Scotland, the Scottish Kirk was formed--the established church of Scotland. It was a church very different from and eventually to be opposed to the English church--at the point of the sword. Knox helped to spread Calvin's ideas in England, but it was Englishmen impressed with the rapid congregational development in Scotland who were most responsible for the introduction of "radical" congregationalism into England. Derided by "high church" members in England as "Puritans," these men were nothing loathe to see themselves a religiously pure in comparison to "Papists" and other Protestants, and adopted that name as a badge of honor. Many were from the small-holder class of which Oliver Cromwell was a member, and many others were more wealthy in land or trade, and not a few were members of the peerage. The Puritans grew quickly to despise the "papish" practices of the established church in England, but kept their opposition to forms and scripture under wraps, knowing full well upon which side their bread was buttered. So long as they exhibited no open resistance, they were not likely to be called to account for any heretical beliefs.

But among the lower classes, and especially among the small artisans and tradesmen, a more radical application of Calvin's Institutions took place. These people, and the rural poor who looked to them (such as the fenmen whom Cromwell had aided), took the idea of congregationalism several steps further. They held that the congregation had authority to include or exclude persons. They held that any acceptable member of a congregation could and should preach as the spirit moved them. The more radical held that all preachers should be "Mechanic Preachers." By mechanic, in the language of their day, they meant someone who worked with his hands; so they felt their preachers should be, and thus get his own living, without relying on the resources of the congregation. Such a preacher would pursue his trade six days each week, and bring the light of God to the congregation on the Lord's day. Women as well as men were subject to a congregation's approval, and so were considered in the lower class congregations to have the same right to preach as their bretheren. The more benign observers referred to Puritans as independent congregationalists (their lineal descendants in our times are known as Congregationalists in America, and Independents in England). These more radical believers were referred to by everyone, other Puritans not exluded, as Dissenters. The new political power which naturally arose from such close and necessarily coordinated association was unlooked-for, but immediate in its effects. The rural poor driven out in so many places by enclosure, set up communes on common land, and sought self-sufficiency through agriculture, diggin up the common land in despite of the enclosers--they became Diggers. Many spoke out against aristocracy and privilege, and became known as Levellers, and were joined in their political "heresy" by more affluent members of the lower gentry. The story of these times had a direct and demonstrable influence on LeBoeuf in revolutionary France, and therefore upon Karl Marx--the poorest of these were the original "communists." They took up anew the cry of the followers of John Ball, a cleric who articulated the grievances of the Commons during Wat Tyler's Rebellion in 1381--"When Adam dolve, and Eve span, who was then the gentleman?" For a fascinating view of the great variety and sometimes oddity of social, political and religious ideas abroad in the land in the era of the English Civil wars, see Christopher Hill's The World Turned Upside Down, a work which primarily relies upon the host of pamphlets which proliferated in the absence of official censorship. These were the mad days in which George Fox founded the Society of Friends (the Quakers--good story, but i won't repeat the origin of that name here), and the term "free love" was first coined for sexual promiscuity.

These movements and ideas had developed rather quickly, but their effect on English society was slow to reveal itself, and Elizabeth, and her successor, James Stuart of Scotland, paid little heed. But James' son, Charles, was a thorough-going high-church Englishman (and his ignorance of his native Scotland was to prove disasterous), and when he came to the throne in 1625, his friend, Bishop Laud, was given a free hand to "clean up" the established church. The thrones of England and Scotland were united in the person of a Stuart monarch, but their governments and socities were not. Charles set out to impose "religiously correct" practices upon the Scots, the first effort being to force them to use The Book of Common Prayer. At his trial for treason before the leaders of a Parliamentary rump in 1649, he said: "No man in England is a better friend to liberty than myself, But I must tell you plainly that the liberty of subjects consists not in having a hand in the government, but in having that government, and those laws, whereby their lives and their goods may be most their own." This was obviously not a man to compromise. Although a genuinely noble and courageous figure, he was doomed by his own intrangisence in matters of government and religion. The Parliament in 1625 was comprised of a hundred men in the Lords, and five hundred in the Commons, of which well over three hundred were Puritans, thanks to the organization the new formed churches afforded, as well as the support of the "better class" of Dissenters whose small propety just served to give them the franchise. Charles was determined to impose the established church on Scotland (his father would have known better, and let that pack of sleeping mad dogs lie), but could not finance an army with his own resources. In England of that day, there was no standing army--an ancient tradition--which meant a monarch wishing to make war required either considerable personal funds, or the support of Parliament. Parliament was unwilling to fund such a war, so Charles prorogued Parliament. This is a lapsed power of the monarch, to send a Parliament home without dissovling it, which means no new elections. Parliament spent the years from 1629 to 1640 in this legalistic limbo. During this time, as many as 20,000 Puritans emigrated to New England. The Massachusetts Bay Company charter had, for reasons never to be known, ommitted a requirement that the Governor and Selectmen of the Company meet in London. When Charles prorogued Parliament late in 1628, Puritans leaders from that body began to consider setting up a "godly republic" in the wilderness, a "shining city on the hill." (And you thought the Republicans under Georgie Bush the Elder coined that one!) They eventually selected John Winthrop, a lawyer in the Court of Wards and Liveries and a staunch Puritan, as Governor. He removed with all of the Selectmen and the charter itself to Massachusetts Bay, to a town soon to be known as Boston, after a small town in Norfolk.

There is good reason to believe that Cromwell, and his cousins, John Hampden and John Pym, were determined to remove to New England as well. The merchants of the City of London (refers to the financial heart of the capital) had long voluntarily paid ship money, a sort of tithe to support the Royal Navy, and thereby protect their financial interests. When Charles' earliest attempt to campaign against Scotland failed to materialize, he sought to raise revenue without the Parliament by imposing ship money throughout the kingdom. Lowly, unknown John Hampden publicly refused to pay. Stunned, many merchants and small-holders nevertheless rushed to join this defiance. With no army worthy of the name, and no sitting Parliament, Charles was thwarted. With more frugality and industry, worthy of the most viruous Puritan, Charles managed to scrape together an army, and holding onto his original plan like a bulldog, he attempted an invasion of Scotland in 1638--and was trounced, a tribute to the unity the Kirk had created in Scotland. By this time, it was believed (probably correctly) that as much as twelve million pounds sterling had left the nation with Puritan immigrants, and was thereby placed beyond the reach of the King. An order in council was passed in 1638 prohibiting immigration to New England, and tightening the requirements to obtain a passport (in those days, issued for a single journey). It is belived by some that Cromwell, Hampden and Pym were actually on board ship when the order arrived. This was enforceable, as the "senior service"--the Royal Navy--was a real force, and it's most dynamic admiral, Charles Penn (father of William Penn) was loyal to the King.

But it was a stalemate. In a fatal move, the King recalled Parliament. So many members of the prorouged Parliament had died or immigrated, that a quorum could not be established--so new elections were required, and took place in 1639. In 1640, the Parliament which became known as the Long Parliament first sat, and in that body, John Hampden, John Pym and Oliver Cromwell took their seats. Cromwell now entered upon a public career which would leave a mark, aguably greater than that of any other single commoner in that kingdom's history.
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pueo
 
  1  
Reply Wed 29 Oct, 2003 10:33 pm
bookmark
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Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Thu 30 Oct, 2003 05:45 pm
Charles was now forced by his circumstances to deal with this fractious new Parliament. The leverage which his straitened circumstances afforded them allowed Parliament to pass several acts in 1641 to which Charles reluctantly agreed. The Triennial Act required that a Parliament sit at least once in three years, for a period of not less than 50 days. Other acts established that Parliament could no longer be prorogued, nor dissolved, without it's own consent; and most crucial to Charles, that not ship money, nor any other form of revenue raising, could be instituted without prior Parliamentary approval. At the same that the Act which prevented dissolution of Parliament without its consent was passed, John Pym succeeded in attaching a bill of attainder against Thomas Wentworth, Earl of Stafford, and a staunch supporter of the King, acting ex officio as his chief minister. Stafford had tried to impeach members of Parliament for treasonable correspondence with the Scots, but ended up on the scaffold himself. Parliament was by this time very effectively using the power of the London mob, which had been a crucial factor on many occassions for centuries, and Charles was forced to agree to the attainder against Stafford. He was executed in May, 1641. Charles secretly attempted to negotiate with the Scots to get an army to back him against the Parliament, but their demands were too high, including that the Kirk be established in England--and this went much too far with Charles, whose original purpose had been to break the back of the Kirk. A rebellion in Ulster in October lead to wild debates and a serious power struggle in Parliament, as the King sought to use that event to get an army. In December, John Pym (now leading a body in Parliament with sufficient clout to jam through almost any measure--there were no political parties in those times) succeeded in passing a document known as the Great Remonstrance, of some 200 clauses, and with which he next hoped to impeach the Queen of treason (she was Catholic). The margin of passage was narrow, fewer than a dozen members, and the line between Parliamentarian and Royalist was now drawn. Early in 1642, Charles came to Parliament to arrest John Pym, John Hampden, Denzil Holles, Arthur Hazelrig and William Strode, seen as the anti-royalist cabal in the House, and Lord Mandeville in the Lords (who would one day become the Earl of Manchester). Tipped off, these men escaped. Charles had now made his most serious misstep to date. The Lords, feeling threatened for the first time, supported the Commons, and the London mobs grew more shrill, with the London Trained Bands (a quasi-militia) called out to defend the Parliament. Charles and his familly and closest associates were obliged to remove up river to Hampton Courts, and "The Five" returned to Westminster in a triumphal parade.

With the situation deteriorating so rapidly, Charles appealed to friends and relations on the continent, and by summer, had removed to Oxford, where he raised his banner, and civil war with the Parliament ensued. Initially, the King had much of the advantage, because of the loyalty of experienced officers, and the willingness of monarchist soldiers and officers on the continent to come to his aid. The Thirty Years War was winding down militarily, although it would be six more years until the Peace of Westphalia. The Spanish were exhausted by what would eventually lead to their final defeat in the eighty-four year Dutch war of independence--in the following year, at Rocroi, they would be definitively defeated by the French for the first time in more than a century. The French would be plunged into civil war for years. England was operating in a political and military vacuum, and Parliament could only survive by organizing a competent army, and doing so quickly.

Oliver Cromwell went back to East Anglia and raised a company of cavalry. He found recruits enough and more among the humble and poor, who had not forgotten his kindness, and his support in opposing the draining of the fens. Many young men from families such as his own, that of "gentlemen" who were small holders like he was, were now eager to both support the Parliament, and to serve a man they idolized, though he was as yet largely unknown outside of his native haunts. Cromwell never displayed rigid orthodoxy, but he was a true Puritan in his religious devotion to any cause he espoused, and he intended that his troopers were to be as righteous as they were to be fearless in fighting for God's cause. The most of his recruits were Dissenters, and although many, or even perhaps most, of the Parliamentarians would have scorned the largely property-less men who joined his banner, the participation of the Dissenters would soon prove crucial to the cause. And the rigid discipline combined with the appeal to the religious principles of his troopers would produce a disciplined body of cavalry in an age when most cavalry either ran or fell to plundering after making a single charge in a battle. Many men of Cromwell's class who could not or would not serve rushed to provide the new company the best of "furnishings," and when Cromwell joined the Parliamentary army, the excellence of the troop and its discipline were quickly noticed and commented upon.

This man with little resource and no experience who had made himself a successful small-holding farmer, and who had held his own in the roughest Parliament which ever sat, was now about to make of himself a competent officer despite a similar lack of military experience.
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McTag
 
  1  
Reply Thu 30 Oct, 2003 05:59 pm
Well that's brilliant.
I will read it when I'm sober.

And your point is?
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Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Thu 30 Oct, 2003 06:03 pm
No particular point, just a short bio of someone whom i find interesting, and historically important.
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McTag
 
  1  
Reply Thu 30 Oct, 2003 06:06 pm
Hiya Setty

You're playing a blinder, old son.

I had to edit this post, for reasons which will be all too glaringly obvious, but am looking forward to the conclusion of your treatise on our Ollie (and to some worthy commentators)
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Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Mon 3 Nov, 2003 03:46 pm
I will come back to this thread to complete it by the end of the week. Suffice it to say that, "having a life," i've been sufficiently distracted not to have come back to complete it. Perhaps if i continue this in future, i will compile my text in advance of opening the thread, so as to present it as an accomplished fact.

I find that as i grow older, i have less interest in military history (except for the novelty factor-i.e., that for which i previously had no information). In the case of the English Civil Wars, there is actually little of interest to the military scholar beyond the bare fact of it having occurred. America's great 19th century military historian, Theodore Ayrault Dodge, takes brief notice of Crowmell in his Gustavus Adolphus to comment that there is little of interest in a review of his battles and campaigns. (Those who might be interested will find Dodge's Gustavus Adolphus and his Napoleon to be thoroughly researched, and will also find many very interesting thumbnail military biographies of other "Great Captains" in these works.) I will wish to review Miss Fraser's excellent Cromwell biography, and will want to check other sources, as well. When i write these things, i do so largely from memory, but i keep "handy reference" works to hand; i rely upon my memory because my personal analysis is tied up in my "narrative memory." Checking sources tends to "fine tune" such analysis, and, often enough, i discard previously held speculations, or completely redirect my speculation as a result. In a thread such as this, i hope that i will always make clear when i am offering speculation. As an example here, i've implied that Charles I was hardheaded, which could be said to have lead Parliament to eventually remove that head.

Probably the best such "quick reference" source for English history is George Macaulay Trevelyan's A Shortened History of England, in a single volume. You won't learn much more than a superficial review of persons and events, but it is an excellent outline for someone who knows English history, and wishes both to hone their perspective, and have a source for dates and names. Those who would wish to know more, while avoiding too specific a type of work, would likely enjoy the many various multi-volume histories, such as that by Penguin Books, or the Oxford University Press (Oxford's recent "overhauling" of their survey, multi-volume histories has resulted, by the way, in an excellent series on American History, which i believe is in five volumes.) Primary sources for the life of Cromwell, as well as for the English Civil Wars are numerous, but not readily available in print, being mostly an interest of specialists. One of the best such works, however--which deals not at all with narrative, but with a view of this crucial era, and its effect on England--is Thomas Hobbes' Behemoth, or the Long Parliament. This may not appeal to the casual reader, as it is political theory, it is written in the style of the 17th century (completed in 1668), and it is in the form of a set of dialogues between unnamed persons. However, many consider Hobbes to have been England's greatest political thinker. I know that the University of Chicago Press released this work in 1990. There is also an excellent collection of essays on Hobbes, edited by Mary Dietz of the University of Minnesota, entitled Thomas Hobbes and Political Theory, published by the University Press of Kansas.

I will hope to return to this topic soon. If i have readers out there, i beg your temporary indulgence.
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hobitbob
 
  1  
Reply Mon 3 Nov, 2003 04:21 pm
Antonia Fraser? gag-ness! Shocked
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Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Tue 4 Nov, 2003 12:31 pm
Each to his own, said the old woman as she kissed the cow . . . Fraser gives her sources, so one is as able to judge her material as that of anyone else . . . i enjoy her style, but, you think your way and i'll think mine . . .
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McTag
 
  1  
Reply Tue 4 Nov, 2003 05:13 pm
Have a care sirrah, you are speaking of the woman I love....or to be more exact, fancied a bit when younger. She was lovely, and is doubtless handsome still. All that, and able to write more than a shopping list too.
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kitchenpete
 
  1  
Reply Wed 5 Nov, 2003 07:01 am
Bookmark
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Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Wed 5 Nov, 2003 08:54 am
The success of Oliver Cromwell militarily resulted in large measure from the devotion of the class of laborers and subsistence workers of various descriptions, almost every one a Dissenter, who served in his forces. Beginning with his earliest organization of a troop of cavalry, Cromwell relied upon the religious fervor of his troopers to provide the basis for a discipline which was then (and later) unknown among cavalry organizations. His "Ironsides" displayed a unique ability to reform quickly after a cavalry charge (usually conducted at a trot, and not the gallop portrayed in motion pictures), which would result in an organized and dangerous force on the flank or in the rear of the royalist forces. This should not be considered military innovation, however-this "trick" did not survive Cromwell's lifetime. But the effect was striking. In 1642, at Edge Hill, the charismatic "cavalier" Prince Rupert completely routed the poorly organized an indifferently lead Parliamentarian cavalry-only Cromwell's troop withdrew in good order as their fellows fled around them. Cromwell was tapped to reorganize the force, and he applied his methods stringently, and recruited the ranks of other troops depleted in that action from the Dissenters, upon whose devotion he had already learned to rely. In just three years time, Cromwell rose from Captain to Lieutenant General, and his handling of the cavalry was in no small measure responsible. As he rose further in the Army, he helped to establish the New Model Army, in which the principle of devotion to a cause of religious significance was a foundation for discipline in camp and on the field of battle. At Marston Moor in 1644, Rupert's cavaliers charged through a flank of the Parliamentarian infantry, but that line was reorganized fairly quickly, and stood "at push of pike" when the royalist infantry closed. Rupert's troopers dissolved into a band of looters when their charge carried them into the rear of the Parliamentary army, and into the baggage trains. Cromwell had launched a similar attack on the opposite flank, and when his troopers mirrored the cavaliers, and fell to looting the royalist trains, their commanders were quickly able to intervene, and reorganize them. Their attack across the rear of the royalist army, into the disorganized infantry which had been repulsed earlier doomed the royalist army unless they withdrew-their commanders realized as much, and began a retreat which quickly dissolved into a headlong rout. A retreat in the face of the enemy is difficult for the best of troops, and the royalist army was little better than most 17th century armies, in that it was largely composed of mercenaries or raw recruits, the latter often "dragooned" into the ranks from the estates of supporters of the King. The crucial difference in the quality of troops meant the most in battles fought by conventional methods in parallel order. Parallel order simply means that both sides lined up facing one another, and tried the issue without any complex maneuvers, basically by frontal assault. A cavalry charge was the single common variable, and the timing of its execution was critical-when Pappenheim prematurely attacked the Swedes at Breitenfels in 1631, and was bloodily repulsed, Tilly obligingly launched an assault with a dense line of infantry, and was totally unprepared for the sudden change in formation by the Swedes, who he found to be on his flank against all military logic of the day. Cromwell was no Gustavus Adolphus, however, and it was through the discipline of the New Model that he was able to tip the balance in his favor-Naseby is the best example of this. In June of 1645, Charles was reduced to a single viable army, but a similar exhaustion had set in with Parliament. Naseby was the ultimate conflict of this first of the two Civil Wars, and Lord Fairfax's victory did not result from any innovation, but simply from the dogged determination of the infantry not to yield, and Cromwell's ability to keep his troopers under control. Rupert had convinced the King that a march on Chester could regain the north lost after Marston Moor, and the plundering of his army as they moved north, especially the savage sack at Leiscester, alienated any putative support among the people which had remained to the King. Cromwell had delayed and contained Rupert, and kept close on his flank and rear, while pleading with Fairfax to lift the desultory siege of Oxford, and move north to force a show down. The details are unimportant, and the issue was again decided by the Ironsides cavalry. Charles was definitively defeated, and although it would be more than three years before he was tried by Parliament, the monarchy was at an end. The Commonwealth had arrived.
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Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Wed 5 Nov, 2003 11:59 am
There is much which i have ignored of the Civil Wars. Most commentators consider that there were two, and many recognize three. After Naseby in 1645, royalist support, never strong nor wide-spread, collapsed, except in Cornwall, which had hoped for some autonomy under a restored monarchical administration. Charles' son, Charles, Prince of Wales, had been put in titular command of the Western Association, a chimera of a royalist stronghold, the delusion for which had been extrapolated from Cornish support. Although he displayed courage and a strong character all of his life, Charles, Prince of Wales, could not change the facts of the empty royalist coffers and the hostility of the population. King Charles escaped from the siege of Oxford, and late in 1646, surrendered to the army of the Scots Kirk at Newark. Bargaining with Parliament, the Scots turned him over in January, 1647. A junior cavalry officer, Cornet Joyce, took the King into custody, as a result of the suspicions of the New Model-this army had been thoroughly politicized, a consequence of the infusion of Dissenters into the ranks, who had understood a tacit qui pro quo from Parliament in return for their devotion. The King attempted to exploit the new alienation between the Parliament and the New Model, and attempted to escape. He eventually ended up in the hands of Robert Hammond, the governor of the Isle of Wight, but Hammond was appalled that the King believed he could use Hammond's agency to escape to France, and put him in close confinement. When Rupert's army had dissolved after Naseby, King Charles had realized that the Western Association had died aborning, and he had attempted to raise an army among the Irish. I will avoid the monster of the relations between the Irish and the English (later, i will not be able to do so), and simply note that although unsuccessful in the attempt, Charles' correspondence doomed him. He had also secretly negotiated with the Scots Covenanters of the Kirk, to impose Presbyterianism (rule of the church elders in matters religious) on England-but the negotiations broke down over his refusal to personally accept the Covenant. His son Charles would face the same problem with the Scots in 1650.

Cromwell is often cited as a prime mover in the prosecution of the King for treason, which resulted in his execution in January, 1649. I don't know that this is so, although Cromwell certainly was resolute that the King be tried-that he intended his execution from the outset can by no means be stated with certainty, and there were a great many members of Parliament who wanted and worked for the trial. Nevertheless, almost all commentators believe that the verdict was a foregone conclusion. Even so, the final vote of the court which condemned him was 68 to 67. The bare fact that only 135 members of Parliament were willing to participate in the trial can be taken for evidence that the nation by no means unanimously agreed that the King could or should be tried. It is claimed, without documentary support, and by testimony in private correspondence well after the fact, that Cromwell withheld his vote until the end, and that it was therefore his vote which condemned the King.

While the King's fate unfolded, the bill for Dissenter participation in the New Model came due. Many of these men came from among the Diggers and Levelers (see above), and the tacit understanding, or least what they had understood, was that the grievances of the ages among the "peasantry" would be redressed in this new "world turned upside down." Late in April, 1647, the New Model elected Agitators who would represent the army to Parliament. Their demands were relatively simple, but the ramifications complex. As in so many such cases, those who had made the rebellion were middle class men, who considered that things had gone far enough when their own goals had been reached (compare this to the jeunesse doré and the Directory late in the French revolution, and Stalin's slaughter of the so-called Kulaks to assure that there would be no revolutionary settlement). The Agitators in the army, and the populations of the working class and marginal subsistence communities from which they came wanted a written constitution, with a guarantee of their civil rights. They saw Parliament as a substitution of many masters for the previous situation in which there had been one-the King. They quickly grew mistrustful of the Major Generals, whom they referred to as the "Grandees of the Army," with the notable exception of Cromwell. In this they were deluded, as Cromwell always displayed a mastery of one of the most useful of political traits, working through others to attain a goal while keeping his own "skirts" clean.

In March of 1648, a few officers, and several members of the "squirearchy" declared for the King in various parts of the country. In May, Kent rebelled against Parliament. A Scots army had been raised as a part of an "engagement" with eleven members of Parliament who wanted to establish Presbyterianism in England. The Engagers were commanded by the Duke of Hamilton, but Fairfax had defeated the woeful band of royalists who had arisen in the west in June, and a rebellion in Essex in that month was quickly suppressed by the New Model. Hamilton did not cross the border until July, and Cromwell moved north rapidly, crossed Hamilton's line of communications and driving south, caught the Engager army as it attempted to cross the Ribble river near Preston. Although outnumbered two to one, the New Model made minced meat of the Scots-Hamilton's army was strung out over a space of more than sixty miles, and as was all too often the case in invasions by the Scot, was more intent on plunder than sound military practice. The Scots fought fiercely and well, but this is one of the most classic cases of defeat in detail in military history. The second civil war was over for all practical purposes, although royalists held out in many places, most notably in Pontefract castle. Cromwell marched into Scotland, and in the autumn, secured the removal from public office of all Engagers. With no love lost between the Scot and the Englishman, the stage was set for further strife.

In December, Colonel Pride stood at the doors of Parliament with his troopers, and in the event immortalized as Pride's Purge, turned back members of the Commons whose politics were suspect to the Agitators, and arrested those suspected of promoting Presbyterianism. The members of the infamous "Eleven" who can be asserted to have intended the establishment of Presbyterianism from documentary evidence, managed to escape London, which was now occupied by the New Model. The mob which Pym had used so well against the King at the beginning of the Long Parliament was not to be turned against the army now. In my next post, i will move on to the struggle between the New Model and Parliament, and the rise of Cromwell to the supreme authority, as well as the war in Ireland.
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Acquiunk
 
  1  
Reply Wed 5 Nov, 2003 12:59 pm
Setanta, very interesting. For the role of New England in this and the role of the English Civil War in the American Revolution which might be considered the second (or fourth) civil war see:
The Cousin Wars: Religion Politics and the Triumph of Anglo-America by Kevin Philips Basic Books 1999.

Also you must understand the role of the Providence Island colony in forming opposition to and ultimately the war against Charles I. The directors of the company all prominent politically active Puritans use board meeting as a cover to organize resistance. See
Providence Island: 1630-1641 The Other Puritan Colony by Karen Kupperman Cambridge University Press, 1995.
For excerpts see this amazon link.Amazon Link
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Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Wed 5 Nov, 2003 01:32 pm
Good lookin' out, Boss--the flight of Puritans to the new colonies was so significant, that the act i have mentioned earlier was passed as an order in council by Charles' government, attempting to stop the hemorraging of specie as the gold went west with the Puritans.

A fascinating look at this aspect of our history which arose from the English Civil Wars can be found in John Winthrop and the Puritan Dilemma -- sorry, i don't recall the author's name, and am at work, without the reference ready to hand. I brought the rough of the last two posts with me on floppy, and cleaned them up before posting here today.

More later . . .
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McTag
 
  1  
Reply Wed 5 Nov, 2003 03:00 pm
May the near-silent beat of the great wings of the fufu bird give your thoughts flight, and may his tail feathers lightly dust your keyboard.
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Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Thu 6 Nov, 2003 09:10 am
After Thomas Pride had "purged" Parliament, in January, the remnants declared themselves "the supreme power in this nation." Those still sitting were considered Independents (as in, independent congregationalists), although many Puritans still sat, so long as the other members were convinced that they opposed Presbyterianism. To the collective mind of these Dissenters, Puritanism had evolved into Presbyterianism, and represented yet another attempt to impose authority from above on the people. This was what became known as the Rump Parliament, being the rump, or remainder, of the Long Parliament. Almost their first act was to convene the High Court of Justice, which tried King Charles. After his execution on January 30, 1649, the Rump abolished both the monarchy and the House of Lords.

The main political struggle in this period, however, was not that of the Parliament against the King-at Naseby, the King's power in England had been buried forever. After Preston, Cromwell's invasion of Scotland secured that threat for a season. The struggle of significance in this period was between the New Model Army and the Parliament. In 1645, the New Model had been formed from the rather disorganized Parliamentary military which had been thoroughly drubbed at Edge Hill, and had just managed to hold on at Marston Moor until Cromwell's troopers had secured the victory. William Waller had been defeated at Copredy Bridge in June, 1644, and held, rightly or wrongly, that the army suffered from aristocratic commanders. It is very likely that these men were hesitant to inflict a definitive defeat on the King, and many privately wrote that they would be amenable to a negotiated settlement. In December, 1644, the Self Denying Ordinance was first read in the Commons, and finally, in the following spring, a reluctant House of Lords assented to the measure. This removed all the aristocratic commanders, as it held that no member of Parliament could also hold a commission. Officers from the Commons could simply resign their seats, and continue to serve. Peers were members of the House of Lords by birth, and were so deprived of their commissions. Thomas Fairfax was appointed Lord General, and Cromwell was made Lieutenant General of the Cavalry-significant in that no infantry officer rose above the rank of Major General, meaning Cromwell outranked every officer other than Fairfax. The foot were given coats of "Venetian" red (scarlet) with white facings, and were, therefore, the first "redcoats." The Cavalry wore helmets, and a breastplate was worn over a buff coat-for a long time, horsemen in English military jargon were known as Buffs, and some regiments took the name officially.

An important characteristic of the New Model which arose, but not from any ordinance, was the influence of the Dissenters, or Independents as they were now called. Chaplains such as Gerard Winstanley were dedicated to the eradication of the old order, and preached their doctrine unimpeded throughout the army. Winstanley was even known to publicly defy Cromwell in matters of doctrine. Cromwell held his peace-he had never been a doctrinaire Puritan. As i have already characterized him, he was a politician who preferred to avoid direct confrontation and work through others. Christopher Hill has described Winstanley as a 17th century communist. He was perhaps the most well known, but by no means the only such Dissenter chaplain, most of whom came from the tradition of the Diggers and Levelers. Cromwell was, however, a publicly stated enemy of John Lilburne, Richard Overton and William Walwyn, whose doctrines had earned them the name of Levelers. In September, 1648, the Levelers in London (never a formal organization, but a loose association of those sharing the same beliefs) called for the adoption of The Agreement of the People, in which they called for a dissolution of Parliament, universal manhood suffrage, proportional representation in Parliament, a written constitution and a "bill of rights." This had been proposed in 1647, at the time of Putney debates. These debates had been held between Agitators elected within the New Model and the "Grandees" of the army, which is to say, the Major Generals. Cromwell and Fairfax looked upon this as near mutiny, and acting on his native political instincts, Cromwell called for further debates to be held in three separate locations, to obviate the problems arising (or alleged to arise) from so many persons attempting to debate in a single location. There was nearly a mutiny over this proposal, but the Agitators finally agreed, overriding their own suspicions. Those suspicions were justified-Cromwell assembled his most loyal troopers, and separated from the army, the Agitators were easily rounded up. The move for constitutional government with a written basis, and universal suffrage was killed in the nest. The petition of the London Levelers lead to the occupation of London by the New Model (now firmly under the control of Fairfax, Cromwell and the Major Generals), to negate the effect of the London mob-Parliament reluctantly agreed to the payment of arrears to the army, which helped Fairfax and Cromwell to maintain their control. Although the Rump Parliament left after Pride's Purge were willing to abolish the monarchy and the Lords, to so secure their own freedom from masters above them, they had no interest in this as a general principle.
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Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Thu 6 Nov, 2003 10:35 am
In January 1649, the Marquis of Ormond, with about 28,000 troops began to revive royalist power in Ireland. In February 1649, Prince Rupert began raiding shipping in the English Channel, with a base at Kinsale, outside Cork in southwest Ireland. These operations were successful for a time. Parliament was in the midst of its power struggle with the New Model-so that Ireland became a center of royalist loyalty, and a therefore, potentially a base Charles Stuart, erstwhile Prince of Wales, and now, ostensibly, King Charles II. Drogheda was taken by Ormond in July, and only the "confederate" cities at Derry and Dublin held out. (The confederates refers to an alliance-uneasy at best-between Protestants of English and Scots descent, and Catholics who were united against the injustices of the land laws, which favored only the Episcopalians in Ireland; Ormond in large measure negated the confederates' power by offering a settlement of the land laws to those who would support Charles II, but he failed to convince the men in Derry and at Dublin Castle.)

Ormond now besieged Dublin. Colonel Michael Jones, who defended the city for Parliament, was an active commander, and when on the night of August 1, 1649, Ormond sent a body of troops to within a mile of the city, Jones acted quickly to sally from the city walls and attack this force, which he was able to do before Ormond responded. As Ormond approached, the panicked survivors fled through the ranks of the royalists, and as was usually the case in those days, this both broke the advancing lines, and spread panic through the troops who had not been engaged. Ormond was able to keep only two regiments in line, and when Parliamentary cavalry moved under cover to his rear, the last of his force dissolved in flight. Dublin was saved and the way prepared for Cromwell's eventual invasion. Still smoldering over the betrayal of the Putney debates, and the occupation of London by the New Model, troops still dedicated to the ideals of the Levelers had mutinied. Parliament having paid much of the army's back pay, however, Fairfax and Cromwell were able to suppress the mutinies with troops whose loyalty was greater to material security than to vague political ideas which they perhaps did not fully understand. In June, Cromwell was made Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland and given command of an army to be sent there. While Ormond moved on Dublin, Cromwell had made careful preparation for the invasion, to assure that his army could move and subsist for an extended period without outside support-shipping from England was not yet secure, with Prince Rupert acting the pirate, and now based on Wexford, to threaten the Irish Sea.

Cromwell immediately moved on Drogheda, the largest fortified city nearby. The city refused a summons (to surrender), and in the terms of warfare of the day, could expect no mercy. The result was particularly savage, however-at the least, 3500 residents were killed outright, and the remainder were transported to Barbados, most to die of disease and despair. Cromwell's army lost perhaps 150 men. It was not considered an atrocity in those days, but Cromwell's name has been hated in Ireland ever since. Many, if not most, English and Scots Protestants considered it a judgment of God against Catholics, and Cromwell is asserted, with some justice, to have shared the same view. Cromwell now moved on Wexford, now being used as a base by the royalist "pirates," and the place at which Cromwell intended to winter his army. The local royalist commander, Colonel Sinnott, when summoned, dithered and procrastinated, and Cromwell moved up his troops and siege artillery in frustration. When the a certain Captain Stafford suddenly and unexpectedly surrendered Wexford Castle to the Parliamentary forces, the defense was completely compromised, as the castle formed a part of the city wall. Some royalists made a stand in the market place in the center of town, but were easily overwhelmed. However, Cromwell and his officers decided to act as thought the city had refused when summoned, and at least 1500 unarmed citizens were slaughtered. As most of the rest had fled when the Parliamentary army entered the city, there were few remaining to transport. In a very uncharacteristic move, Cromwell abandoned discipline, and gave the city up to the sack-even though he had never allowed his troops to plunder in the past. The city was so badly damaged, however, that it was no longer suitable for winter quarters, and Cromwell moved on to Youghall between Cork and Wexford. His excuse for the slaughter this time was that it was God's judgment on the Irish pirates (most of Rupert's "navy" were a polyglot crew of mercenaries-like most of the excuses for slaughter in Ireland, it was a sham-Protestants were killing Catholics, and relishing the exercise). From Youghall, in January, 1650, Cromwell moved through the country destroying royalist stongholds. Only Clonmel is worthy of any notice in the remainder of the Irish campaign. Here, Hugh O'Neil piled up rubble in side streets, to "canalize" the attack of the Parliamentarians. Two assaults were attempted in May, and O'Neil's artillery slaughtered as many as 2000 of his enemies. With his ammunition running low, he suggested to the city fathers that they seek terms, and slipped away with his rather small force. Cromwell had not summoned the city, and he agreed to terms. He was enraged when he entered the city and learned that he had been outwitted, but he kept to his terms. He was by now worried about discipline, and knew of the threat which Scotland again posed. After Clonmel, he returned to England at the call of the Council of State, and prepared for an invasion of Scotland. Those he left behind practiced a desultory slaughter, one commander in the west complaining of the terrain, in which " . . . there is no water to drown a man, no tree from which to hang him, and no soil to bury him in if you did." When Galway surrendered to Ludlow in April, 1652, the conquest of Ireland was completed.
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Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Thu 6 Nov, 2003 10:36 am
I'm sorry to say that i likely will be unable to complete this by the weekend. I am going up to Canadia on Friday, and will need to take time to get ready for my journey. I hope that i still have readers, and that you will grant me this further indulgence.
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