Disintegration of the Political Nation: English Second Civil War

The Newcastle Propositions and Charles’ response

The Newcastle propositions were offered in July 1646. However, Charles was never intending to agree to them, instead avoiding a “flat denial” too to draw out discussions to hope that divisions in Parliament broke out and undermined the monarchy.

Charles still felt strong in 1646: due to Kingship and legitimacy, how he was necessary for any lasting settlment. (and lack of mainstream republicanism) and he knew that Parliament and Scots were divided.

The terms were: (presented by Pol Presbyterians

-58 leading royalists punished, rest pardoned -Parliament control of militia 20 years -Triennial Act to limit king’s power -Presby settlement 3 years

Parliament and the Scots

Disagreement over two key areas. Area number one: was the custody of Charles. Parliament believed handing them the monarch would speed up settlement. The Scots believed that Charles had sought them purposesly to avoid harsh punishment and thus they were well within their right to keep him.

The other key area of disagreement was in terms of religious settlement. Whilst the English Parli had abolished the episcopacy in 1645: Scots were miffed that there still was no separation of church from state.

However, after Charles rejected the final Scottish resolution in December 1646, the Scots were keen to hand him over, which they did in January 1647 to the Political Presbyterians.




These were the more moderate MP’s who favoured a quick settlement with minimal limits, simply wishing for the disbanding of the NMA. They rallied around key figures such as Holles. Their religious settlement favoured a national church without bishops, replacing them with an assembly. They formed the majority of the Parliament and thus dominated. Disliked the NMA and had a campaign against them, which culminated in the Dec 1646 petition that the London merchants published defaming it as a heretical body. Furthermore, in March 1647, they tried to pass a law that meant only Presbyterians or non-mps could be officers of army. They also wished to make the army disband with only 8 weeks of arrears pay, sending 12,000 to Ireland.




The more radical group in Parliament. Not the majority, but had strong individuals like Oliver Cromwell, Henry Ireton, Oliver St John. The middle group around St John had supported the independents because whilst they wanted to settle with Charles quickly, they didn’t want a Presbyterian structure. They believed that each Christian congregation should be autonomous.

Gained size in recruiter elections with Maj Gen Harrison and John Carew winning seats late 1646.

Close links with NMA: backs them despite Presby attack in May 1647

The army seize the king

Cornet Joyce takes Charles to Holdenby Hall: NMA HQ. This action worries the Presbyterians, who fear a prolonged and more radical settlement that the Independents will impose. This occurs in June 1647. It triggers chain of events: 1– Charles to Nmrkt 2– Officers sign Solemn Engagement: unity. 3– General council of army discusses grievances 4– mid June: Representation of the Army: by Ireton. He demands expulsion of 11 Presby MP’s with fresh election to wider electorate. 5– 11 MP’s flee LDN, but return with protestors loyal to Pres storm Parliament in late july. Fairfax has to keep army at least 30 miles from London. 6– 58 Indep mp’s and Peers refuge with army, Fairfax leads force against London 4th August. Army deliberately march through LDN, with Fairfax appted Constable of Tower. 6/11 Presby mp’s fled abroad. Impeachment begins.

The heads of the proposals


-Biennial Parliaments

-Electoral reform to represent changed population

-Parli control of appts

-Parli control of militia

-Act of Oblivion cept 7 Royalists

-Religious settlement of BISHOPS continued by restriction on coercive powers

Mostly aligned to goals of the Political independents: who had gained strength by August 1647

Written by Ireton and Lambert. Ireton had even spent an evening with the King, and appeared to further moderate and water down the settlement, EVEN MORE so than Newcastle props.

Levellers were dismayed at the moderate nature of settlement. This created a further division: that of the Grandees versus the rank and file who were dismayed at how the grandees had betrayed them by giving too much to the king.

The Putney Debates

Much leveller representation such as Wildman, Sexby. Colonel Rainsborough shows that Leveller ideas penetrated the highest levels. He demanded complete religious freedom and annual Parliaments elected by all adult males. Property quals Should be abolished. Give all men opportunity for vote. System of king and parliament oppressive: It was oppressive norman invention, so overthrow it and replace it

Grandees believe constitution of king and parliament: It was expression of ancient rights and liberties and should be PROTECTED, slightly modified

Ireton on behalf of Grandees claims that voters must be men on property: else there will be anarchy.

Cromwell tried to keep the peace between both sides, trying to soften extremes and remind them of their godly duty

october 1647

“The Grandees and the King have become as one”. ‘a call to all soldiers of the army’ .Mutiny in J Lilburne and brother’s regiments.

The King’s escape and the end of the debates.

The king escaped in November 1647, fleeing to the Isle of Wight, whereby his cousin Gov Colonel Hammon imprisons him in Carisbrooke castle.

A three separate army meet was called to try and bring order. However, there was a mutiny at Corkbush field, which Cromwell crushed brutally, with hangings.  These men had had copies of an Agreement of the people

The debates were ended for many reasons. Firstly the General Committee was unlikely to find a suitable settlement. Secondly, the levellers were instilling unrest amongst the army. Thirdly, there were some extremist comments being made and this worried MP’s. Lastly, Charles was seemingly plotting and thus they had to act.

23rd November: resolution passed against levellers: Supress Leveller ideology/ideas/actions thus restoring order


The Engagement and the Vote of No Addresses

Escaping from NMA clutches, Charles immediately began negotiating with the Scots with the engagement of December 1647.  32DOS ACCEPTED

In response Parliament passed the Four Bills where a new settlement was given. December 1647 20RAP REJECTED

But, by January 1648, Parliament had issued a Vote Of No Addresses which meant that Parliament would no longer negotiate with Charles, and all those who tried would be branded with treason.141-90.

However, the vote of no addresses was rescinded in September 1648, where Parliament attempted to negiotiate at Newport. This angered ireton and the army officers. Publishes Remonstrace of the Army November 1648 calling for it to be passed again, and to find way of replacing Charles with son

The Second Civil War and Windsor Prayer meeting

Scots were easily defeated at Battle of Preston, after entering England April 1648: Langdale to Berwick, Musgrave to Carlisle. Still causes lots of pro-royalist protests.

Failed because: Marquis Hamilton (2) 1: only 1 faction. 2: poor leader, Finance, Disparate army.

Kentish rebellion: may 1648: publish Pet of K, C, G, C. Declare for King, kick Rainsborough off ship, amass 6-10k by Blackheath after march from Rochester. They wanted BEAT.

South Wales Rebellion: Poyer…Harverfordwest Castle ordered to be abolished July 1648

Canterbury Rising Christmas 1647: hated banned Christmas so expelled garrison and published declaration.

April 1648: Windsor prayer meeting: Army meets and concludes that Charles is that man of blood and thus must be brought to account.

This civil war again reaffirmed Parliament’s suspicion and frustration with Charles that he had twice tried to bring about civil war, and had twice failed. The religiously motivated MP’s perceived this to show how god had chosen Parliament twice and thus by Charles attempt to create another civil war, it shows he has gone against god’s will.

Voted to continue Newport Treaty discussions December 1648 129-83

Pride’s Purge

December 1648, the more moderate, Presbyterian MP’s are purged. 180 long list of exclusions. 45 MP shortlist to be arrested.

This is a coup d’état of Parliament, and crucially allows the 240 MP’s that remain to deal with Charles. I.e to give Commons authority over HoL and monarchy to pass laws, to try Charles

Commons gain sole authority to pass laws without King or lords. In order to try king





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