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About this book

The 1640s were one of the most exciting and bloody decades in British and Irish history. This book interweaves the narrative threads in each theatre of conflict to provide an holistic account and analysis of the wars in and between England, Scotland and Ireland, from the Covenanter Rebellion to the execution of Charles I.

Politics and War in the Three Stuart Kingdoms, 1637-49
- stresses the need to examine the English Civil War within the context of the other conflicts in Scotland and Ireland, and vice versa
- explores key themes, such as the relationship between armies and elites
- assesses the extent to which the wars in and between the kingdoms were the product of religious and ethnic hatred

Using a wide range of original and secondary sources, and incorporating the latest research, David Scott offers a challenging new interpretation of political structure and dynamics in the warring Stuart realms.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1. Society, War, and Allegiance in the Three Kingdoms, 1637–42

Abstract
Looking back on the England he had known in the 1630s, the statesman and historian Sir Edward Hyde observed a familiar English trait: ‘the truth is, there was … little curiosity either in the Court or the country to know any thing of Scotland, or what was done there … nor had that kingdom a place or mention in one page of any gazette, so little the world heard or thought of that people’.1 Since 1603, when the Scottish king, James Stuart, had succeeded Elizabeth Tudor, England and Ireland had been joined with Scotland through the person of the monarch (and little else). James’s son Charles had inherited this ‘union of crowns’ in 1625, and though he had been born in Scotland, and even spoke with a Scottish accent, the English thought of him first and foremost as king of England. If he chose to rule other kingdoms ‘in his spare time’ it was no concern of theirs. Little wonder then that when rebellions in Scotland and Ireland precipitated civil war in their own country, the English were generally at a loss as to how this calamity had come about.
David Scott

Chapter 2. The Outbreak of the English Civil War: August 1642–September 1643

Abstract
The English Civil War took an inordinately long time to get started considering that by January 1642 both Charles and the junto were determined to settle their differences by force. Of course, civil war was only possible if each side had a committed popular following; and Charles’s bungled attempt to arrest the six junto members had temporarily discredited his cause. Not that Parliament was any more capable of raising an army at this stage. The people were deeply divided on certain issues, notably the settlement of religion, but they were neither prepared for war materially, nor ready to accept that the breach between king and Parliament was irreparable. They would be gradually disabused of this notion during the first half of 1642, as the pursuit of rival claims to the kingdom’s military resources generated controversy and a series of armed stand-offs. The fact that the nation still clung to the ideal of consensus and the rule of law made both sides anxious not to forfeit the constitutional high ground and thus hampered their military preparations. Nevertheless, while Charles and Parliament engaged in paper skirmishes over the spring and summer aimed partly at wooing moderate opinion, their enthusiasts in the counties battled (sometimes literally) to raise men and to seize arms and places of strategic importance. By the time Charles raised his standard at Nottingham on 22 August, sporadic fighting had broken out in a number of counties, and two of the kingdom’s major ports, Hull and Portsmouth, were under siege.
David Scott

Chapter 3. The Wars of the Three Kingdoms: September 1643–August 1645

Abstract
The cessation and the Covenant helped to transform what had been a number of largely discrete, if causally interlinked, conflicts, into something not far short of a single archipelagic war. The king received his first shipment of troops from Ireland in October 1643; a Covenanter army under Leven entered northern England in January 1644; and six months later a party of ‘Scotch Irish’ embarked from Ireland for the western Highlands and a blood-soaked campaign that its leader, the Marquess of Montrose, hoped would topple all of Scotland into the king’s hands. In time these developments would change the face of the English Civil War. But it was at Westminster that the cessation and, more especially, the Covenant had their most immediate impact.
David Scott

Chapter 4. Anglia Rediviva: September 1645–January 1647

Abstract
In 1647, an army chaplain, Joshua Sprigge, published a book praising the exploits of Fairfax and his men. He called it Anglia Rediviva — England’s recovery. Sprigge drew heart from the New Model’s victories, seeing in them a re-affirmation of English valour and the national interest. But few of the public shared his optimism (or bought his book), and with good reason, for the Civil War had created more problems than it had solved. Church government had broken down entirely in most places, allowing godly enthusiasts to set up separated congregations — much to the alarm of orthodox Puritans as well as the majority that still clung to the now outlawed Book of Common Prayer. Local government under the Royalists had degenerated into military rule. Under Parliament it was exercised largely by county committees, some of which were dominated by radicals and social upstarts, who were prepared to put loyalty to Westminster before the interests of their communities. To keep their armies in the field, both the king and Parliament had introduced a sales tax — the excise — and weekly or monthly assessments, and it was a case of either paying up or answering to the troops. It has been calculated that Parliament was raising the equivalent of one pre-war parliamentary subsidy every fortnight in taxation — most of which went to pay the army and navy.1
David Scott

Chapter 5. The Rise of the New Model Army: February–December 1647

Abstract
The structural tensions inherent in the Stuart multiple monarchy — a contributory factor in the outbreak of the wars — posed a major obstacle to the attainment of a well-grounded peace. Although Charles could and did appeal to his duty to defend the interests of all his peoples, in practice this was impossible given their incompatible political and religious objectives. After his defeat in the English Civil War, he effectively required the backing of two of his kingdoms in order to mend his fractured realm — or of one, if that kingdom was England. The summer of 1646, when he was presented with the Newcastle Propositions, was his best chance of making peace with his British kingdoms; the summer of 1647 would be his best opportunity to reach a settlement in England. In both instances he preferred to sow division among his subjects and hold out for better terms.
David Scott

Chapter 6. The Second Civil War and the English Revolution: January 1648–January 1649

Abstract
The ‘Second Civil War’ is a term of convenience, used to describe the various uprisings, battles, and naval actions that occurred in and around England and Wales between March and August 1648. The ‘war’ consisted of several overlapping and interrelated conflicts — a series of local insurrections of varying intensity and character; a bungled Royalist military campaign to reverse the outcome of the First Civil War; and a Scottish invasion to overthrow the ‘prevailing party’ in England and restore the king.
David Scott

Epilogue and Conclusion

Abstract
In the months after the regicide the Rump completed the constitutional revolution it had begun early in January 1649. The House of Lords and the monarchy were abolished, and a Council of State was established in place of the Derby House Committee. The Rump’s top priority after putting its own house in order was the reconquest of Ireland. In April 1649 the assessment was raised to £90,000 a month to help finance an invasion force under the command of Cromwell. In 1649 alone the Rump would spend over half a million pounds on the Irish expedition — this compares with the Confederates’ annual revenue of about £70,000 at the height of their power in 1645–6. Cromwell embarked for Ireland in August 1649 with 12,000 New Model veterans, a large train of siege artillery, and a war chest of £100,000.
David Scott
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