The Failure of Attempts to Reach a Settlement, 1646-1649 Part 1

Part 1 to the failure to meet a settlement between crown and parliament

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  • The Failure of Attempts to Reach a Settlement, 1646-1649 (Mindmap 1)
    • Parliamentary Factionalism
      • Divisions had emerged within parliament about how to fight the civil war
        • Moderates and Radicals were then labelled the Peace Party and the War Party
          • They were then labelled Political Presbyterians and Political Independents
      • Political Presbyterians were conservative in social and political matters, were opposed to religious toleration, favoured the king and were disenchanted with the king
        • Denzil Holles was leader of the party
      • Political Independents disliked the authorisation of Scottish Presbyterianism, wanted a considerable measure of religious toleration and allied with the New Model Army
        • Cromwell, Ireton and Henry Vane were all known to be Independents
      • In 1646 the Political Presbyterians were the most influential group
        • They had support because of their peace policy
    • Newcastle Propositions, July 1646
      • Political Presbyterians presented this plan to Charles for settlement
      • Features of Propositions
        • Religion: Charles was to accept the establishment of Presbyterianism in England for three years
        • Militia: Parliament was to control the armed forces for 20 years (likely to be the remainder of Charles's life)
        • Parliament: The Triennial Act was to remain, guaranteeing regular parliaments as a limit on the power of the monarch
        • Royalists: Only 58 royalists were not to be pardoned, thus hopefully encouraging others to accept defeat
      • Charles failed to respond. He refused to accept parliamentary control of the militia and diluted Presbyterianism in the church
        • The Scots handed him over to the safe-keeping of parliament and withdrew from England with a payment of £400,000 for their trouble
      • Political Presbyterians revised the Newcastle Propositions and wanted to implement what in effect amounted to a counter revolution consisting of two parts
        • 1. Demobilise the New Model Army, but keep a smaller force to go to Ireland
        • 2. Create an alternative 'safe' army based on London trained bands
    • Politicisation of the New Model Army, 1646-7
      • The New Model was created by parliament in 1645 by merging three regional armies with the aim of making the war effort more effective
      • Proposed Disbandment
        • The armies reputation for political and religious radicalism horrified the majority of MPs
          • In 1644-5 the needs of war had seen the more radical MPs able to dominate the House of Commons
        • In order to make itself more fully representative of the political nation, parliament had held by-elections in the seats occupied by royalists
          • The further 135 MPs elected in 1646 were largely concerned with peace and normality, strengthening the 'peace party'
        • The vote to disband the army was enthusiastically received by MPs who voted in favour in February 1647
          • Most regiments were to be disbanded, but a few were invited to volunteer for service in Ireland to deal with the rebels of 1641
          • Those who had previously been excepted from the Self-Denying Ordinance were to return to parliament duty
      • Declaration of Dislike, March 1647
        • Petitions were almost exclusively concerned with pay and indemnity rather than political or religious matters
        • Holles persuaded the House of Commons to publish the Declaration, declaring that petitioners were to be 'enemies of the state and disturbers of public peace'
        • Ex-troopers were without legal protection from parliament. The army petitioned their General, Fairfax, to seek changes on their behalf
        • In May the Commons accepted Charles's third reply to the Newcastle Propositions, by which he conceded Presbyterianism for three years and parliamentary control of the militia for 10 years
          • Charles still wanted further negotiations
      • New Model's Reaction to Disbandment, May 1647
        • In May the Commons voted to disband the army with only eight weeks arrears
          • Fairfax ordered a general rendezvous at Newmarket
        • Conservatives ordered the disbandment for the 1st June
        • The New Model's control of Charles I allowed them to directly negotiate with him their own plan for settlement: The Heads of the Proposals
          • Charles failed to take negotiations seriously, which caused the army to become even more radicalised
      • Solemn Engagement, June 1647
        • The regiments met in a general rendezvous and accepted the Solemn Engagement by which the army declared its refusal to disband until a just settlement which guaranteed the rights of 'freeborn Englishmen' was obtained
          • It also established a General Council of officers and agitators to co-ordinate the army's campaign
        • Ireton became the army's chief spokesman for negotiations between the army leadership and Charles
      • A Representation of the Army, June 1647
        • This was drafted by Ireton and John Lambert, aided by Cromwell
          • It declared that the New Model was not a 'mere mercenary army'
        • The representation demanded a purge of corrupt MPs who were willing to betray parliament's cause
          • The present parliament was to be dissolved and future ones should be of a fixed duration
          • The Church was to be reformed
            • Toleration was to be granted to 'tender consciences' - those like the Independents and Baptists
        • The document represented the emergence of the army as a political force, both in its radical demands and in their justification
    • The Heads of the Proposals, August 1647
      • The Grandees (notably Cromwell and Ireton) had the king safely in their hands and the soldiers united behind them
        • They were radical in religion and members of the lesser gentry
      • It was drafted by Ireton and Lambert
        • They wanted regular biennial parliaments, reform of parliamentary representation, parliamentary control of the army and navy, parliamentary appointment of great officers for 10 years and religious settlement that maintained national church with bishops
      • Furious at the army's resistance to disbandment and its demand that 11 MPs were to be impeached, the city merchants and clergy offered loans to pay for disbandment and the London militia to defend Parliament
        • Political Presbyterians organised demonstrations in favour of peace in July as there was growing tension between the army and parliament
          • Political Independents joined the army after walking out of parliament


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