Charles: Failing to get post-war settlement and regicide 1648-49

Failing to get a Post-War settlement:

  • New Model Army crushed opponents in the Second Civil War in 1649.
  • Their victory made leading officers feel God was directing them
  • The reasons for failing to reach a settlement were due to...
    • Charles failing to accept a settlement.
    • Parliament's division between the political independents and Presbyterians.
    • The New Model becoming politicised, attempting to settle with Charles, relationship with the Levellers and Parliament.
    • Radicalism in relgion and politics was emerging, especially in the army.
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Failing to get a Post-War settlement:


  • Political independents who supported were now scared of radicalised army wanted to make ammends witht he King in 1648.
  • They were desperate to end the war too via a 'Vote of No Address'.
  • Preparations were made to make proposals to the King who was captive in Isle of Wight.
  • These = Newport Treaty.


  • The fact Parliament now wanted to make a treaty with Charles despite his 2nd defeat made Henry Ireton take a stand.
  • April 1648, At the Windsor Prayer Meeting, The New Model Army declared Charles was a man of blood and was responsbile for the deaths in the Civil wars.
  • After the victory army officers like Cromwell accepted justice to be enacted on Charles.
  • The Position of the army was outline in the 'remonstrance' that demanded Charles to be put on trial before he was brought to justice.
  • If Parliament refused to put Charles on trial, they would physically remove it and then allow the King's trial to follow.
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Failing to get a Post-War settlement:


  • 5th Decemebr 1648, Parliament voted 129-83 to continue the Newport Treaty with Charles.
  • Army acted on the threats against Parliament in their remonstrance. 
  • The next day Ireton gathered army led by Colonel Thomas Pride physically removed Parliament's member in favour of the Newport Treaty. 
  • Cromwell arrived after the purge, concerned with the armys momentum of dissolving Parliament. 
  • Action against Parliament was going on for some time but it became action on the MPs who voted for the Newport treaty.
  • Parliament = now a Rump Parliament, referred to the remaining MPs after Pride's purge and was seen as illegitimate.
  • They now would bring Charles on trial.
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The basis for Regicide:


  • 135 commissioners were made to be the King's judges. 
  • Many refused to act, e.g. Fairfax only came to the first meeting.
  • Cromwell saw the trial as the final solution to make Charles realise he had to make a settlement.
  • The King's response:
  • Refused to accept the courts legitimacy as he didn't believe they had the authority to judge a monarch.
  • Charles remained stubborn.
  • Cromwell decided it was time to remove him to settle the nation to prevent furthur wars.
  • Many saw the whole wars/trial with Charles as a 'Providence', God had led those who wanted Charles' executed.
  • Charles = declared guilty of treason and to be killed.
  • 135 commissioners who never attended the sessions in court , only 59 became regicides by signing the death warrant of Charles.
  • 30th January 1649, Charles taken through the banqueting hall of Whitehall palace under the Ruben's Painting displaying the Divine Right of Kings.
  • Charles was then executed.
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  • Driven Millenarian ideas led the army leaders Ireton, Harrsion and Cromwell to input regicide when necessary.
  • Thought it was justified by his refusals of the 'Heads of Proposals' and the 'Engagement'. 
  • It became necessary when King and Parliament had any chance of agreement.
  • For some, removing the head of the Politcal Nation was a step too far. 
  • There now had to be a long term settlement without the monarch.
  • James I faced problems from 1603 with regards to finance, relgion and relationship with Parliament.
  • He found his position more problematic towards his death with the conflict with Europe. 
  • But he was better than Charles, who failed as a King.
  • But even from 1649-1690, finance, religion, crown and Parliament were still the centre of importance. 
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