We have all seen those troops on the
field of warre who wear blue bonnets,but who or what are
they? I hope to give you a bit of information concerning
our Parliamentarian allies, but later our New Model Army
Two theories of Government.
There are two theories of Government
which have obtained wider acceptanceand have come more generally
into use than the others, although, as one regards one of
them, it is only since the advent of Christianity that it
has been largely adopted by nations in the regulation of
The first theory, all true Kings are
clothed with their function immediately by God. The right
to govern and the qualifications for governing when employed
in the state, is called the "Right Divine". When
adopted in the church, it is termed "Apostolical Succession".
The second theory states that the function of Government
is not personal, but a social right. It is a right not lodged
on an individual, nor on a class, but on society at large.
Government in the whole body of the citizens and spiritual
Government in the whole body of the faithful. Although the
function of Government is the common right of all, it is
possible only to a few who are selected by others.
The views of the second theory were
an abomination to the Stuarts, especially the last four.
They believed that all laws in the state, and all ordinances
in the church must proceed from their will. All who opposed
these views were enemies of the King and of God. The Stuarts
would declare "Church and State, it is I".
The reformed Presbyterian Kirk of Scotland
and the Stuarts therefore had an impossible gulf between
them, the following statements were recorded in the works
of the Covenanters.
1) The power of creating man a King
is from the people. 2) If the King has not the consent of
the people, he is an usurper, for all we know no external
lawful calling that Kings now have to the crown, but only
the call of the people.
Charles the first had abolished Parliament
in England and Wales. He imposed taxes, he annulled charters
in towns, he set up the Star Chamber and if any one hinted
at resistance, even in a peaceable way, they were liable
to fines or even imprisonment. Some had their ears cut off,
their noses split or their cheek branded. Charles saw the
Scots Kirk as a Kingdom, free and complete in itself, he
also saw the church in Scotland as a place that indoctrinated
the people. Charles saw himself as King of the whole of
Britain and therefore he must put down the Kirk, otherwise
he was not King at all.
Charles summoned Archbishop Laud to
his aid, in England, Charles made his assault political,
but in Scotland it must be ecclesiastical. Charles placed
mitres on the heads of selected clergy and turned them into
Bishops, he changed the communion table into an altar, he
compiled a book for the ministers to pray by. He gave them
surplices to wear and liturgies to chant. Above all he refused
leave for the General Assembly to meet. This was the hinge
of the conflict, the moderators chair of the General Assembly
was the moral throne of Scotland, and Charles knew the power
that it held.
The Scots assembled in the Greyfriars'
Church of Edinburgh and swore the National Covenant (this
was a document drawn up to unify opposition to new church
innovations imposed by Charles, ED). The crowds assembled,
overflowed into the church, some even signed the Covenant
in their own blood. The date was the first of March 1638.
Charles, upon hearing of it said "I have no more power
in Scotland than the Doge of Venice".
In 1641 Charles appended his signature
to a document that bound it's subscribers to maintain and
defend three things: 1) The independence of the throne 2)
The freedom of the Kirk. 3) The liberty of the nation.
Charles army had retreated Southwards
across the border with it's tail between it's legs. Roused
by the example the Scot's had set, the English people demanded
their civil rights and religious liberties. In 1642 the
English Civil War was under way.
The covenanters recognised their own
battle being fought on English soil. In 1643 the Solemn
League and Covenant was drawn up.In a nutshell it was thus:
1) Religion in it's Protestant form. 2) The King as a constitutional
monarch. 3) Liberty as the right of the nation. After being
signed by the General Assembly, it was carried to London
and was sworn by the two Houses of Parliament, the Westminster
Assembly and the Scottish Commissioners. The King now had
two enemies to contend with.
During the War there were mixed fortunes
for the covenanting Army,it was successful with the Parliamentarians
at Marston Moor in 1644, disaster being thwarted by the
stand of Lord Lindsay's brigade. However, in Scotland it
suffered at the hands of Montrose's Army at Tippemuir, Aberdeen,
Inverlochy and Auldearn. However at Philliphaugh on September
13th, the covenanters defeated Montrose under the command
of David Leslie, who had been at Marston Moor. Montrose
himself escaped, but was never a threat again.
In 1646 Charles surrendered to the
Scots Army besieging Newark, he was taken to Newcastle,
where he refused to promise the Scots to accept Presbyterianism
as the official English religion. The Scots eventually handed
over Charles to the English Parliament and the rest, as
they say, is history. However before Charles' execution,
he had told the Scots that he would establish a Presbyterian
system for three years. The Scots Parliament wrote to Westminster
demanding that Englishmen should take the Presbyterian covenant
and that new talks should start with Charles. During the
second Civil Warre, a Scottish Army massed at Dumfries,
the English expected an invasion, and it came. The Scottish
Army, eventually exhausted, surrendered their foote at Warrington.
The horse later surrendered at Uttoxeter. In October, Cromwell
was in Scotland and made peace with Argyll. After Charles'
execution in 1649, Charles' son was proclaimed King Charles
the second by the Scots. On May the first, 1650, Charles
signed the treaty of Breda, it was an agreement that neither
party intended to keep. Charles would regain his throne
and the Scots would use him as a figurehead. Montrose entered
the scene again and landed with a small army at Kirkwall,
on the 23rd of March, 1650. He was defeated and later executed
The third Civil Warre was not due to
an invasion by the Scots Army. The English decided to invade
Scotland, to stop any Scottish offensive. Cromwell's Army
advance via York and Durham and eventually Cromwell's Army
was out manoeuvred by the Scottish commander Sir David Leslie,
who had fought for Parliament at Marston Moor. Cromwell
retreated to Dunbar, Leslie was persuaded to change his
strong position, and the Scots paid a heavy price with a
great defeat. It was one of the most decisive victories
of the Civil Warres. Charles was crowned King at Scone on
January the first 1651, and began to stir up the old Royalists.
Eventually an invasion of England by
the Scots and various English Royalists, with Charles at
the Armies head, was defeated at Worcester, near where it
had all started at Powick Bridge in 1642. Charles fled to
the continent until the Restoration, however, Charles, like
his father before him, found that the Kirk could be a thorn
in his side. Firstly, came the Act of Supremacy, which returned
to the "Right Divine" problem once again. This
was followed by the Act Recissory, which annulled all the
Parliaments and the General Assembly. These were followed
by executions and the abolition of Presbyterianism, four
hundred ministers were ejected. There followed executions
of men and women alike, these dark days for the covenanters
would continue until 1688 and the "Glorious Revolution".
It was the price they paid for trying to restore Charles
to his throne. Maybe they should have stayed with their
first allies! The moral must surely reflect the saying about"not
changing horses mid-stream!"
By Ian Gray, Alone for Parliament
in Merthyr Parish
This is part of a compilation of articles that have appeared
in the "Mercurius Politicus", which is the Regimental
newsletter of Sgt. Maj. Gen. James Carr, hys Regiment of
Foote. Carr's Regiment are the oldest continuing Parliamentarian
Regiment in the Sealed Knot. The "Mercurius Politicus"
has been issued for over 25 years. Further details can be
obtained from the Editor, Pete Minall email@example.com.
Full credit is given to both the author, Ian Gray and to
the Mercurius Politicus.