When Thomas Hobbes wrote that ‘But for the city the Parliament never could have made the war, nor the Rump ever have murdered the king’ he was expressing the widely, indeed universally, held view that London had been of crucial importance to the parliamentarian cause during the Civil War. This was the opinion of contemporaries on both sides. In 1647 John Lightfoot told the House of Commons that it was ‘London, that under a Parliament hath preserved a Nation; and London, that under God hath preserved a Parliament’.1Historians have seen little reason to dispute such judgements, for London was undoubtedly England’s greatest single asset. The metropolis that consisted of London, Westminster and Southwark was by far the largest and richest city and its sheer size and wealth gave it a predominant position in the country’s economic, social, legal and cultural life. Furthermore, it was the national capital, for Westminster contained the principal royal palace, the court and the meeting place of parliament, with all the trappings of government, the administrative machinery, the courts of law and the residences of foreign diplomats.


English People Bubonic Plague Administrative Machinery City Parish Common Council 
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© Stephen Porter 1996

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