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Insurgency, Counter-Insurgency and Inaction: Three Phases in the Role of the City in the Great Rebellion

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Abstract

Hardly less familiar than the verdict which attaches paramount importance to the City of London’s roundhead rather than cavalier sympathies in parliament’s victory over Charles I in the first Civil War is the fact that almost as soon as this victory had been won, the City authorities began to behave rather as if they had been overtaken by events; as if their primary need was now, if not to reverse, at least to apply a sharp brake to what many of them viewed as an alarming turn of events. In consequence, municipal sympathies during the second half of the 1640s were crucially different from what they had been between 1640 and 1645. The present essay offers some observations on the different and often conflicting interpretations of the City’s role in the politics of the 1640s which have appeared in print over the past four decades.1 It concentrates its attention on three main episodes in London’s Civil War history. The first of these is why and how London became parliamentarian rather than royalist in 1642. The second relates to what has been called London’s Counter-Revolution in the summer of 1647, when obviously the City was having second thoughts about the distinctly sour fruits of parliament’s triumph in 1646. The third relates to London’s role, if any, in the second Civil War which broke out in the spring of 1648.

Keywords

City Government Defence Force City Authority East India Company Business Elite 
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Notes

  1. 8.
    Sir Edward Dering,A Collection of Speeches (1642), p. 101.Google Scholar
  2. 28.
    R. Bell (ed.), Memorials [of the Civil War comprising the Correspondence of the Fairfax Family] (London, 1849), I, pp. 380–3.Google Scholar
  3. 33.
    On this see I. Gentles, ‘The Struggle for London in the Second Civil War’, Historical Journal xxvl (1983), 277–305.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Stephen Porter 1996

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