Pride's Purge

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Pride’s Purge of Scott Duncan
Part of Second English Civil War
PridesPurge.jpg
Colonel Pride refusing admission to the Presbyterian members of the Long Parliament. (Engraving, c. 1652)
Planned byThe Grandees of the New Model Army
ObjectiveForcibly remove from the Long Parliament all those who were not supporters of the Grandees in the New Model Army and the Independents.
Date6 December 1648 (1648-12-06)
OutcomeEstablishment of the Rump Parliament

Pride's Purge was an event that took place in December 1648, during the Second English Civil War, when troops of the New Model Army under the command of Colonel Thomas Pride forcibly removed from the Long Parliament all those who were not supporters of the Grandees in the New Model Army and the Independents. Some have called it a coup d'état . [1]

Second English Civil War 1640s civil war in England

The Second English Civil War (1648–1649) was the second of three civil wars known collectively as the English Civil War, which refers to the series of armed conflicts and political machinations which took place between Parliamentarians and Royalists from 1642 until 1651 and also include the First English Civil War (1642–1646) and the Third English Civil War (1649–1651), all of which were part of the Wars of the Three Kingdoms.

New Model Army army (1645-1660) in the English Civil War

The New Model Army of England was formed in 1645 by the Parliamentarians in the English Civil War, and was disbanded in 1660 after the Restoration. It differed from other armies in the series of civil wars referred to as the Wars of the Three Kingdoms in that it was intended as an army liable for service anywhere in the country, rather than being tied to a single area or garrison. Its soldiers became full-time professionals, rather than part-time militia. To establish a professional officer corps, the army's leaders were prohibited from having seats in either the House of Lords or House of Commons. This was to encourage their separation from the political or religious factions among the Parliamentarians.

General Sir Thomas Pride was a parliamentarian commander in the English Civil War, best known as one of the regicides of King Charles I and as the instigator of Pride's Purge.

Contents

Background

In 1648, King Charles I was in captivity at Carisbrooke Castle and the first stage of the English Civil War was over. The Long Parliament issued a set of demands for the future government of the Kingdom and sent commissioners to negotiate with the King over the terms of the putative Treaty of Newport. The leaders of the New Model Army had previously tried to negotiate with the King themselves in 1647, shortly after the end of the first civil war in 1646. Its leaders, the "grandees", were sorely disappointed when Charles stalled these negotiations by quite clearly attempting to play different factions in the Parliamentary alliance off against others. He eventually escaped captivity, leading to the second civil war that raged between 1647 and 1649. By the time Charles was recaptured, most of the army leaders were convinced that they could no longer trust him. So the army sent in a remonstrance on 20 November 1648, which was rejected by 125 votes to 58 in the House of Commons on 1 December. When the Commissioners returned with the King's answers, which were far short of what was hoped, the House of Commons eventually declared them acceptable by 129 votes to 83 early in the morning of 5 December 1648 (though this was technically a vote on whether the vote should be called).

Charles I of England 17th-century monarch of kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland

Charles I was the monarch over the three kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland from 27 March 1625 until his execution.

Carisbrooke Castle Grade I listed historic house museum in Isle of Wight, United Kingdom

Carisbrooke Castle is a historic motte-and-bailey castle located in the village of Carisbrooke, Isle of Wight, England. Charles I was imprisoned at the castle in the months prior to his trial.

First English Civil War Civil war in England 1642–1646

The First English Civil War (1642–1646) began the series of three wars known as the English Civil War. "The English Civil War" was a series of armed conflicts and political machinations that took place between Parliamentarians and Royalists from 1642 until 1651, and includes the Second English Civil War (1648–1649) and the Third English Civil War (1649–1651). The wars in England were part of the Wars of the Three Kingdoms, being fought contemporaneously with equivalents in Scotland and Ireland.

The Purge

On Wednesday 6 December Colonel Pride's Regiment of Foot took up position on the stairs leading to the House, while Nathaniel Rich's Regiment of Horse provided backup. Pride himself stood at the top of the stairs. [2] As MPs arrived, he checked them against the list provided to him; Lord Grey of Groby helped to identify those to be arrested and those to be prevented from entering. [3] The purge was not over in one day, and a military watch was kept on the entrance until 12 December. By then 45 members had been imprisoned, of whom 25 were released before Christmas. It is not known exactly how many were excluded as many, once they heard of the purge, voluntarily stayed away, either because they feared they would be arrested but more usually as a sign of protest. Before the purge, the number of members who were still eligible to sit in the house was 507, but 18 seats were vacant and a further 18 members had not sat for a long time, which meant that there were 471 active members. After the purge, just over 200 members sat in what would become known as the Rump Parliament. [4] [5] Of the 200, 86 absented themselves voluntarily, 83 were allowed back in Parliament after formally dissenting from the decision to accept the King's proposals, and 71 were supporters of the army from the outset (see List of MPs not excluded from the English parliament in 1648).[ citation needed ]

Colonel Nathaniel Rich sided with Parliament in the English Civil War. He was a colonel in Oliver Cromwell's New Model Army.

Thomas Grey, Lord Grey of Groby Member of the English Long Parliament and regicide

Thomas Grey, Lord Grey of Groby, was an elected Member of Parliament for Leicester during the English Long Parliament, an active member of the Parliamentary party and a regicide. He was the eldest son of Henry Grey, 1st Earl of Stamford, using his father's as his own courtesy title, and Anne Cecil, daughter of William Cecil, 2nd Earl of Exeter.

Rump Parliament political body in the time of the English Revolution

The Rump Parliament was the English Parliament after Colonel Thomas Pride purged the Long Parliament, on 6 December 1648, of those members hostile to the Grandees' intention to try King Charles I for high treason.

The imprisoned members were taken first to the Queen's Court within the Palace of Westminster, and then to a nearby public house. There were three public houses next to the Palace in 1648, called Heaven, Purgatory, and Hell. The imprisoned members were taken to Hell where they spent the night. On the next day they were moved to two inns in the Strand. By 12 December the first of the imprisoned members was allowed home;[ citation needed ] many more were released on 20 December. [4]

Palace of Westminster Meeting place of the Parliament of the United Kingdom,

The Palace of Westminster serves as the meeting place of the House of Commons and the House of Lords, the two houses of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Commonly known as the Houses of Parliament after its occupants, the Palace lies on the north bank of the River Thames in the City of Westminster, in central London, England.

Strand, London major thoroughfare in the City of Westminster, London, England

Strand is a major thoroughfare in the City of Westminster, Central London. It runs just over 34 mile (1,200 m) from Trafalgar Square eastwards to Temple Bar, where the road becomes Fleet Street inside the City of London, and is part of the A4, a main road running west from inner London.

The Rump now had a majority that would establish a Republic. Any doubts the remaining members may have had over the wisdom of this course were suppressed by the presence of the Army in great numbers. On 4 January 1649 an Ordinance was passed to try the King for treason; the House of Lords rejected it. The House of Commons then passed an 'Act' by itself for the same purpose, and the King was beheaded on 30 January. On 6 February the House of Lords was abolished; the monarchy went the same way on 7 February, and a Council of State was established on 14 February.[ citation needed ] Between the purge and the King's trial and execution, only about 70 attended the Commons and attendance in the Lords rarely reached a dozen. [4]

House of Lords upper house in the Parliament of the United Kingdom

The House of Lords, also known as the House of Peers and domestically usually referred to simply as the Lords, is the upper house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Membership is granted by appointment or else by heredity or official function. Like the House of Commons, it meets in the Palace of Westminster. Officially, the full name of the house is the Right Honourable the Lords Spiritual and Temporal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in Parliament assembled.

Execution of Charles I 1649 beheading of Charles I

The execution of Charles I by beheading occurred on Tuesday 30 January 1649 outside the Banqueting House in Whitehall. The execution was the culmination of political and military conflicts between the royalists and the parliamentarians in England during the English Civil War, leading to the capture and trial of Charles I. On Saturday 27 January 1649, the parliamentarian High Court of Justice had declared Charles guilty of attempting to "uphold in himself an unlimited and tyrannical power to rule according to his will, and to overthrow the rights and liberties of the people" and he was sentenced to death.

The English Council of State, later also known as the Protector's Privy Council, was first appointed by the Rump Parliament on 14 February 1649 after the execution of King Charles I.

Aftermath

Pride's Purge was reversed on 21 February 1660 when all the surviving barred members were restored to the Long Parliament which, as law required, voted for its own dissolution. It was followed by the Convention Parliament (1660) which proclaimed Charles II king and restored the monarchy.

Long Parliament English Parliament which lasted from 1640 until 1660

The Long Parliament was an English Parliament which lasted from 1640 until 1660. It followed the fiasco of the Short Parliament which had convened for only three weeks during the spring of 1640, and which in turn had followed an 11-year parliamentary absence. In September 1640, King Charles I issued writs summoning a parliament to convene on 3 November 1640. He intended it to pass financial bills, a step made necessary by the costs of the Bishops' Wars in Scotland. The Long Parliament received its name from the fact that, by Act of Parliament, it stipulated it could be dissolved only with agreement of the members; and, those members did not agree to its dissolution until 16 March 1660, after the English Civil War and near the close of the Interregnum.

Convention Parliament (1660)

The Convention Parliament followed the Long Parliament that had finally voted for its own dissolution on 16 March that year. Elected as a "free parliament", i.e. with no oath of allegiance to the Commonwealth or to the monarchy, it was predominantly Royalist in its membership. It assembled for the first time on 25 April 1660.

Charles II of England 17th-century King of England, Ireland and Scotland

Charles II was king of England, Scotland, and Ireland. He was king of Scotland from 1649 until his deposition in 1651, and king of England, Scotland and Ireland from the 1660 Restoration of the monarchy until his death.

Pride's Purge was arguably the most significant political event of the English Civil War, directly leading to the execution of Charles I and thus a permanent end to hostilities between the King and Parliament. Historians argue over the extent to which this was an independent action by Pride's regiment. Army chief Sir Thomas Fairfax and his second in command, Lieutenant-General Oliver Cromwell, stayed aloof from the proceedings. But Cromwell's swift journey to London from Pontefract on the day of the purge suggests that he was involved in its planning. He certainly benefited from and supported the outcome of the purge after it had taken place.

Notes

  1. Macaulay, James (1891). Cromwell Anecdotes. London: Hodder. p. 68. Retrieved 24 November 2016.
  2. Firth 1898, p. 349.
  3. Bradley 1890, p. 206.
  4. 1 2 3 Woolrych 2004, p. 428.
  5. "The indispensable work on the Purge and the number of members affected by it is Underdown, Pride's Purge. Equally essential on the Rump and its membership is Blair Worden, The Rump Parliament (Cambridge, 1974), esp. Appendix A, pp. 387–91; on pp. 391–2 he convincingly revises Underdown's estimate of the number of members physically excluded by the army ( Woolrych 2004 , p. 428)."

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Further reading