Thomas Scot

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Thomas Scot. Thomas Scott regicide.jpg
Thomas Scot.

Thomas Scot (or Scott; died 17 October 1660) was an English politician who sat in the House of Commons at various times between 1645 and 1660. He was executed as one of the regicides of King Charles I.

England Country in north-west Europe, part of the United Kingdom

England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to the west and Scotland to the north. The Irish Sea lies west of England and the Celtic Sea to the southwest. England is separated from continental Europe by the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south. The country covers five-eighths of the island of Great Britain, which lies in the North Atlantic, and includes over 100 smaller islands, such as the Isles of Scilly and the Isle of Wight.

House of Commons of England parliament of England up to 1707

The House of Commons of England was the lower house of the Parliament of England from its development in the 14th century to the union of England and Scotland in 1707, when it was replaced by the House of Commons of Great Britain. In 1801, with the union of Great Britain and Ireland, that house was in turn replaced by the House of Commons of the United Kingdom.

The broad definition of regicide is the deliberate killing of a monarch, or the person responsible for the killing of a person of royalty.


Early life

Scot was educated at Westminster School and is said have attended Cambridge University. [2] In 1626 he married Alice Allinson of Chesterford in Essex. He was a lawyer in Buckinghamshire and grew to prominence as the treasurer of the region’s County Committee between 1644 and 1646. He became influential enough to dominate the Committee and was elected Member of Parliament for Aylesbury in 1645 as a recruiter to the Long Parliament. Though he had a penchant for long, passionate speeches in Parliament, Scot could also be a subtle backroom politician and had a knack for creating alliances and rallying votes. A royalist acerbically described him as one who "crept into the House of Commons, whispers Treason into many of the Members ears, animating the War, and ripping up and studying aggravations thereunto."

Westminster School school in Westminster, UK

Westminster School is a Public School in London, England, located within the precincts of Westminster Abbey. With origins before the 12th century, the educational tradition of Westminster probably dates back as far as 960, in line with the Abbey's history. Boys are admitted to the Under School at age seven and to the senior school at age thirteen; girls are admitted at age sixteen into the Sixth Form. The school has around 750 pupils; around a quarter are boarders, most of whom go home at weekends, after Saturday morning school. The school motto, Dat Deus Incrementum, is taken from the New Testament, specifically 1 Corinthians 3:6.

Buckinghamshire County of England

Buckinghamshire, abbreviated Bucks, is a ceremonial county in South East England which borders Greater London to the south east, Berkshire to the south, Oxfordshire to the west, Northamptonshire to the north, Bedfordshire to the north east and Hertfordshire to the east.

Aylesbury (UK Parliament constituency) Parliamentary constituency in the United Kingdom, 1885 onwards

Aylesbury is a constituency created in 1553 — created as a single-member seat in 1885 — represented in the House of Commons of the United Kingdom since 1992 by David Lidington, of the Conservative Party.

Political career

Scot’s beliefs about government by consent prior to Pride's Purge are hard to gauge, though from what has survived of his writings and speeches many historians have described him as being republican. His actions during the Purge period definitely indicate that he developed strong republican leanings before 1648.

Prides Purge Event in second English Civil War

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.

From the beginning of the English Civil War, Scot was a strong supporter of tough terms with King Charles I and later became a vociferous opponent of the Treaty of Newport, declaring "that there could be no time seasonable for such a treaty, or for a peace with so perfidious and implacable a prince; but it would always be too soon, or too late. He that draws his sword upon the king, must throw his scabbard into the fire; and that all peace with him would prove the spoil of the godly."

English Civil War Civil war in England (1642–1651)

The English Civil War (1642–1651) was a series of armed conflicts and political machinations between Parliamentarians ("Roundheads") and Royalists ("Cavaliers") principally over the manner of England's governance. The first (1642–1646) and second (1648–1649) wars pitted the supporters of King Charles I against the supporters of the Long Parliament, while the third (1649–1651) saw fighting between supporters of King Charles II and supporters of the Rump Parliament. The war ended with Parliamentarian victory at the Battle of Worcester on 3 September 1651.

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 in 1649.

The Treaty of Newport was a failed treaty between Parliament and King Charles I of England, intended to bring an end to the hostilities of the English Civil War. Negotiations were conducted between 15 September 1648 and 27 November 1648, at Newport, Isle of Wight, on the initial proviso that they would not take longer than forty days. Charles was released on parole from his confinement at Carisbrooke Castle and lodged in Newport.

After Pride's Purge, Scot became one of the chief organizers of the trial and execution of the King. Scot was instrumental in the erection of the Republic and along with Henry Vane, Oliver Cromwell and Arthur Heselrige became one of its primary leaders.

Henry Vane the Younger Colonial governor of Massachusetts; English Parliamentary leader during the Civil War and Interregnum

Sir Henry Vane, son of Henry Vane the Elder, was an English politician, statesman, and colonial governor. He was briefly present in North America, serving one term as the Governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, and supported the creation of Roger Williams' Rhode Island Colony and Harvard College. A proponent of religious tolerance, he returned to England in 1637 following the Antinomian controversy that led to the banning of Anne Hutchinson from Massachusetts.

Oliver Cromwell 17th-century English military and political leader

Oliver Cromwell was an English military and political leader. He served as Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland, and Ireland "and of the dominions thereto belonging" from 1653 until his death, acting simultaneously as head of state and head of government of the new republic.

Trial and execution

In 1653, with the fall of the Republic, Scot became one of the Protectorate's most vocal opponents, organising anti-Cromwell opposition inside the Parliament. In 1654 he was elected MP for Wycombe in the First Protectorate Parliament. He was elected MP for Aylesbury again in 1656 for the Second Protectorate Parliament In 1659, he was elected MP for Wycombe again in the Third Protectorate Parliament and then sat for Aylesbury again in the restored Rump Parliament. [2]

Wycombe (UK Parliament constituency) Parliamentary constituency in the United Kingdom, 1868 onwards

Wycombe is a constituency represented in the House of Commons of the UK Parliament since 2010 by Steve Baker, a Conservative.

First Protectorate Parliament

The First Protectorate Parliament was summoned by the Lord Protector Oliver Cromwell under the terms of the Instrument of Government. It sat for one term from 3 September 1654 until 22 January 1655 with William Lenthall as the Speaker of the House.

Second Protectorate Parliament

The Second Protectorate Parliament in England sat for two sessions from 17 September 1656 until 4 February 1658, with Thomas Widdrington as the Speaker of the House of Commons. In its first session, the House of Commons was its only chamber; in the second session an Other House with a power of veto over the decisions of the Commons was added.

Like all of the other 59 men who signed the death warrant for Charles I he was in grave danger when Charles II of England was restored to the throne. He fled to Flanders, but surrendered at Brussels. He was put on trial, found guilty and hanged, drawn and quartered on 17 October 1660 for the crime of regicide. [2]

Thomas Scot was brought to trial on 12 October 1660 (in the opinion of Edmund Ludlow the outcome was a foregone conclusion). He was charged with sitting in the High Court of Justice at the trial of King Charles I and with signing one warrant for summoning that court, and another for the execution. He was further accused of wanting "Here lies Thomas Scot, who adjudged the late King to die" on his gravestone. [3]

Many witnesses were produced to prove these things; and among them William Lenthal, Speaker in the Long Parliament, who, when the King entered the House of Commons in 1641, and had demanded of him the Five Members, had answered "that he had neither ears to hear, eyes to see, or mouth to speak except what the House gave", [3] now appear for the prosecution; affirming in Court, that Scot, had justified proceeding against the Charles in the House of Commons. [3]

In his defence, Scot said that whatever had been spoken in the House ought not to be given in evidence against him, not falling under the cognisance of any inferior court, as all men knew: that for what he had done in relation to the King, he had the authority of the Long Parliament for his justification and that this Court had no right to declare whether that authority were a Parliament or not; and being demanded to produce one instance to show that the House of Commons was ever possessed of such an authority, he assured them he could produce many. But having begun with the Saxon times, he was interrupted by the Court, and told that the things of those ages were obscure. [3]

Scot then moved on to a second defence that: [4]

he could not see for what reason it was not as lawful for that House of Commons in which he had sat as a member, to make laws, as for the present Convention which had been called by the authority of the Keepers of the Liberties of England. I had the authority of Parliament, the legislative authority to justify me —

He was interrupted by the Court in mid sentence; and John Finch said (according to Ludlow with passion): [4]

Sir, if you speak to this purpose again, I profess for my part I dare not hear any more: 'tis a doctrine so poisonous and blasphemous, that if you proceed upon this point, I shall (and I hope my lords will be the same opinion) desire that the jury may be immediately directed.

Scot replied: [4]

My Lord, I thought you would rather have been my council, as I think 'tis the duty of your place. But in this matter I am not alone, neither is it myh single opinion: even the Secluded Members owned us to be a Parliament, else why did they, support by an armed force, intrude themselves contrary to the resolutions of the House, in order to procure the major vote for our dissolution (Ref. Long Parliament)?'

To which Francis Annesley answered, that:

if the Secluded Members had not appeared in Parliament, and by that means put an end to all pretenses, the people had not so soon arrived at their happiness.

These, with many other things of equal force were presented by Scot in his defence, not so much in the expectation that the jury would find him innocent, but to justify his actions to the country and posterity. As all expected the jury was directed to find him guilty. [4]

At his execution some of his last words were "I say again; to the Praise of the Free Grace of God; I bless His name He hath engaged me in a Cause, not to be Repented of, I say, Not to be Repented of". [5]

See also


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Further reading

Parliament of England
Preceded by
Ralph Verney
Sir John Pakington, Bt
Member for Aylesbury
With: Simon Mayne
Succeeded by
Henry Philips
Preceded by
Thomas Lane
Sir Richard Browne, 1st Bt
Member for Wycombe
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Henry Philips
Member for Aylesbury
Succeeded by
Sir James Whitelocke
Thomas Tyrrill
Preceded by
Member for Wycombe
Succeeded by
Edmund Betty
Sir Richard Browne, 2nd Bt