King or Parliament?

Discussion in 'Prewar' started by von Poop, Jul 16, 2009.


English Civil Wars - King or Parliament?

  1. Royalist

    0 vote(s)
  2. Roundhead

    33 vote(s)
  3. Both

    34 vote(s)
  4. Neither

    6 vote(s)
  1. PeterG

    PeterG Senior Member

    I have no references to back this up, but I thought another reason for "Cavalier" came from the French "Chevalier" or horeseman... ie Cavalry
    No, but that is a very common and understandable mistake. I think we can take Edward the Earl of Clarendon's word on the matter since he, a loyal Royalist, was present at the 27 December 1641 meeting. The incident which infuriated the Parliamentarians was this (again from Clarendon):And from these officers [who had offered to guard the King], warm with indignation at the insolencies of that vile rabble which every day passed the Court, first words of great contempt, and then (these words commonly finding a return of equal scorn) blows were fastened upon some of the most pragmatical of the crew. This was looked upon by the House of Commons like a levying of war by the King, and much pity expressed by them that the poor people should be so used who came to them with petitions (for some few of them had received some cuts and slashes which had drawn blood) ... And from these contestations the two terms 'Roundhead' and 'Cavalier' grew ...
  2. PeterG

    PeterG Senior Member

    I have just remembered the Van Dyke portrait of the Stuart brothers, Lord John and Lord Bernard, the sons of the 3rd Duke of Lennox.

    For me this painting epitomises the Cavalier aristocratic stance and attitude of lofty disdain. Both died in the Civil War (three of the four brothers were killed). Lord John (1621-1644) died of wounds received at the Battle of Cheriton, he was described as 'of a more choleric and rough nature than other branches of that illustrious family. [and] was not delighted by the softness of the Court'. His younger brother Bernard (1622-1645), later Earl of Lichfield, fell at Rowan Heath in command of the King's Troop was 'a very faultless young man ... of a courage invincible; whose loss the King bore ... with extraordinary grief'.

    Attached Files:

  3. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    Both terms are mildly murky, but the Roundhead one's perhaps more easily explainable - the 'dogs bawling against bishops' etc. referred to earlier were very likely to have been apprentice boys, the essential core of many city raised Parliamentarian regiments. A distinguishing feature of the 17th century apprentice was very often a close shorn head.

    Clarendon's a tricksy source, a hard read and worth the effort in an early edition because it's one of the few substantial works knocked out within living memory of the war, but he's also immensely partial. Showing as much bias and conjecture as one might expect from any supporter of either side. And in his case a pretty strongly Royalist twist to things. Also always worth remembering that his history was published well after the restoration - with all that implies.

    The 'Chevalier' origin for the 'cavalier' insult is as likely as any other, it perhaps has the strongest case because of the almost direct translation from it's original not so pejorative meaning. The logic is inescapable that the close followers of Charles might be termed after mounted dandies by those that wished them ill.

    All this haircut based insulting is, of course, complete guff though. The followers of either side of that particular conflict were as likely to be dandified gents as they were shaven headed proles, recruiting & leadership for both sides being somewhat complex. Lofty disdain was as likely from the leaders of Roundhead or Cavalier (The portrait above could just as easily represent dozens of young Parliament officers). Even the oft-perceived view of a 'puritan' as somehow stern in dress and demeanour is a fallacy - many of that persuasion being externally indistinguishable from the most royally silked & slashed dressers of the day.
  4. PeterG

    PeterG Senior Member

    Clarendon's a tricksy source, a hard read and worth the effort in an early edition because it's one of the few substantial works knocked out within living memory of the war, but he's also immensely partial.
    I was lucky to get a full set in mint condition at a really knock-down price at the first library sale held by Godalming library in 1974, when library sales were made legal.
    The 'Chevalier' origin for the 'cavalier' insult is as likely as any other, it perhaps has the strongest case because of the almost direct translation from it's original not so pejorative meaning.
    The 'chevalier' derivation is rejected by the Oxford Dictionary; its etymology section of the term lists every known example of the word:

    'Cavalier' A name given to those who fought on the side of Charles I in the war between him and the Parliament; a 17th c. Royalist. Originally reproachful, and applied to the swash-bucklers on the king's side, who hailed the prospect of war.

    1641 (Harl. MS. 162 lf. 312 b) Certain Hamletters‥informed vs of some of the Ingeneers in the Tower to be dangerous men and that some caualiers had gone in thither.

    1642 Ld. Kimbolton's Sp. in Parl. 4 (not authentic) Ill affected cavaleers and commanders about the Court.

    1642 (June 10) Propositions of Parlt. in Clarendon v. (1,702) I. 504 Several sorts of malignant Men, who were about the King; some whereof, under the name of Cavaliers, without having respect to the Laws of the Land, or any fear either of God or Man, were ready to commit all manner of Outrage and Violence.

    1642 Petition Lords & Com. 17 June in Rushw. Coll. iii. (1,721) I. 631 That your Majesty‥would please to dismiss your extraordinary Guards, and the Cavaliers and others of that Quality, who seem to have little Interest or Affection to the publick Good, their Language and Behaviour speaking nothing but Division and War.

    1642 Chas. I Answ. Petition 17 June 13 The language and behaviour of the Cavaliers (a word by what mistake soever it seemes much in disfavour).

    1642 Catal. Pamphlets Harl. Libr. xxiii. 101/1 No. 325 A Perfect Declaration of the barbarous and cruel Practices committed by Prince Robert, the Cavalliers, and others in his Majesty's Army.

    1651 Lilly Monarchy 107 [Speaking of what he witnessed during Christmas of 1641–2] The Courtiers againe, wearing long Haire and locks, and alwayes Sworded, at last were called by these men [the Puritans] Cavaliers; and so after this broken language had been used a while, all that adhered unto the Parlament were termed Round-heads; all that tooke part or appeared for his Majestie, Cavaliers, few of the vulgar knowing the sence of the word Cavalier.

    1656 Cromwell Sp. 17 Sept., Your old enemies, the Papists and Cavaliers.

    1656 R. Lane in Hatton Corr. p. 1,878) 14 The poore cavilers are by proclamation banishd the towne.

    From which we get adjective 'cavalierish'

    a. Like a cavalier. b. spec. Of the cavaliers of Charles I. Hence cavalierishness.

    1647 Myst. Two Juntos 15 The Countrey‥fearing these Cavaliers are kept on free-quarter by a Cavaleerish party for some Cavaleerish Designe.

    1657–8 Scott in Burton Diary (p. 1,828) II. 383, I hope I shall never be suspected to be Cavalierish.

    'Chevalier' is in fact an Middle English word (first spelt Chevaller) dating back to 1292, meaning a mounted soldier or knight. This is the word connected with cavalry and from which we get Chivalry. This word was still in use during the Rebellion and for decades after:

    1662 Fuller Worthies i. xiv, Knights for the Shire in the Parliament‥and, if with the addition of Chivaler or Miles‥Knights by dubbing, before of that their Relation.

    1691 Wood Ath. Oxon. I. 164 Carried to his grave by 4 Irish chevaliers.

    Attached Files:

  5. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    I looked up the OED too, but I'm still not really satisfied that any of the above really addresses the natural etymology. Whatever though, it's a footnote to what I reckon's a cracking period of history.

    The Clarendon I read was my father's 'slightly foxed' Eighteenth century edition, picked up by the old dear for less than a ton a fair few years back - quite alarmed when we looked up it's current average sale price! - an absolute swine as it still bears all the dreadful S/F type typography.

    The war's got a damned interesting historiography hasn't it. Gardiner being perhaps the first to make a really serious stab at a decent overall survey, but even his epically readable account is strongly flavoured by a Victorian outlook.
    A certain Victorian class consciousness mixed with an approval for authoritarian figures seems to have coloured the view of the war so strongly for so long (When did you last see your father etc.). It might have been 30 years into the 20th century that 'Wrong but romantic' & 'Right but repulsive' were coined in print - but people do seem to have seen it in that simplistic way for a long time; I suppose many still do.
    Though Gardiner and his serious approach largely favours the Parliament, that slightly skewed general feeling about the War maybe fuelled Hill's rather lurid contrary outlook (Though I'll never see it as a revolution in the kind of modernist context he presents. The theory simply doesn't ring true to me. There was indeed a revolution of sorts, certainly a Rebellion, but (for me) it wasn't the great early socialist struggle it's sometimes characterised as - far from it really, with the primary impetus coming from above rather than below. Some peculiar and minority social/political spin-offs, and a shift in the middle classes and constitution don't really make a proletarian uprising for me).

    Must confess I'm a Wedgewood man - her trilogy's one of the best overall surveys of any period ever written I reckon. People like Gentles have turned out some splendid stuff on more detailed aspects but her books just get the whole thing across in the most convincing way.
    Can't stand Antonia Fraser's accounts (but then I'm no fan of anything she ever wrote!).

    Interests me that so many historians of the war declare a preference for King or Parliament (whether implied or overt, it's only some of the more recent titles that lack a slant either way) - not so many periods retain that partisan sense quite so strongly.
    But then I've seen punch-ups over the war... civil wars perhaps understandably seem to leave that need to declare a preference, even centuries after the event (especially if you lived in Oxford ;) ).
  6. slaphead

    slaphead very occasional visitor

    looked up the clarendon books on Amazon aaaaand I guess the modern versions are a bit abridged in that most do not say "Volume 1" or whatever and vary between 400 and 610 pages.... Hmmm now if only I could convince those lottery winners to give me £667.43p :)
    1706 edition anyone??? ;)
    The History of the Rebellion and Civil Wars in England, Begun in the Year 1641. With the Precedent Passages, and Actions, That Contributed Thereunto, and the Happy End, and Conlcusion Thereof By the King's Blessed Restoration, and Return (3 Vol i

    Or if you want to download the whole lot
    Internet Archive Search: The history of the rebellion and civil wars in England :unsure::wacko::indexCANAHAIH:
    Nope, I have not got a clue why I put the dancing banana in there, I just thought it looked cute !
    CL1 likes this.
  7. sapper

    sapper WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

  8. PeterG

    PeterG Senior Member

    The definitive edition of Clarendon is that edited by W. Dunn Macray in 1888. It was reprinted in facsimile in the 1990s at an astronomical price, volume 1 alone is £111, printed to order. That's the edition I have. I paid the princely sum of £3 for the full set!

    The Godalming 1974 library sale was the first one ever, the reserve stock of all Surrey County libraries was stored there and was up for sale at quite ridiculous prices. The forthcoming sale was widely reported in the press and as a consequence it was well attended by book dealers who arrived with cohorts of helpers and proceded to clear entire shelves. Fabulous books were going from 10 to 50p. Fortunately I got there early. Another full set I got was the 13 volumes of Buffon's Histoire Naturelle, complete with all illustrations, the 'nouvelle edition' of 1769, printed in Paris at the Royale Imprimerie; that set me back £3.50 (no, that's not a typo: three pounds and fifty pence).

    Getting back to the Civil War, Gardiner's ponderous tomes are pure whig history. Masses of detail, but all fore-ordained and leading to the Britain of Victoria; nothing, in my view, of a socialist struggle there. Burn and Young's 'The Grand Civil War: a Military History' and Root's 'The Great Rebellion' seem to be held in high regard, although I haven't read either, nor have I read Veronica Wedgewood's The King's Peace and The King's War, the first two books of her intended trilogy; she never wrote the third due, it is said, to the intense controversy the first two aroused. They came out in the 1950's and I had perhap's wrongly assumed that they were now dated. I'll look out for any second-hand copies.
  9. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    It's Gardiner's detail that's worth a read. Though I'd agree you've got to keep him in the context of his time. His conclusions are bound up in old Britannia but the blow by blow nature of the history keeps it valid and in print. I never said there was a socialist aspect to his stuff (that would be ridiculous), I said that the general Victorian view of the war seems to have led to the contrary (and in my opinion annoying) socialist interpretations. Sometimes people focus a bit too much on Freeborn John to the exclusion of all else.

    The third book in Wedgewood's titles is 'The Trial of Charles the 1st' - a bit slimmer than the other two but also well worth a read. I think what I like best is her calmness, she does mostly concentrate on the royalist perspective, but it's fair to say she's reasonably balanced.

    Assuming you mean 'the Great Civil War', I'm more than a bit leery of anything by 'The Brigadier'. Peter Young's books are what I started out on, and he's damned readable, but also far too much the Royalist for my taste. He seems to have been a bit of a publishing machine and blotted his copybook with a slew of pretty lightweight interpretation. Presumably his sheer keenness was bound up with his founding of the Sealed Knot Reenactment society. I used to know people that were there with him in the very early years and it sounds like a major bit of fun, but thinking of some of those chaps historical view it was also pure Young. Not quite the cutting edge. - Just seen there's a biography of him, might have to get that.

    Me too Brian ;)

    I've no sympathy for Charles, he arrogantly sleep-walked into his fate (but then I'm never going to like any scion of James I!... a horrid king).
    Equally, I find some of Cromwell's activities distasteful, though I keep some admiration for the man because of the sheer strength of conviction. The motivations are sometimes peculiar, but the force of personality is undeniable.

    So who're people's favourite Civil war personalities?

    I've a massive soft spot for Fairfax. The very essence of the Gentleman who did what he saw as his duty to England and then pretty much buggered off when it all turned really nasty. Not a man for dirty politics, but one for clean and decisive action. His wife gains points from me for her heckling at the trial too - he definitely had more wit than to get his hands dirty there.

    Goring's another one that stands out - A dissolute, contrary & untrustworthy rake, but his surrender of Portsmouth is a thing of beauty, allegedly sending the negotiators away at first because of a hangover.

    I've a perhaps strange admiration for Rupert too - foolish and impetuous in many ways but there were times when he shone as a military man. Kind of a nearly figure, who might have been a great but for some of the 'traditional' weaknesses of the stuart cause, and the indecision of the watery-eyed Charles. There was a point that I suspect if Rupert had been given his full head despite his youth, he might have just turned the tables for Charles. His later naval career's quite an odd/interesting one too.

    A mad period - but one that also perhaps contributed to saving Britain from the European tumults of 1848 - we got our rebellion over with in advance, to avoid the rush... ;).
  10. Groundhugger

    Groundhugger Senior Member

    :DCome back Oliver we need you !
  11. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    Col. Pride's your man.
    Cromwell'd probably be under scrutiny by MI5 as a bit of a fundamentalist... ;)
  12. Heimbrent

    Heimbrent Well-Known Member

  13. slaphead

    slaphead very occasional visitor

    :DCome back Oliver we need you !

    For what exactly?
    We have got a despot leader.
    We had a religious leader.
    We have only just "solved" the "Irish problem" that Mr Cromwell caused.
    We are in enough wars and conflicts as it is without Emperor Cromwell's (ole!) help! o_O;)
    von Poop likes this.
  14. Oggie2620

    Oggie2620 Senior Member

    Being a member of the hoi polloi I would have had no choice but to serve with whichever group my lord was attached to. Now I would like to give the Queen more rights and cut the parliament back (especially now they seem to be trying to destroy the RAF).
  15. slaphead

    slaphead very occasional visitor

    Being a member of the hoi polloi I would have had no choice but to serve with whichever group my lord was attached to. Now I would like to give the Queen more rights and cut the parliament back (especially now they seem to be trying to destroy the RAF).

    You might have been draughted into your Lords troop or regiment but plenty of folk "turned their coat" and fought the way their concience told them.

    As for modern day...
    When all the MPs were cowering in their feathered nests, who was the only woman of any influence that actually stood up to the excesses of Thatcher? The Queen, thats who, and it was those same self serving MPs that told her to shut up because she was causing a "constitutional crisis".

    (sings) Go Queeny. Go Queeny, Go Queeny (and does the big "stirring the pot" dance) :indexCANAHAIH: :D
  16. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Thought this would be suitable for here.

    Attached Files:

    • ecw.gif
      File size:
      33.7 KB
  17. Nicola_G

    Nicola_G Senior Member

    Being of Irish descent on my father's side and brought up Catholic (although now non practising) I think it would have been royalist for me :)
  18. Fireman

    Fireman Discharged

    I love the Royals (well most of them!!) I also love democracy. I voted for both and viola! I have both. We Brits just don't know when we are well off. Most of the world would love our system of royals and parliament. It seems to me the only argument people put up against the Royal family is the cost. Quite pathetic really given that they are the reason most tourists come to Britain.
    Rule Brittania!
  19. idler

    idler GeneralList Patron

    We have only just "solved" the "Irish problem" that Mr Cromwell caused.

    Hold on! I think you'll find that it wasn't Cromwell that caused the problem, it was another one of those Stuarts. Being English and being King of England have rarely been the same thing.
  20. sparky34

    sparky34 Senior Member

    yes but will the E.U allow us to keep our royalty a few years down the line
    we ought to rise up against BRUSSELS

Share This Page