Members of the Long Parliament

Members of the Long Parliament

Members of the Long Parliament

Members of the Long Parliament

Excerpt

The following pages contain an analysis of the Commons' House of the Long Parliament, from the opening of that assembly on 3 November 1640, to its expulsion by Cromwell on 20 April 1653. The aim of Mr. Pennington and Mr. Brunton is not to advance or rebut a theory of the influences determining the political attitudes of members. It is to answer a prior and more elementary question. The House was not a homogeneous block. It included diversities, not only of opinion, but of social status, occupational interest, education, age and political experience. A knowledge of these traits is not a key to unlock all doors; but it facilitates a more realistic view of a famous institution at a famous period than is possible without it. Classified with reference to them, what kid of pattern does the membership of the House reveal?

Parliament passed in these twelve and a half years through a succession of crises. A reply to that question involves, therefore, an examination of its composition at more than one date. It occupies the authors' three opening chapters, of which the first is devoted to the 552 original members sitting before the resort to arms in August, 1642; the second to the 275 'Recruiters' elected in or after 1645 to replace 'disabled' Royalists and to fill seats vacated by death; the third to the Rump, of whose nominal total of something over 200 rarely more than 50 to 70 appear to have taken part in divisions. Contemporary opinion distinguished, side by side with a predominant landed interest, two minor, but not unimportant, groups. One, the practising barristers, irrepressible on paper as in life, is prominent, in different connections, at intervals throughout the book. The other, the slightly, though only slightly, smaller category of merchants actively . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.