King Charles the Martyr, 1643-1649

By Esmé Wingfield-Stratford | Go to book overview

normal complete Parliament--so little question was there of a Royalist victory paving the way for arbitrary tyranny! However, the Oxford Parliament did make it easier for the King to extract some scanty replenishment for his gaping coffers, with the goodwill of the contributors and without overstepping the limits of constitutional propriety.


2
THE THREAT FROM THE NORTH

BUT Oxford besides being a seat of government, was a seat of war. Its possession had been the real though not the intended fruit of the King's initial drive on London. It had given him a fixed point round which to manœuvre, and a main base of operations--the nearest he could get to a Cavalier London.

But with how decisive a difference! For London was not only the greatest British sea-port, road centre, and reservoir of wealth, munitions, and manpower, but a fortress that from time immemorial had been proof against both assault or siege. Oxford was a provincial city, prosperous enough in peace time, but entirely lacking in the resources to equip it for a main base of operations in a nation-wide war.

It is true that the King and his staff worked with desperate resourcefulness to make up for its deficiencies. They even improvised works in the neighbourhood to supply the most urgent necessities of the campaign--there was a powder mill, for instance, started at Osney--but it was a pitiful driblet at best that could be obtained through such channels compared with the overflowing refreshment that could be fed into the rebel war machine.

It was indeed possible by the combined efforts of Town and Gown to surround Oxford with a ring of fortifications calculated to make the stoutest rebel commander quail before the prospect of direct assault. But Oxford was approachable from all sides, and once the King could be shut up in it--an only too easily thinkable operation--the probabilities were overwhelming that it would be starved out, and the war over, within a matter of a few weeks. For like the King in chess, he had only to be checkmated for the game to be over, no matter how many other of his pieces remained on the board.

-7-

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King Charles the Martyr, 1643-1649
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Introduction v
  • Contents ix
  • Illustrations xiii
  • I - The Clinch 1
  • I - The Court at Oxford 3
  • 3 - Newark and Cheriton 7
  • 4 - A Desperate Situation 11
  • 5 - Adieu! 16
  • 6 - The King's Strategy 19
  • 7 - A Night March 21
  • 8 - Rupert's Flank March Through Lancashire 25
  • 9 - The Relief of York and Cropredy Bridge 30
  • 10 - Marston Moor--The Challenge 33
  • II - Marston Moor--The Decision 36
  • 12 - The Escape of the Queen 50
  • 14 - Second Newbury and the Cavalier Recovery 54
  • 15 - Artist as General 58
  • II - Defeat 71
  • I - Tertium Quid 73
  • 3 - "Three Things I Will Not Part With" 76
  • 4 - The Liquidation of the Primate 81
  • 5 - A Foredoomed Negotiation 88
  • 6 - An Irish Imbroglio 92
  • 9 - Prelude to Naseby 97
  • 10 - Naseby 102
  • 12 - The King's Cabinet Rifled 112
  • 13 - The King Takes His Stand 116
  • 15 - Meeting and Reconciliation 124
  • 16 - Last Days at Oxford 130
  • 17 - Hobson's Choice 141
  • III - Captivity 149
  • I - Confidence Trick 151
  • 2 - Third Degree at Newcastle 155
  • 4 - "Barbarously Baited" 159
  • 5 - Foreshadowing Martyrdom 162
  • 6 - A King for Cash 168
  • 7 - Holdenby Backwater 171
  • 8 - The Mutiny of the New Model 173
  • 9 - The Commission of Cornet Joyce 178
  • 10 - The King at Newmarket 189
  • 15 - The Fall of London 203
  • 16 - Cromwell on the Turn 208
  • 17 - A Darkening Prospect 219
  • 18 - Escape from Prison 224
  • 21 - The Engagement with the Scots 232
  • 22 - The Trap Shuts 244
  • 24 - Escape Barred 247
  • 26 - Jane Whorwood 256
  • IV - Martyrdom 285
  • I - The Train is Laid 287
  • 3 - Hurst Castle and Pride's Purge 295
  • 4 - Journey to Windsor 299
  • 6 - Conspiracy to Murder 301
  • 7 - High Court of Justice 308
  • 8 - By What Authority? 313
  • 13 - Cromwell Takes Charge 344
  • 14 - Preparation for Death 348
  • 16 - "Cruel Necessity" 354
  • Appendices 369
  • Index 381
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