Jordan S. Downs
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A “rebellious city”?
in Civil war London
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By late 1643, London had proved to be both a fail-safe and a cornerstone of parliament’s war. Yet the City, with its dozens of parishes and livery companies, with its new fortifications and its seemingly endless capacity to care for the displaced and wounded, was buckling under the pressures of war. Chapter 5 accounts for London’s mobilization under a new Lord Mayor, John Wollaston, and a new parliamentary leadership, centered in the new Committee for Both Kingdoms, and the impact of growing war weariness. Depleted of their reserves, livery companies continued to negotiate loans, but some bordered on insolvency; parishioners meanwhile opined their struggles with the sick and wounded. Parliament, for its part, looked increasingly outside of London for support. This was readily found in the shape of an alliance with Scotland, based on the Solemn League and Covenant, and elsewhere in terms of support from the powerful Eastern Association. London’s ministers persisted, moving their auditors with weekly sermons and exhortations for “the cause”; but “the cause” itself had permutated, becoming less about lending arms than it was about caring for the sick and wounded. While political and religious divisions deepened within the parliamentarian coalition – and not least between the Commons and the Lords – Londoners remained steadfast in their support, sending brigades into the field and eventually lending £80,000 to contract the New Model Army. It was in these efforts, the subject of Chapter 5, that London saw parliament’s cause past a crucial hurdle in the war against Charles I.

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Civil war London

Mobilizing for parliament, 1641– 5


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