Civil war London

Mobilizing for parliament, 1641– 5

Author: Jordan S. Downs

Although few would contend that London and its inhabitants were indispensable to parliament’s war effort against King Charles I, the matter remains to be delineated in detail. This book explores how London’s agitators, activists, and propagandists sought to mobilize the metropolis between 1641 and 1645. Rather than simply frame London’s wartime participation from the top down, this book explores mobilization as a series of disparate but structured processes – as efforts and events that created webs of engagement. These webs joined parliamentarian activists to civic authorities, just as they connected parishioners to vestries and preachers, and forced interaction between committees, Common Council, liverymen, and apprentices. The success of any given mobilizing effort – or counter-mobilization, for that matter – varied. Activists adapted their tactics accordingly, meeting their circumstances head-on. Londoners meanwhile heeded the entreaties of preachers and civic leaders alike, signing petitions, donating, and taking to the streets to protest both for and against war. Initially called upon to loan money and fortify the metropolis in 1642–3, Londoners had by 1644 become reluctant lenders and overburdened caretakers for sick and wounded soldiers. Revealed here by way of a wealth of archival and printed sources is the collective story of London’s evolving relationship to the challenges of wartime mobilization, of the evolution of efforts to move money and men, and the popular responses that defined not only parliament’s wartime success, but the arrival of novel financial expedients that gave rise to the New Model Army and eventually became apparatuses of the state.

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