I am glad to be back in the land of the brave. And just to make sure we are all together in the same place, singing from the same psalter, at the end of the last episode we left our hero at the top of the world, looking down on creation, and the only explanation he could find was the love he’d found now that his enemies were no longer to be found, scattered or fled and he appeared to be in military control of all of Scotland. He would have wanted to enter into Edinburgh to hold a parliament there for his king – but sadly he could not. Plague held the city and Lothian in its deadly grip, which was another reason why Covenanter leaders were avoiding the city, and also why Montrose instead selected Scotland’s third city, Glasgow for his proposed parliament. The task for Montrose now was presumably to watch as the recruits and offers of loyalty flooded in. And there were some indications of greater lowland support; old families like earls of Traquair resurface, Wigtown, Annandale, Hartfell, Perth; and most importantly Home and Roxburgh in the lowlands offered to bring 1,500 soldiers to his side.
However, there were problems, and I am sorry to say that a list is required, a list longer than Montrose would like. First of all problem No 1, the flight of the Covenanter leaders was indeed of course because they had no longer any resources in Scotland, but actually the fact that they didn’t run around trying to raise any further armies lay more in their confidence that they already had a big stick they’d resolutely kept in the cupboard and all they had to do was reach out for it. In Ireland, Munro was chivvied to send men back home, which he resisted; but the main army in England was of course the best source. Alexander Leslie, Lord Leven, was besieging Hereford at the time but sent Cavalry back north to join his namesake David Leslie, who duly started planning to move north and re-establish the control of the Covenanter government. They asked their allies the English parliament for help – were roundly ignored, and in fact when Leven raised the siege of Hereford, they moaned about the Scottish army not sticking to the job in England. Which seems a little harsh, given the situation back home.
OK, there were other issues on the list though. Despite some closet royalists coming forward, there was no flooding going on, no flooding to the royal banner, no cheers of Good King Charles! Free us from Covenanter Tyranny! No one was jously singing Wishbone Ash songs declaring that the King will Come. If both Montrose and Charles had sat themselves down, and given themselves a good hard look in the mirror, they might have reflected that some of the blame for this could be laid at their door. Montrose first in the blame parade.
His conduct of the war had been extraordinary, I am sure you will all agree, in a military sense. His speed of movement, using the strengths of his highland and Irish soldiers to use the countryside, travel light, live off limited resources, and skilfully apply a winning military tactic. His ability to know when to fight and when to run, melting into the hills and drawing out and exhausting his enemies, winning a run of 6 victories against enemies always considerably larger, and always better supplied with cavalry. I mean its an amazing achievement. You can hear a ‘but’, I know you can hear a ‘but’, and I do love a Butt, that ain’t no lie, and here …and here it is
BUT the way he had conducted the war had done nothing at all to convince potential allies to come and join him, even at the height of his success; it had done nothing to convince lowlanders that they were wrong in their prejudices against the Irish and highlanders – they felt no less alien, and in fact probably more so. They had burned, they had slaughtered, they had, in fact, in lowlander eyes, confirmed all their prejudices about the wild men of the hills. And then turning to Charles as much as Montrose, where was the alternative model, still? What were the benefits of switching back to the more absolutist royalist model, what and where was the big message?
As we will see, there was still a vast and deep reserve of reverence for the Stewart monarchy throughout Scottish society; but until Charles could build and communicate a vision of how a Covenanted monarchy would look, they saw no reason to abandon the current government. In fairness, we should also put the positives of that; Montrose’s campaigns demonstrate not the weakness of the Covenanters, but their strength. Can I make a dodgy classical allusion? Just as Hannibal wandered around Italy, but failed to shake the foundations of Roman power and allegiances in Italy, so Montrose failed to shake the foundations of the Covenanter regime. The lowland Scottish people had made a Covenant, a covenant with God, to each other, and to their government. They had sworn to this Covenant in parishes and communities in an extraordinarily engaging process – it would take much more to loosen that bond.
We’re still on the list then I’m afraid. The last item is the nature of Montrose’s alliance and the motivations of the parties within it. MacColla and the Highlanders still failed to see and understand the big picture, that they could only achieve their aims if Charles defeated the Covenanters and to do that, he needed to defeat the English. So now, when Montrose hoped to build at last a substantial army to help his king’s faltering cause in England – MacColla decided that for the moment he’d done enough, he’d heard that the Campbells’ cause was beginning to recover and he must leave with his Highlanders for a while – though he promised to return. But the war against the Campbells – that was what really motivated MacColla. And so, he went. Montrose persuaded him to leave most of his Irish soldiers, but still he went. And then also the snake of discord with the Huntly’s bore its bitter fruit once more; Huntly again recalled his sons, and most of the Gordon cavalry left. And so suddenly Montrose’s army was once more back down to 2,000. He begged Charles for assistance – but Charles had nothing to give. The top of the world had proved to be a slippery place. The danger is that from there you are hurled headlong into bottomless perdition, and as Milton was telling people, down in bottomless perdition there was penal fire, good fellows, penal fire and no likes a penal fire. Adam Ant was also down in there with his chains apparently. His Adamantine chains.
Anyway, I digress. Montrose’s last hope lay in the Border lords, Roxborough and Home, and so Montrose moved south to Selkirk to hook up with them, and ordered a muster nearby at Philliphaugh.
David Leslie meanwhile had assembled a large army in the north of England near Berwick; once again English complaints about the provisioning of the army, inevitably levied from the locals despite Leslie’s very best efforts, and inevitably sometimes without much of a ‘by your leave’, soldiers will of course be soldiers, and that chicken would be tasty, led to loud cries of ‘could we not manage without the Scots please? This cure feels worse than the disease!’ On 6th September he moved north; one of his Commanders, Middleton intercepted Roxborough and Home – the story is that Middleton assumed they’d gathered their men for him, for the Covenanters, ‘ohh thank you, that is so sweet, you shouldn’t have!’ and Home and Roxborough, looking at the big stick behind Middleton’s back, decided that this was no time for the truth, and just went along with it.
Montrose probably boobed at this point; C V Wedgewood implies that his very poor information about Leslie’s movements was due to treachery, Stevenson attributes it to incompetence; either way, when Leslie came on the assembling army at Phillipaugh on the morning of 13th September, Montrose was several miles away with his cavalry. By the time he heard the news the infantry was already under attack and there was nothing he could do to put his error right – and was persuaded to flee to fight another day – Wedgewood has a suitably moving scene where Montrose was dissuaded from throwing his life away in the heroic idiom. I do love Wedgewood. History with panache. The Irish and Highlanders fought with stubborn bravery – Leslie would remark admiringly that he had
Never fought with better horsemen and against more resolute foote
And it was maybe this admiration that led Leslie to accept their surrender after 250 or so had died, and the remaining 100 Highlanders and Irish came out from their stone ramparts, and gave up their weapons. However, after Leslie had faced a council of war, all of the ordinary soldiers were instead slaughtered, and their camp then pillaged and maybe as many as 300 camp followers killed. War in the Early modern world was seriously no picnic – not that it ever was or even has been of course. I should maybe have stuck to the instruction from the unknown philosopher I mentioned last time who said history should never be about war makers and all that.
So look, Phillipaugh was a massive defeat, and the Covenanter government by November 1645 were back running a parliament – this time in St Andrews, Scotland’s first city of course, also due to the continued presence of plague in Edinburgh.
It’s probably time for the final assessment of what Montrose had achieved in his glittering year of victories, and OK, since you insist, that’s what we’ll do, but a warning – it may give a misleading view of the situation by the end of 1645. Because although we know what happened next, the Covenanters did not have a crystal ball, and it seemed entirely possible to them that this was just a set back for Montrose, and that he’d be back, Hasta Mana baby. MacColla was still at large, his allies and MacDonalds still riding roughshod over the Campbell lands. Patrick Graham, the Black Pate chappie who had been with Montrose all through, managed to raise 1000 men in Athol; Montrose was on his way to Huntly to try and persuade them to join forces again. So – it wasn’t all over and Middleton was duly sent north to try and run Montrose to ground. As it happens of course, Montrose’s old quarrel with Huntly and the Gordon’s was still live; and he had lost Lord Gordon his greatest ally – so Huntly point bank refused to join forces with him. Despite continuing to hold out the Royalist banner of rebellion for Charles. It’s a deep irony that the Royalist cause was not only so small, but also so divided. However, Montrose and macColla were still a threat.
But Montrose would never add a new victory to his league table, so was his string of victories simply an irrelevance in the great turn of Scottish History? Well no, Montrose’s year of miracles had a fundamental impact. Argyle’s reputation, hitherto unchallengeable, lay in tatters; he’d proved a poor military leader, his lands were ravaged so his private Campbell army was no longer at his command to shape events. The damage to Argyl’s reputation inflicted by Montrose would have consequences in the resurgence of moderate Covenanter opinion from under the folds of Argyll’s Radical roost rulers, to make common cause with the moderate royalists who had no desire to join Montrose, but were convinced the security of Scotland’s future lay with the king.
Charles’ appeal had been enhanced by Montrose’s rebellion for slightly indirect reasons. His year of victories had seriously distracted the Covenanters’ military effort; in Ireland, about 2,500 men had been drawn from Munro’s army, weakening him and keeping him tied to his base near the coast, unable to tick it to the Confederates for lack of men, and anyway having to be ready if he had been forced to leave with all his forces for Scotland. And so the Covenanters were no longer the most powerful force in Ireland. The same distraction had affected the Covenanter army in England – reluctant to use all their strength to pursue the war, leaving a force in Newcastle. Their failure to close down the war as they had confidently expected, had progressively weakened the strength of their voice in the English parliament. It had also allowed the rise of the New Model Army, which had come to be dominated by Independents. The English independents believed passionately in religious toleration for all shades of protestantism, and were strongly opposed to the Covenanters’ view of a national, uniform church; their growing power weakened the Covenanter’s English Presbyterian allies. The independents also brought with them the renewed threat of English independence; a rejection of the idea of a federalist Archipelago. For them, the future was about a reconstituted England with authority over Ireland and a separate Scottish state. Remember that Argyle and the Covenanters’ strategy was based firmly on the idea that the Scots must have influence in the English state – fearing that if they did not, Charles would simply use the power of England to unwind the revolution in Scotland.
Even English Presbyterians, though allies of the Scots and who organised pro Scottish petitions to parliament during 1645, were chary of the Scottish idea that the king should have nothing whatsoever to do with Church governance.
I mean looking all these eddies and currents in the British body politic is all very confusing – I’ve always had too many eddies in my life on a personal note anyway, and I’d argue the fewer the better. Just to boil it down.
- There was already much English resentment against the Scot – traditional rivalry, injured pride, and inevitable pain of a Scottish army maintaining itself and feeding itself from English folk.
- There had always been genuine fault lines between the English views on religion and the Scots
- While the Covenanter army was the only game in town, the cracks in the Solemn League and Covenant were plastered over, because the Scots were essential. Now with the faltering of Scottish military intervention, after the king’s defeats at Marston Moor and Naseby, and the rise of the New Model, the cracks were appearing through the plaster.
All of these things probably played into the King’s hands – he could, and would, wriggle like ivy into those cracks to force his opponents apart. But also for Scots and Confederate Irish, the king increasingly looked like the only way to save them from the dominance of the English parliament, and the dreaded Independents with all their daft ideas of protestant religious pluralism. In this Montrose had powerfully helped his king’s cause. In others he had dealt them a blow. His wars had wreaked significant devastation, maybe 10,000 deaths about 1% of the population; the civil war had definitively come to Scotland, and his use of Catholic Irish and Highlanders had alienated much moderate opinion against the king.
We must move on then. The background to the next year is of a worsening military situation for the king from good, to bad, to frankly ugly. Naseby in June 1645 was with hindsight the decisive blow, and by February 1646 the last substantial port in royal hands, Chester, had fallen into parliamentary hands. This is significant, because whatever happened in Ireland was probably now a bit irrelevant to the king – because even if alliances with Irish Confederates came to fruition, there was no way of substantial numbers of troops getting into England anyway.
In Ireland though in 1646 the situation was transformed anyway. First of all, a Papal Nuncio appeared, in the form of Cardinal Rinuccini. Rinuccini was not a fan of the confederalist strategy of finding accommodation with the king; he was of the Roe O’Neill approach and clerical approach that sought a complete re-establishment of Papal power and the Catholic church in Ireland. That the best approach was not to deal with the king as the Confederalists were dealing with Ormonde, around some vague ideas of toleration but to push them out completely, create a fortress Ireland with the support of Spain, and then negotiate from a position of strength with the king.
It took time for Rinuccini to establish his influence among the Confederate Irish. In the meantime the Scots started to look abroad for friends as well – in their case, they looked to France and the Auld Alliance. There is a line of thought that talks about the civil wars as the war of five kingdoms – i.e. adding Spain and France to the already alcoholic mix of Scotland, Ireland and England & Wales; in fact the term is misleading. France and Spain had plenty to think about still with the 30 years war, with continental rivalries and religious struggle, and were not about to send an army to the northern archipelago. But Spain was more than happy to support Catholic exiles, and France to offer diplomatic support to the Scots. And so, as fear of the independents grew, a secret Scottish negotiation was started with the king who was holed up in Oxford – through the good offices of the Queen Henrietta Maria, who was now in France. And for the Scots the mood music sounded good, and a French diplomat called Montereul enters our story here.
Montereul was the French diplomat appointed to deal with the Scots. He had a conversation with the power in the land – the young King Louis XIV’s famous first Cardinal power broker, Cardinal Mazarin. Mazarin authorised Montereul, and I quote to lead the Scots
To understand that…they will have no reason to doubt France will assist them with banners unfurled
Hurrah! Understandably, the Covenanters assumed this to mean military support – banners and furled and all. Behind his hand in France, Mazarin made it quite clear that he would not commit the life of one Pomeranian Grenadier to Scotland’s cause. Well, Parisian Pikeman might be a better phrase. Don’t you just love diplomacy? Sent abroad to lie for your country.
The Scots’ objective was to get the king to join their army, now that his defeat in England seemed assured, on the basis that he implement the Scottish Presbyterian model throughout the Archipelago – not just Scotland, as already agreed, but also England, Wales and Ireland too. Also, the king must sign the Covenant. By January 1646 though, the negotiations had reached a basic sticking point. Charles would not compromise on the Presbyterian model in England, and insisted
The nature of Presbyterian government is to steal or force the crown from the king’s head. For their chief maxim is…that all kings must submit to Christ’s kingdom of which they are the sole governors
From this, neither his wife nor Montereul nor the Covenanters could shift him. And anyway, he was negotiating with the Independents by this stage in England, hoping to exploit those cracks in the plaster – use the crowbar of Independent power to lever open the door of Presbyterian intransigence. His willingness to play both ends against each other telling half truths to both did not convince anyone of the sincerity of his promises. Although to Charles, he was of course king, responsible only to God, so he’d discuss his little white lies with his maker when they got to meet it. But let’s be honest everyone was negotiating away to some degree, King, Scots, English, Irish.
Montereul kept sneaking into Oxford, to see the king; his aim was to convince the king to fly not to the Independents, but to the Scots. It’s not entirely clear who said what to whom, through Montereul’s brokering; and indeed in may well be that Montereul was not in fact being an honest broker, more along the lines of a more-than-a-little-dodgy broker. Either way, Charles thought that he’d won a commitment to being placed back on the throne by the Scots, and that he would not be pressed beyond what his religious conscience could bear.
So, one fine day, Charles disguised himself as a servant, and as we know Charles had form in donning the dodgy beard department, and with two companions made like Mr Nonchalent, nothing to see here and rode out of Oxford, avoiding the besieging Parliamentarians. He lingered for a few days hoping for an improved offer from the Independents – and when nothing arrived, made his way to Montereul’s lodging at Newark, and thence to the Scottish army.
Well, the Scots were exultant! They had the king! Surely now he was in their power, they could force him to accept their terms, and anyway he must surely be up for it since he’d turned up – that would be Presbyterianism to be implemented in all three kingdoms, and sign here at the bottom of this covenant sire. Charles’ gast was flabbered – what were all those assurances they’d made then? Assurances, said the Scots, what assurances? Just sign here sire. Everyone looked around for Montereul, but Montereul if he was there, just shrugged his shoulders and pouted in the traditional Gallic way.
Charles had been tricked; probably the Scots had been tricked as well, and probably Montereul had just pulled off a a diplomatic coup on which he could dine out for some time to come. But who knows. The English meanwhile proved to be of a suspicious turn of mind, and suspected the Scots had tricked them as well, and demanded the king be delivered back into their care. Not on your nelly, finders keepers losers weepers replied the scots, and withdrew with the king to Newcastle.
However, Charles turned out to be a big disappointment to the Scots – he was as stubborn as a mule. There was one good point; Charles was prepared to write to Montrose to tell him to stand down. When Montrose received the news, he was incredulous – don’t do this king. But eventually he was forced to admit that this was indeed what the king had ordered; he disbanded what remained of his army in July 1646, and by September had taken a ship to Bergen in Norway. He would, however, return before he was done.
Charles though insisted to the Covenanters that he would not be made king in England on the same terms as he had been in Scotland, he just would not – no covenant, no 3 nation Presbyterianism. The Covenanters were now in a bit of a panic – they seemed to have outraged English opinion and be heading for conflict with them, without having a satisfactory deal with the King to compensate. And then, on 5th June came worse news. From the Emerald Isle.
With the threat from Montrose and MacColla neutralised or localised, in Ireland Munro felt emboldened at last to break out, which is what he did, with all 6,000 of the New Scots army. He faced the army of Roe O’Neill; O’Neill had proved himself a cautious general, so Munro was confident he would continue to avoid battle – and anyway, Munro was well used to having the superior army by now. So he was confident. He may not have known that Rinuccini had managed to channel as much of the gold he brought from the Papacy as he could towards O’Neil – O’Neill was a man of the Counter Reformation, of the continental mould, he was keen to see to the Confederates controlled by Rinuccini and the Pope’s power back in town – so if anyone was going to get the papal gold, it was he. So for once, Munro faced an army well supplied, well armed, well led – and close in numbers to him, an army of about 5,000 confederates.
Yet Munro pushed hard, determined to bring O’Neil to battle and achieve a breakthrough. So it was that at the end of a forced march, exhausted, the New Scots caught up with their enemy at Benburb, on 5th June 1646, facing them at the top of a rise. Yet still, despite his mens’ condition, Munro attacked, ordering his cavalry to break the Irish infantry. Instead, faced by Pike and musket, the attack stalled, then faltered – then failed. As the Cavalry fled, forward came the Irish foot and through vicious push of pike, pushed the Scottish lines in on themselves trapped in the bend of a river. The slaughter was terrible – maybe 2,000 of Munro’s army died and Munro fled.
Benburb transformed the balance of power in Ireland. The New Scots were no longer the protestant force in the land; although O’Neill did not push his advantage, Munro was no longer an offensive force to be reckoned with – the British protestant forces in Ireland now outweighed the Scots, and the Scottish voice in the debate with the English was further reduced. In Ireland O’Neill was able to throw his weight and now enhanced prestige fully behand Rinuccini – and by September 1646 Rinuccini had seized control of the Confederates’ supreme Council, the idea of a negotiated settlement with Charles was off the table. The Irish Confederates resolved to push the English into the sea and force the crown to accept a deal of their dictating. By June the following year, 1647, Confederates would be ready to launch a major offensive against the English in Dublin, and Ormonde had retired to England, replaced as Lieutenant General by a parliamentary replacement. A final trial of strength was in the offing.
The combination of Charles’s refusal to compromise and defeat at Benburb threw the Scots back on the English parliament. Argyle travelled south and spoke in front of the house of Commons, and agreed to be part of a new joint set of proposals to the king, the Newcastle Propositions. In their camp, the Scots piled the pressure on the king to accept them – but Charles would not budge. Loudon bluntly warned him that if he did not agree, he would lose England
And if your majesty lose England by your wilfulness you will not be permitted to come and reign in Scotland
Which is quite a considerable threat. But – Charles would not budge. He would not be king in England on the same terms as he was king in Scotland. It is worth reminding ourselves in the historiography that in this way Charles did not make slippery promises he had no intention of keeping.
So from seeming to be the Golden Ticket, the entrance to Willy Wonka’s magical chocolate factory – the golden king ticket had suddenly been turned by the alchemy of his obduracy into the ticket of dross. Now suddenly no one wanted him; the Scots persuaded him that maybe he’d like to move to London now? Having been previously super cross the King had been half inched by the scots, suddenly the English were not at home to Mr & Mrs King either – they were worried he’d whip up the opposition. A complete reversal from the precious squabbles about who should have control of the king’s person. Weird. Life’s rich tapestry and all that.
By this time then, July 1646 it might be good just to take a quick breather, because everyone was rather forced to re-evaluate where they all were. Argyle and the Radical Covenanters now noticeably shifted their position and strategy. Charles would not be the king they demanded. In England the Independents were gaining power through the army, and would have no truck with a three kingdoms solution – not a federalist one, nor a single uniform Presbyterian religion one. The old strategy then, was dead; it would not be a federal union that would save Scotland from the king’s retribution. So Argyle began to advocate a new strategy, a fortress Scotland approach. English demands for them to leave England and take their army with them had risen to a crescendo, or maybe a Croissant; there was no need for their army anymore, the king was defeated and the Scottish army was costing the English parliament and people a fortune. So, let’s go then – extract the payments we have been promised, and leave. The Covenanter state had proved mighty effective at raising revenue – so we can simply maintain a strong army, pull up the drawbridge; there was even a suggestion that, despite the deep loyalty to the king, that the Radicals were prepared to rule without the king indefinitely. The Strategy was dead, long live the new strategy.
However, Argyle and his radicals no longer ruled the roost. Their reputation had been badly damaged; their strategy with the English had seemingly failed, and the Solemn league and Covenant between the two kingdoms was threatened. They had failed to persuade the king to become the king the Covenant demanded, a Covenanted king. So as he sat in Newcastle, Charles identified four factions within Scotland. There were the radical Monarchists – Montrose and his crew, who were outside the pale as far as Covenanters of most persuasions were concerned, malignants as they were know, that sort of monarchist got hanged; there were moderate royalists under Hamilton, there were moderate covenanters, or the neutrals as Charles described them, who began to become more of a body of opinion under the Earl Callendar; and the radical covenanters under Argyle.
Wait – hang on a minute – I could have sworn you said Hamilton? Last we heard of him, he was cooling his heels in one of Henry VIII’s old castles in Cornwall. Well, he’d been released by the parliamentarians when they captured the place. Obviously, he hadn’t been massively keen to work for the king again; after all, the last period of employment had ended with a less than satisfactory severance package. But his brother, Lord Lanark, nagged at him in the way that brothers do. So by June 1646, Hamilton was back in Scotland, providing a focus for noble opinion. Yes, Hamilton is back. We have missed him, you and I.
Opinion, then was more split than had been the case in 1638. There is some difference of opinion about the nature of the split that affected Covenanter rule in 1647-1648; for some this was about the struggle between conservative forces and radical; for others it was a deep split that came close to destroying the Covenanting regime. At the heart of the debate, as we will see, was the nature of the Covenanter state and its relationship with the king. However, while Charles clearly identified the faultlines within parliament – he left out a major component of the Covenanter state – Captain James Tiberius, otherwise known as the Kirk. Although the Kirk had no vote or role in parliament – yet it was the differences between the Kirk and Argyll’s Covenanters on one side, and the moderates on the other that would prove the greatest challenge to the heart of the state.
The first question was what to do with the king? As we have heard, Argyll was no longer prepared to intervene militarily on behalf of a king who would not accept the Covenant. He was not keen to start a war with the English at all. And nor was the Kirk – to invade England would be to their mind immoral, a breach of the Solemn League. Neither were prepared to countenance the idea of a constitution without a king – but they were very much prepared to act without the king having a voice. Supporting Argyll in parliament were most of the lairds and the Burgesses of the towns, as well as ministers of the kirk outside parliament. But behind Hamilton were lined up almost all the nobility with all their influence and local power. For them deserting the king was an impossible concept; but although they begged Charles to take the Covenant, still he would not do it.
For a while the debate in the estates and then in Parliament at the end of 1646 seemed to be going Hamilton’s way; on 15th December a resolution was passed in favour of monarchical government. Debate was unusually fierce, and the margin between the two sides tiny. The following day in the committee of Estates a very different resolution was debated – that the king must accept all the Newcastle Propositions, and if not the Estate of Scotland would be settled without him. The change in heart probably derived from the attitude of the Kirk which became more widely and emphatically known, and was four square behind Argyll. There was uproar; Hamilton’s brother, the Earl of Lanark wrote
I never remember to have seen anything carried with so much violence and bitterness
On 24th December a final appeal was made to Charles to accept the covenant and warned that if he did not Parliament would
Continue the government of the kingdom without him as has been done these years bygone
Charles toyed with trying to escape from Newcastle, and eventually gave as evasive an answer as possible to try and keep the debate going; but he would not concede. He confided his feeling to an Ambassador that he felt sure that
Daily more and more that he had committed a great sin when he abolished seven years ago, the Scottish bishops and established Presbyterianism in its place
He felt he was now being punished for his sins. He would not do the same again in England, and would not compound his sin in Scotland. He wriggled and squirmed – even trying to bribe David Leslie my making him Duke of Orkney but the bribe was refused. Argyle was relentless; on 16th January the vote was taken in parliament – the proposal was to leave England as demanded by the English, and to leave only one man in Newcastle – Name: Charles Stuart, Occupation: King. Since August, negotiations had been conducted with the English so that it was already agreed that if the Scottish army left, the English would pay £200,000 up front, and then a further £200,000 to clear their debts for the Scottish army.
The vote was close, the debate fierce – but Argyle and the Kirk carried the day. By 3rd February 1647, the last Scottish soldier left England, and as the Scottish sea receded, on the shoreline was left just one man, the King of Scotland, Ireland and England.
Charles angrily complained that he had been bought and sold, acidly remarking that that he had been sold ‘at too cheap a rate’. It was an accusation that stuck, but in truth the Covenanters had been negotiating since August, and they responded with some truth that would else could they do? The king continually gave vague empty assurances about making concessions – but would not concede anything important. In return, Charles could quite rightly claim the Covenanters had lured him to their camp from Oxford with promises that turned out every bit as empty.
But it was done. The English now held the king.