Transcript for HoS 65

Scotland now had an army devoted just to Scotland for a while, and the immediate task was to clear away the vestiges of rebellion and civil war. Montrose of course had gone by Treaty to Norway, an agreement about which the kirk was furious, condemning it as pardoning many

Drunk with the blood, and rich with the spoils of thousands of our dear brethren

Which true enough does make it sound as though they were a little upset. Although since then, the blood drinking had been a two way thing; the Lamonts, for example had taken advantage of Argyll’s defeat at Inverlochy to turn on the Campbells, for whom they’d previously been fighting on their side, and as James Lamont confessed, with some pride, they

‘burned all the Campbells, their houses and their corne, and killed all the fencible and armed men’

With allies like that, who needs enemies. The Lamonts then signed a band with the MacDonalds to work with them in peace and justice, otherwise known in their words as ‘the ruin of the name of Campbell’. In 1646 their turn had come as the Campbells returned; James Lamont and his leading clansmen took refuge, but in June surrendered to the Campbells on the promise of their lives. This turned out to be another empty promise, and between 35 and 100 Lamonts were hacked to death, and James Lamont’s lands occupied by the Campbells, thus was added another segment to the ever growing Campbell highland empire.

Now David Leslie’s army was available to do the job of rebel suppressing, which of course they were in a much better position to do than the poor battered Campbells. Leslie turned first to the North East though to deal with the Huntly clan – Huntly withdrew without a fight to the mountains of Badenoch, so Leslie left him for a while and came hunting MacColla and the MacDonalds. They were followed and chased by plague wherever they went which stalked all of Scotland, since plague did love following armies, and would reach Aberdeen by April 1647 too. It is a feature of early modern armies that wherever they go, the death rates in villages along their path rises – not from violence, but the disease they bring with them.

In May Leslie entered Kintyre where they found MacColla and his Dad, and in a battle the Highland Charge appears not to have worked or been deployed – at least the result was the death of 1,300 Highlanders; MacColla fled, MacColla senior was captured and would be hanged. MacColla headed back for Ireland where he would rejoin the Confederates.

Let us follow MacColla to Ireland, for there his talents were much sought after. Cardinal Rinuccini made ready to implement the new strategy – to push the English and Scots into the sea. They were not able to start said pushing, however, before Ormonde had handed over Dublin to a new governor, the Parliamentarian Philip Sidney, Viscount Lisle, and the arrival of fresh British troops. On his way out Ormonde is said to have remarked that he ‘preferred English rebels to Irish ones”. It is not recorded whether he slammed the door as he went.

Against this influx, Rinuccini tried to bring the forces of Ireland together; and managed it to a degree, but good lord was there bickering – Owen Roe O’Neill and the other main commander Peston hated each other so; for many Irish Catholics in Leinster and Munster, the domination by O’Neill’s army of Ulster was worse than domination by the English parliament; his scorched earth tactics gave him a rather poor reputation, despite his success at Benburb. Nor was O’Neill universally popular even in Ulster – when MacColla returned Antrim refused to allow him to join O’Neill’s army, and MacColla was instead sent to fight in Munster; the Highlanders he’d brought with him, the Redshanks as they were called from their plaids were instead sent to fight with Peston in Leinster. It has to be said that the Parliamentary side was far from a bed of Roses either – the royalist and now also Parliamentarian commander Lord Inchiquin hated the Independents now dominating parliament – but was not strong enough to break with them. Murrough O’Brien, Lord Inchiquin, I  believe traced his descent all the way back to Brian Boru, of whose history I was introduced by a certain Saw Doctors song at the Shepherd’s Bush Empire one fine evening, though I think they were more interested in someone called Yvonne, that’s Y V, O N N E, Yvonne.

Anyway, 1647 started out poorly. Although O’Neill and Peston managed to combine to create the largest confederate army so far seen, they could not stay together and a new parliamentary government commander, an Irishman of Welsh descent, Michael Jones came up against Peston in August 1647 as Peston marched on Dublin; and although outnumbered, Jones’s generalship and cavalry were superior and Peston has badly mauled, losing 3,000 troops; only O’Neill’s later intervention prevented the army from being effectively pursued and wiped out by Jones. So round one to the government forces.

All was not yet lost to the confederates though; in Munster Viscount Taafe commanded a major force of 7,000; and when they met Inchiquinn’s army at Knocknanuss north of Cork in November, they had at their side MacColla, commanding the right wing with the remnants of his Irish men, hardened by the Scottish campaign. And MacColla’s command proved true – the highland charge worked its magic, and Inchiquinn’s left wing was routed and chased from the field. Flush with the victory MacColla and his men set to reaping the fruits of victory – from the baggage train, as you do.

Sadly, his celebrations were premature. While he pillaged, Inchiquinn’s cavalry were destroying the rest of Taafe’s army, before turning their attention to MacColla. Surrounded, MacColla and his men were slaughtered, and MacColla passed into song and legend.

These two defeats were mortal blows to the Confederate cause. They were also mortal blows to Rinuccini’s control of the Confederate Association, and to his right hand man Owen Roe o’Neill. After Knocknanuss the peace party once more gained control of the confederation; Antrim and others were sent to the Queen’s royal court in exile in Paris and the Pope in Rome, to seek an agreement. Munro’s army, though much depleted remained in Ulster, and O’Neill’s army did what they could to survive.

So, once more the pendulum in Ireland had swung. Back in Scotland, the pendulum was also swinging, with the arrival in town of an old friend. I don’t know what nickname Hamilton had earned in his youth from his mum and Dad, but Lazarus might have been suitable and appropriate. I mean this is a man who had been dead and buried more times than Cromwell’s head; the man who’d had to break the parliament’s door down to make a dignified exit while his parliamentary colleagues sniggered at his embarrassment, who’d seen his policies crash and burn at the hands of the Covenanters, who been imprisoned by this own boss. Well, Hamilton was back, in the Scottish parliament, and he was stronger than ever – if at first you don’t succeed and all that, Robert Bruce and his spider. And that is not just a figure of speech – he actually was stronger than ever,; here was a man with the social position to draw together the elements who were unhappy with the Radicalism of Argyl and the Kirk party. He put himself at the head of moderate Covenanters, and moderate royalists. Together, they formed a group that could challenge Argyl for control of parliament.

The changing political situation had helped Hamilton; the rise of the independents in the English parliament and NMA forced a change of policy in Scotland. The concept of union remained critical to Scottish thinking – they must have some say over politics in England to protect their covenant. But the idea of a federal union was now dead; so the concept of Union had become embodied in the person of the king once more. So the king was once more critical to making the Scottish settlement work. Hamilton’s achievement was to articulate this, and to build a party around it, and to make the most of the political events to harness and direct that support.

The thing is that implicit in the attitude of Argyle and the Kirk was a constitution that actually in practice excluded the king. Neither Argyle nor the church would espouse such a thing – but the failure to reach a deal with the king was a profound shock to Scotland, and of course when their parliament said that they would decide and direct Scotland’s future without him – well; what else did that mean?

The position of the king was far more profoundly important to the Scottish sense of nationhood in 1648 than it was even in England; a great source of national pride was the myth that Scotland’s line of kings stretched back over centuries in an unbroken line of over 100 kings. In England, the king had competition in the formation of the vision  if nationhood and identity; there was a deep reverence for the common law and a view amongst some that law preceded king and governed him; there were the perceived rights embodied in the Magna Carta; and parliament was held in great respect, and had increasingly become seen as the defender of the rights of ordinary people and Protestantism against the corruptions and perceived religious pluralism of Court. Law in Scotland was an abstraction with little resonance to most people, despite the flourishing of the legal profession; the power and legal rights of local magnates and lairds were still paramount in most peoples’ lives. Parliament had little significance or prestige until it began to acquire a bigger profile from the 1630s.

So it was the king that commanded the emotional attachment of the Scots; the failure to reach agreement was a terrible shock. That the army left him in the hands of the hated English in Newcastle created a wave of revulsion and shame. Hamilton rode that wave, and although Charles had rightly identified that lairds and burgesses generally favoured Argyle, Hamilton’s message began to break through there too. By March 1647, Hamilton had managed to build a party of his proteges on the committee of estates – for example, lord Traquhair, the incendiary of 1638-41 was re-elected, a sign of a real change of mood.

By March 1647 also, Hamilton had managed to persuade the committee to send commissioners to carry out further negotiations with the king – and the commissioners chosen were now those sympathetic to the royalist cause, led by Lauderdale and including Hamilton’s brother, Lanark. In June, the Independents in England seized control of the King from the Westminster Presbyterians, and started negotiations of their own – the move outraged the Kirk and Argyle in particular; more and more the threat of a religiously pluralistic, Anglo centric English parliament grew, and with it grew the strength of those that saw the central importance of the power of the king to act as a bulwark to protect the Scottish revolution and the uniformity of the kirk against the religiously tolerant Independents. It’s something of a turnaround; from a policy that required English union to prevent the king’s retribution, here we are now with a view that it is ONLY the king that could protect the revolution from the Independents.

By September, there were some signs that the king was turning to the Scottish view; this was partly though because the view in Scotland of the potential deal to be offered kingwards was increasingly confused. Lauderdale had offered to drop the requirement for Charles to swear to the Covenant – as long as he embedded the Covenant in law for everyone else, a major concession. He’d also offered to support the king militarily – an offer which the Committee of estates refused to support – Lauderdale had gone too far. But even the words in the air brought a gleam to the Kings eye; he could see clear cracks between England and Scottish parliament, and in their division was his opportunity and strength.

Splits and divisions therefore were everywhere ladies and gentlemen; the unity of the Covenant movement was under great strain. For Hamilton another target was the Army; there are parallels with the Radicalism of the NMA in England, for David Leslie was a firm Radical supporter of Argyle. So – the army was a problem to the moderates of Hamilton. If it could be disbanded, reduced or purged it would help the Hamiltonian juggernaut. In the committee of Estates in October 1647 a great debate raged over Hamilton’s proposal to disband the Army – the success of Hamilton’s faction was stunning; the proposal failed by just 1 vote.

In November things came to a head, and once more it was events in England that drove it. Ignoring Scottish appeals, the independents presented a new proposal to the king – the Four Bills. They were not good news for the scots – nothing about religious unity, very little about a Scottish say in English politics – and in fact what the Scots saw as an attempt to ensure archipelago wide peace, the English saw as simply interference.

Charles exploited this gap. Charles was being held in captivity at a safe distance at Carisboke Castle on the Isle of Wight; not only kept safely from causing chaos in London, but also difficult to access confidentially for the Scots. On 24th December, an English delegation travelled to Carisbroke – and the Scots insisted on accompanying them, ostensibly to present their objections to the Four Bills of the Independents. These statd that the King was to surrender all military power for twenty years, Parliament would have the right to adjourn itself to any location it chose, and the King was also required to revoke all his recent declarations against Parliament and to annul all honours he had recently granted.

Cunning as a fox, Charles smelled opportunity. So he welcomed the Independents; he looked favourably on the Bills – oh yes, these Do look interesting, yes, yes – watching greedily as eggs appeared from Scottish bottoms.

Lanark and the Scottish commissioners were faced with an appalling prospect that the King would agree to a settlement directly opposed to the Covenanted Revolution. The establishment of an Independents-led English state that Charles could use to re-impose the Bishops in Scotland. Charles knew what he was doing; it’s doubtful he had any intention of agreeing to the Four Bills; but by pretending to, he pushed he squeezed the Scots hard, squeezed until the pips squeaked. What would drop out? What might they offer?

Just two days later, the Scots stole the English clothes – the Scottish Commissioners signed a Treaty with the King, known to history as the Engagement. Good Golly, the Engagement would prove to be like a cake dropped into the middle of a kids party, or offering the grown ups jelly and warm custard. Here’s what the Engagement agreed.

The King agreed to confirm the Solemn League and Covenant in England and Scotland; but, and it’s a big butt, and it does not lie, no one would be forced to swear to it – not the king, not members of the government. The Presbyterian church government was to be confirmed in England – but for three years only; meanwhile though Independents, heretics and schismatics were to be suppressed. In civil matters, the king agreed to confirm the acts of 1644-7 passed by the Scottish parliament in his absence, and work towards a complete union of England and Scotland, ensuring plenty of Scottish representation on a joint Privy Council. And in the meantime – get this – the Scots committed to send an army into England

For defence of his majesty’s person and authority, and restoring him to his government

One final thing – the Engagement also provided for Ormonde to raise war on behalf of the king, in alliance with Munro against the government in Dublin.

So what of that then – what do you think – good deal, bad deal? I mean wild – Scotland had just been committed to making war on her previous partners – or at least was on the Independents now in control of government, and presumably hoped they would fight in conjunction with the English Presbyterians and Royalists. On the plus side, there was some commitment from the king to implement Presbyterianism, and protect the changes embedded in the Scottish revolution. But – war? By golly. And an uncovenanted king? and – a signed agreement which had been made without the agreement of the kirk, committee of estates or parliament. It was going to be a tough sell.

The Poisoned chalice of the initial sales call was passed to a chap called John Chiesly, ably aided and abetted by Traquhair and Lord Callender, all of who had been at Carisbroke. It was probably Chiesly, because he’d previously been Argyll’s man, and so maybe had the chops with the boss still. Before the meeting of the Committee of estates they did a bit of pre-work in the propaganda department, taking the time honoured approach of declaring victory, that yay, the king had conceded everything, it’s all over now, ball in the back of the net, Covenanters 1, King 0, hang out the bunting. And initially at least the Committee of estates bought it, or seemed to; in February 1648 the Committee heard how secret negotiations had been started with English Presbyterians and Royalists to support a Scottish invasion. The Committee condemned the English for breaches of the Solemn League and Covenant and approved the Commissioners conduct. Home and Dry.

Or not. Or at least after the Committee and before Parliament, objections began to appear. The Kirk were appalled by the religious commitments – or lack of them, and after all, in their view it was the kirk and the kirk only that should have authority about Christ’s kingdom and the religious settlement – that part was surely no matter for the secular institution that was parliament. They pointed out just how flimsy the commitment to Presbyterianism in three kingdoms was. Three years? Come on. And seriously – were the Scots to commit to a war on behalf of a king who would not even sign up to the Covenant? After all at the heart of the Covenant had always been that tension – what if the king, supposedly one of the pillars of the Covenanted state, did not fulfil his function – what happened then? And if Charles hadn’t even sworn to the thing – well, not much sign of the ideal king there then. But overall, as far as the Kirk and the radical Covenanters were concerned, to make war on England would be a breach of the Solemn league and Covenant, however virulent anti Scottish feeling was in the independent camp.

Resistance swelled; Argyle and the radicals even considered a coup a l’anglais – getting David Leslie and the army to stage a coup. They were strident in their demands that only peace could bring security, and that the king had demonstrated multiple times that he was a greater danger to the Covenanted state than the Independents would ever be; that accommodation and debate must be conducted with the independents. Meanwhile English commissioners arrived in Edinburgh to argue that Scotland should stay her hand – they were ignored, as indeed the English had recently ignored the Scots, so sauce for goose and all that.

But it appeared to be too late anyway. In parliament, Hamilton had effectively mined the deep well of emotional connection to the king, and marshalled noble support – who flooded parliament. He held a 30 or more vote advantage in parliament. Critical to this was the voting format, where nobles voted first, and only then lairds. Given that the nobles were foursquare behind the Engagement, given that the nobility were pre-eminent in Society, it look some iron in the Lairdly soul to walk up in front of the assembled lords to vote against the Engagement. The Treaty was duly passed through parliament. Well there’s a turnaround and no mistake.

The next few months of the Engagement are marked by an increasingly bitter debate between Engagers and Anti Engagers, while the Engagers grinded forward against the opposition of the kirk to raise an army. The space for this debate had its own specific Scottish character; unlike in England, the number of presses were very limited, and censorship by parliament very tight and effective. Official publication channels therefore were dominated by the Engagers, as they dominated parliament and the Committees, which gave them a very considerable advantage. This domination and censorship of press meant that there was no sign of the extraordinary flowering of public debate the English Revolution brought, where the public space itself acquired its own authority, where it could be appealed to as evidence and in support of the case being made. That did not happen in Scotland.

And yet the Kirk and Radical Covenanters were far from powerless; as far as they could, they used petitioning which as we saw from the Revolution was a powerful and well accepted format. They had probably the best and most direct communication channel to the people – the pulpit, and they communicated continually with the regional Presbyteries to urge resistance to the Engagement. And interestingly they also used the English press in London, to produce outlawed material and declarations and bring them into Scotland.

The problem for both parties, though, was the depth of division. There was some attempt by Hamilton to maintain unity; twice, Argyle and the Radical Covenanters walked out of parliament; twice the Engagers were very, very tempted to leave them outside so that they could get on with business without all the catcalling – but twice Hamilton had them invited back. The Anti Engagers meanwhile tried to use the Army as had the Independents in England – but when they tried to get David Leslie to organise a petition against the Engagement, the response was so mixed they actually had the petition suppressed.

For Hamilton and the Engagers, the problem was that for many of them, Hamilton included, much of their rhetoric was simply flim flam, smoke and mirrors, moonshine – select cliché as appropriate. So while they claimed that they were absolutely determined that the king should implement the Covent in full and unify religion across all three kingdoms, in fact their commitment was to get the king back on his throne in England, and re-establish his power in Scotland. So for example, the General Assembly of the kirk demanded that the government be specific about how the English had broken the Solemn League and Covenant, the main casus belli. Hamilton had parliament pass such a declaration to maintain the illusion of unity. But when a highly conciliatory response came from the English parliament – it was ignored.  The Covenant was really not the issue for the Engagers, it was an excuse.

In all the debate, the question continued to surface – where did the line lie between the competence of the Kirk – the spiritual kingdom – and the competence of Parliament – the secular. Experience showed that just as kirk governance at a local level relied heavily on the lairds, so secular and religious concerns were so overlapping as to be inseparable. The tension struck at the very heart of the Covenanter state. The lack of demand for institutional change makes it look as though the Engagement was essentially a struggle between radicals and Conservatives for the future direction of Covenanted state; the depth of the dispute about the fundamental foundations of the state – varying commitment to the covenant, the lack of agreement of the separation of church and state – suggests that the very basis of the Covenanter government was threatened.

In England, the period is described as the 2nd Civil War – because the Scottish Engagers were not the only source of resistance to the Independents; there were various flare ups around England and Wales. But in Scotland, recruitment of the planned army of 40,000 to put Charles back on his throne in England was hard, as resistance reached down to every level, to kirk sessions, local shires, parish communities. Resistance to the Engagement was particularly fierce in Fife, and in the South West. In the Highlands and Islands guess what? The Anti Engagers in the form of Argyle were stymied, not only because the Campbell’s military power had been badly damaged by the Civil War with Montrose and MacColla, but because the clans saw another chance to have a go at the Campbells; they could not get excited about the idea about restoring Charles to his throne, although again, that way only lay a chance of real success for their cause. Plus ca change and all that.

The first steps in the war came as early as April, when English royalists were encouraged by Hamilton to capture Berwick and Carlisle – a specific breach of the Solemn league. By July 1648 Hamilton, commander of the army that would restore Charles to his rightful place on the English throne, was ready – well sort of. There had been some flare ups against the army, but actually the Engager government had dealt pretty well with them, on the harsh but fair sort of level. Recruitment had been troubled, as I say; so the army that waited for Hamilton on the Border close to Carlisle numbered less than hoped – about 10,000 foot and 4,000 horse. The quality though; Scotland had always managed to put well trained and equipped armies in the field in England, well generalled by the Leslies with a backbone of experience from the Thirty years war. But many of the Vets had been stationed in the North to prevent trouble up there; both Leven and David Leslie looked at the Engagers with unfriendly eyes and would not serve. And Hamilton, come back kid though he might be, had but little experience of command beyond ordering his servants to bring him more croissants from the kitchens. Across the border he would face two of England’s most talented commanders – Oliver Cromwell and John Lambert.

On the plus side, the 4,000 horse were pretty good, and 2,000 battle hardened troops had arrived from Munro’s army in Ireland – though sadly, Hamilton allowed them to be parked defensively on the border when the invasion got moving, due to a silly despite about precedence between commanders. The obvious approach was to clash heads together etc etc, instead Hamilton tried to keep the peace, and on this occasion the Peacemakers were probably not blessed.

Although far from ready, Hamilton launched the invasion on 8th July; he was driven on by the fact that his ally Langdale, commanding a force of English royalists in Cumberland was hard pressed by Lambert and needed to be rescued. Also it has to be said that Cromwell was busy fighting in Wales, and Fairfax in Colchester, so striking while the iron was hot wasn’t necessarily a bad idea, hot irons usually being helpful in a one-on-one argument. And initially, success crowned Hamilton’s brow as Lambert retreated across the Pennines and Langdale was relieved. Sadly Hamilton then allowed the iron to cool somewhat, spending close to month in Cumberland. In London though, there was fever – the enemies of the Independents sensed victory.

In August, finally Hamilton moved south, though in a long, careless, stretched out straggle, with precious little intelligence gathering. By this stage, Cromwell had polished off Pembroke in Wales and joined up with Lambert to make a combined army of around 10,000 – smaller than the Scottish army, but experienced, well trained. Hamilton reached the river Ribble, with no idea where the English were, and the Cavalry crossed the river. Until ah! There he is! Cromwell appeared from the North east behind the Scots. Aagh, what to do? Well Langdale was holding Cromwell off – rushing to his support might have been an option, but Hamilton favoured keeping the Scots together, and so instead Langdale was deserted, and left to be duly crushed, while the infantry crossed the Ribble to join the cavalry. In a sense then, the Ribble was Hamilton’s Rubicon, not sure how often the Ribble and the Rubicon have been used in the same line, but if Caesar had crossed the Ribble rather than the Rubicon I suspect his life would have turned out much better – so let’s hear it for the Ribble.

Anyway where were we? Well, the desertion of Langdale added to a general demoralisation of the Scottish army, which was now cut off from Scotland, and heading southwards deeper and deeper into England, suffering constant losses from rearguard actions until at Warrington the infantry had had enough – and surrendered. The Cavalry kept going until at Utoxeter they also finally admitted defeat, and Hamilton surrendered to Lambert on 25th August. Lambert turned north to join Cromwell in dealing with Munro on the Scottish border. The party was over. The hangover was about to begin.

Before we get to the hangover, I think Hamilton deserves a brief aside, because the Hamiltonian story is basically over for us, so since he’s been our companion for a few episodes, let’s see the lad off. Hamilton was taken to Ashby de la Zouche in the midlands of England, thence to imprisonment at Windsor where on December 11th he met briefly with his king that at very least he’d done his best to serve. In 1649, he was tried for treason by the English, because he was not only Duke of Hamilton, but also the Earl of Cambridge, and as a result he was executed in March in Palace Yard Whitehall. The assessments of Hamilton have been many and various; among them are a bit of a pasting that he was deeply self serving, seeking only to act to preserve his own power, a man without principle who tried to simply find his way through each problem that presented itself rather than taking a strategic view. And in the end of course, a failure. I am no expert, but it strikes me we should be a little kinder; he was clearly a subtle politician, he served a very difficult master given to double dealing; and his resurrection of the royalist cause for the Engagement was a big  achievement surely, building a party when really, the Radical Covenanters had seemed absolutely supreme. From a royalist point of view, despite Montrose’s military victories, Hamilton came much closer to success for his royal master that did the charismatic Montrose.

Anyway, back to that Hangover I promised you. This brings us to a weekly word opportunity! Cry Andrew and all of that. I give you gentle listener, the Whiggamore raid of 1648. Before we describe what that is, the weekly word opportunity relates of course to one of those very best known unknown things, the origin of the word Whig. It’s not quite as famous as Tory, on account of the fact that Whigs have disappeared as a political party, but you know, small children are still subjected to them in history class I assume. Anyway, in 1648, as the news of the defeat arrived back home, the anti Engagers were on the road like a rat up a drain – led by Leven, Leslie, Lord Loudon and others several thousand supporters, who came from the West, Ayrshire and Clydesdale to march on Edinburgh. They made what became known as the Whiggamore raid, or Whiggamore road. The modern usage became famous from a Scottish Historian called Gilbert Burnet who wrote that

Those in the west come in the summer to buy at Lieth the stores that come from the north: And from a word Whiggam, used in driving their horses all that drove were called the Whiggamors, and shorter the Whiggs.

So, Whiggamore was a contemptuous phrase, the raid of the horse drivers that sort of thing; a disparaging name for the radical presbyterians. In 1689 then, it would become used again in English politics, shortened to Whigg, as an insult for the Exclusioners, those who wanted to stop James Stewart becoming James II on account of his Catholic religion – probably then on the basis of the radical religious rebels kind of line. And like many contemptuous terms, the object of the contempt said exclusioners, adopted it as an object of defiant pride, and threw it back in the faces of the insulted.  I believe it was also used in the American Revolution for supporters of the revolution.

The Engagers were caught then between Cromwell’s army and the Anti Engagers. And by this stage their cause looked well and truly doomed anyway, no way back surely. Not that they gave in that easily, and while negotiating with Argyl, who put himself at the head of the Covenanters and anti Engagers, they managed to get themselves and their remaining army back up to Stirling.

For their part, Argyll and the kirk party were desperate to prevent Cromwell from entering Scotland, but by the time Argyll appealed to him, it was essentially too late, but they worked desperately to make an agreement with the Engagers, establish control of the government so that they could make it clear to Cromwell that everything was in order; the Engagers were beyond the pale as far as the new Scottish government was concerned, and Cromwell need have no problem worrying about a new attempt to overturn the English Revolution.

Or Argyle, the Engagers were the worst enemy; though not that much worse it had to be said, than having the Independents in their country, religious pluralists that they were. But he also faced the problem that news from the Islands was that clan chiefs were gathering to descend on Campbell lands again. He desperately needed to re-establish control.

Cromwell had no intention of anything like conquest, although some of the Independent Grandees in London hoped he might; he famously said that such a thing would ‘not be Christian’. But he was concerned to make sure that the royalists were in no position to destabilise the English government again. And until that condition was met, he would stay.

So on 25th September a deal was finally struck between Argyle and the Kirk party and royalists, and due to the pressure on Argyl and the Kirk party it was pretty generous. No Engager would be deprived of their lands and liberty, all forces were to be disbanded. But, critically, Malignants and Engagers were refused public office, a sort of purge such as Prides Purge would be in England. This purge of Engagers would be a constant Faultline and source of division within the new government, a sore in the attempt to re-establish the unity of the Covenanter state.

So came to an end the 9 month Engagement, a period which has probably earned it’s carefully considered description as ‘disastrous’. The breaches in Covenanter Scotland had gone deep, and the Engagement crisis was coloured by a bitterness quite exceptional in the Scottish Revolution so far. Hamilton and his royalists had been unable to hide their cynicism, trying to convince the radical Covenanters and Kirk that they fought for king and Covenant – when really they fought simply to re-establish the king in Scotland and England, and the idea of establishing a uniform church in the three kingdoms was simply a smokescreen to try and maintain a semblance of unity. Nor did the Covenanters come out of it all unscathed – after all the English were roundly hated in Scotland, and the Independents particularly; and yet Argyle and the Kirk had just been forced to accept their presence and help – though fair dos they didn’t have a lot of choice, and tried hard to get rid as soon as possible.

And getting rid of the English would be the first task of the new regime, the rule of the Kirk party, and a new phase in Covenanted Scotland.

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