Transcript for HoS58

Hamilton did his very best to head off protest from the Covenanters – and yet it was pretty clear from early in his return in June 1638 that the prospects of them backing down as the king insisted was filed under the draw labelled Not on your Nelly. So on his advice Charles continued to prepare to hope for the best – but plan for the worst as they say in the world of business, to plan to repress the rebellion by force. I ask you to note this, gentle listeners. A famously popular man in the Gaelic world, one Oliver Cromwell, was to be the one who decide that Charles was simply too duplicitous and unreliable to live. Here is early evidence. It was a personal characteristic that was to end badly for him; duplicity and lack of good faith. As far as Charles was concerned these were rebels and were owed precious little consideration. So he advised Hamilton to do what he could while he prepared – ‘flatter them with what hopes you please’, he wrote.

Charles military plans were ambitious – a three pronged attack on his unruly subjects. The Catholic earl of Antrim would attack from Ireland into the western highlands aimed at the lands of the Campbell Earls of Argyll with 5,000 men. Wentworth, Charles’ viceroy in Ireland would send an Irish force to Dumbarton, while Hamilton would lead an amphibious attack to the Firth of Forth. All very impressive, I mean wow. And it must be said, though with 20/20 hindsight, it’s level of ambition was in inverse proportion to Charles ability to deliver.

Because Charles was in dispute with the English and was utterly determined not to call a parliament to provide the necessary spondulikes. And meanwhile, the Covenanters announced that they were not, contrary to popular opinion, born yesterday, and were not fooled for a moment, and were making their own preparations. And here the presence of Alexander Leslie and the experienced mercenaries from the 30 Years War would come into play.

But for the moment Hamilton was ordered by the king to plan for a General Assembly of the kirk, which would force the Covenanters to back down on their position on the roles of Bishops and the Five Articles. Hamilton tried to prepare the ground for this by imposing conditions on the covenanters before any Assembly, but frankly got nowhere. By now, Hamilton agreed with Traqhair that there was really no mileage in all of this and they wrote to the king and told him he must abandon the prayer book and canons, and that he needed to modify the powers of the Bishops. Charles, you might be surprised to know, did not welcome the advice, did not welcome it one bit. No Surrender, he growled. None the less – Charles did authorise Hamilton to make substantial concessions, and actually to be fair quite considerable they were too. The Prayer book would be withdrawn, the Five Articles downplayed. So, golly. But there was a reason; Charles simply wanted time. It seems almost certain that this duplicitous king had no intention of honouring such offers, but it was becoming clear he had no chance of raising an army before 1639 – so keep ‘em talking, keep ‘em guessing. It may be also that the royal cause was encouraged by some resistance to the Covenanters in the North East, particularly in Aberdeen. A group of clerics who came to be known as the Aberdeen Doctors were almost the only group whose writings provided a royalist alternative to the Covenanters’ communications, writing in support of Arminianism.

The Covenanters made some effort, particularly through a mission with Montrose to persuade the burgh onto their side – but while they managed to talk some rural areas around, the burgh itself remained firmly for the king. In September, then, Hamilton agreed to a General Assembly of the Kirk, to be held in November 1638, in Glasgow.

The Tables of the Covenanters prepared hard for the General Assembly. Some of the preparations were hampered by disputes among them anout exactly who should go to the Assembly. The theory of the two kingdoms dictated that lay magistrates and lords should not attend an assembly of the kingdom of God, but in practice, the kirk sessions and Presbyteries inevitably included local lairds and even peers in the regional presbyteries. It was scarcely possible to exclude their authority from such an important aspect of local society. So secular lords were in, but the Tables none the less agreed and communicated detailed instructions, and the resulting assembly included ministers from the kirk sessions, elders from each of the 63 regional Presbyteries, many of who were lairds and nobles, and 47 burgh commissioners. In total there were about 240 members of the General Assembly; and about 140 of those were ministers. As events were to prove, however, it was the lay members who were to dominate its conclusions. One of these lay lords, though not the most forward, was our Earl of Montrose who sat throughout the assembly and took part in negotiations with Hamilton. Hamilton didn’t give him a good press to the king

There are many others as forward in show; amongst whom none more vainly foolish than Montrose

Rude. The Tables of the Covenanters meanwhile were determined to pack the Assembly with their supporters, and control the agenda as they had failed to do under James VI.  There was a whispering campaign to terrorise the Bishops and prevent them from turning up; which was to approve most effective – none of the Bishops were to come, despite specific orders from the King.

The General Assembly of November 1638 was an event of high drama, theatre and politics. Public interest was massive, huge crowds assembled outside, in which women and noblewomen were once again notably well represented, compelled by determination that the Assembly should prevail and the perceived creeping papism defeated; the bishops would have been most relieved they had stayed away.

The Assembly’s opening 10 days were a sparring match between the Covenanter leaders and Hamilton as King’s commissioner; remember that James had effectively insisted that the Assembly be called by the king, so in theory Hamilton had an ace in the hole. And yet in his effort to control the Assembly it was clear the Covenanters had done their work well, in its  composition, in the format of the committees, in the clerks appointed. By the end of November, Hamilton knew this assembly was going to be a disaster for the king – and so he deployed his tactical nuclear device, and dissolved it. Poor Hamilton wrote a thoroughly miserable letter to the king, bewailing that he had failed to build a powerful king’s party; he hinted that he might get the chop from the Covenanters, and begged for his children to be brought up in England and ‘be never married in Scotland – next to hell I hate this place’; not a sentiment designed to win him sympathy on Sauchiehall Street of course.

On 28th, Hamilton, after once more failing to control the agenda of the Assembly after insisting they should not commit the Bishops to trial, but discuss purely what the king wanted them to discuss thank you very much, stood up in a dignified way and announced that

Nothing done here in this assembly should be of any force to bind his majesty’s subjects; and I in his majestie’s name discharge this court to sit any longer

He then marched in great dignity to the door planning to leave in a cloud of majestic disapproval and power. Only to find that the doors were locked and some one had hidden the key. Which sounds like the kind of prank my old class of 2G1 would have pulled on Josh Elliot the poor man, or to try and make double maths on a Friday afternoon have a bit more creative tension, and utterly ruined Hamilton’s great exit while he had to get the door broken down to leave.

Hamilton reconvened the Privy Council when he left the Assembly, and the council duly declared the assembly to be illegal and so on and so forth. Which the Glasgow assembly simply ignored, and continued merrily on with their business – well I say merrily I will qualify that a little later – but certainly without Hamilton there to throw spokes in the wheel, things moved on apace.




Significantly, one of the council members in particular did not stay at Hamilton’s side – Archibald Campbell, the Earl of Argyll – the Campbell formerly known as Lorne in these pages. He stayed right where he was in his seat. More than that he then spoke to the Assembly, explaining why he considered it still to be legal. Now this was very significant; a load of undecided ministers in the assembly, not as radical as the Covenanter leaders like Rothes ad Loudon, took heart at Argyll’s staying. Initially, they thought this must mean the king secretly wanted some compromise, because Argyll was afterall on the Privy Council. Then as things began to change, and everyone realised just how far Argyll was defying the King and Hamilton, they took heart from the leadership and new-found commitment to the Covenanter cause of such a powerful figure.

All of this got Hamilton proper steaming, and he would later write bitterly to Charles that Argyll was

the only man now called up as a true patriot, a loyal subject, a faithful counsellor, and above all, rightly set for the preservation of the purity of religion. And truly, Sir, he takes it upon him’. ‘He must be well looked to; for it fears me, he will prove the dangerousest man in the State. He is so far from favouring episcopal government, that with all his soul he wishes it totally abolished’

Argyll had come out of the closet. And the Prometheus that was the Glasgow Assembly was unbound. Over the next 3 weeks before they dissolved themselves, they declared the Episcopy to be unlawful and contrary to the King’s Confession of 1581; the Bishops were fired from the church, many of them were excommunicated from the Kirk altogether; further more, Bishops were explicitly removed from any kind of secular government too – no longer would the King have a bunch of bishops to fight his corner in the Council. The General Assemblies at which they’d been present, from 1606-1618 were declared unlawful and it was agreed that the kirk could jolly well call their own Assemblies thank you very much, no King’s command needed since this was the kingdom of God, not the kingdom of the Prince. Next, the prayer book and canons were condemned, then the Lairds and Peers of the Covenanters moved on to the Five Articles of Perth which were duly entoasted, declared unlawful and banished to the outer darkness of Alpha Centauri, there to dwell in adamantine chains and penal fire who durst defy the omnipotent to arms. A new swearing of the Covenant was agreed for all, now with the added Glasgow declaration which said all those things they’d wanted to say before about bishops, prayer books and things but had not dared. They agreed to meet again next year, dissolved themselves, left the building and left the cathedral to tidy up all the old Tunnock caramel wafer wrappers, turn off the lights and lock the door. Job done, wham bang thank you Argyl.

The Glasgow Assembly demonstrates rather neatly, the benefits of historical myth. It was not true to assume as the Covenanter leadership proclaimed that Bishops were not part of the new kirk and were unlawful and incompatible with the King’s Confession of 1581 – and everyone new it. Just as Magna Carta has been reinvented many times for various purposes, at the Assembly history was re-written to suit the purposes of the radical ministers and covenanter lay leadership. The Covenant itself, is also such a document, capable of being read in many lights and allowing subscription to people with widely differing views and therefore worked effectively and a promoter of unity for which it would be such a powerful symbol.

And it was the Covenanter leadership, especially the lay lords, who dominated the agenda and conclusions of the Assembly. Many in the assembly did not want the Episcopy for example to be declared unlawful – but their objections were ridden over, most were afraid to speak out. The Assembly thus became a revolution indeed, transforming the relationship between king and kirk, although outwardly of course terribly supportive of the right kind of king. As far as the wrong kind of king was concerned down in Westminster, there was now no alternative to war. And both sides stepped up their prep.

If you are looking to allocate prizes, it appears that the Covenanters would win the Army raising prize. Their method of doing so was to be innovative, even revolutionary, and their approach to financing would transform the capability of the Covenanter state to play its role over the next decades. The Tables, including Balmerino, Rothes, Montrose and others issued instructions and quartered up the country, allocating regions to raise and pay for armies, re-assessing the wealth of the parishes to make sure that impositions were fair, establishing military commssioners of all the shires. Now obviously not all the detailed instructions would be followed to the letter everywhere, but the Tables both began to raise a significant army, but began the process of one of the great and lasting achievements of the Covenanter government – a highly effective tax regime, that would allow Scotland to exploit her wealth for military purposes as never before. The success of the Covenanter regime lay in the combination of effective propaganda and a central purpose around the nationally signed Covenant; and the willingness it helped engender to pay the financial cost. And those that did not wish to be part of this, were simply given no effective path to resistance provided to them by their king.

The Covenanters also profited from the returning soldiers from the 30 years war. Many came home. Like James Lumsden, full of patriotic fervour to defend the protestant faith, a ‘peremptory call home which I cannot disobey as a cavalier loves his honour’. Others like Alexander Leslie were it two minds initially, and it was purely circumstance that defined their allegiance to king or Covenant; Robert Munro, who would later lead the Covenanter army in Ireland was similar. Many were even more cynical, and just saw a good job opportunity opening up for them; James Turner explained that he had

Swallowed without chewing in Germany a very dangerous maxim which military men do too much follow there; which was, so we serve our master honestly, it is no matter what master we serve

However that may be, the Covenanters were far more effective in bringing veteran soldiers and officers to their side, and arming and equipping the army they did raise. Probably, the extent of their success was exaggerated, and the size of their army grew in the telling like the famous fish, but it probably amounted to 15,000 foot and 1,500 horse. A Convention in Edinburgh handed out the honours, and gave overall command of the Army to Alexander Leslie. This was a very good move; giving the job to any of the political leaders of the nobility would no doubt have raised jealousy and objections, which a professional did not.

And then also – it is generally a good idea to give important jobs to people who, you know, have some idea of what they are doing, and Leslie had forged his chops in the fire of battle. Smaller commands were handed out – notably to Argyll, who was given the leadership of military command in the west. This was to Argyll’s liking; there’s no doubt that Argyll was a thoroughgoing hater of Bishops and the king’s religious policy, but it’s more than possible that the thought of hoards of Irish Catholics under the Earl of Antrim plundering his homeland was just as much of a motivator. Meanwhile, the enemies of the Campbells in the Highlands and Western Isles were licking their lips, and preparing for vengeance against the Campbell usurper. Montrose though was probably disappointed with the lack of a major command for him – though he would soon see action.

At the same time, the Tables continued to demonstrate their genius for communication, and sent messages of amity and partnership to the English, which did a lot to help public opinion in their favour. They talked of two nations on one island

Tied together by the most strict bonds which we desire to increase rather than diminish.

This opens another interesting aspect of the new leadership; far from rejecting the union of the crowns, they sought now to embrace it, and indeed strengthen it. Their thinking was that reverting to complete independence was impossible and undesirable; for starters, they could conceive of no alternative to their native Stewart kings, and then also, they worried of incurring the hostility of the English. So greater union on their own terms became more and more attractive – a union that preserved Scottish Presbyterianism and limited the power of the throne. It is an aim that will prosper.

Well, Many of Charles’ ambitions for a comprehensive and convincing suppression of his rebellious subjects crashed and burned quite early; the Earl of Antrim and Thomas Wentworth were neither of them ready to invade the west of Scotland. In May 1639, at the start of what became known as the First Bishops War, Charles did start to raise an army in England; he duly arrived in York, and Hamilton was despatched to sail to the Firth of Forth with 5,000 men, with orders to issue a proclamation. It didn’t go well for Hamilton; it soon became clear he could do little with his small force, and Scotland was ready for him. Charles’ proclamation was a disaster – it offered a reward for the heads of leading covenanters. The threat of political assassination, served to unite the Scots still more firmly behind the Covenant, and convince many in England that the Scots were indeed fighting tyranny. Not only that; but Hamilton received a severe tongue lashing from his Mum, who has a convinced Covenanter, and a solid ticking off from Mum is never good for morale.

If Hamilton’s morale took a kicking, then so did Charles’ as he marched his men north towards Berwick and the Sottish border. He’d aimed for a force of 30,000 and scraped together no more than 15,000. Most of then were conscripts, badly trained and unenthusiastic, and the news from Hamilton wasn’t good. Charles’ thoughts of glory weren’t turning out to be realistic in his first military command. Also, an initial engagement near Kelso saw the Earl of Holland driven off by Leslie’s army. In addition, Charles was reaping the seed he had sown in England – he had little money because parliament was dissolved, the English lords with him had been excluded from any idea of what they might be fighting for in Scotland, and were therefore far from enthusiastic. Outside of that traditional northern lords antipathy to the raiders of the North. Charles’s morale was down around his bootstrap.

Now Charles might have gained some heart if he’d known some details about hopes and fears on the other side; they were worried about insurrection in the west; earlier in the year, Aberdeen and the North East had continued to object to the idea of signing the Covenant and something of a running fight had broken out there, as Montrose was sent north to bring the Aberdonians to heel. The city itself changed hands multiple times, as the Earl of Huntly and his sons led royalist resistance, and supplies reached them from the king. True enough, by June Huntly had been incarcerated. Though the circumstances around that had hurt Montrose’s sense of honour and rightness; he’d granted Huntly a safe conduct rescinded by the Covenanters who thought it too generous and refused to honour it. That sort of thing didn’t sit well with character of an idealistic youth stuffed full of a classical education.

Although their army was better armed and trained than the king’s the difference seems to have been a little exaggerated; the Covenanters were worried about the lack of supplies, and were no where near as big a force as the royalists believed. But Leslie was a cunning man, as cunning as a fox with no tail. I seem to remember some story about a Roman general tying torches to sheep in the dark – am I dreaming about that? The Fabians or something, Livy, all that sort of thing? Either way Leslie didn’t do that, bit he did something similar. At Kelso he drew up in open formation with extra colours so the English thought the army bigger than it was; and he drew up his army on a hill on the Scottish Side of the Tweed in the full sight of the king, giving the impression of a much more formidable force. Finally he allowed a royal envoy freely into the camp, wining and dining him and showing him the very finest array of troops – the man scuttled back to Charles to tell him just how impressive was the army facing him. Once more, Covenanter propaganda 1, King Charles of Scotland 0. The First Bishops War was technically a draw, but afterwards both sides knew who’d really won.




Who knows what would have happened if Charles had taken Leslie on; in terms of numbers the armies were evenly matched, if not in training probably, but the king had more horse. But Charles bottled it, and agreed to negotiate, a decision that would live with him until he walked to the gallows one cold morning wearing two shirts. He realised he’d messed up pretty quickly; and the Pacification of Berwick on 18th June 1639 was no more than a temporary truce until Charles reckoned he could bring a brother with a bigger club to the fight.

Said Pacification called for both sides to disarm, and that Charles would call both a General Assembly and a parliament, but Charles began preparation for the Second Bishops war almost immediately after the treaty, asking to see many of the leading covenanters for private discussions, ostensibly to discuss the King’s trip to Scotland for the parliament. They were a mean minded lot those Covenanters and suspected a trap – mean minded, but entirely accurate. In the end, six went, Montrose and the Earl of Lothian among them, and it’s entirely likely indeed that Charles suspected these were men for the turning, lukewarm rebels, as indeed one of them would prove. Also with them were Rothes and Wariston, men definitely not for the turning, and Charles complained later Rothes had been distinctly disrespectful, and admitted to aiming to export the revolution, and to remove all the episcopy of England and Ireland as well as Scotland.

Well, the next General Assembly met in August 1639, and despite some shenanigans from the royal Commissioner, Traquhair once more, it duly re-enacted the measures passed at Glasgow the year before, this time at least formally with royal assent – although Charles was furious with Traquair that he’d allowed bishops to be branded as unlawful, feeling it undermined bishops everywhere. Parliament was then to be called and Traquair started the discussions to prepare for it; but at the king’s command, he then prorogued the thing for another year, til June 1640.

The thing is, Charles’ treatment of his subjects since 1625, finally arrived home to roost in the parliament of 1639. Charles’ prevarications and refusal to compromise, his apparent negotiation while gathering an army behind his back had bred deep mistrust. No longer were his people prepared to trust that Charles would simply abide by his word and stick to the commitments he’d given. They’d hoped that the Union of Crowns would bring benefit to Scotland, greater power and wealth; instead their king had legged it to England, and was trying to use the resources of his other two kingdoms to impose unpopular policies on Scotland. Absentee kingship had not worked to anyone’s satisfaction, and this parliament was determined to make sure these agreements would stick and there would be no return to the status quo ante.  There was no great tradition of lobbying and agitation for free parliaments in Scottish political history, no great pressure for reform; but there would be revolution this time round.

However, as everyone waited for parliament, Charles was planning for war again. Preparations were made to some degree to repair Edinburgh castle, and 100 soldiers sent to enhance the garrison – which rather suggested to Covenanters what was going on, along with information that fell into their hands about commissions given to the Earl of Northumberland to raise forces for a campaign in Scotland – which, to be fair, was something of a giveaway. The Covenanters sought to control the future; negotiations took place with the king in London which went nowhere; they sent a letter to Louis XIII of France, but Louis would have nothing to do with the Covenanters and told his agent not to meddle.

In April 1640 Charles was finally forced to call a parliament in England to try and raise money; it was not a great success, hence its name, the Short Parliament, and to a degree gave the Covenanters the opportunity to continue their woo’ing of likeminded English; most of the English parliament that duly opposed the king, considered the Scots to be their friends and allies.  And meanwhile the Covenanters were training, and preparing for war – the Tables of the Covenanters were now beginning to be known by the term that would be their’s through the government – the Committee of Estates, so, new name change for you, Committee of estates or Estates for short it now must be, the Tables are dead. Long live the Estates

Before the parliament was due to open, Covenanter leaders met to discuss how this was all to work; how would they handle the agenda and manage the King’s possible tactics? It seems that some disagreement appeared in the group, and this disagreement may have centred around Montrose. It seems that Wariston, Argyll, Balmerino and Rothes were quite convinced that the parliament must go ahead whatever; while Montrose argued that a parliament was no parliament without the king. Whatever was said, Montrose lost the argument and thus the 1640 Parliament was to be genuinely revolutionary. Because when Charles started once more to play games and tried to prorogue parliament once more, the parliament met anyway, and the Covenanter government was forged and effectively a new constitution put in place.

The Parliament ratified the acts of the General Assembly; and abolished the clerical estate in the parliament – and indeed the right of the king’s councillors to sit in parliament by right of their office rather than by right of birth. It was then decided that the parliament was no longer at the behest of the king to call, but should sit at least every three years, a very radical step indeed. It messed with the king’s right to control parliament as it had done through the Lords of the Articles; essentially, the king had been able to set the agenda for parliament, and winnow out those acts and debates he was not keen about. Now the Lords of the Articles might meet, but they would discuss a set of proposals to be winnowed set by the parliament, not by the king.

A new government was established – the Committee of estates was empowered to do everything required to defend the kingdom, raising taxes and military forces as required. And the balance of power in the parliament was effectively changed very much in favour of the Lairds; follow me on this little wrinkle.

Previously, every shire elected two commissioners, overwhelmingly representatives of the Lairdly order of the nobility; but each shire only had one vote. The debate in the parliament was that every commissioner should now have a vote – thus doubling the voting strength of the lairds. There was much resistance to this in fact; not from the peers, because the peers and the lairds had very close ties of patronage and lordship in the regions, and lairds would generally follow the lead of their relevant magnate. Although it has been argued by better people than me that there was an element of the  ‘rise of the planet of the lairds’ as it were, beginning to free themselves from the leadership of the Peers – but I think the debate currently sits rather against the idea, no doubt it will run and run. So, no probably the Peers were comfortable that the increase in the influence of the Lairds increased their power own also. Nope, the resistance came from the Burghs who at a stroke had relatively speaking lost influence; in fact the debate was never formally resolved, but by practice from here on in all the lairds did vote, and so the deed was done.

In the finest tradition of British constitutional reform, this was not a planned series of reforms designed to create a new state, with a new constitution – it was a series of changes driven by expediency – the intransigence of the king, the need to suppress some signs of royalist resistance on the North east and in Athol, the need to deal with the approaching war. A good example of this was the violence done to the treason law. Obviously, everyone was worried about the King’s garrison up there in the castle, and the governor was ordered to surrender – which he refused. He was then convicted of treason. Now treason by definition was an offence against the king – in a stroke, the king was replaced by some concept of the state independent of the king against which treason was committed. Scottish law was in fact much simpler on this point, the English later would tie themselves in legal knots over the same issue. In fact, the king and his role was notably absent in the debate; the king was supplicated to attend, and copies of the laws enacted were sent to him; but there was no implication at all that his consent was required – in fact very much the opposite, it was assumed the actions of the parliament were legal and complete. Now this surely is super radical; James VI and the traditional argument for the absolute power of kings held that all law came effectively from the king, through the mechanism of royal assent.  The Scottish parliament of 1640 completely rewrote this basic assumption. Charles was effectively sidelined, and the Covenanter government, lead by the Committee of estates, was inaugurated – all with the convenient and frequently used fiction of revolutionaries, that all of this was simply doing things the right way, the way it’d always been done – move along nothing to see here.

Not everyone agreed. There were royalist stirrings in the country; Robert Munro and the earl Marischal replaced the untrustworthy Montrose in suppressing dissent in the North East; and the success of the General Assembly there in 1640 indicated how far they had been cowed. The Earl of Argyll was deputed to repress royalist plans for an uprising in Athol, and marched threateningly through the area with an army of 4,000 men.

Now Argyll, dour sort of man though he was, had been finding this rebellion thing highly profitable; not that he didn’t firmly believe in its religious direction, but it DID give him a rather delightful measure of leeway to extend the Campbell lands, influence and control yet further. He did this in particular with the rebellious Huntly, taking on responsibility for some of the Gordon debts – and when, entirely predictably, Huntly failed to pay him back, Argyll claimed some of his lands in payment. This was a traditional approach the Campbells had already used effectively in the Western Isles, earning them the undying hatred of rival clans, especially those dreaming of the glory days of the lords of the Isles.

There were others, though, who kicked against this pre-eminence of Argyll and his brood; and the name on everyone’s lips was that of Montrose, whose flamboyant ambition was rather being stymied. The Covenanter leadership didn’t really trust him. While on his march through Athol, Argyle came to bring the Earls of Airlie into line – and found him fled with Montrose in situ already, having offered him guarantees. Montrose didn’t like Argyll, and the feeling was probably mutual. Montrose’s world view was offended too not only by the lack of his personal glory, but also by the removal of the king from an effective role in the new government. He drew like minded people to him in the Cumbernauld Band – as a grouping it never really seems to have got off the ground, but it was an indication of where Montrose’s mind was moving.

Now, if it hadn’t been obvious already that this matter would have to be resolved between the king and his subjects by violence, it most certainly was now; and preparations for the collection of money and troops had once again yielded an effective Covenanter army. The king on the other hand was once again hamstrung by the same problems that had strung his ham last time – a dysfunctional relationship with the English parliament and political community, and therefore a lack of money. And so, Charles was not turning up to the expected party – a Second Bishop’s war as it were. Now the Covenanters could not keep an army in the field on their side of the border for very long; if they did, it would probably starve, or die of disease. And so, they needed to find some way of forcing the pace; to find a way of getting Cinders to the ball, or alternatively, taking the ball to Cinders – without annoying the English. How was this to be done?

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