[00:00.00]Welcome to Movie English!
[00:11.94]England and Scotland, two realms divided until now.
[00:17.02]In 1603, they had come together in one person,
[00:21.42]James VI of Scotland, and First of England.
[00:24.94]He wanted to be known as the king of Great Britain.
[00:28.98]But what was this new thing in the world, this Great Britain?
[00:33.22]In the first years of the 17th century, only the map makers could tell you.
[00:39.50]One of them, a busy ex-tailor called John Speed,
[00:43.34]published his atlas of 67 maps called "The Theatre of the Empire of Great Britain",
[00:49.74]and covering every inch of Scotland, Wales, Ireland and England.
[00:54.22]What lay behind Speed's atlas was an optimistic vision
[00:59.06]of happy, harmonious Britannia coming together under a king
[01:03.38]who was determined to bring unity after centuries of war and hatred.
[01:08.58]And in the Vale of the Red Horse in Warwickshire,
[01:13.22]John Speed had a glimpse of what this British heaven on earth might look like.
[01:19.46]Meadowing pastures with the green mantle so embroidered with flowers
[01:24.46]that from Edgehill we might behold another Eden.
[01:31.42]On October 23rd, 1642, another man, King Charles I,
[01:37.18]surveyed the same landscape from the same ridge.
[01:41.30]The meadows were now full, not with cows and harebells,
[01:45.22]but cannon, pikes and musketeers.
[01:48.50]By nightfall, there would be 3,000 British corpses lying in the freezing mud.
[01:54.46]Here at Edgehill, Eden had become Golgotha.
[02:06.90]Over the next long years,
[02:09.46]the nations that both James and Charles yearned to bring together
[02:13.46]would tear each other apart in murderous civil wars.
[02:17.22]Hundreds of thousands of lives would be lost in battles, sieges, epidemics and famine.
[02:25.58]A raw body count fails to measure the full enormity of a disaster
[02:30.30]which reached into virtually every part of Britain,
[02:33.26]from Cornwall to County Connaught, from York to the Hebrides.
[02:37.86]It tore apart communities of the parish and the county,
[02:41.74]which all through the turmoil of the Reformation had managed to agree
[02:46.02]on how the country should be governed and who should do the governing.
[02:50.54]Men who had broken bread together now tried to break each other's heads.
[02:55.02]Men who had judged together now judged each other.
[03:01.02]At the end of it all, there would be a united Britain as the Stuarts had hoped,
[03:06.22]but it would not be a united kingdom, it would be a united republic.
[03:50.54]The civil wars were not just an unfortunate accident
[03:54.42]or an occasion to dress up as Cavaliers and Roundheads.
[03:58.06]They were that most un-British event, a war of ideas,
[04:01.78]ideas that mattered deeply to contemporaries
[04:04.58]because at the heart of them was an argument about liberty and obedience.
[04:08.98]That argument became lethal at Edgehill,
[04:12.42]and it would echo for generations down through British history,
[04:16.06]and as a matter of fact, that argument has never really gone away.
[04:22.06]To the survivors, looking back, the issue was simple.
[04:27.78]Whether the king should govern as a god by his will
[04:31.94]and the people governed by force as beasts,
[04:35.02]or whether the people should be governed by their own consent.
[04:40.42]Yes, that's the voice of a republican in exile, Edmund Ludlow,
[04:45.42]but that same voice, that same memory, would be heard through the centuries
[04:50.02]and in revolutions far beyond our shores -
[04:52.82]in America in 1776, in France in 1789.
[04:59.74]It goes against the grain, doesn't it? A bit embarrassing, not to say painful,
[05:04.46]to be thought of as the fountainhead of revolutions. It's not very British.
[05:08.98]All that shouting, all that Bible waving, all that killing.
[05:13.58]So was it all an aberration, then?
[05:16.30]Well, no, actually.
[05:21.38]These wars were the crucible of our modern history, for out of the fires of these wars
[05:27.30]came eventually a genuinely parliamentary monarchy.
[05:30.94]Of course, no one understood that at the time,
[05:34.50]no one was reading from a script which commanded, "Go forth and be democratic."
[05:42.98]So when the 24-year-old Charles became king,
[05:46.22]no one in their right mind could possibly have imagined
[05:49.74]a war between parliament and the Crown.
[05:52.86]No succession in over two centuries had been as settled or as unthreatened.
[06:03.34]Charles may have been smaller than life, long faced, painfully formal,
[06:08.74]private to the point of being secretive, a stickler for decorum,
[06:12.74]as cool, as still and as pallid as marble,
[06:16.06]but to many this was rather a welcome contrast with his father, James,
[06:21.10]who'd been loud-mouthed, pedantic and uncouth.
[06:27.66]From the beginning, for those paying attention,
[06:30.58]there was something ominously distant about this small man on a big horse,
[06:35.22]too lofty to bother with a coronation procession.
[06:38.66]A man who believed that kings were little gods on earth.
[06:44.14]Charles saw himself as the father of the nation, and like any 17th-century father,
[06:49.34]he thought he was responsible for the well-being of his family,
[06:53.66]but in return he expected to be strictly obeyed.
[06:57.86]Of course, like James before him,
[07:00.14]he would listen to the people through their representatives in parliament,
[07:04.14]but only when he chose and on matters he saw fit to be discussed.
[07:14.02]But the House of Commons was filled with historians and lawyers,
[07:18.66]and for them parliament was not simply a matter of royal convenience.
[07:23.42]Ever heard of Magna Carta?
[07:27.74]For these men, parliamentary history, the history they were reading and writing,
[07:32.70]was an ongoing epic of liberty, and they were the keepers of the flame.
[07:39.70]The countdown to the civil wars started now, though nobody heard it.
[07:45.06]It was a countdown that could have been stopped time and again,
[07:49.18]but the ticking grew louder and louder.
[07:51.78]By 1642 it would be deafening.
[07:54.74]And what triggered that countdown? Money.
[08:01.06]One of the first things this young king did was declare war on Spain,
[08:05.46]and nothing was more ruinously expensive than foreign war.
[08:09.90]There was the added complication that in England,
[08:12.82]even little gods on earth had to go cap in hand to parliament for the money to fight.
[08:18.94]For Charles, the issue was personal.
[08:22.34]Wars of religion were tearing Europe apart.
[08:25.54]Protestants and Catholics were killing each other from Sweden to Hungary
[08:29.82]with unspeakable cruelty.
[08:32.26]They'd forced his own sister, the Queen of Bohemia, into exile.
[08:38.46]In his quiet way, Charles burned to be a Christian warrior.
[08:44.70]There was also the matter of his older brother, Henry.
[08:47.90]A champion of the joust, celebrated by the poets as a Protestant hero,
[08:52.46]Henry was supposed to have been king, but he had died when Charles was a boy,
[08:57.38]and his armour had passed on to him.
[09:06.02]It was too big.
[09:10.14]All his life, Charles would try to fit the steel,
[09:13.70]try to become the gartered Charlemagne beneath the British oak.
[09:19.78]And this war against Spain would be his big chance.
[09:23.66]Surely parliament would cough up money for the great Protestant crusade?
[09:28.94]Oh, yes, was the answer, but -and it was a big but - with all due respect,
[09:34.98]we don't much care for your choice of commander, the Duke of Buckingham.
[09:39.26]So while we're happy to fork over subsidies, we think we'll make it a short-term contract.
[09:45.26]Renewable, to be sure, if he turns out all right.
[09:49.94]But parliament knew perfectly well it wouldn't.
[09:53.66]From the start, parliament had Buckingham's number.
[09:56.86]To them, he was an upstart nobody, a peacock with a pretty face
[10:01.34]who'd been promoted outrageously above the great earls of the land.
[10:07.54]He'd been James' favourite -
[10:09.70]well, actually more than a favourite if the court scandal was to be believed -
[10:14.06]and now he'd wormed his way into Charles's favour too.
[10:17.62]The pair of them had travelled together incognito to Spain
[10:21.58]in a bid to woo the Spanish Infanta for Charles.
[10:25.14]They'd returned from their escapade empty-handed.
[10:31.14]But to the young, insecure Charles, glamorous, worldly Buckingham had become his idol.
[10:36.18]To the rest of the court however, Buckingham was a parasite, a pest, a viper.
[10:41.74]Why, in God's name, give him a blank cheque?
[10:50.50]It was obvious what would happen to the money and it did.
[10:54.30]Buckingham blew a cool ?40,000 in a raid on France
[10:59.34]so botched it seemed the act of a saboteur, not a supremo.
[11:03.98]So if Charles wanted a penny more, his darling had to go.
[11:11.26]Presume to talk to the king about his choice of trusted generals and ministers?
[11:16.98]Presume to tell the king? Presume to lay down the law?
[11:21.14]Why, that was an end of kingship itself.
[11:27.10]So in 1626, Charles did what he assumed kings worth the name were entitled to do.
[11:33.82]He would dismiss parliament and collect the money himself through a forced loan.
[11:39.18]It was the politest bullying. Charles was always polite.
[11:52.82]The gloves were off.
[11:55.02]Loan refusers were threatened, prosecuted.
[11:58.34]Two of them, Sir Francis Barrington and Sir Edmund Hampden died,
[12:02.78]either in prison or shortly afterwards.
[12:06.46]Many did pay up, but their compliance spoke of fear as much as loyalty.
[12:15.94]There had always been professional grumblers when it came to tax,
[12:19.86]but these country gentlemen were speaking a new and dangerous language.
[12:24.38]No tax could be lawful without the consent of parliament, they said.
[12:30.22]The money ran out again in 1628,
[12:33.14]and Charles was forced to call another parliament.
[12:39.62]Speaker after speaker rose to the rostrum in defence of the liberties of England.
[12:45.58]They drafted a formal list of their grievances in a Petition of Right,
[12:50.42]which Charles graciously conceded as the price for saving his beloved Buckingham.
[12:56.42]Any slight chance of Charles honouring it, and it was slight enough to begin with,
[13:02.70]went out of the window when later, in 1628,
[13:06.14]Buckingham was assassinated to national cheering.
[13:18.34]Convulsed with grief and hardened by rage, Charles shut parliament down.
[13:29.34]As the doors were being closed, one MP, Sir John Eliot, stood up and roared
[13:34.74]that anyone imposing a tax without parliament's consent
[13:38.34]would be a capital enemy to this kingdom and commonwealth.
[13:44.30]Charles disagreed, Eliot was the traitor,
[13:47.70]so off to the Tower of London he went, where he died in 1632.
[13:55.90]But for Charles, the rainstorm of words had now mercifully stopped.
[14:01.14]In their place beamed sunlight from the heavens.
[14:05.42]Triumphantly too, the war with Spain was now over.
[14:09.14]So no more begging for money, no more of that aggravation.
[14:13.66]So in 1630, as far as Charles was concerned,
[14:17.26]peace had broken out in Britannia.
[14:21.62]His father James had always preached peace,
[14:24.58]and James was much on Charles's mind.
[14:31.42]Charles decided his father's memory deserved something special,
[14:35.74]and courtesy of the Flemish Catholic painter, Peter Paul Rubens, he would get it.
[14:40.58]Not one, but three huge painted tributes.
[14:44.50]A go-for-broke manifesto for the Stuart dynasty.
[14:58.38]They would be placed high on the ceiling of the building he had inherited from James,
[15:04.26]Inigo Jones's masterpiece, the Banqueting House in Whitehall.
[15:13.38]In 1636, they were triumphantly hoist aloft for all the world to see.
[15:19.90]There are three visions here of James' benevolent rule.
[15:23.94]In one panel, James is depicted as the bringer of peace and prosperity.
[15:29.54]In the central panel, Rubens gives us James being carried to Heaven as a god.
[15:39.42]In the third, he is Solomon being offered the two crowns of England and Scotland.
[15:47.22]The Banqueting House in Whitehall simply takes your breath away
[15:50.86]by the sheer cheek with which it ignores the English Channel.
[15:54.86]It's a piece of Italy transplanted into Britain.
[15:57.78]Classical columns, tall windows, the ultimate architectural light box,
[16:02.90]designed to flood the Stuart monarchy with brilliance.
[16:08.14]It was also meant to pin any unbelievers to the floor
[16:12.06]through the heavyweight power of its muscled allegories,
[16:15.50]singing the virtues of the godlike king.
[16:18.22]So when you walked in here and you remembered
[16:21.26]that when the Stuarts had described kings as 'little gods on earth',
[16:25.26]you realised they were not kidding.
[16:31.62]The Banqueting House was Charles's absolutist dreamland.
[16:36.58]It was here that Charles could act out the grandest of his fantasies,
[16:41.06]that his three kingdoms, England, Scotland and Ireland, were finally yoked together
[16:45.98]in harmony under the ruler who was firm but just.
[16:52.86]What better way to give this new British court a European makeover,
[16:57.70]to turn it into a byword for baroque gorgeousness?
[17:01.82]There would be a stunning new royal art collection gathered from all over Europe,
[17:06.66]of a quality to make popes and emperors moan with envy -
[17:11.02]Mantegnas, Titians, Rembrandts.
[17:14.10]Charles's unprepossessing French Queen, Henrietta Maria,
[17:18.22]with her sallow skin and discoloured teeth, was airbrushed into stardom
[17:23.42]by the glossiest glamourist of them all, Anthony Van Dyke.
[17:32.50]And beyond the palace, the king was satisfied to see his will being done,
[17:37.42]people he disapproved of being made to desist.
[17:42.90]I like not this.
[17:50.30]Out in the shires, his taxes were being collected,
[17:53.66]his justice was being carried out, and the skies had not fallen in.
[17:57.90]Who missed the talkers, the parliament now? Surely nobody.
[18:02.66]Sooner or later, Charles was going to have to come down to earth,
[18:06.34]and when he did he'd notice that his earthly kingdom
[18:10.10]was ruled not by images but by words.
[18:13.42]Now, unlike the invitingly soft scenery of Rubens's fantasy kingdom,
[18:18.42]words were hard things, black and white things.
[18:21.94]And in the hands of wordsmiths, lawyers, preachers, printers,
[18:25.74]they had a razor-sharp edge
[18:28.42]that would cut right through all that Stuart mush about British union
[18:32.86]and bring the playground of the gods crashing to the ground.
[18:39.34]The nay-sayers had not gone away, and they had not shut up.
[18:43.58]The men who had declared taxes without parliamentary consent to be illegal in 1625,
[18:49.82]still thought this in 1635.
[18:52.90]Yes, they reluctantly forked up, but it didn't stop them smouldering with rage.
[18:59.54]Typical was a Buckinghamshire landowner called John Hampden.
[19:03.34]John Hampden was not some abrasive, unworldly hothead.
[19:08.46]He was a very well respected and important member of the county community.
[19:16.66]Hampden had been deeply moved by the plight of Sir John Eliot in prison.
[19:21.50]He'd visited him and looked after his teenage boys.
[19:25.94]Now he would inherit the mantle of tax resister, this time against ship money,
[19:30.90]the tax that paid for the upkeep of the navy.
[19:34.54]Why should counties with no coastlines pay this?
[19:37.70]It was iniquitous.
[19:40.06]It may only have been a few shillings, and in the end Hampden lost his case,
[19:44.74]but he won the argument. The embers were hot again.
[19:49.66]And alongside the lawyers in parliament,
[19:52.06]Charles now faced another group of intransigent critics
[19:56.14]who had something even more unanswerable than Magna Carta -
[19:59.46]Holy Scripture - and they of course were the Puritans.
[20:05.06]For the hotter kind of Protestants, the Puritans,
[20:07.74]the Stuart obsession with harmony and unity was at best meaningless claptrap,
[20:13.90]and at worst it was a plot to delude the gullible into bending the knee to Rome again.
[20:20.38]For them, the reality was conflict,
[20:23.90]the unbridgeable division between the saved and the damned.
[20:28.06]There was an endless battle between the saints and the legions of the Devil.
[20:33.26]The fires had already been lit in Europe, for the Reformation was a war,
[20:38.54]and that war had not yet been won.
[20:45.46]The Puritans looked around them, but all they could see from this king
[20:49.94]was a betrayal of the godly Reformation.
[20:52.58]Peace with Catholic Spain abroad, and at home, even worse,
[20:56.42]a church ruled by bishops who were little better than Papists -
[21:00.38]bishops who berated the Puritans for having taken the Reformation too far.
[21:07.70]In the face of this cosmic battle, to stay still, to keep silent, was a sin and a crime.
[21:17.54]For the Puritans, Charles I ought to have been a custom-built king,
[21:22.02]austere, decorous and chaste.
[21:25.10]The fact was, his religion still seemed to need Protestant mumbo-jumbo,
[21:30.02]all those signs and mysteries.
[21:32.34]Even this would have been palatable had he not wanted to foist it on everyone else,
[21:37.94]to force everyone to kneel at its shrine.
[21:43.38]The Puritans declared war against any creeping signs of Romanism in the Church -
[21:49.34]paintings and statues, crucifixes and altar rails.
[21:56.66]And it escaped nobody's notice that Charles was married to a Catholic.
[22:05.54]These men were very much in a minority.
[22:08.62]But of course, being the elect, they expected to be in a minority - the party of redemption.
[22:14.58]In fact, they glorified in the slightness of their numbers,
[22:18.22]the self-purifying troop of Gideon's Army.
[22:25.62]Men like the London wood-turner, Nehemiah Wallington, would be in the front line,
[22:31.66]a storm trooper of the Reformation, ready to fight every waking hour.
[22:38.42]You may see now how Antichrist doth plot against the poor church of God.
[22:43.74]But so long as we put our trust in the Lord, let us once again take note
[22:48.54]of his great deliverances from those great and devilish bloodsucking Papists.
[22:55.18]Of course, Charles was not going to lose any sleep
[22:58.42]over the Nehemiah Wallingtons of this world.
[23:01.10]But Puritanism was not just the faith of merchants and artisans.
[23:08.30]There were plenty among the gentry and the nobility too,
[23:11.74]who believed just as passionately in the word of scripture,
[23:15.42]and for all of them it was an article of faith that nobody, neither pope nor king,
[23:20.82]would ever be allowed to flout the word of God.
[23:28.26]And Charles would never be allowed to forget it.
[23:36.94]Yes, finally, they were a minority.
[23:42.50]But it was one of Charles's most costly errors to let so many
[23:47.42]in the Protestant middle of the country come to regard him
[23:51.30]as a greater threat to their church than the Puritan militants.
[23:55.18]And for this fatal error, Charles had one man to thank, William Laud,
[23:59.98]whom he made Archbishop of Canterbury in 1633.
[24:04.14]Poor Laud. Is there anything good to be said for Laud and the principles he stood for?
[24:10.30]He's gone down as one of the most arrogant and destructive men in our history.
[24:15.10]But put yourself in his vestments and it looks different.
[24:19.26]Far from being an elitist, Laud thought it was the Puritans who were the authoritarians.
[24:24.66]Thou shalt smite them and utterly destroy them,
[24:28.46]Thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor show mercy unto them,
[24:33.26]It was the Puritans, with their obsession with reading and preaching, their gloomy fatalism,
[24:39.54]their endless battle cries, who deprived the ordinary people
[24:43.38]of what they needed from the Church - colour, spectacle,
[24:47.54]the Saviour's cross upon the altar,
[24:50.98]the comforts of ritual, sacrament and ceremony,
[24:54.78]a fence to keep dogs off the communion tray, and most of all,
[24:58.98]the consoling possibility that sinful souls might at the end be received into Christ.
[25:05.98]What was so very wrong with that?
[25:09.58]Well, what was wrong was that Laud was not presenting his programme as an option.
[25:14.54]He was presenting it as an order.
[25:17.18]Believe this, worship like this, pray like this, or take the consequences.
[25:27.50]Anyone who defied him found himself before a special tribunal.
[25:32.38]Dissidents like Prynne, Burton and Bastwick became Laud's highest-profile victims.
[25:41.22]They had their ears cut off.
[25:49.38]Laud's iron fist went unopposed for the time being.
[26:00.98]By the mid-1630s, Charles could see no obstacle
[26:05.38]to consummating the great Stuart plan of harmony across the three kingdoms,
[26:10.94]whether they wanted it or not.
[26:13.38]England was under control,
[26:15.58]and thanks to the brutal tactics of his Lord Deputy in Ireland,
[26:19.30]Charles's other right-hand hard man, Thomas Wentworth, so too was Ireland.
[26:33.02]That just left Scotland.
[26:36.18]And in particular its obstinate, cantankerous Presbyterian Kirk.
[26:42.02]It had a galling, and to Charles, completely unacceptable,
[26:45.50]contempt for the authority of bishops.
[26:48.82]Charles was determined to break this.
[26:51.58]Then the whole realm could pray and worship as one.
[26:56.54]But the obsession with union which so consumed both James and Charles
[27:01.98]would in the end turn out to guarantee nothing but hatred and division.
[27:12.02]Charles, born in Dunfermline, was himself Scottish.
[27:16.62]So surely there could be no problem with this?
[27:19.78]Well, yes, there could.
[27:21.94]It had taken Charles eight whole years
[27:24.38]to even bother travelling to Edinburgh for his Scottish coronation.
[27:28.50]He'd become Scotland's very first absentee king, and there would be a price to pay.
[27:48.58]Charles was completely incapable of appreciating
[27:52.66]Calvinism's call for a great moral purification.
[27:56.10]As far as he was concerned, Scotland and England were not all that different.
[28:00.78]If one kingdom had been bent to his royal will by a show of well-intentioned firmness,
[28:06.42]so would the other one.
[28:08.58]But of course, the Scottish Reformation had been nothing like England's.
[28:12.70]South of the border, changes had happened in the church at a slow and fitful pace.
[28:18.26]In Scotland, Calvinism had struck in great electrifying bursts of charismatic conversion,
[28:25.10]backed up by preachers, teachers and ministers,
[28:28.10]and only forced into reluctant and periodic retreat by James I,
[28:33.62]who unlike his son, had known when to stop.
[28:41.10]So when Charles announced the introduction into Scotland of the new prayer book,
[28:46.86]he would discover just how little he understood of the kingdom of his birth.
[28:54.02]The royal council had very obligingly let it be known
[28:57.90]that the prayer book had to be introduced, at the latest, by Easter 1637.
[29:03.62]Then there was a printing delay.
[29:06.34]This gave ample time for the Calvinist preachers and lords
[29:09.94]to organise exactly what they were going to do.
[29:13.10]Archbishop Laud, the king, the council, the bishops, everyone fell straight into the trap.
[29:20.18]Whoever thought a little thing like this would start a revolution?
[29:27.30]The British wars began here, in St Giles's Cathedral, Edinburgh,
[29:32.26]on the morning of July 23rd, 1637,
[29:35.70]and the first missiles that were launched were not cannonballs, they were footstools.
[29:43.98]They were launched straight down the nave,
[29:46.62]and their targets were the dean and bishop of the cathedral.
[29:50.18]The right reverends had just started to read from a royally authorised new prayer book,
[29:56.58]and it was this attempt to read from the liturgy
[29:59.54]which had triggered a deafening outburst of shouting and wailing,
[30:04.10]especially from the many women gathered in the church.
[30:09.66]The prayer book riots, though, were just the fuse.
[30:12.94]What those who lit it wanted was to blow up the bishops
[30:16.50]and the whole royal church establishment in Scotland.
[30:23.34]On February 28th, 1638, a national covenant was signed in a four-hour ceremony
[30:30.22]along with sermons and psalms exhorting the godly to be the new Israel.
[30:38.70]The next day, the covenant was brought here to the open churchyard at Greyfriars,
[30:43.86]where hordes of ordinary Scots added their signature.
[30:47.38]Copies were made and distributed the length and breadth of Scotland.
[30:52.54]For countless thousands of Scots, signing the covenant was just an extension
[30:57.02]of the vows they took in Kirk, banding them with God.
[31:00.82]But very rapidly, the document assumed the status of a kind of patriotic scripture,
[31:06.46]determining who and who was not a real Christian, who and who was not truly a Scot.
[31:15.66]For Charles, there was no question of negotiating.
[31:19.10]They were all rebels, they must all be punished.
[31:23.62]There was just one snag -
[31:25.46]it wasn't Charles who had the formidable army, but the Scots,
[31:29.50]veterans of the wars of religion in Europe.
[31:32.82]Facing his first really crucial test, Charles, the British Charlemagne,
[31:38.62]found he couldn't raise money and he couldn't raise men.
[31:43.18]It took one bruising skirmish for Charles to see the folly of further fighting.
[31:49.06]A truce was hastily signed.
[31:53.82]But he wouldn't back off.
[31:58.58]By now, Charles was desperate enough for men and money
[32:02.38]to do what he must have hoped he'd never have to do again: Call a parliament.
[32:07.26]After eleven years of gathering dust,
[32:09.82]the House of Commons would once again be full of passionate argument and legal fury.
[32:19.02]If Charles thought that eleven years meant the old quarrels had been forgotten,
[32:23.98]he was ignoring a force new to British politics - the news.
[32:28.34]For the great political dramas of the last 20 years
[32:31.94]had been hotly consumed by a reading public addicted to newspapers,
[32:36.58]pamphlets, woodcuts and the so-called sixpenny separates,
[32:40.86]recording all the debates and controversies and dispatched around the shires.
[32:48.46]The 1640 parliament took up exactly where it had left off in 1629,
[32:53.86]when Charles had closed it down.
[32:58.34]It must have come as an unpleasant surprise
[33:01.62]when this new parliament, instead of laying imagined grievances aside,
[33:06.38]immediately began to resurrect them.
[33:08.98]This parliament lasted only three short weeks
[33:12.54]before, once again, Charles suspended it.
[33:19.86]But his list of options was getting shorter by the day, and they were all bad.
[33:26.30]He wasn't going to cave in to the Scots and he wasn't going to re-open parliament.
[33:31.46]But there was a third way, courtesy of his Lord Deputy in Ireland, Thomas Wentworth.
[33:38.38]Why not use an Irish Catholic army to crush the Presbyterian Scots?
[33:43.94]Grateful for his advice, Charles made Wentworth Earl of Strafford, but hesitated.
[33:50.26]Charles knew that Protestant England was hardly likely to approve
[33:54.30]of a Catholic army attacking their brother Scots.
[33:59.86]What followed in 1640 was a breakdown of deference of frightening magnitude.
[34:07.90]Officers were being attacked by their own men.
[34:11.74]The latest round of fighting with the Scots was a disaster.
[34:15.66]Newcastle, with its priceless coal, was captured.
[34:19.14]To get it back, to get the Scots out of England, Charles needed cash fast.
[34:27.54]He had no choice now, he would have to re-open parliament.
[34:34.34]There'd never be a better opportunity for John Pym
[34:38.06]and his fellow parliamentary leaders to rein in the king.
[34:45.06]Pym had discovered, whether he understood the word or not, the elixir of revolution.
[34:51.10]Yesterday's truism - obey the king - is tomorrow's bad joke.
[34:56.46]Yesterday's unthinkable - abolish all bishops - seems to be tomorrow's necessity.
[35:05.06]All around London were enormous seething crowds,
[35:08.82]practically laying siege to Westminster.
[35:11.66]John Pym's demands were simple and blunt:
[35:15.42]No taxes ever without parliament's say-so, parliaments to be elected every three years,
[35:22.46]and most decisively of all, looking right into Charles's eyes,
[35:26.78]no parliament, especially not this one, could be dissolved without its own consent.
[35:33.06]When Charles, through gritted teeth, conceded,
[35:36.22]it was the destruction of the absolute monarchy.
[35:39.42]Or was it?
[35:41.38]The king still had one card he could play -
[35:44.38]that Catholic army that Wentworth, the Earl of Strafford, had raised in Ireland.
[35:52.06]Pym now knew he would have to annihilate Strafford
[35:56.30]if he was to defend parliament from this threat.
[35:59.94]So in the spring of 1641, Strafford was impeached.
[36:03.62]Sick and grey-haired, he proved frustratingly impossible to convict of treason,
[36:09.46]so Pym resorted to an Act of Attainder instead.
[36:13.38]This merely required a burden of suspicion.
[36:17.30]When Strafford had spoken of an Irish army reducing the kingdom,
[36:21.50]hadn't he meant England, argued Pym.
[36:24.30]But there was one problem: The Act of Attainder needed the signature of the king.
[36:33.54]Poor Charles. Memories of Buckingham must have flooded back into his mind.
[36:39.02]For a king obsessed by loyalty, how could he abandon Strafford, his most faithful ally?
[36:45.26]It was Strafford himself who spared Charles the agony of indecision.
[36:49.54]He knew that only his own death could save the king
[36:53.50]and the country from further upheaval.
[36:56.62]In a final letter written to Charles, Strafford begged the king to do what had to be done.
[37:03.06]May it please your sacred majesty,
[37:05.86]I understand that the minds of men are more and more incensed against me,
[37:10.78]and to set your majesty's conscience at liberty,
[37:13.90]I do most humbly beseech Your Majesty, for preventing of evils
[37:18.06]that may happen by your refusal, to pass the bill.
[37:21.78]Weeping, Charles signed the warrant.
[37:25.46]Strafford was led out onto Tower Green,
[37:28.14]surrounded by jeering crowds, and beheaded.
[37:40.42]Charles never forgave himself for this act of betrayal.
[37:44.46]But it had never occurred to Strafford that his death
[37:48.10]would actually make things worse for Charles rather than better.
[37:51.66]And what happened next was the worst that could happen.
[37:57.90]With Strafford executed, Irish Catholics felt unprotected against Protestant reprisals.
[38:04.14]In a pre-emptive strike, they attacked first.
[38:17.14]Late in 1641, news of Irish killings began filtering through England,
[38:23.14]graphically illustrated by a campaign of atrocity prints.
[38:27.78]Now, bad things did happen, but the usual fantasy pictures of impaled babies
[38:32.90]tripped the wire of Anglo-Protestant paranoia.
[38:40.10]Even worse, it was rumoured that the Catholic rebels claimed
[38:44.54]to be acting on behalf of the king.
[38:46.62]The Puritan press hit the streets screaming, "We're next".
[38:51.06]Charles was painfully aware how costly his dream of a united Britain had become.
[38:56.74]First, the Presbyterian Scots had brought down his personal rule,
[39:00.90]now the mass panic triggered by the Catholic Irish
[39:04.14]threatened to finish off his power altogether.
[39:10.26]With events spiralling out of control, Pym saw this was
[39:13.70]the moment to try and strip the king of virtually all his authority.
[39:17.82]Charles's response was to try to arrest him.
[39:20.78]But Pym and four other parliamentary leaders had been tipped off
[39:24.46]that the king was marching on parliament with an armed guard.
[39:28.14]They waited till the last moment and slipped out of the back.
[39:31.66]Charles was left empty-handed.
[39:37.22]It was an unmitigated fiasco.
[39:40.38]The gamble had only been worthwhile so long as Charles was sure of total success.
[39:46.10]Exposed now, just as Pym had wanted, as a naked, abject failure,
[39:52.02]Charles appeared to be something worse than a despot - a blundering despot.
[39:59.94]Both sides were moving fast beyond any point of reconciliation.
[40:04.94]Pym made it clear that parliament now needed to protect itself
[40:08.82]and England from the king.
[40:10.98]It set about raising an army.
[40:13.90]In July 1642, Bulstrode Whitelocke thought out loud about the abyss facing the country.
[40:21.78]It is strange to note how insensibly we have slipped into this
[40:26.14]beginning of a civil war by one unexpected accident after another,
[40:31.02]as waves of the sea would have brought us this far and which we scarce know how.
[40:36.94]What the issue shall be, no man alive can tell.
[40:40.82]Probably few of us here may live to see the end of it.
[40:47.30]What's truly amazing and touching about the spring and summer of 1642
[40:51.90]is the abundance of evidence we have about the agonies of allegiance:
[40:56.22]The real soul searching that people went through
[40:59.14]when they were pondering the most painful and weightiest decision of their lives -
[41:03.30]which side to join themselves to, and how earnestly and how honestly
[41:08.06]they tried to justify that decision to their families,
[41:11.50]their friends and not least, to themselves.
[41:15.98]Cruellest of all, it tore fathers away from sons.
[41:20.38]The sad history of one Buckinghamshire family says it all.
[41:25.54]The Verneys had been the very model of a loving, companionable gentry family,
[41:31.14]but they were torn apart in this crisis.
[41:34.06]Ralph had sat next to his father during the great parliaments of 1640,
[41:39.34]but now he not only expressed support for the parliamentary cause
[41:43.86]but actually swore the oath required of all members after the militia ordinance.
[41:49.22]Now, oaths were very serious things in the 17th century,
[41:53.78]and taking this one split Ralph not only from his father,
[41:57.38]but from his hothead younger Royalist brother Edmund,
[42:00.82]who failed to see why Ralph should not be honouring not only his father but the king.
[42:07.38]And yet, and yet, the Verneys did remain a family.
[42:12.86]Ralph had made his vow to parliament,
[42:15.54]but his father felt under obligation to Charles.
[42:18.54]It was a bond of personal loyalty which held,
[42:21.74]despite Edmund having little enthusiasm for what the king had done.
[42:27.66]I do not like the quarrel and do heartily wish that the king would yield
[42:32.62]and consent to what they desire, so that my conscience is only concerned
[42:37.10]in honour and gratitude to follow my master.
[42:41.82]I have eaten his bread and served him near 30 years
[42:46.82]and will not do so base a thing as to forsake him.
[42:54.06]In the third week of August, 1642, Charles raised his standard.
[42:59.50]The Rubicon had been crossed.
[43:02.22]The honour of holding Charles's personal flag in the battle fell to Sir Edmund Verney.
[43:07.46]He swore only death would prise it from his hands.
[43:21.78]By the time the Royalist army arrived at Edgehill,
[43:25.10]its prospects had been transformed.
[43:27.26]It was now about 20,000 strong,
[43:29.78]about 14,000 of whom took up position on the ridge in the afternoon of October 22nd.
[43:36.78]At the top of the hill were the king and his two sons,
[43:40.42]Charles, the Prince of Wales, and the nine-year-old James, Duke of York,
[43:44.06]along with Prince Rupert and his toy poodle, Boy.
[43:48.62]It was here that Charles I planted his flag.
[44:00.02]In mid-afternoon, the commander of the parliamentary army, the Earl of Essex,
[44:04.90]began to cannonade the Royalist infantry.
[44:07.98]Balls thudded and hissed in the grass, taking a life here, a limb there.
[44:14.22]Then Prince Rupert led his cavalry forward down the hill.
[44:18.34]For the men in the parliament lines, watching a distant trot turn into a canter
[44:23.62]and then a charge, and seeing their own muskets have no effect
[44:27.58]on the suddenly terrifyingly hurtling horsemen, the moment of truth had arrived.
[44:40.10]War slammed into them.
[44:42.38]Big dark horses, bright, deadly steel. They panicked and broke,
[44:47.18]Rupert's horsemen following fleeing troopers all the way to the baggage train.
[44:51.94]Rupert must have thought this was going to be easy.
[44:56.10]But by now the parliamentary infantry had crawled forward,
[44:59.34]the two great phalanxes of pikemen heaving and pushing at each other
[45:03.66]amidst the musket fire until they dropped of exhaustion.
[45:09.90]Somewhere amidst the smoke, fire and steel was Sir Edmund Verney.
[45:14.94]The royal standard clenched in his hand made him an obvious target.
[45:19.22]They never even found his corpse.
[45:21.86]# There lies a knight slain under his shield, with a down... #
[45:36.14]In the following months, the war broke down into grim, grinding local conflicts.
[45:41.22]Parliament held on to London,
[45:43.30]the king tried to nail down bases of strength in the north and south-west.
[45:49.18]The south-western campaign was especially savage.
[45:53.18]Towns like Exeter and Taunton changed hands.
[45:56.42]Local families were divided between brothers and cousins.
[45:59.74]Old friends became new enemies.
[46:02.82]Two such opponents, men in every other respect virtually indistinguishable,
[46:07.50]were William Waller, a parliamentary general, and Ralph Hopton, a Royalist.
[46:12.74]In a lull in the fighting, Hopton wrote to Waller asking for a meeting.
[46:17.62]Waller felt he had to turn him down,
[46:19.78]but wrote back in terms which spoke of the deep sorrow he felt at their broken friendship.
[46:25.26]It's the classic lament of this terrible civil war.
[46:30.06]To my noble friend, Sir Ralph.
[46:32.78]Sir, my affections to you are so unchangeable
[46:37.90]that hostility itself cannot violate my friendship to your person.
[46:42.66]But I must be true to the cause wherein I serve.
[46:46.70]That great God which is the searcher of my heart
[46:50.58]knows with what a sad scene I go upon this service,
[46:54.74]and with what a perfect hatred I detest this war without an enemy.
[46:59.34]But I look upon it as an opus domini, enough to silence all passion in me.
[47:05.18]We are both upon the stage and must act parts that are assigned us in this tragedy.
[47:11.50]Let us do it in a way of honour
[47:14.50]and without personal animosities, whatsoever the issue be.
[47:20.38]I shall never relinquish the dear title
[47:23.30]of your most affectionated friend and faithful servant, William Waller.
[47:29.66]The scythe of mortality, always busy, never fussy,
[47:34.06]swept up all kinds and conditions of men - officers and rank and file,
[47:38.90]musketeers and troopers, camp whores and sutlers,
[47:43.82]young apprentices who put on a helmet for the very first time,
[47:48.14]and hardened old mercenaries who'd grown rusty along with their cuirasses,
[47:52.86]soldiers who had no idea where to get a pair of boots or anything to fill their bellies,
[47:58.02]and peasants who simply had absolutely nothing left to give them,
[48:01.90]drummer boys and buglers, captains and cooks.
[48:09.22]By the autumn of 1643, parliament was utterly demoralised.
[48:14.58]Bristol had fallen to the Royalists,
[48:17.02]the king had established a court and a military government in Oxford.
[48:21.26]Many parliamentarians, weary of the poverty and slaughter,
[48:24.82]were making noises about peace.
[48:27.62]Bulstrode Whitelocke wrote:
[48:29.90]Women are weary of their being robbed of children,
[48:33.54]of their chastity and their parents.
[48:36.38]Is it not time for us to be weary of these discords
[48:39.94]and to use our utmost endeavours to put an end to them?
[48:48.14]This was not what John Pym wanted to hear.
[48:51.90]Even as he was dying, tortured by cancer of the bowel,
[48:55.86]to squash a peace movement, he pulled off a last coup which would transform the war.
[49:05.54]On September 25th, 1643, an alliance was struck between parliament and the Scots:
[49:12.14]The Solemn League and Covenant.
[49:14.82]In 1637, Scotland had begun the resistance against Charles I.
[49:20.22]Seven years later, the Covenant would all but finish him off.
[49:27.86]At Marston Moor, outside York, on a wet afternoon in July 1644,
[49:33.30]the full force of the Anglo-Scots alliance hammered the Royalist army.
[49:38.34]It was the bloodiest battle of the war, the cream of Charles's army was annihilated.
[49:44.14]Among the victors was the MP for Cambridge,
[49:47.38]a cavalry officer with iron in his soul.
[49:57.02]His name was Oliver Cromwell, and he was, he thought, doing the Lord's work.
[50:02.86]Cromwell was himself an East Anglian country gentleman,
[50:06.66]but he knew that gentility was no use in this war, only effective fighting men.
[50:12.74]After Edgehill, he had told John Hampden:
[50:15.94]I had rather have a plain russet-coated captain
[50:18.90]that knows what he fights for and loves what he knows
[50:22.14]than that which you call a gentleman and is nothing else.
[50:27.22]In the winter of 1644-45,
[50:30.18]Cromwell and a Yorkshire general, Sir Thomas Fairfax,
[50:33.38]set about to make a new kind of army,
[50:36.50]prepared to accept discipline in return for decent supplies of food, boots and shelter.
[50:41.98]And it would be an army that knew what it was fighting for.
[50:47.46]I fight for the preservation of our parliament,
[50:50.58]in the being whereof, under God, consists the glory and welfare of this kingdom.
[51:04.74]At Naseby, in June 1645,
[51:08.10]the two wings of the New Model Army closed in on a Royalist force about half their size.
[51:14.90]At the end of the fighting, nothing was left of the royal army
[51:18.54]except the dead left strewn across the fields.
[51:27.94]The last Royalist strongholds were taken one by one: Bristol, Carlisle.
[51:33.50]At Basing, in Hampshire, one of the most vicious sieges in a war full of them
[51:38.22]came to a long drawn out bloody conclusion.
[51:44.42]The war was over and parliament had won.
[51:47.42]So finally, God had spoken.
[51:54.30]Surely even Charles could see that?
[51:57.26]Surely that would end the bloodshed and the country could return to reasonableness?
[52:06.22]And there were many in parliament aching for just this -
[52:10.06]a settlement that would allow Charles to keep his throne,
[52:13.70]some kind of return to what had been on the table back in 1642.
[52:25.54]Surely, after all the blunders and bloodshed, the botched coups and the futile slaughters,
[52:31.38]he would do the right thing, he would share power?
[52:35.30]But Charles was constitutionally incapable of being a constitutional king.
[52:41.14]He gagged at the idea of being reduced to a subaltern monarch, taking, not giving, orders.
[52:47.22]The war might be over, for now, but for Charles the plotting was not.
[52:52.18]For the next two years, in a bid to reverse his defeat,
[52:56.06]Charles tried to play off parliament against the army, the army against parliament,
[53:00.54]and the Scots against both.
[53:06.30]Oliver Cromwell finally realised that as long as Charles was around,
[53:10.10]he was always going to be a rallying point for the discontented,
[53:14.22]and there were bound to be a lot of them.
[53:16.90]But Cromwell was also enraged by Charles's presumption at defying the verdict of God,
[53:22.62]so clearly revealed at the battles of Marston Moor and Naseby.
[53:26.94]It was evident then that Charles had to go.
[53:30.30]Whether or not he had to die, that was another matter.
[53:36.62]A second civil war flared up,
[53:39.26]once more requiring from Cromwell all his military ruthlessness.
[53:44.18]With his annihilation of the Royalist Scottish army in 1648 at Preston,
[53:48.98]Charles's final hope had gone.
[53:54.58]Any thought of conciliation with the king was now purest folly.
[54:02.10]Those MPs who persisted in the idea that Charles could be reasoned with
[54:07.14]now had a furious and vengeful army to answer to.
[54:11.14]When Colonel Thomas Pride used his troops to weed out
[54:15.02]any MP suspected of going soft on Charles,
[54:18.62]the country realised there was a new power in the land.
[54:24.90]This was the soldiers' show now.
[54:27.10]Britain belonged to them, and they belonged to God.
[54:30.54]They had no desire to go back to a country of princes, lords and gentlemen.
[54:34.70]They wanted Jerusalem now.
[54:47.06]And they wanted the biggest sinner of them all, the man of blood,
[54:51.02]Charles Stuart, to feel the fire of God's wrath.
[54:57.14]The final question could be addressed - what should happen to Charles?
[55:08.82]Cromwell agonised, prayed and wept,
[55:11.82]beseeched the Lord of Hosts to give him an answer.
[55:15.38]In the end, politics, not prayer, decided it.
[55:19.14]The king would have to die if the country was ever to heal.
[55:23.30]But not done away with in some dark corner.
[55:26.42]No, Charles was going to be tried in the open, then beheaded in public.
[55:31.74]Cut his head off with the crown on it.
[55:35.38]This would be THE great turning point in British history.
[55:39.66]The trial would kill one kind of Britain and give birth to another,
[55:44.22]a republic, a kingless state of God.
[55:48.26]So for both Charles and Oliver Cromwell, the final act would become a theatre,
[55:53.86]a classroom, a debating chamber.
[55:56.66]Charles will play the classic Stuart part, that of holy martyr,
[56:00.70]as his grandmother, Mary, Queen of Scots, had done.
[56:03.74]Imposing, dignified, tragic.
[56:06.78]But he knew as well as Oliver Cromwell did that the outcome was never in doubt.
[56:11.82]The king would die. The only question was as what?
[56:15.82]Martyr or traitor? What had he learned?
[56:19.38]In the end, the answer was... nothing.
[56:27.02]On January 30th, 1649, he was led out through the Banqueting House
[56:32.50]onto the scaffold erected right outside in Whitehall.
[56:36.34]The windows were all boarded up, so Rubens's great anthem
[56:41.06]to the god-like omnipotence of kings was invisible in the gloom,
[56:46.10]the light gone out of it.
[56:52.26]But Charles didn't need the pictures, he had the script off by heart.
[56:58.10]A subject and a sovereign are clean different things.
[57:20.18]So the last words out of Charles I's mouth were the truth.
[57:25.62]With nothing left to lose for himself and everything to gain for his son,
[57:30.30]he was not about to confuse anyone
[57:33.18]about the nature of the kingdom that God had ordained.
[57:36.98]It was the same kingdom that Rubens had painted on that ceiling -
[57:41.42]the anointed sovereign answerable only to the Almighty,
[57:44.98]laying down laws for the benefit of his subjects.
[57:49.58]He offered justice and he expected obedience.
[57:53.74]That was it. Take it or leave it.
[57:56.34]It had always been about that really,
[57:59.10]and all the pious hopes of turning Charles into a parliamentary monarch
[58:03.66]were just so many castles in the air.
The British Wars（1603——1649）
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