The People Wanted the King Back in 1646- How Accurate Was This Statement?

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In 1646, Charles’ hopes of winning the civil war were beyond bleak following the crushing defeating at the battle of Naseby. Curiously however, the majority of the population wanted the reinstatement of Charles. Rule by Parliament’s ruthless County Committees were arguably worse than that endured during Charles’ Personal Rule. After four years of ‘a war without an enemy’ people sought the peace and stability associated with the monarch figurehead: Charles. Additionally, suspicions had risen of radical parliamentarians and the people were reliant on Charles’ return to stop this. These reasons are the main factors for Charles’ support in 1646. Charles’ return to the throne would have meant an end to Parliament’s County Committees, which many felt were worse than living under Charles’ rule. A large portion of the population had suffered the brutal dominion of the County Committees, which only worsened as the war progressed and Parliament became more desperate to finance the war. Primarily made up of fiercely loyal Puritans, the County Committees were efficient in reaching the monthly quotas set by Parliament. Financial quotas that scaled the country and permitted carte blanche in the form of ordinance ‘to employ however men they saw fit’; securing the manpower for greatest efficiency. Particularly cruel to royalists, in 1643, a wife in Kent petitioned against a 5% charge on an already seized estate which had left them with no means to raise funds to pay. The petition is illustrative of the support against the ruthless and illogical enforcement of the County Committees, in turn increasing support for Charles. Additionally, 1643 saw an ordinance to seize all horses in London, despite the London majority being in favour of Parliament they still suffered similar ordinances which had become commonplace as the war progressed, all strictly enforced by the County Committees.
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