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Title: The Presbyterian party in the Long Parliament, 2 July 1644-3 June 1647
Author: Mahony, Michael Patrick
ISNI:       0000 0001 3616 8321
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 1973
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It is not surprising that most detailed analysis of parliamentary politics during the mid to later 1640s has been directed at the so-called Independent Party. In particular, the work of Mrs. Pearl and David Underdown has achieved a great deal in revealing a clearer picture of the character, personnel and objectives of that party; and in so doing they have also improved our general knowledge of party politics at Westminster. Even so, the detailed character of this recent research has created the need for a similar analysis of those politicians or grandees who constituted the Presbyterian Party. No clear appreciation of party divisions in the two Houses of the parliament is possible without restoring a balance in our understanding of both parties. Indeed, I feel that such a study is essential to enable us to reappraise certain interpretations and to propose different ones where concentration on one area of party politics has resulted in distortion or misleading conclusions. Consequently it has been my purpose in this study of the Presbyterian Party to follow its career from late 1643 to the early autumn of 1647, as well as revealing something of the political background to the alliance of the Scots Comissioners and the Earl of Essex's group. I have also sought to illustrate the conflict in its broadest context by investigating not only how the character of the two 'parties' was affected by the parliamentary tactics they employed, but also the extra-parliamentary contacts and strategy of the Presbyterian party or alliance. Without an understanding of political and religious developments in the City of London, and the intricacies of Montereul's mission, only a partial view of the activities of such leaders as Densil Helles and Sir Philip Stapleton would be obtained. Chapter 1 serves as an introduction to the thesis, and attempts to provide a critical indication of the current state of research into the development of parties in the Long Parliament. I recognise the significance of local and regional interests as factors affecting political activities at Westminster, whilst emphasising the importance of a developing national consciousness amongst the 'grandees' of both Houses in the formation of party groups. I also examine the emergence of religious terms to describe these groups, seeking to ascertain how and why they were adopted and to what extent they reflected the importance of religious differences as the basis of party divisions. The application of religious terms to political groups is traced to royalist confusion, clerical concern for a settled church government in both the Assembly and the City of London, and in particular the preoccupation of the Scottish allies with presbyterianism. Parliamentary sources tend to restrict the political use of the terms 'presbyterian' and 'independent' to the years 1646 and 1647, but I show that the realignment of groups at Westminster which provided the reality behind these terms occurred considerably earlier in the autumn of 1644. Finally I include in Chapter 1 a brief analysis of the Earl of Essex's group or party designed to reveal the political role of the earl and the character of his relationship with his leading advisers in the House of Commons.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: History ; Political parties ; Presbyterians ; Political activity ; Religion and politics ; Politics and government ; 17th century ; Great Britain