Constitutional Royalism and the Search for Settlement, c.1640-1649

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'Constitutional Royalism' is one of the most familiar yet least often examined of all the political labels found in the historiography of the English Revolution. This book fills a gap by investigating the leading Constitutional Royalists who rallied to King Charles I in 1642 while consistently urging him to reach an 'accommodation' with Parliament. These Royalists' early careers reveal that a commitment to the rule of law and a relative lack of 'godly' zeal were the characteristic predictors of Constitutional Royalism in the Civil War. Such attitudes explain why many of them criticised the policies of the King's personal rule, but also why they joined the King in 1642 and tried to achieve a negotiated settlement thereafter. The central chapters examine their role in the peace talks of the 1640s and assess why those talks broke down. The final part of the book traces the Constitutional Royalists through the Interregnum - during which they consciously withdrew from public life - to the Restoration, when many of them returned to prominence and saw their ideas vindicated. A concluding chapter reviews the long-term legacy of Constitutional Royalism and its specific contribution to the politics of the English Revolution. Throughout, the story of the Constitutional Royalists is set within the wider context of seventeenth-century English political history and thought.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This pioneering study makes a significant contribution to our understanding of England's resistance to the surge of absolutism and is required reading for all serious scholars of the period." History

"Smith's book is well written and based on impressive research on primary printed and manuscript sources. Its great value is that it traces the careers of a core group of ten advocates of constitutional Royalism, analyzes their thoughts and actions at length, and looks at their impact on attempts to find negotiated settlements during the 1640s, at the time of the restoration of the monarchy in 1660, and even after the Glorious Revolution of 1688. In skillfully charting an important feature of the middle ground in seventeenth-century political life, which emphasized moderation and continuity with the past, Smith has made a welcome and important contribution." The Historian

"Political thought is an area in which David L. Smith is particularly strong....His well-planned, elegantly executed book is a pleasure to read." Austin Woolrych, Times Literary Supplement

"Smith's readers should be...greatful for his longitudinal efforts in reading constitutuinal royalism across two centuries and his close-context reading of it in light of the push for a negotiated settlement....his study ought to re-awaken interest in the sort of constitutional history that so far from being 'sterile' holds the deed to the agora of public affairs:the juncture of politics, institutions, social arangements, and religion." Michael Mendle, Albion

"Although many of his conclusions will not surprise historians familiar with recent work on the Civil War, Smith provides a much fuller and more precise picture of his subject than any previously available." R. Malcolm Smuts, American Historical Review

"This book is a valuable contribution to the historiography of seventeenth-century Stuart politics....should serve as a stimulating point of departure for further discussion on the major political trends and ideological continuities of seventeenth-century England." James B. McSwain, Sixteenth Century Journal

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Product Details

Table of Contents

List of abbreviations
A note on quotations, sources, dates and terminology
Pt. I The Origins of Constitutional Royalism 1
1 Introduction: themes, debates, sources 3
2 Context: the early Stuarts and the early Stuart constitution 16
3 Early careers of the main exponents 39
4 Formation and convergence, 1640-1642 62
Pt. II Constitutional Royalism in theory and Practice, 1642-1649 107
5 Chronological outline: negotiations formal and informal 109
6 Issues and sticking-points 143
7 The theory of Constitutional Royalism 219
Pt. III Constitutional Royalism in Perspective 257
8 Epilogue: Constitutional Royalism from Regicide to Restoration 259
9 Legacy: an ideology vindicated? 290
10 Conclusion: assessment and evaluation 318
Bibliography 333
Index 358
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