29th January 1645.
Two factions met at Uxbridge, near London, Today in 1645, with the Royalists on the south side and the Parliamentarians on the north side of the town.
The meeting which began next day-The Treaty of Uxbridge-was a significant and abortive attempt to reconcile the opposing parties, in the first period of the English civil war. The meeting was set to drag on until 22nd February.
The Duke of Richmond was the leader of the Royalist Commissioners, whilst the Earl of Northumberland spoke for the Parliamentarians; the Scots, whose alliance was pivotal for both sides, were led by the Earl of Loudoun.(1)
Overtures at reconciliation, had been ‘made by His Majesty’ between January and March 1644, but the two Parliamentary Houses ‘conceiving that they were not sufficiently owned to be a parliament returned an Expostulatory letter’. Things didn’t look favourable.
On 28th January, the King had granted a safe conduct travel ‘Pass’, to the two ‘Houses’ from Oxford, where he had made his base with the petition entrusted to Sir Edward Wardour, Clerk of the Pells, along with Dr Dukeson, Dr Fuller and four or five others,
Later in the year they were conveyed to a ‘mean inn at the sign of the Katherine Wheel, next [to] St. John’s Colledge'(sic). The next day the Propositions of the Houses were presented to the King and it was these which were discussed at the Treaty of Uxbridge, the following January.(2)
One of the essential conditions at Uxbridge was that Presbyterianism be established south of the Scottish border and that the parliaments of England and Scotland were to take control over military matters.
The Solemn League and Covenant was to be accepted by the King and imposed on all his subjects. The Episcopy was to be abolished in England, Ireland and Scotland. Commissioners from English and Scottish parliaments were to co-operate in directing the war in Ireland.(3)
In response, the king offered to rein in the powers of the Episcopate in religious matters and to give Parliament some control over the military, but this was to be limited to three years.
From the outset there was little hope of agreement as Charles wanted bishops, and the military success of Montrose in Scotland caused the King to think victory was a possibility.
Also the division between the Scots and the English parliamentary factions was deemed a weakness. Then there was no enthusiasm for the Treaty by the Army’s ‘war party’ in Parliament, which was planning the New Model Army, who convinced of their invincibility, wanted to fight to the bitter end.
The failure of Uxbridge left the Covenanters and Moderates in Westminster, no option but to continue the war, which was to result in the execution of a king in 1649, and a republic!
(1) John Thurloe, Cromwell’s spymaster was in 1645 Secretary to the Parliamentary Commission.
(2) St. John’s Oxford was a great financial supporter of the King.
(3) Solemn League was an agreement of the Scottish Covenanters to support the Parliamentarians.
Ref: Pic Ref. GoogleImages/albion photos.flickr.com.
Ref: british_history.ac.uk/rushworth-papers. vol 5 pp.787-843. Originally pub by D. Browne, London 1721. Treaty Collections. Treaty of Uxbridge 1645.
Ref: bcw-project.org/church-and state Uxbridge Treaty 1645.
Ref: Thomas Fuller and Treaty of Uxbridge. Wikipedia.