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S.R Gardiner
Cavaliers and Roundheads
Part one.
The Civil War, the outbreak of which was announced by the floating of Charles's standard on the hill at Nottingham, was rendered inevitable by the inadequacy of the intellectual methods of the day to effect a reconciliation between opposing moral and social forces, which derived their strength from the past development of the nation. The personal characters of the leaders might do much to shorten or prolong the time of open warfare, but no permanent restoration of harmony would be oossible till some compromise, which would give security alike to the disciples of Hooker and to the disciples of Calvin, had been not only thought out by the few, but generally accepted by the many.
On both sides the religious difficulty was complicated by a political difficulty; and, on the King's side at all events, it was from those who were least under the influence of religious motives that the loudest cry for war was heard. Men who had served in armies abroad, and who were familiar with the license of camps; cavaliers who had stood by Charles on the day of baffled hopes when he had swooped down in vain upon the five members at Westminster, combined in that cry with many a gentleman of high temper and generous instincts, who might be indifferent to the character of the theology which was inculcated from the pulpits, but whose moral irregularities gave him good reason to dread the stern pressure of Puritan austerity.
Such men soon discovered a leader in Charles's own nephew, Rupert, who, with the true instinct of a soldier, had come, bringing his younger brother, Maurice, with him, to place his sword at his uncle's disposal almost at the moment when his elder brother, the Elector Palatine, was slinking away from England to avoid the necessity of making a choice between two parties, either of which might one day be useful to him in supporting his pretensions in Germany. Of Rupert, it was truly said that he was first and last a soldier. Coming, at the age of twenty-three, to _,, that England which he had only seen as a visitor, it was not likely that he , would interest himself in the deeper side of the controversy in which he lightly engaged. It was enough for him that he had rebels to contend against. Unfortunately for the cause to which he attached himself, he came from a land in which the soldier was e\erything and the civilian ,. nothing. He despised courtiers and politicians as heartily as he despised rebels. If lie wisely regarded as unintelligible the scruples of those who thought it possible to make war in a legal and constitutional way, he also, with less wisdom, set his face against those who thought it possible to bring the war to an end otherwise than by complete victory.
If Rupert had been as fit to conduct a war as he was to lead a charge of cavalry, it would have gone hard with the King's enemies. As it was, he knew how to inspire his followers with his own dashing energy and untiring courage, but he could neither plan a campaign nor even conduct a battle. Charles at once appointed him General of the Horse. From one point of view no better selection could be made. There was no fear now that the royal cavalry would turn their backs upon the enemy as, three years before, they had turned their backs, under Holland's command, upon the Scots at Kelso. From another point of view the appointment was disastrous. Rupert demanded and obtained the privilege of taking orders from the King alone. The Earl of Lindsey, devoted to the Royalist cause, and trained in the severe school of the Dutch war, had been named Commander-in-chief, but was now informed that the cavalry was net within his sphere of notion. By this strange arrangement, Charles repeated in the field the mistaken tactics of his Cabinet. He wished to be himself supreme in war as he had wished to be supreme in government, and, as Strafford and Laud had found to their cost, his only notion of the way in which supremacy was to be secured was never to give his entire confidence to any single person.
In his joyous and abounding self-confidence, and in his contemptuous hatred of rebels. Rupert found himself in accord with a feeling which prevailed even among the more sober Royalists. That rebellion was an unpardonable crime, was a maxim which had been inculcated upon three generations of Englishmen. It had grown up at a time when almost blind obedience to the Sovereign had alone guaranteed the nation-first against feudal anarchy at home, and afterwards against spiritual and military aggression from abroad. Such an opinion was certain to retain its hold upon Englishmen long after the cause which had brought it into existence had passed away; and there were not a few round Charles at Nottingham in whose minds the political creed which they had received from their fathers had been rekindled by the adverse gusts of Puritanism.
Puritanism not only formed the strength of the Opposition to Charles, but the strength of England itself. Parliamentary liberties, and even Parliamentary control, were worth contending for; but on these points it would not have been difficult to discover some working compromise sufficient, if not to satisfy Charles, at least to satisfy his more reasonable supporters. On the other hand, the Parliamentary leaders had not yet committed themselves to the adoption of the complete Presbyterian system, which, with its apparatus of Church courts and its rigid orthodoxy, was almost as terrible in the eyes of those who looked hopefully to the free play of cultivated intelligence as it was to those who merely wished to give the rein to their animal passions. Yet even this Presbyterian ism covered something greater than itself. The laws by which the progress of human society is governed work not irrespective of human agency, but by the influence of surrounding conditions upon human wills, whereby the activity of those wills is roused to react upon the conditions. Therefore, it is not enough that the intellect be cultivated, or that forms of government or of worship be established to nourish the social feelings. Knowledge may cover the earth as the waters cover the sea, order may be secured, and reverence may be shown where reverence is due, but unless the resolute will be there to struggle onwards and upwards towards an ideal higher still, the gift will have been bestowed in vain.

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