Solemn League and Covenant

The Royal successes of 1643 distressed alike the English Parliament and the Scottish nation, who now began to fear the loss of all the political meliorations they had wrested from the king. The two Parliaments therefore entered, in July, into a Solemn League and Covenant, for prosecuting the war in concert, with the view of ultimately settling both church and state in a manner consistent with the liberties of the people. In terms of this bond, the Scots raised an army of twenty-one thousand men, who entered England in January 1644; and on the 1st of July, in company with a large body of English forces, overthrew the king's northern army on Long Marston Moor.

The defeat was severely felt by the king. He gained a victory over Waller at Copredy Bridge, and caused Essex's army to capitulate in Corn wall (September 1); but in consequence of a second fight at Newbury (October 27), in which he suffered a defeat, he was left at the end of the campaign with greatly diminished resources. A new negotiation was commenced at Uxbridge; but the terms asked by the Parliament were so exorbitant, as to show no sincere desire of ending the war.

In truth, though the Presbyterian party were perhaps anxious for peace, there was another party, now fast rising into importance, who were actuated by no such wishes. These were the Independents, a body of men who wished to see a republic established in the state, and all formalties whatever removed from the national religion. Among the leaders of the party was Oliver Cromwell, whose mind seems to have already become inspired with lofty views of personal aggrandizement. This extraordinary man had sufficient address to carry a famous act called the Self-Denying Ordinance, which ostensibly aimed at depriving all members of the legislature of commands in the army, but had the effect only of displacing a few noblemen who were obnoxious to his designs. He also carried an act for modeling the army anew, in which process he took care that all who might be expected to oppose his views should be excluded. It was this party more particularly that prevented any accommodation taking place between the king and his subjects.