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Encyclopedia > Putney Debates

The Putney Debates were a series of discussions between members of the New Model Army and the Levellers, concerning the makeup of a new constitution for England. The debates were held at the Church of St. Mary the Virgin, Putney, in the county of Surrey, starting on October 28, 1647 and lasting until November 11. The New Model Army became the best known of the various Parliamentarian armies in the English Civil War. ... The Levellers were a mid 17th century English political party, who came to prominence during the English Civil Wars. ... Motto: (French for God and my right) Anthem: Multiple unofficial anthems Capital London Largest city London Official language(s) English (de facto) Government Constitutional monarchy  - Queen Queen Elizabeth II  - Prime Minister Tony Blair MP Unification    - by Athelstan AD 927  Area    - Total 130,395 km² (1st in UK)   50,346 sq... St. ... Surrey is a county in southern England, part of the South East England region and one of the Home Counties. ... October 28 is the 301st day of the year (302nd in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 64 days remaining. ... // Events March 14 - Thirty Years War: Bavaria, Cologne, France and Sweden sign the Truce of Ulm. ... November 11 is the 315th day of the year (316th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 50 days remaining. ...


Earlier that summer Oliver Cromwell, Henry Ireton and other officers, known as the Grandees, attempted to negotiate a settlement with Charles I of England in the aftermath of the First Civil War. Their proposals all included a strong monarchy and House of Lords, which lost them the support of the more radical elements among the military and civilian populations. Oliver Cromwell (April 25, 1599 – September 3, 1658) was an English military and political leader, considered by some critics to be a dictator, best known for making England a republic and leading the Commonwealth of England. ... Henry Ireton Henry Ireton (1611 - November 26, 1651), English was a general in the army of Parliament during the English Civil War. ... Spanish nobles are classified either as Grandees (also called Peers) or as Titled Nobles. ... Charles I (19 November 1600 – 30 January 1649) was King of England, Scotland, and Ireland, from 27 March 1625 until his execution in 1649. ... The English Civil War was a series of armed conflicts and political machinations which took place between Parliamentarians and Royalists from 1642 until 1651. ... This article is about the British House of Lords. ...


In October 1647, five of the most radical cavalry regiments elected new Agitators – known as the New Agents – to represent their views. The New Agents issued a political manifesto: The Case of the Armie Truly Stated,[1] and endorsed the constitutional proposals drafted by civilian Levellers in the Agreement of the People.[2] The radicals wanted a constitution based upon manhood suffrage ("one man, one vote"), biennial Parliaments and a reorganisation of parliamentary constituencies. Authority was to be vested in the House of Commons rather than the King and Lords. Certain "native rights" were declared sacrosanct for all Englishmen: freedom of conscience, freedom from impressment into the armed forces and equality before the law. The Agreement of the People (1648) was a social contract for the revolutionary English government. ... The House of Commons is the lower house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. ...


The Grandees responded by inviting the Agitators to debate their proposals before the General Council of the Army. Fairfax was not present, so Cromwell hosted. Cromwell flatly refused to accept any compromise in which the King was overthrown, while Henry Ireton (son-in-law of Oliver Cromwell) pressed the case that his own The Heads of the Proposals[3] covered all of the concerns raised by the New Agents in The Case of the Armie while being far less radical. The Agitators accepted the meeting, sending Colonel Thomas Rainsborough (M.P. for Droitwich) John Wildman, and Edward Sexby as their representitives. Henry Ireton Henry Ireton (1611 - November 26, 1651), English was a general in the army of Parliament during the English Civil War. ... Oliver Cromwell (April 25, 1599 – September 3, 1658) was an English military and political leader, considered by some critics to be a dictator, best known for making England a republic and leading the Commonwealth of England. ... Thomas Rainsborough (c 1610- 29? October 1648) was a leading figure in the English Civil War. ... A Member of Parliament, or MP, is a representative elected by the voters of an electoral district to a parliament; in the Westminster system, specifically to the lower house. ... Droitwich Spa is a town in northern Worcestershire, England. ... Sir John Wildman (c. ... Edward Sexby (1616 - January 13, 1658) was an English Puritan soldier and Leveller in the army of Oliver Cromwell. ...


The debates opened on October 28, and were transcribed by secretary William Clarke and a team of stenographers. From November 2, however, all recording ceased. The debates were not reported and Clarke's minutes were not published at the time. They were lost until 1890 when they were rediscovered at the library of Worcester College, Oxford and subsequently published as part of the Clarke Papers. October 28 is the 301st day of the year (302nd in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 64 days remaining. ... Shorthand is a writing method that can be done at speed because an abbreviated or symbolic form of language is used. ... November 2 is the 306th day of the year (307th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 59 days remaining. ... Worcester College is one of the constituent colleges of the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom. ...


Cromwell and Ireton's main complaint about the Agreement was that it included terms for near universal male sufferage, which Ireton considered to be anarchy. Instead they suggested suffrage should be limited only to landholders. The Agitators, on the other hand, felt they deserved the rights in payment for their service during the war. Thus Rainsborough, for the Levellers:- Suffrage is the civil right to vote, or the exercise of that right. ...

For really I think that the poorest he that is in England have a life to live, as the greatest he: and therefore truly, sir, I think it's clear, that every man that is to live under a government ought first by his own consent to put himself under that government.

And Ireton, for the Grandees:-

no man hath a right to an interest or share in the disposing of the affairs of the kingdom... that hath not a permanent fixed interest in this kingdom.[4]

Eventually a compromise of sorts was arranged, the Agitators agreeing to exclude servants and beggars, the Grandees agreeing that all soldiers of the war were entitled.


The debates concluded with the understanding that the Agreement would not be the basis of the Army's official constitutional reform, but that it would be presented to the Army itself at a mass meeting. However, Grandees feared a complete breakdown of discipline in the Army, and on the 8 November proposed that everyone return at once to their regiments to restore order. This was reinforced when on 11 November King Charles' escaped from Hampton Court bringing all debate to an end now that all in the New Model Army were faced with a more immediate threat. A new group then met to draw up a manifesto in the name of Lord-General Fairfax and the Army Council to be presented to the troops in place of the Levellers' Agreement. November 8 is the 312th day of the year (313th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 53 days remaining. ... November 11 is the 315th day of the year (316th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 50 days remaining. ... The clock tower straddles the entrance between the inner and outer courts Hampton Court Palace is a former royal place on the north bank of the River Thames in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames about 12 miles (19 km) southwest and upstream of Central London, nowadays open to... A manifesto is a public declaration of principles and intentions, often political in nature. ...


The presentation itself was split from one mass meeting to three smaller ones. Those regiments invited to the first meeting on November 15 agreed with the manifesto, but two regiments arrived uninvited and objected sparking the Corkbush Field mutiny. Cromwell suppressed the mutiny and at the other two meetings the other regiments agreed to the terms in the manifesto. November 15 is the 319th day of the year (320th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 46 days remaining. ... The Corkbush Field Mutiny, occurred on November 17, 1647 at the Corkbush Field rendezvous, when some soldiers objected to sign a declaration of loyalty to Thomas Fairfax, the commander-in-chief of the New Model Army (NMA), and the Army Council. ...


See also

The English Civil War was a series of armed conflicts and political machinations which took place between Parliamentarians and Royalists from 1642 until 1651. ... The Corkbush Field Mutiny, occurred on November 17, 1647 at the Corkbush Field rendezvous, when some soldiers objected to sign a declaration of loyalty to Thomas Fairfax, the commander-in-chief of the New Model Army (NMA), and the Army Council. ... // Events March 14 - Thirty Years War: Bavaria, Cologne, France and Sweden sign the Truce of Ulm. ... The Bishopsgate mutiny occurred in April 1649 on when soldiers in the regiment of Colonel Edward Whalleys regiment of the New Model Army refused to obey orders and leave London. ... // Events January 30 - King Charles I of England, Scotland and Ireland is beheaded. ... The Banbury mutiny was a mutiny by soldiers in the New Model Army. ... // Events January 30 - King Charles I of England, Scotland and Ireland is beheaded. ... Woodcut from a Diggers document by William Everard The Diggers were a group, begun by Gerrard Winstanley as True Levellers in 1649, who became known as Diggers due to their activities. ...

References

Footnotes

  1. ^ http://www.worldcatlibraries.org/wcpa/top3mset/033279ca40f9e661a19afeb4da09e526.html The Case of the Armie Truly Stated
  2. ^ The Agreement of the People as presented to the Council of the Army October 1647 (alternative site)
  3. ^ The Heads of the Proposals offered by the Army
  4. ^ Quotations as given by E. P. Thompson The Making of the English Working Class

  Results from FactBites:
 
Putney - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1001 words)
Putney is a middle-class district in the London Borough of Wandsworth.
Putney is situated on the southern bank of the Thames opposite Fulham.
Mary's Church, Putney in 1647, representatives of the New Model Army held the so-called Putney Debates on the constitutional future of England.
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