Montrose’s string of victories appeared all the more noteworthy because of the lack of activity on the part of the joint army of Covenanters and the Parliamentary roundheads. After Marston Moor, there seemed to be a relunctance on the part of Manchester to strike the Royalist army. Perhaps the Earl had become disillusioned by the news of Montrose’s successes. There were even rumors that Manchester and others in the army were intent on making a negotiated peace with the King, which would mean that he would still retain equal power with the Parliament. Having been a member of Parliament and understanding its conflicts with Charles, Cromwell began to engage in a dispute with Manchester, his commanding officer. The dispute eventually was brought before the English Parliament, where Cromwell pointed out the ineptitude of Manchester and other officers who were intent on obtaining a compromise with the King and his Royalist forces. It is said that in the heat of the moment Cromwell noted his distrust and dislike for the Parliament’s new allies, the Scottish Presbyterians.

Oliver Cromwell
~ From the private collection of Larry D. Smith.
From The Life Of Oliver Cromwell, Lord Protector Of The Commonwealth Of England, Scotland, And Ireland. 1755

  The dispute between Cromwell and Manchester threatened to detract from the English Parliament’s business of carrying on the war. The result of the dispute, therefore, was the proposal of the Self-Denying Ordinance which called for all members of parliament who also held positions in the army to chose one or the other. The House of Lords opposed the Ordinance at first, rightly fearing that it would remove many nobles from positions of influence. The Self-Denying Ordinance was passed on 3 April, 1645. The changes that would follow led to the reorganization of the structure of the army. The New Model Army emerged as a result. And although most of the officers who also held seats in Parliament were forced to relinquish their commands, Cromwell was not. When Cromwell appeared at the army’s headquarters at Windsor, on 19 April, to surrender his commission, he was given a new assignment as the Lieutenant of the New Model Army’s Cavalry. His leadership of the Cavalry would result in victories at Naseby on 14 June, 1645 and Long Sutton in July.

  A few minor skirmishes followed the Battle of Long Sutton near Langport, but the First English Civil War effectively came to an end on 20 June, 1646 when the New Model Army was informed of the surrender of King’s army headquarters at Oxford. But when they arrived for him, they found that Charles had slipped away under a disguise. Charles traveled northward and appeared at Leslie’s encampment near Newark. He requested their backing now, professing to have always had a special love for his native Scotland. The Covenanters had no special love for Charles. That, and the fact that one of the conditions the Scots set for giving the King refuge was that Montrose would disband his army worked against the King. Montrose was not operating under the directions of the Royalists, so the negotiations came to nothing for the King. Leslie withdrew his army away from Newark leaving Charles to fend for himself against the English Parliamentary forces.

  As it turned out, the King was handed over as a captive (or rather, sold) to his English enemies by the Scots, who felt they would never be able to convince him of their right to Presbyterianism.

  Meanwhile south of the border, the men who made up the rank and file of the New Model Army had not been paid as they had been promised by Parliament when they enlisted. The First English Civil War had now come to an end, and the soldiers wanted to be paid. The English Parliament, which was by this time controlled by the conservatives, with Denzil Holles as their main speaker, who wanted to establish for the nation a form of church similar to the Scottish Presbyterian model. These conservatives made the decision to disband the army because it was now more of a burden than a asset. Their plan was to disband the army without making any provision for the backpay due to the soldiers. They also objected to the idea that the government should be required to pay anything to the widows of those soldiers who had been killed during the war. To top it all off, the Parliament again voted to enforce the Self-Denying Ordinance - an action most definitely aimed at Oliver Cromwell, who had returned as a Member of Parliament when the war ended.

  The members of Parliament who were allied against Cromwell did not realize the love his soldiers had for him. They started a rebellion over the subject of the lack of backpay, and expanded it to the insistence that they retain their beloved commander, Cromwell. The English Parliament had recently received custody of King Charles from the Scots. The fact of the matter was that the Scots had sold Charles to a delegation of English Parliamentary Commissioners for the promise of payment in the amount of £400,000. The soldiers decided to take the King hostage and to use him as collateral in their bid for justice. On 3 June, 1647, as a group of soldiers under the guidance of Cornet Joyce took the King captive, an army council consisting of the chief officers, made a declaration to the Parliament that they would not disband until their grievances were settled satisfactorily. When questioned by what authority they acted, the news that the King was now in the custody of the army was announced. The one demand of the soldiers that they be commanded by Cromwell was made null and void when Cromwell made the decision himself to join the mutinying army. He accepted the leadership of the army under the condition that, although a council be established consisting of a general, two commissioned officers and two privates from each regiment, he have final authority over any decision. Therefore, in early June 1647, with General Oliver Cromwell at its head, the New Model Army became the dominant force, the ruling power, of England.

  Many of the more militant factions of the army urged Cromwell to march on London and rid the Parliament of the conservative / Presbyterian sympathizer members. At first Cromwell was not in agreement with that course of action. On 15 June, the Army Council sent to the Parliament a Declaration of the Army which called for the immediate expulsion of Denzil Holles and his supporters. The Declaration also called for the dissolution of the Parliament so that a new election of members would be more in tune with the needs of the nation. In July, anti-army riots broke out in the city, and Holles began to raise an army for the defense of the city against the New Model Army. The Independent members of the Parliament, including William Lenthal, the Speaker of the Parliament left London to take refuge with the army then encamped on Hounslow Heath. On 6 August, 1647 the army marched into and took control of the city of London. Holles and his supporters fled as the army entered the city.