Memories of the maimed: the testimony of Charles I’s former soldiers, 1660-1730
History, 88, (290), . (doi:10.1111/1468-229X.00259).
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Historians have paid little attention to the experiences and attitudes of the ordinary men who enlisted in the royalist armies during the English Civil War: chiefly because such individuals most of them poor and unlettered left no formal memoirs of their wartime service behind them. The present article suggests that the petitions for financial relief which were submitted by wounded and impoverished Cavalier veterans after the Restoration can help to bridge this evidential gap and to illuminate the mental world of the king's more humble supporters. By putting the language of the 'maimed soldiers' petitions' under the microscope, it shows how the artisans, husbandmen and labourers who had fought for Charles I viewed the conflict in retrospect. The article begins by considering the strengths and limitations of the petitions themselves and the purposes for which they were initially composed. It then goes on to discuss what these documents reveal: not only about the physical suffering which the king's soldiers had undergone in the field, but also about their views of their comrades, their commanders and their enemies. The article concludes by arguing that the personal and political links which had been forged amid the fiery trials of the Civil War continued to bind together former royalists, of all ranks, for decades after the conflict came to an end.
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