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An Angry Leader, and a Dawning Kingdom - May to September, 1646
When the news finally hit Cromwell and his men in Wales that Charles I, his family, and his most trusted band of loyalists had escaped. He put out an open call and open bounty to both commanding officers and soldiers, to capture those who held information to where the king could possibly be heading. Though, they had no such luck. As the only group who actually held knowledge of Charles’ location and plans, were his most trusted loyalists, who escaped with him the same day. The Parliamentarian forces, continued their search of any information to where Charles could’ve left to. The House of Commons went as far as hiring common peasants to help in their aid to track down Charles and his group. On May 11th, when the Parliamentarian forces were ordered to move out and continue their clean up of the royalists within the region, they came across someone who they believe would know where Charles I would escape to. Prince Rupert of the Rhineland.
Rupert was originally ordered by Charles I, to help escort him to the Scottish border, where he could hopefully seek refuge from the Parliamentarian forces. Rupert’s first sight upon coming to Oxford was the Parliamentarian colors, flying where the royalists’ should’ve been. He still believed Charles I was still held up in Oxford and made a desperate attack on the town and castle to protect his ally. He would soon figure out from captured Parliamentarian soldiers, that Charles had escaped near the end of April, and were currently searching for Charles and his band of escapees. Rupert hearing this would order an immediate retreat from Oxford, to regroup to a more defensible position in the county. While retreating Rupert would sustain a bullet to the upper part of his arm, from a raiding party, sent ahead by Thomas Fairfax to slow down Rupert’s retreat. Thinking he would know where Charles would be. They would get no such opportunity to seize Rupert, as he had split off from his assisting officer, Sir Thomas Glenham, who served as a distraction for Rupert’s get away. Glenham would eventually be captured by Fairfax and his men, meanwhile Sir William Waller, was sent to hopefully track down Rupert, he had no such luck. With no information gathered from Glenham or any of his troops, Fairfax was to send Glenham to be tried in court in front of the House of Commons. On the 17th of May, reports came from a local port town that, a man long brown haired man and his troops boarded a ship, the man seemed to have suffered a sever injury in the upper part of his arm. By the time the House of Commons and Cromwell heard of both Rupert’s escape and no new information about Charles’ location, they were set on ending the war in England first, then finding Charles location.
Cromwell and the Parliamentarian forces made quick work of the remaining royalists, quickly stomping out any resistance in Northern Wales or in Cornwall. After securing the nation from royalists forces, the Parliament and Cromwell immediately set out on hopefully tracking down Charles. The sent diplomats to the two most suspicious nations. The Rhineland, thinking that Rupert may have tricked them and Scotland, thinking that the distraction caused in Oxford would buy Charles time. Both nations denied him hiding out in their kingdoms, they were surprised by Rupert and his kingdom’s denial of harboring him. They then set off diplomats to Normandy, France, and the Irish isles. Both came up negative. It was not until late June, that Cromwell and Parliament learned that Charles had sought passage to their colonies in the Americas from a merchant by the name of Ainsley Smith. To say Cromwell was upset was an understatement…
The decision made by Charles was not without rationalization. For a long time he had considered escaping to Scotland, and only realized later on that it might not be the best idea. The colonies in Virginia, being one of the only places that would accept Charles, was probably the best place for him to spend his time outside of England. On the tenth of July, 1646, in a document known as the “Declaration of Dominance”, Charles declared Virginia the true “place of rule” of England. He didn’t declare independence, since he believed the place of rule was where he lived. He called the place of his new rule the “English Kingdom of Carolina”, symbolizing both the roots of the nation, as well as the person who discovered the land it was built off of. Soon after he did this, he publicly denounced Cromwell’s rule, calling it “fortuitous” and “unconscionable”. He ruled from a small house in Jamestown, but didn’t let the information about the place of his rule get far. News of his residence in Virginia. didn’t get back to Britain until early August, but when it did, Cromwell became quite quite angry.
“I had never seen a man get so red and upset over such a piece of news. Cromwell was as red as a ripe radish, sweating, eyes bulged out, his voice even wavered for a bit. I was thinking that Fairfax was going to get up out of his seat and knock him on the floor. Before he hurt anyone… or even himself for that matter. Luckily a little alcohol calmed the man down. It usually does. At least that’s what my Mary says.” - From the diary of House of Commons Representative, Neville Hayward.
After hearing about Cromwell’s reaction, Charles only became more adamant in his claims. People who supported Charles began to flock to Virginia, better known as “Carolina”. By late August, most of the people living in the southern colonies agreed that Charles was a good ruler, especially since he actually lived in the same region that they did, and not across an entire ocean. A high “dissenting” (against Cromwell, anyway) population arose, and any pro-Cromwell person who tried to find Charles’ place of rule was quickly turned back. This early period of Carolinian history was chaotic at best, and caused many small battles and arguments to break out in bars and taverns. The largest of these was on September 13th. In the very small town of Charleston, founded by Carolinian supporters, some of Cromwell’s agents attacked a group of houses, setting fire to the entire main street. However, they were quickly turned back, and two were publicly hanged.
North America in September, 1646
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