English funding of the Scottish armies in England and Ireland 1640-1648

Article English OPEN
Stewart, Laura A.M. (2009)

The rebellion against Charles I's authority that began in Edinburgh in 1637 involved the Scots in successive invasions of England and armed intervention in Ireland. Historians have almost universally taken a negative view of Scottish involvement in these wars, because it has been assumed that the Scottish political leadership sacrificed all other considerations in order to pursue an unrealistic religious crusade. This article suggests that aspects of the Anglo-Scottish relationship need to be reappraised. Using estimates of English payments to the Scots during the 1640s, it will be argued that the Scottish leadership made pragmatic political decisions based on a practical appreciation of the country's military and fiscal capacity. Substantial payouts from the English parliament enabled the Scottish parliamentary regime to engage in military and diplomatic activities that the country could not otherwise have afforded. The 1643 treaty that brought the Scots into the English Civil War on the side of parliament contrasts favourably with the 1647 Engagement in support of the king. It will be shown that, although the English parliament did not honour all of its obligations to the Scots, it does not automatically follow that the alliance was a failure in financial terms.
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