I do not think you would understand about all the battles, so I shall only tell you now that the king’s army was chiefly led by his nephew, Prince Rupert, the son of his sister Elizabeth. Rupert was a fiery, brave young man, who was apt to think a battle was won before it really was, and would ride after the people he had beaten himself without waiting to see whether his help was wanted by the other captains; and so he did his uncle’s cause as much harm as good.
The king’s party had been the most used to war, and they prospered the most at first; but as the soldiers of the Parliament became more trained, they gained the advantage. One of the members of Parliament, a gentleman named Oliver Cromwell, soon showed himself to be a much better captain than any one else in England, and from the time he came to the chief command the Parliament always had the victory. The places of the three chief battles were Edgehill, Marston Moor, and Naseby. The first was doubtful, but the other two were great victories of the Roundheads. Just after Marston Moor, the Parliament put to death Archbishop Laud; and, at the same time, they forbade the use of the Prayer-book, and turned out all the parish priests from the churches, putting in their stead men chosen after their own fashion, and not ordained by bishops. They likewise destroyed all they disliked in the churches—the painted glass, the organs, and the carvings; and when the Puritan soldiers took possession of a town or village, they would stable their horses in the churches, use the font for a trough, and shoot at the windows as marks.
After the battle of Naseby, King Charles was in such distress that he thought he would go to the Scots, remembering that, though he had offended them by trying to make them use the Prayer-book, he had been born among them, and he thought they would prefer him to the English. But when he came, the Scottish army treated him like a prisoner, and showed him very few honors; and at last they gave him up to the English Parliament for a great sum of money.
So Charles was a prisoner to his own subjects. This Parliament is called the Long Parliament, because it sat longer than any other Parliament ever did: indeed it had passed a resolution that it could not be dissolved.
Death of Charles I. A.D. 1649—1651.
The Long Parliament did not wish to have no king, only to make him do what they pleased; and then went on trying whether he would come back to reign according to their notions. He would have given up a great deal, but when they wanted him to declare that there should be no bishops in England he would never consent, for he thought there could be no real Church without bishops, as our Lord himself had appointed.
At last, after there had been much debating, and it was plain that it would never come to an end, Oliver Cromwell sent some of his officers to take King Charles into their hands, instead of the persons appointed by Parliament. So the king was prisoner to the army instead of to the parliament.