By John Morrill
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Additional resources for Reactions to the English Civil War 1642–1649
Such men were assembled by private means, without reference to the views or interests of the community, which indeed they could, if numerous enough, coerce into co-operation. Each regiment began its existence as a form of joint-stock company, based upon the money, and sometimes the prestige, of its senior officers. Eleven regiments were commissioned by Charles in Wales and the Marches in the summer of 1642, and in THE ROYALIST WAR EFFORT 54 REACTIONS TO THE ENGLISH CIVIL WAR September he brought his existing troops into the area to be united with them.
Since 1640 petitioning had become a much favoured practice both in the towns and among the gentry leaders of the county communities. 48 Collection of large numbers of signatures was customary: in this case 6ooo signed in Essex, 4000 in Hertfordshire, 38oo in Bedfordshire. But these totals should not be taken to indicate an authentic popular outcry. One Hertfordshire man who had put his hand to the county's petition readily confessed he 'never read it'. Many gave blind support. The whole business in Essex took a mere twelve days and the bulk of the hands came from parishes where the leading gentry who mobilised adherence had their estates.
The allegiance of many counties was so fluid and uncertain in the summer of 1642 that categorical statements about commitment are hard to make. Early enforcement of the Militia Ordinance in Leicestershire and Warwickshire, for instance, did not secure either county for Parliament but was merely the beginning of a duel between the deputy lieutenants and the commissioners of array. In Cheshire and Lancashire both the deputies and the commissioners held musters; in Cumberland and Westmorland neither side held them.