When the British monarchy was restored in 1660, King Charles II was
faced with the conundrum of what to with those who had been
involved in the execution of his father eleven years earlier.
Facing a grisly fate at the gallows, some of the men who had signed
Charles I's death warrant fled to America. Charles I's Killers in
America traces the gripping story of two of these men-Edward
Whalley and William Goffe-and their lives in America, from their
welcome in New England until their deaths there. With fascinating
insights into the governance of the American colonies in the
seventeenth century, and how a network of colonists protected the
regicides, Matthew Jenkinson overturns the enduring theory that
Charles II unrelentingly sought revenge for the murder of his
father. Charles I's Killers in America also illuminates the
regicides' afterlives, with conclusions that have far-reaching
implications for our understanding of Anglo-American political and
cultural relations. Novels, histories, poems, plays, paintings, and
illustrations featuring the fugitives were created against the
backdrop of America's revolutionary strides towards independence
and its forging of a distinctive national identity. The history of
the 'king-killers' was distorted and embellished as they were
presented as folk heroes and early champions of liberty, protected
by proto-revolutionaries fighting against English tyranny.
Jenkinson rewrites this once-ubiquitous and misleading historical
orthodoxy, to reveal a far more subtle and compelling picture of
the regicides on the run.
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