During the British Civil wars, both sides printed political pamphlets (sometimes known as ‘tracts’) to promote their cause. As would be expected, these pamphlets were extremely biased (one-sided), and it is often possible to tell just by looking at the title page which side created it.
Newcastle University Special Collections has a collection of about 60 tracts from the period of the British Civil Wars, including the examples below.
942.062 TRU, Bradshaw Collection, Newcastle University Special Collections and Archives, GB 186
A True relation of the Queens Majesties return out of Holland : and of Gods merciful preservation of her from those great dangers, wherein her royall person was engaged by both sea and land: also, Her Majesties letter sent to the States about the stay of her ammunition shipYork, 1643
Although many political pamphlets produced at the time weren’t intended to be kept for future generations, the title of this one, produced by the supporters of Parliament, suggests that it was.
BRAD 942.062 TRU, Bradshaw Collection, Newcastle University Special Collections and Archives, GB 186
True information of the beginning and cause of all our troubles : how they have been hatched, and how prevented : wherein we may see the manifold contrivances and attempts of forraigne and home-bred enemies, against the Parliament, kingdome, and purity of religion : and how all their endeavours whether by force or fraud, never prospered : a work worthy to be kept in record, and to bee communicated to posterity.London, 1648
After studying the two front covers above:
- Which side (Parliamentarians or Royalists) do you think produced pamphlet A? Why do you think this and what words/phrases suggest this?
- Which side (Parliamentarians or Royalists) do you think produced pamphlet B? Why do you think this and what words/phrases suggest this?
To find out more about the role played by King Charles I’s wife Queen Henrietta-Maria in the British Civil Wars, visit the Key People section.
Political pamphlets often contained woodcut illustrations, which illustrated the events they were detailing. These woodcut illustrations were political cartoons, another form of propaganda.
Study the woodcut illustration of the Battle of Edgehill which appeared in a political pamphlet produced during the British Civil Wars.
The Battle of Edgehill was indecisive – neither side won, but both the Roundheads and Cavaliers claimed victory.
- Which side do you think produced this woodcut? (Parliamentarians or Royalists).
- How do they make it look like they won?
To find out more about the Battle of Edgehill and other key battles in the British Civil wars, visit the Battles & Sieges section.