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compositions of delinquency

compositions of delinquency was the term used by Parliament in the Civil War to describe the confiscation of property to be imposed on royalists wishing to compound or come to terms. They balanced between the need to raise revenue and the political desire to attract deserters from the royalist cause. An ordinance in March 1643 sequestered all property but in August one-fifth of the income was to be returned for the upkeep of wife and children. In January 1644 royalists were allowed to compound on the basis of two years' purchase of their estate, though they had first to take the covenant and swear never again to take up arms against Parliament. By the autumn of 1644 one royalist reported that 3,000 had compounded and ‘daily more go’.

J. A. Cannon

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