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Agitators or Adjutators


AGITATORS or ADJUTATORS, the name given to representa tives elected in 1647 by the different regiments of the English parliamentary army. Early in 1647 the Long Parliament wished either to disband many of the regiments or to send them to Ireland. The soldiers, whose pay was largely in arrear, refused to accept either alternative, and eight of the cavalry regiments elected agitators, called at first Commissioners, who laid their grievances before the three generals, and whose letter was read in the House of Commons on April 3o, 1647. The other regiments followed the example of the cavalry, and after a temporary con ciliation Parliament decided to disband the army on June 1. The agitators determined to resist ; a mutiny occurred in one regiment and the attempt at disbandment collapsed. There followed the seizure of the king by Cornet Joyce, Cromwell's definite adherence to the policy of the army, the signing of the manifestos, a Humble Representation and a Solemn Engagement, and the establishment of the army council composed of officers and agitators. The agitators finally demanded a march towards London and the "purging" of the House of Commons. Subsequent events are part of the general history of England. Gradually the agitators ceased to exist, but many of their ideas were adopted by the Levellers (q.v.), who may perhaps be regarded as their successors. See S. R. Gardiner, History of the Great Civil War, vols. iii. and iv. (1905).

regiments and army