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Theme B Government and Politics

Charles and Issues of Government 1625-1641 1

Contents Government 1. Overview 2. Personality 3. Charles and Parliament 1625-29 4. Personal Rule – Organisation 5. Court and Patronage

Issues during the Personal rule 6. Religion 7. Finance 8. Foreign Policy 9. Multiple Kingdoms




Charles I 1625 – 1649 Overview Succession


ames I died March 1625, and was succeeded by the 24 year old Charles.

There were high expectations. It was the first time that an adult male had succeeded his father on the throne for more than a century. For once, there was not the slightest possibility of disruption to the succession. - Charles was not originally Ins father's heir. His older brother, Henry, had died in 1612 leaving Charles as the heir apparent. Charles had always lived in the shadow of his more attractive and accomplished brother. He suffered from a speech impediment and was very shy. In private, he was a sweet-natured and tolerant family man. In public, he appeared rigid and unbending with a strong conviction of the rights and dudes of a sovereign. - In May 1625 Charles married the French princess Henrietta Maria. She was then 15 years old and Roman Catholic - once more reviving old fears of Catholicism. Charles was not actually present at the wedding. He was married by proxy - this was not =common at a time when Kings could not easily leave their kingdoms. He met his queen when she landed at Dover six weeks later. On June 16th the King and Queen entered London to begin the new reign. . He was the first monarch to have been brought up since childhood in the Church of England. . fie was a cultured, highly principled man whose court would be much more respectable and dignified than that of James.

Overview of Charles Reign between 1625 - 1641 The beginning of Charles' reign was marred by the continuing war with Spain. His first parliament, in 1625, wanted the war but was reluctant to pay for it through taxes. The issue of religion was revived too, with Anglican members of Parliament becoming concerned over the support by the King and Court of the'Arminian'group which wanted to change the traditional Calvinist doctrine of the Church of England. The following year brought a string of disasters. The war had been badly mismanaged by Buckingham and the Commons were not sympathetic to further requests for war finance. Moreover, Buckingham and Charles had made it clear that they supported Arminian doctrine in the Church of England. Parliament attempted to avert this threat by getting rid of Buckingham. Charles was forced to dissolve Parliament to save his favourite from impeachment. To make matters worse, Buckingham now involved England in a war with France as well as Spain. The Government resorted to a forced loan to finance the war. A third Parliament was called in 1628. More military bungling, the continued rise of the Armiman group within the Church and the forced loan led to Parliament passing the Petition of Right. This was an attempt to prevent the royal prerogative being abused. The King accepted it, dissolved Parliament, then ignored the Petition. Buckingham was assassinated soon after this. Parliament met again in 1629, understandably angry. But Charles was in no mood for compromise. A slump in trade had combined with a bad harvest; English forces had been humiliated in the war with France; and his trusted friend and chief adviser was dead. When Parliament again moved to limit abuses of the prerogative, Charles dissolved it. He would rule alone (the 'Personal Rule') until another Parliament became absolutely necessary.


During the Personal Rule government finance was raised by non parliamentary means (and these methods were upheld by the courts); the economy improved; and peace abroad reduced expenditure. But serious damage was done to the Kings relationship with the landed class. Personal rule by the King meant more government interference in local attain, which were jealously guarded by the gentry. At the same time, the gentry were becoming alarmed by the ruthless actions of Wentworth, the King's Lord Deputy in Ireland. They feared that such methods might be employed against them in England. The Arminian group under the new Archbishop, William Laud, was firmly entrenched in the Church. Since 1559 the Church had been reasonably acceptable to most Englishmen. The Laudian reforms to doctrine and church government now made the Church unacceptable. The King's interference in local affairs and the reforms in the Church both angered the gentry and began to produce a political backlash against the King. An attempt to impose the Laudian system on Charles' other kingdom, Scotland led to serious trouble. The Scots rebelled and the Bishops' War resulted in 1639. War required money and Charles was forced to call Parliament in April 1640. Like the Scots, the English Parliament objected to Laudianism and also to the abuses of the prerogative which had occurred during the Personal Rule. They demanded satisfaction of their grievances before granting supply. Charles promptly dissolved the 'Short' Parliament, as it came to be called. A second Bishops' War in 1640 ended in humiliation for the King who lacked troops and money. He was forced to recall Parliament in November 1640. This time he could not ignore their demands. He accepted a number of measures, which effectively prevented further abuses of the prerogative and limited the Laudian influence in the Church. His great servants were imprisoned, exiled or executed. When the first session of the 'Long' Parliament, as it came to be called, ended in September 1641 the constitutional crisis seemed to be over. The King was still the head of government and retained enormous power, while the existence of Parliament had been safeguarded. The constitution had reverted to what it-had been under Elizabeth and James - henceforth, it was thought, the King would rule in partnership with Parliament. He could still veto Parliamentary legislation, but he had to at least consult with Parliament on major issues. The crisis, however, was not over- Some parliamentarians wondered if the reforms had gone far enough. Could the King be trusted? (They still remembered 1628.) And what about religion - was their church adequately protected against the likes of Laud? Although no-one knew it in 1641, a new issue would trigger a far more dangerous crisis. WO Summary: Charles'reign was filled with problems. 1. Constant shortages of revenue necessitating calling parliament and, Increasingly, resorting to non-Parliamentarv taxes 2. The continued dominance of Buckingham as the King's closest friend and chief adviser, and his increasing unpopularity with parliament. 3. Military disasters in wars against Spain, and later France. 4. Charles's promotion of Arminians in the Church - much to the alarm and dismay of orthodox Calvinist Anglicans 5. Increasing disharmony between King and parliament which came to a head in 1629. 6. Continuing economic recession made worse by and outbreak of the plague in 1625, which killed 25 percent of London's population.




Charles’ Personality


he new King, portrayed here by Van Dyck, was the second son of James a fact that had considerable influence on the events of his reign. Until the age of twelve he had lived in the shadow of his older and more confident brother, Henry. Henry had been physically strong, outgoing, and aggressively Protestant - exactly the kind of heir to the throne that England desired. Until he died of a fever in 1612, little attention had been paid to the small, sickly and reticent Charles. He had therefore grown up to be shy and unable to communicate easily, as well as sensitive and lacking confidence in his own abilities. In fact, he was intelligent and perceptive in certain matters - he became, for example, a generous and discerning patron of artists and architects, and acquired a considerable collection of fine work, which was housed in Whitehall and at Windsor. This early childhood left its mark on Charles's behaviour as King. He tended to maintain a protective reserve and to place great emphasis on orderly formality. This was reflected in the procedures and rules that he adopted for his Court - immorality was frowned upon, rank and nobility were carefully preserved, and the royal family's privacy respected. Charles had been greatly impressed by the formality of the Spanish Court during his visit in 1623, and sought to emulate its dignity. The same preferences may have influenced his religious views. A devout and conscientious Anglican, he was undoubtedly Protestant in his beliefs, but his appreciation of the 'beauty of holiness' represented in rich decoration and elaborate rituals encouraged his sympathy for the High Church party and even respect for Catholic views. Unfortunately, none of these qualities were likely to endear him to his subjects. His lack of confidence was also a problem. His response to opposition was to take refuge in the appearance of certainty and to view those who disagreed as motivated by malice. To a degree, his conscientious attention to duty made it more difficult to accept criticism. Perhaps most seriously, it also created a lifelong tendency to rely on the advice of those close to him, as the quote by Edward Hyde opposite illustrates. Unfortunately the first of these was the Duke of Buckingham, closely followed by the equally determined and equally illinformed Henrietta Maria. Documents From Clarendon: Selections by G. Huehns (ed). Oxford 1978. ... he will be found not only a prince of admirable virtue and piety, but of great parts of knowledge, wisdom and judgement; and that the most signal parts of his misfortunes proceeded chiefly from the modesty of his nature, which kept him from trusting himself enough, and made him believe that others discerned better, who were much inferior to him in those faculties; and so to depart often from his own reason, to follow the opinions of more unskilful men, whose affections he believed to be unquestionable to his service ... From Three British Revolutions by C. Carlton in J.G.A. Pocock (ed) (1981). Carlton is considering the effects of the fact that Charles was the second son of James I, that he was small and shy with a distinct stammer, and that he was overshadowed by his elder brother, Prince Henry, until Henry's death in 1612


In psychological terms Charles's early years had produced an overdeveloped superego that bottled up his inner tensions. Charles tried to protect himself by seeking affection, currying favour, becoming withdrawn, displaying deference rare in an heir, and above all by submitting. Thus when he became king he expected similar behaviour, demanded a similar sacrifice, and insisted upon as great and painful a loyalty as he had been forced to yield. An authoritarian personality, Charles was incapable of conceding at a time when compromises were desperately demanded from the English monarchy. He was full of outward self-certainty (manifest in such doctrines as divine right) that only intense inner doubt n engender ... From The Making of Britain: The Age of Expansion by L.M Smith (ed) In many respects Charles I, more than any of his predecessors, was Englandâ€&#x;s supreme renaissance prince: his personal style (and within weeks, that ordered for his court) was majestic, sophisticated and cultivated. The paintings of van Dyck, vividly portraying a king calm and confident ruling unquestioned a country harmonious and peaceful, enscapulate both the man and his vision of monarchy.




The First tremors: Charles and Parliament 1625-1629 The First parliament 1625


he first parliament of Charles' reign met in an atmosphere of gloom. There was a severe outbreak of the plague which killed about 20 % of the population of London, Norwich and Exeter. The parliament even had to move to Oxford to avoid it.

This was called to provide subsidies for the war against Spain which had begun in 1624. It showed a deep suspicion of the war, which had degenerated into a series of mismanaged skirmishes, and the domination of Buckingham. Charles was eager for money to pursue war with Spain, and confident that parliament would grant him the funds. There was no attempt to woo MPs behind the scenes, little guidance given in the debates. Charles opened the session with an appeal for speedy supply and promised to deal with grievances later in the year; no figure was set for sum required. Commons were anxious to demonstrate loyalty to Charles and granted two subsidies of l 40,000 - totally inadequate, so against precedent Commons was asked for more. Tonnage and poundage. At the same time, Sir Robert Phelips and Sir Edward Coke decided to attack Buckingham politically (he had increased his control of patronage under Charles, which of course caused resentment). As Lord Admiral he was responsible for the navy, and pirates were preying on English shipping off the west coast. The issue they chose to attack Buckingham on was tonnage and poundage. In theory the money raised from this tax was for 'protection of the seas' and Buckingham seemed to be failing in his duty in this respect. . It was traditional to grant Tonnage and Poundage to a new sovereign for life. But this Parliament sought to word the enabling act to prevent it being used to collect Impositions a well as Tonnage and Poundage. The debate was interrupted by the arrival of the plague in London. Wishing to be out of London as soon as possible the members rushed through a temporary act: the King could collect Tonnage and Poundage for one year only. Parliament intended to formulate a further Act in the next session which would allow Tonnage and Poundage to be collected for life. As it turned out, they never got the chance to pass a second act. So Charles collected Tonnage and Poundage without authority until 1641.


Phelips and Coke were instrumental in persuading the House of Commons to vote tonnage and poundage for one year only. This was not intended as a direct challenge to the Crown by Parliament, but simply as a concrete way of protesting about the Duke of Buckingham. Charles saw it as a direct challenge, and subsequently ignored it. The Commons had been worried about the uses to which tonnage and poundage was put and also about impositions (customs duties). They wanted to introduce a new system, which would give parliamentary sanction to those impositions already granted, but prevent him from granting any more. The Commons did not intend any personal slight to Charles but the king was deeply offended, especially as the Lords refused to pass the bill granting tonnage and poundage because they disliked innovation. Charles had regarded the attack on Buckingham as an attempt to undermine his authority and realising that he had got all he could from this Parliament he dissolved it. Between 1625-26 the situation got worse.

Significance of 1625 Parliament . First Parliament of reign was NOT a success. Both king and Commons lost trust in each other. Charles felt betrayed. He did not understand how the Commons could fail to finance a war of which they had approved, and he bitterly resented the attacks on Buckingham and the failure to grant tonnage and poundage. He believed that the Commons were being led astray by a small group of conspirators who wished to undermine royal authority and if they could be removed, harmony would be restored. The Commons were bewildered by the king's refusal to negotiate with them in the usual way. Charles was not prepared to trade settling grievances for the granting of money. He felt it was the Commons duty to supply his needs first, then to trust him to attend to their problems. Throughout his reign Charles displayed an utmost reluctance to bargain and already the Commons had found cause to doubt his word in the breaking of promises about the war and marriage negotiations. Another worrying development for the parliament was the favour shown to Arminians. For the first time, the religion of the Crown was at variance with that of the majority of the representatives in parliament. this was to create great tension as the implications of the spread of Anninianism became clearer in its effect on the doctrine and worship of the Church of England

The Second Parliament 1626 The autumn of 1625 saw the failure of the expedition to Cadiz. Undaunted, Charles and Buckingham pressed on with more military preparations. In a desperate search for funds, Charles had even secured a loan against the crown jewels. In February 1626 he summoned another parliament. In order to remove the malcontents whom he considered responsible for the failure of the last parliament Charles selected the most prominent as sheriffs for their counties. The sheriff was responsible for organising the polls and could not stand for election himself. By this means Charles removed Sir Robert Phelips, Sir Thomas Wentworth, Sir Edward Coke and Sir Francis


Seymour from the Commons. However, his hope that this would transform the lower house was misplaced. It merely gave an opportunity for others to show their dissatisfaction. Before parliament met, a conference of Puritans and Arminians was held at York House, one of Buckingham's homes. In this conference the favourite associated himself with the Arminians. In the Commons this increased the feelings against him which were already running high in the aftermath of the failure at Cadiz. Sir John Eliot, who had been a client of Buckingham's but who had turned against him in disgust at the mismanagement of the Cadiz expedition, took the lead. He demanded an enquiry into the expenditure of the 1624 subsidy and suggested that the crown's income could be increased by taking back excessive grants. This speech set the tone for the whole session which was described as 'a long discontent of eighteen weeks [which] brought forth nothing but a „tympany of swelling faction and abrupt dissolution'. The Commons wanted a scapegoat for the failures in foreign affairs and in their own relations with the king. They were in no doubt as to who was responsible. As one MP said: “We must of necessity lay the fault upon somebody. Upon the king we cannot, seeing his care and great wisdom. And upon the Council we cannot. But on nobody but the Lord Admiral.” Alarmed at the direction of events, Charles summoned both Houses and warned them: “Remember that parliaments are altogether in my power for their calling, sitting and dissolution. Therefore, as I find the fruits of them good or evil, they are to continue or not to be.” Undeterred by this threat, the Commons prepared articles of impeachment against Buckingham. Charles could not rely on the Lords dismissing the case against the duke and he decided to dissolve parliament. By doing so he abandoned the subsidies which had been promised but not enacted and left the war effort in a desperate financial predicament. Charles put his loyalty to his friend above good relations with his parliament and thereby soured the political atmosphere to the point where it would not give him the funds he needed to be successful at home or abroad.

Charles and Parliament 1626-29 The Forced Loan The dissolution of parliament left the government with enormous outgoings on the war and no additional income other than captured French ships, which brought in £50,000 in 1626. This was a mere drop in the ocean when the crown had undertakings of about one million pounds. In 1625, a forced loan worth two subsidies had been levied on Charles's richer subjects and in 1626 it was decided, against some opposition in the Council, to levy another forced loan worth five subsidies but this time on all subsidy payers. This was in effect parliamentary taxation that had not been sanctioned by parliament and there was considerable ill-feeling.. However, the method of collection discouraged most from refusing. By this method all subsidy payers were summoned to meetings where they were pressed individually to pay. In an unusually short time (by the end of 1627) over £260,000 had been raised which removed the threat of immediate bankruptcy from the crown. But this financial advantage had been brought at a heavy political cost. A number of highly placed clerics who sought to further their careers rejected the idea that the king could only tax with consent. This went directly against what many Englishmen had come to regard as a fundamental liberty - that they held sole rights in their own property and for the king to take it without consent was theft. If property was in danger then arbitrary government was being introduced and all other liberties were also at risk, not least the fate of parliament which would not be necessary if the king could tax his subjects when he wished as he was considered to be the sole judge of national necessity.


The loan itself was seen as attacking liberties. Charles's subsequent actions made fears about the imposition of absolutism much more acute.

The Case of the Five Knights 1627 Seventy-six people, including prominent MPs such as Sir Thomas Wentworth, were imprisoned for refusing to pay the loan. When the judges would not pronounce that the loan was legal, Charles dismissed the Chief Justice of the King's Bench, Sir Ranulph Crewe. Five knights then challenged for habeas corpus (a fundamental right in English law whereby if due cause cannot be shown for imprisonment, a prisoner has to be released after 24 hours). It was too risky for the crown to allow the case (known as the Five Knights' Case) to come to court as the judges might release the knights, so the council stated that they had been imprisoned by special command of our lord the king'. So the king was not only taxing without consent but he was also imprisoning at his pleasure.

Further discontent; Billeting, martial law and religion Southern counties near where expeditions against France and Spain were being fitted out had the additional menace of billeting and martial law to contend with. Liberties of all kinds seemed to be under attack and the purging of religious dissidents in the universities and the introduction of religious practices that smacked of popery gave the king's intentions a more sinister aspect. Was his ultimate aim the extinction of all liberties and the establishment of a despotic Catholic regime?

Charles Such an idea would doubtless have appeared absurd to Charles but he was too far removed from his subjects to appreciate what effect his actions had upon them. He believed that kings should be obeyed without question because their powers came from God. It was not necessary for the king to explain his actions: he merely needed to command. It followed that any opposition was illegitimate and the work of selfish or corrupt factions. Instead of worrying about unintended threats to liberty, Charles was much more concerned with obtaining sufficient money to prosecute the war effectively. The forced loan had helped in the short term but in September 1627 a treasury official warned Buckingham: His Majesty's revenue of all kinds is now exhausted. We are upon the third year's anticipation beforehand; land, much sold of the principal; credit lost; and at the utmost shift with the commonwealth. Why did Charles call parliament? Charles had extracted another loan from the City but only by giving it the last major body of crown lands, worth 350,000 to cancel past debts and as security for the new loan. This ended the traditional role of land as a major source of royal revenue and meant the City was unwilling to lend in the future. Now the crown had to rely almost exclusively on the customs farmers but they could not supply all the king's needs. If Charles wanted more money he had only one option and that was to call parliament.

The Parliament of 1628-9 Attempts at Reconciliation The parliament of 1626 had not been a happy precedent and both the king and the Commons realised they had reached a crisis point. If harmony were to be restored there would need to be gestures of reconciliation even though both sides felt they had justifiable grievances. The warnings were clear. One MP rousingly declared 'This is the crisis of parliaments. By this we


shall know whether parliaments will live or die'. He went on to urge the Commons to be conciliatory to Charles 'by trusting the king, thereby to breed a trust in him towards us, for without a mutual confidence a good success is not to be expected'. Charles made his own position plain when he informed parliament that if it failed to provide funds to meet the common danger then 'I must, according to conscience, take those other courses which God hath put into my hands', which by implication excluded parliaments. However, this option was not desired by anyone and the Council made efforts to create a good atmosphere. Buckingham reconciled himself to some political enemies such as the influential Earl of Arundel, no one was excluded from the Commons, and the loan prisoners were released. The Commons were also determined to make a success of the session. They quickly offered the king five subsidies which was unusually generous and agreed to grant him tonnage and poundage. But having demonstrated their loyalty they were concerned to safeguard the liberties of the subject. As one MP said 'we are told of dangers abroad but we have as great at home'.

The First Session The Petition of Right 1628

The problem lay in how to proceed. It was obvious that the king would not accept any new law which defined the subject's rights (and therefore restricted the crown's freedom of action). Sir Edward Coke suggested that the Commons and the Lords should present a joint petition to the king which, if he accepted it, would have the force of law. It is important to remember that the Commons did not believe they were acting in an innovatory manner. Their intention was to confirm what they regarded as being their traditional liberties, most MPs did not show their disfavour in the localities, but saw parliament as the place for airing dissent. Charles did not accept this view of the role of parliament and he viewed the debates on the Petition of Right with deep disfavour. He wanted expressions of absolute trust and loyalty not restrictions on his freedom of action. He believed that the Commons had brought the forced loan upon themselves by their actions in refusing him money and that by the Petition of Right they were alienating his affections further. Charles wanted them to show 'that they rely on me and they shall find what they little expect'. In other words, he would be gracious and merciful.


The problem was that the Commons did not trust him and they wanted some security for the future. Therefore they refused to accept a compromise from the Lords which left 'entire that sovereign power [the prerogative] wherewith Your Majesty is trusted'. The Lords then had to decide whether to join with the Commons in offering the Petition of Right or produce their own petition in which case neither would become law. Eventually they joined with the Commons. The Petition asked for an end to: o o o o

non-parliamentary taxation imprisonment without cause billeting martial law.

The king accepted the Petition of Right but only with reluctance. His first reply did not use the traditional form of assent to bills which denied the Petition the force of law. The Commons insisted on the correct response and, as Charles was still waiting for them to pass the five subsidies they had agreed to, he gave the conventional assent. Parliament was united in its belief that 'the Duke of Buckingham is the cause of all our miseries' and the Commons drew up a remonstrance identifying the threats which faced them from innovations in religion, including lax enforcement of the laws against Catholics, innovation in government and disasters and dangers at home and abroad. The failures of Buckingham's foreign policy could easily be seen as the judgement of God upon a government that had turned away from the true light of Protestantism towards the false lure of Rome. When the Commons began work on a second remonstrance which denounced the unparliamentary collection of tonnage and poundage as contrary to the Petition of Right, Charles prorogued parliament in June. He had obtained the five subsidies but not confirmation of the customs. He continued to collect tonnage and poundage out of necessity. When this was challenged by merchants who refused to pay, the courts supported the king and said that the Petition of Right was too general to be used against its collection. It seemed that the Commons were right to distrust the king. The Death of Buckingham In August 1628 Buckingham was assassinated to the intense joy of the nation and sorrow of the king. The scenes of public rejoicing at his friend's death seem to have scarred Charles and to have played a part in distancing him from his people. He blamed parliament for Buckingham's death because Felton said he had been inspired by the remonstrance which named Buckingham as the cause of the nation's ills. There were only 100 mourners at Buckingham's funeral and the coffin was empty because the duke had been secretly buried the night before in case hostile crowds tried to attack his body. The death of Buckingham was a turning point in the reign. Henceforth Charles withdrew much more into himself and there was no longer an obvious target for those who disliked royal policies. Slowly it came to be realised that Charles himself, rather than evil counsellors, was responsible. The death of Buckingham and the end of his ruinous foreign policy might have been expected to produce better relations between king and Commons when parliament reassembled in January 1629. It was not to be.

The End of the Parliament of 1628-9 The second session was dominated by two issues: Arminianism and tonnage and poundage. Charles had made a number of concessions over religion. The recusancy laws were


enforced again and Archbishop Abbot was readmitted to the Privy Council, but this was not enough to quell the fears of many in the Commons. Arminians had been steadily increasing in influence. Richard Montagu became Bishop of Chichester and Laud moved from Bath to London, the most important position in the Church after Canterbury, which enabled him, with the king's support, to undermine the position of Archbishop Abbot. The Commons resolved unanimously that religion should take precedence over all business and they wanted to bargain with the customs to obtain religious concessions. Charles was not prepared to weaken his support for the Arminians and the session was therefore doomed. Other matters also troubled the Commons. The first was that the printed version of the Petition of Right contained Charles's initial, unsatisfactory answer which had the effect of weakening the Petition's impact. It was a highly dubious act by Charles and contributed to the growth of distrust in the king's sense of honour. The second matter for concern was the seizure of goods from merchants who had refused to pay tonnage and poundage, one of whom was an MP. It became obvious that the Commons were not going to make Charles a grant of the customs which was his main reason for holding a second session. He decided on an adjournment but when the speaker informed the Commons of this and attempted to rise from his chair to end the session, he was forcibly held down by two MPs while Sir John Eliot called out three resolutions. These condemned anyone: o o o

Who promoted innovation in religion, popery or arminianism Who counselled the collection of tonnage and poundage without parliamentary consent Who voluntarily paid the duties

The resolutions were passes with shouts of acclamation and then the House voted to adjourn itself. It came as no surprise to anyone that Charles dissolved parliament and imprisoned those involved in the demonstration. Their appeals for freedom based on the Petition of Right were ignored, showing the Petition had little effect in safeguarding liberties when the king chose to ignore it. Charlesâ€&#x; third parliament, like its predecessors had come to an unhappy end. He resolved to do without them in the future.




Personal Rule 1629-40 INTRODUCTION In 1629 Charles 1 dismissed Parliament and 'forbade' people to speak of calling another. Parliament did not meet again until May 1640 and was called only because of the Scottish crisis. There has been considerable debate about Charles' intentions in this period. Did he want to set up some form of continental-style absolutism, or did he merely wish to rule without Parliament because he had found parliaments troublesome during the 1620s? Main points about Personal Rule Eleven years Personal Rule was distinguished by several factors from other periods when Parliament did not meet. The first of these was the length of time - eleven years - although James had gone eleven years with only a very brief parliament in 1614 (the Addled Parliament). There had been frequent, almost annual, parliaments in the 1620s, and even during Elizabeth's reign parliaments had met regularly. Sources of finance. Charles was obliged to look for new sources of finance in the absence of parliamentary subsidies. The new revenue-raising schemes seemed to indicate that he was prepared to ride roughshod over the rights' of his subjects; they were also perceived to be a threat to property. Religion during Personal Rule. The religious policies of Charles and Archbishop Laud were destructive of the 'broad church' that Elizabeth had created and James had maintained. Many Puritans saw Laud as a secret Catholic.

KEY TERM Personal Rule

The period between 1629 and 1640 was known as a period of Personal. This was because during that period Charles ruled without consulting Parliament. Some called it the „eleven years' tyranny'.

Foreign policy Foreign policy during Personal Rule was basically English neutrality but a neutrality that favoured Spain. The anti-court consensus In the minds of the 'political nation', the combination of these four elements of Personal Rule led to the strong suspicion that there was a conspiracy to undermine the Protestant religion in order to set up a Catholic absolutism. This fear was to be the driving force behind the 'anti-court consensus' of 1640. Charles did nothing to calm these fears, largely because:



He was a shy non-communicative man, unable to reach out to his subjects in the way that Elizabeth, or even James, had done.


Given his belief in divine right, he saw no reason to compromise or to explain his policies. Subjects were to obey; he was God's representative on earth.

How personal was the Personal Rule? Organisation and Administration The effectiveness of administration and the extent of royal control depended entirely on how this structure was used, how much attention the King and his councillors gave to it and how determinedly they used their powers to obtain local cooperation. In this area, Charles KEY TERM THE BOOKS OF ORDERS These consisted of 314 books of instructions to JPs, detailing their duties in the collection of Poor Law rates, treatment of beggars, law enforcement, storage of grain, control of local markets, movement of goods and upkeep of roads and bridges. Under Laud's supervision, the issue of instructions was followed up to ensure that they were carried out. According to the historian L.M. Hill, 'The poor were better treated and better cared for than ever before. Grain stocks were better administered and waste was curtailed. The quality of local government was markedly improved and little doubt lingered as to the Council's ability to cause the King's writ to run into local parts with considerable authority' (L.M. Hill,'County government in Caroline England, 1625-40' in Conrad Russell (ed.) The Origins of the English Civil War,

was generally conscientious. Unlike his father, who had tended to leave business to his advisers, he attended meetings regularly, checked that his decisions were understood and ensured that they were put into effect. When he chose to delegate, he was ably supported by two key figures - Sir Thomas Wentworth, and William Laud, the Bishop of London and Archbishop of Canterbury from 1633. Both were conscientious and able administrators, whose concern for detail gave their policies the nickname of 'Thorough'. The work of Wentworth in the Council of the North and in Ireland ensured that royal authority was maintained in these outlying areas, while Laud controlled the Church and rapidly became the dominant figure on the Privy Council. His influence in secular, as well as religious affairs, is symbolised by the Books of Orders that were issued to local government from 1631.

It would appear, therefore, that as far as administration is concerned, Charles's government was highly effective. It was also, undeniably, Charles's government. After the death of Buckingham he never allowed any adviser to occupy the same place in his affections, moving closer instead to his wife, Henrietta Maria.. Even so, her influence was never as great, or as dangerous, as that of Buckingham. Other key advisers, like Wentworth and Laud were kept at arm's length. They were servants and political advisers to the King rather than friends; the architect of the Personal Rule was undoubtedly Charles himself, and it was his attitudes and personality that it reflected. He was therefore responsible for both the strengths and weaknesses of administration in this period. The effectiveness of supervision was impressive, but it was also demanding and occasionally unpopular. After 1635, when JPs were also involved in the collection of Ship Money, the efficiency with which the Books of Orders were administered began to decline; and after 1637, when preparation suppressing the Scottish rebellion were added to their burdens, complaints from harassed justices increased sharply. Similarly, the Council itself was


unable to maintain such close supervision. While much could be achieved by attention to detail, there were limits to the time and energy of even the most dedicated of councillors. While Charles had brought determination and energy to the business of government, he made few structural changes and did little to alter the basic methods applied. As long as the system was reliant on unpaid amateurs at local level, its scope and effectiveness would be limited. It would also need to be managed with a measure of political sensitivity, to take account of the concerns and interests of the ruling class whose support was essential. Government attempts to regulate wages and prices to help the poor, for example, were largely unsuccessful when the JPs who were required to set wage levels were also the employers who would have to pay them. While the prerogative courts and councils were respected for their speed and efficiency, they were also resented when they overrode local interests for the benefit of the King or his advisers. These resentments were further fuelled by the presence on the Privy Council of a number of bishops and protégés of Laud. While it was normal for the Archbishop to be a member, there was considerable vexation at his dominant role. In 1632 he was able to make his candidate, Francis Windebanke, Secretary of State, and in 1634 he persuaded the King to dismiss the Lord Chief justice, Sir Robert Heath, because of his Puritan views. In 1635 when Lord Treasurer Weston died, he was replaced by the Bishop of London, William Juxon. The presence of a cleric in an important office of state was bitterly resented for two reasons. In the first place, the bishops were appointed by and dependent on the King, and tended to carry out his wishes without reservation. Lord Brooke expressed the views of many in 1642 when he pointed out that, unlike the landed nobility, bishops had no way of securing the future of their families except by retaining the King's favour, and therefore had no independence in their exercise of power. Secondly, since the Reformation it had become customary for the secular nobility and gentry to manage secular affairs, and the extension of clerical influence carried unfortunate associations with Catholic tradition. It could therefore be argued that the administration of government in the period of the Personal Rule was in many ways highly effective, but that its effectiveness relied on personalities and a level of central supervision that irritated the political elite. The level of irritation was variable, and in itself would not have created a crisis, but it did add to other concerns. Perhaps most importantly, it did nothing to secure royal power in the long run. When the attention of the King and Council was distracted by more pressing problems after 1637, their control of the machinery of government proved fragile. The following questions are the key ideas in this section of work. Under the previous headings, copy them down and answer them in your folder.    





Court and Patronage Focus Questions 1. 2. 3.

What was the nature of Charlesâ€&#x; court How did Charles deal with patronage? How did Charlesâ€&#x; court affect his relationship with the governing class?

Charles I's character has already been discussed. His character influenced his tastes and these had a bearing on the life of the court. In the 1630s the court became increasingly alien from the mainstream of English life and a gulf opened between the 'political nation' and the court. The country gentry became suspicious of the court, seeing it as a centre of Roman Catholicism, absolutists and conspiracy. Charles and Henrietta Maria. Charles was, as has been mentioned, a very private man and a poor communicator. He preferred to surround himself with a small circle of advisers and courtiers - unlike James' court, which, whatever its moral tone, was an 'open one'. After the death of Buckingham, the 'tone' of the court became far more moral, possibly reflecting Charles' new-found affection for Henrietta Maria. They became a devoted couple, and differed on only one issue - religion. She continued not only to be a convinced Catholic herself, but to try to persuade members of the court to convert. Charles had already, in 1627, sent scores of her Catholic attendants back to France but he was unable to persuade her of the virtues of the Church of England, which of course she regarded as a heretic KEY THEME


Henrietta Maria's political views. She saw kingship in continental absolutist terms. Not understanding concepts such as common law or Parliament, or indeed anything that could be seen am limiting the king's power.

Henrietta Maria's influence

It is probable that, after Buckingham's death, she was a considerable influence on Charles. Judging from her letters to him, as civil war approached, she was quite capable of speaking her mind, although to conclude that Charles was consistently under her influence would be unfair. For instance, she detested both Laud and Strafford, yet Charles trusted them. However, he appears to have done little to prevent the appearance, in the 1630s, of a 'Catholic convert' ring of Catholics at court around the queen. Naturally, these Catholic converts, such


as Portland and Windibank, were regarded by the country gentry with the greatest suspicion. James' court had been seen by the country gentry as corrupt and immoral, but James did go on hunting trips round the country and was seen by his subjects. Charles' court was 'cleaned up' after Buckingham's death but became a closed inner circle. Charles did not visit the country houses of the gentry and aristocracy as James had done, and the gentry did not come to court. KEY THEME The culture of the court The masque The masque was an art form peculiar to court life. They were plays designed purely for an 'in group' at court who would understand the contents of the plays.

The culture of the court set it apart from the country at large. Charles' favoured court architect was Inigo Jones, whose 'neo-classical' style was revolutionary in English terms, but Italian in inspiration. It was Jones who put a new classical front on St Paul's cathedral, and built the queen's Roman Catholic chapel, the Banqueting Hall in Whitehall and the queen's house at Greenwich. They are masterpieces, but Jones' vision

reflected the remoteness, and indeed foreignness, of Charles' idea of monarchy. The Banqueting Hall would have reminded people of a European style associated with continental absolutist monarchs. The ceiling painted by Rubens in 1635 has a rather worried-looking James 1 ascending to heaven. It portrays the divine nature of monarchy as Charles saw it. One of the last sights Charles saw on earth was the ceiling of the Banqueting Hall before he walked on to the scaffold in 1649. Court entertainment Masques were yet another aspect of the 'closed' nature of the court in the 1630s. James had used Maques in his court but under Charles they reached a peak. Ben Jonson, a playwright of genius, collaborated with Inigo Jones, who designed the elaborate costumes which were used for one performance only. As Figure 1 Inigo Jones on the Banqueting Hall ceiling, in their plays which took the form of masques - they held up a mirror to the king, showing what monarchs were supposed to represent to their subjects, and their responsibilities to them. They were filled with symbolism. This proclaimed the love KEY THEME of king and queen for each other and for their people, their subjects. A frequent theme was the peace and Catholics at court. prosperity provided by Charlesâ€&#x; rule. Both Charles Henrietta Maria had her private chapel and some courtiers, such and Henrietta acted and danced out major roles in the as Portland and Windibank, masques. Later masques, written by Jones alone, changed their religion: they became totally divorced from reality, showing kingship converted from being Protestant as divine. The masque was wasteful and extravagant to being Catholic, perhaps partly because it lasted for one performance only. However, in order to gain influence with it was symbolic of the increasing 'dream world' in her. Her chapel became the which the court lived. While Charles was being centre of a group of court humiliated by his Scottish subjects in an unsuccessful Catholics, and this circle grew war, masques portrayed him as a victor.


The court and Catholicism The court in the 1630s bore little resemblance to the lives, prejudices and beliefs of the majority of Charles' subjects. It was seen by many as being not only extravagant, but also papist. The following events strengthened this view. 

The death of Gustavus Adolphus. Charles refused to allow the court to go into mourning for the death of King Gustavus II Adolphus in 1632. This was despite the fact that it was the normal protocol (way to behave) for courts to go into mourning for the death of any European monarch, friend or enemy. Charles' refusal only served to confirm the 'country' view of a papist pro-Spanish court. Two papal ambassadors (nuncios) attended the court in the late 1630s. No papal representatives had been in England since the break from Rome in 1529.

The court became isolated and dangerously out of touch with the nation - a closed circle whose tastes and attitudes were alien to outsiders. Significantly, in 1632 Charles ordered the gentry to leave the court and live on their estates. By 1639 they had no first-hand knowledge of the court; there was no one to check the rumours of popery and foreign influence.

Factions and Favourites Until Buckingham‟s assassination there was furious activity, as Arundel and other faction leaders attempted to achieve his downfall, especially by parliamentary impeachment. Once Felton‟s knife had bloodily removed him, Court faction activity and public rivalry were no longer as obvious, public and intense as they had been in the years 1603-28. Nevertheless there were rival factions during the years of „personal rule‟: for example the queen‟s following against a radical Protestant pressure group, Archbishop Laud and Thomas Wentworth against Francis Bacon Cottington (chancellor of the exchequer), Sir Francis Windebank (secretary of State) and Henry Rich, earl of Holland (who was linked with the Devereux, Percy and Sidney families). Faction politics in the 1630s were about personal greed as much as about policy; they were fluid and changing; and they easily confuse. Buckingham was a remarkable and exceptional favourite. During the 1620s he enjoyed the king‟s warm affection and trust: he was Charles‟ close social companion; he controlled policy and patronage; and he was allowed to manage (or rather mismanage) wars against France and Spain. No-one took his place. In the 1630s there were courtiers who enjoyed royal affection, favour and the resulting benefits. But no-one was close as Buckingham had been and none of the later favourites succeeded him in his political and patronage roles. The reasons for this lie in Charles‟ personality. More distant, less easily influenced than his father, and unlike James, personally very happy in his marriage, he did not govern through favourites. After Buckingham‟s death Charles very much led from the front, leaving his ministers to their respective responsibilities. He was sparing with his favours and affections and did not easily gain the love, trust and loyalty he expected. While open to advice, his rigidity once he had made up his mind fostered the politics of inflexibility and principle rather than negotiation and compromise. Charles court emphasized the king‟s semi-divinity. Courtiers were kept distant, not only from the king but also from his personal furnishings. Strict rules were introduced to prevent anyone of any rank from approaching his chair, leaning against his bed, and standing beneath his canopy or upon his carpet. Access to his quarters, especially his Bedchamber, was available to very few. Perhaps the king tried to enhance the mystery and majesty of the monarchy by distance and inaccessibility. He did not succeed.




Religion during the Personal Rule Laudian dominance Archbishop Laud was virtually in charge of the Church by 1628, as Abbott had been suspended following his refusal to license sermons praising divine right. On the death of Abbott in 1633, Laud became Archbishop of Canterbury. As soon as bishops died, they were replaced by Laudians who were determined to enforce high-church Laudian practices. By 1640 there were very few bishops who were not Laudians appointed by Laud. Laudian bishops did not behave as previous bishops had. They were determined to enforce what they saw as their rights and took no notice of the views of the gentry and the people who lived in their dioceses. Bishops such as Bishop Wren, first of Norwich and then of Ely diocese, and Bishop Montague of Chichester came KEY THEME to be hated by many in their dioceses for their ruthless Reasons for Laud's policies determination to enforce There were good reasons for Laud's policies. His Laudian ideas. concern for the 'beauty of holiness' did not just cover ritual in church, but the state of church buildings themselves.  Many churches were in poor condition and Laud was anxious, in modern terms, to restore them.  Many of the clergy were illeducated and deferred to the local gentry.  Laud's 'railing off of altars' can be seen not only as an indication of his belief in the importance of the communion service, but as an attempt to bring decency and respect to the altar. There had been cases of dogs urinating against the communion table, and in one church in Suffolk a dog had even run away with the communion bread in its mouth. It was Lauds lack of tact that did much to destroy the good that he wanted to do


Laud's aims. Laud's policies can be seen on several levels. 

He wanted to restore the 'beauty of holiness' to church services. To him, ceremonies and the position of the altar were a vital part of worship.

He also wanted to restore to the Church the wide power and influence that it had held in politics and society before the Reformation.


He was concerned to raise the educational level of the parish clergy and to make them the 'equal of any gentleman in England'.

The limiting of Preaching Preaching was to be limited to Sunday mornings and evenings, and replaced by the teaching of the Catechism in afternoon services. The substitution of catechising for preaching symbolised the Laudian emphasis on ritual, authority and communal worship in place of the intensely personal, Bible based faith encouraged by Puritan thinkers. KEY TERM

The altar question.

Many churches had a communion table in the middle of the church, this being seen as the Protestant way of doing things. The 'altar' at the east end of the church, The Catechism provided an outline of the key doctrines separate from the congregation, was seen by many as a and creeds of the Anglican symbol of the Roman Catholic attitude to communion. Church, as set out in the The communion table was not always respected. It was Prayer Book. It was taught as reported that in some parishes the congregation left a set of questions and learned their hats on the table. Laud, who was determined that responses, to be recited at the altar should be a special place, ordered that the particular points during the communion table, or altar as he called it, should be Church services,closely removed to the east end of the church and railed off. modelled on traditional Only the minister should approach it. Thus in some Catholic practices. ways Laud can be seen as a reformer, but for the puritan-minded this instruction was seen as another sign that Laud was in sympathy with Roman Catholic ideas. Catechism

Reasons for opposition to Laud Laud provoked opposition among a wide range of people who objected to and feared his policies, not only on religious grounds but also on political and social grounds. Many of the gentry who were not particularly strongly puritan still found themselves opposing Laud because of his use of power in the Royal Council and the attitude of Laudian clergy towards the gentry. Laud's belief in divine right Laud believed in divine right, and associated himself fully with Charles' policies in the 1630s. His policies aroused opposition among much of the population. Laudian churchmen preached sermons supporting divine right and absolute obedience to the royal will. Thus everything that Laud did had a political aspect. KEY TERM

Laud's choice of religious ceremonies

Cardinal is the highest

His views on religious ceremonies, vestments (the priest's rank a clothes), bowing at the name of Jesus and beautifying Roman Catholic priest churches ran up against very deep-rooted prejudices, or can attitudes among Puritans. The Laudian high-church achieve apart from becoming Pope. service was visibly different from the 'mainstream' puritan influenced services that many had come to regard as being the 'English Protestant way'. For many, the ceremonies were an obvious return to Roman Catholic services. The ritual of the Laudian Church seemed to be the same as that of the Roman Catholic Church and the Laudians were suspected of being secret papists. Laud and Roman Catholicism


Laud was not a Roman Catholic; he simply did not share the prejudice held by most English people towards the Roman Catholic Church. However, even the pope thought that Laud's church policies seemed to indicate that the English Church was moving back towards Rome. He had offered Laud the post of Cardinal in 1634. Laud refused, but the way he phrased his refusal would not have been strong enough for the Puritans as he said he could not accept 'with Rome as it is'. This would have been regarded by many as a very weak denunciation of the Roman Catholic Church. .Laud's aim to raise the status of the clergy KEY TERM Star Chamber and High Commission These courts were both part of the legal system. Star Chamber was a royal court without a jury, in which members of the Royal Council sat. The High Commission was a royal court that was also the highest Church court.

Laud was also determined to raise the status of the parish priest and make him independent of the local gentry. The gentry were used to the parish priest being a respectful figure, following their wishes with regard to services and not attempting to interfere with their authority in the parish. Laud's aim, to raise the status of the clergy to (equal to any gentleman in England', was much resented. The gentry often constructed their own private family pews in their local churches, which showed their status in the community, setting them apart from their tenants and the 'lower orders' in the congregation. Laud ordered these pews to be removed. The gentry felt they had been humiliated in their own private area and shown up in front of their tenants and the lower orders.

Laud's background Laud did not appear to respect the social system; the only authority he emphasised was that of the king. He was a 'self-made man', the son of a clothier, and his two strongest allies among the bishops, Wren and Nelle, were also from humble origins. They all showed no respect for rank and dignity. Laud insulted and bullied the gentry in the Star Chamber and High Commission They were not used to being spoken to in this way by clergymen - even archbishops should know their place. William Prynne referred to 'lordly prelates [bishops] raised from the dunghill'. The 'lordly' was, of course, a play on words referring to Laud. Therefore, Laud was seen as undermining not only the Protestant nature of the Church of England, but the social structure as well. He raised very strong feelings among the puritan gentry. A puritan gentleman, Sir Harbottle Grimston, called him 'that pestilential stye of all filth'. To some extent Laud had only KEY PEOPLE himself to blame. He did not try to persuade the gentry to co-operate in his Henry Burton, William Prynne and reforms and he was not a compromiser „he John Bastwick will break ere he bend' observed a contemporary. He saw all opponents as William, Prynne was a puritan writer obstacles to be crushed, not to be 'won of pamphlets - a pamphleteer. In his over' by persuasion. pamphlets he attacked what he saw as the excesses of Laud's Church. In 1633 he published an attack on the theatre. He was imprisoned, pilloried and had his ears cropped. In response he wrote a series of pamphlets with Burton and Bastwick attacking Laud

The famous case of Burton, Prynne and Bastwick 1637. This case illustrates both Laud's indifference to 'public opinion' and his determination to show the power of the Church. The three gentlemen were


punished for libels against the bishops, but although they were gentlemen they were treated like common criminals, having their ears clipped and standing in the pillory. If this punishment was meant to silence opposition to Laud's policies, it backfired. A vast crowd spread flowers in their path and dipped their handkerchiefs in the blood from their severed ears; they were generally regarded as martyrs for the 'Protestant puritan' cause. Also the punishment of gentlemen in this way was seen by the gentry as a threat 'to their social position; as Prynne warned in the pillory, 'look to yourselves gentlemen, for you will be next'. Laud's policies KEY TERM therefore, were creating opposition not only on account of Puritanism but because these were Puritan gentlemen Pillory whom their fellow gentry would not have expected to be humiliated in this way. In the seventeenth century, lower-class criminals were put in the pillory, which was a wooden block that trapped their neck and hands. The public could then, if they wished, throw stones or vegetables at them. Gentry were never put in the pillory until Laud humiliated Burton, Prynne and Bastwick in 1637.

Laud’s influence

The belief grew that Laud was a secret Roman Catholic subverting the Church and the order of society, and supporting absolutist policies in the state. The appointment of the Bishop of London, Juxon, as Lord Treasurer in 1636 was hailed by Laud -'no churchman has had it since Cardinal Wolsey's time' (the 1520s). Laud sat in every royal court as well as Church courts such as High Commission. He even sat on the Commission for Enclosure, fining gentry who had enclosed common land. Star Chamber, the royal court, was disliked and Laud used Star Chamber to punish his political enemies. He also made sure that the powers of Church courts all over the country were used to the full. Archbishop Abbott and the Elizabethan archbishops had tended to let the power of Church courts die. Laud was determined to reinforce them. The appointment of a bishop, Juxon, as Lord Treasurer in 1636 was seen as another sign that the Church was taking over the machinery of government. The 'Book of Sports' 1633

KEY THEME Effects of laud's policies. Perhaps the major source of problems was Laud's determination to have uniformity of services and ceremonies in an English Protestant Church that had survived by being a 'broad church' in which the various views could be accommodated. In trying to push the Church in a high-church direction, regardless of the feelings and prejudices of a large puritanminded section of the population, he created an opposition that was to find its voice in 1640, and to almost destroy the Anglican Church. His desire for uniformity was to create another disaster in his dealings with the Scottish Church and to lead directly to the downfall of Personal Rule.


The Puritans objected to most activities on Sundays, except Bible reading and attendance at church services or lectures by puritan lecturers. Laud reissued the Book of Sports in 1633, encouraging dancing, archery and other activities on Sundays after church services. Some rural communities probably welcomed these, others were outraged. Lecturing There was an 'overproduction' of theology (religion) graduates from the universities of Oxford and Cambridge. Some of them could not find a post as a parish minister. They became

'lecturers', being paid to give lectures to puritan-minded groups after 'official' church on Sunday. Laud was suspicious of lecturers because he suspected their ideas of being too puritan and possibly subversive. He decided to tighten up on what he called 'The Ratsbane of Lecturing' and took away licences from lecturers. Many groups who had 'subscribed' to the salary of a lecturer were outraged.




Finance during the Personal Rule Charles' dilemma. Although the value of parliamentary subsidies had been going down, Charles' decision to rule without Parliament created a potential financial problem for him. Obviously war could not be continued without parliamentary subsidies - it was simply too expensive so he lost no time in making peace with both France, in 1630, and Spain, in 1631. He did, however, need to maintain the royal household, live like a king and indulge his tastes, especially in art collecting, so it was necessary to get the most out of all the potential sources of revenue at his disposal. In order to do this, Charles pushed his legal rights to the limits and revived long forgotten royal revenue-raising devices. They kept him solvent but aroused great resentment. Charles raised money in the following ways: Forest Fines Boundaries of the royal forests were declared to be those of Edward III's reign. People living in areas that had been royal forest - in the distant past - were fined, even though they had no idea that where they lived had once belonged to the king. Half of Essex was declared royal forest, and Rockingham Forest in Northamptonshire was increased from 6 to 60 square miles. The biggest fine was on the Earl of Salisbury, who was fined £20,000 for 'encroaching' on royal forest, but many other landowners were fined smaller sums. Distraint of knighthoods


James I's policy of selling knighthoods had made the honour unattractive but Charles found a way of still making money from honours without selling them. Those who had refused knighthoods were fined for distraint of knighthood. This caused great offence because knighthoods had been sold for £30 under James and many country gentry regarded the honour as not worth having.

Distraint of knighthood was refusal to accept the honour of knighthood from the king, and thus insult him

Nuisances London grew rapidly in this period. In theory there should have been no building outside London's city walls. In practice this had been ignored; many people had built houses outside the walls without any control. Those who had done this were forced to buy a licence to ‘commit a nuisance’ - or, in other words, to pay for planning permission after the event. Monopolies

These reappeared in different forms, one of the most resented being the soap monopoly, which actually led to a rather modern public test in 1634: clothes were washed in


monopolists’ soap and ‘free enterprise’ soap to see which one ‘washed whiter’. The monopolists’ soap appears to have failed the test but the public still had to buy it. Other monopolies reappeared, despite the Monopolies Act of 1624, and aroused as much resentment as previous monopolies had done. Plantations In 1632 the City of London was fined for failing to push forward the plantation of Ulster. It should have found Protestant families to take over land in Ireland. Tonnage and Poundage Declaration issued in 1630 of the King’s right to levy customs duties despite parliamentary refusal of grant. Duties continued to be levied throughout the Personal Rule and their value rose significantly with increased trade Customs farmers The hated customs farmers gave the Crown a larger sum in exchange for the right to collect the customs but, of course, passed on the costs to the merchants. The Court of Wards The much-disliked Court of Wards doubled its income in this period to £76,000. Ship money The one tax that probably caused strongest opposition was ship money. In theory coastal counties were required to provide ships for royal service in times of emergency, almost always in wartime. In practice coastal counties charged most inhabitants a rate and sent money rather than ships. The JPs normally set and collected the rate. In 1634 sheriffs were required to collect ship money even though England was not at war. The money was said to be needed to protect coastal shipping against pirates. In 1635 ship money was required from all counties on the basis that the ‘charge of defence which concerneth all men ought to be supported by all’. Every year from 1634 to 1640 ship money was collected, in the first three years raising about £190,000 a year, all of which was KEY TERM spent on the navy. Hampden's case There has been some debate among historians as to the importance of Hampden's case. It has been argued that it was the first 'nail in the coffin' of Personal Rule, because it encouraged others to resist royal tax demands. However, receipts for ship money do not drop dramatically until 1638. This may have as much to do with resistance to a regular tax demand as with people drawing conclusions from Hampden's case. However, sheriffs found collecting the tax more difficult and were ordered to explain their failure to collect all the sums demanded, with the Royal Council threatening to imprison them.

However, the tax raised several issues: o o

Firstly, it was new to the inland counties. Secondly, it became a permanent tax, not an emergency tax, and seemed to become part of the regular royal income.


Thirdly, the navy was seen to be used not to protect against piracy, but to help to convoy Spanish ships.


Fourthly, nearly everyone paid it.

Hampden's case.



The constitutional issue came to a head in Hampden's case in 1637. John Hampden, a Buckinghamshire gentleman, refused to pay ship money. Because sheriffs had experienced some difficulties with collection, it became a test case. The argument revolved around whether the king had the right to declare an emergency and then tax his subjects. In theory he had, but by making it a permanent tax he had weakened the argument that there was an emergency. The problem was, if the king was not to judge when there was an emergency, who should? If it were found that the king did not have the right to decide when there was an emergency, this would take away one of his constitutional rights over foreign policy and defence. In the event, the judges decided seven to five in favour of the king. The fact that five judges, all royal appointments, decided against the Crown was seen as significant and took the gloss off the king's victory.

The successes and failures of Charles' financial policies. Charles' financial policies in the 1630s certainly caused resentment, not just because people do not like to pay taxes, but because of the high-handed and legally dubious methods of fund raising. But, provided he did not go to war, Charles could survive by using these methods. Portland, Treasurer until 1636, increased Crown revenue by some 25 per cent and made some reduction in the royal debt. So, although in debt to the tune of ÂŁ1,000,000, Charles did, in theory, have the finances to continue with Personal Rule, but however much he squeezed out of 'the system' he could not afford to go to war, so his freedom of action was limited. He needed parliamentary subsidies if he were to have an active foreign policy, or he needed loans from the City of London. Royal financial policies had alienated the City in the 1620s and 1630s. The only group who could be said to be Crown supporters were the customs farmers. When the Scottish crisis came Charles did not have any financial room to manoeuvre, because no one would lend him any money. The conclusion could be that, compared with some continental monarchs, Charles was solvent, but only in a limited sense. Personal Rule can be seen as a period of 'financial standstill'. A strong, financially independent monarchy was not created in the 1630s. Charles could only 'balance the books' by not going to war, which he could not afford.

How serious was opposition to Ship Money? (Resource interpretation) Lastly, for a spring and magazine that should have no bottom, and for an everlasting supply of all occasions, a writ is framed in a form of law, and directed to the sheriff of every county of England, to provide a ship of war for the King's service, and to send it, amply provided and fitted, by such a day to such a place; and with that writ were sent to each sheriff instructions that, instead of a ship, he should levy upon his county such a sum of money, and return the same to the Treasurer of the Navy for his majesty's use, and from hence that tax had the denomination of Ship-Money, a word of lasting sound in the memory of this Kingdom. Source A From Clarendon's History of the Rebellion.

Where Mr Holborne [one of Hampden's lawyers] supposed that in case the monarch of England should be inclined to exact from his subjects at his pleasure, he should be restrained, for that he could have nothing from them, but upon a common consent in Parliament. He is utterly mistaken herein .... The law knows no such Kingyoking policy. The law is, of itself, an old and trusty servant of the King's; it is his instrument or means which he useth to govern his people by ... Source B The judgement of Sir Robert Berkeley, one of the majority who found for the King in Hampden's Case.


We are not to judge here according to conveniency or state policy, but according to the common law and custom of England we are to judge. We find [it] in our books, records or statutes; if we cannot find it to be law by these we cannot judge it to be law.... The common law of England sets a freedom in the subjects in respect of their persons, and gives them a true property in their goods and estates so that without their consent (that is to say their private actual consent or implicity in Parliament) it cannot be taken from them. Source C The Judgement of Sir George Croke, one of the minority who found for Hampden

When (Judge Weston) came to speak of ship-money, the audience which had before hearkened but with ordinary attention did then ... listen with great diligence, and after the declaration made 1 did, in my conceit (belief) see a kind of dejection in their very looks.... Some held ... that the declaration the judges had made was fully to the point and by that the King had full right to impose it, and all concluded that if a Kingdom were in jeopardy it ought not [to] be lost for want of money .... Others argued far differingly ... that in a judgement that not may, but cloth, touch every man in so high a point, every man ought to be heard Source D From an account of the reaction of JPs in Kent to the news that the judges had found against Hampden, in a Memorandum in the papers of Sir Roger Twyscen.

It is notoriously known that pressure was borne with much more cheerfulness before the judgement for the King than ever it was after; men before pleasing themselves with doing somewhat for the King's service, as a testimony of their affection, which they were not bound to do. But when they heard this demanded in a court of law, as a right ... and instead of giving were required to pay, and by a logic that left no man any thing which he might call his own; they no more looked upon it as the case of one man but the case of the Kingdom


Source E

Questions on the sources 1. What does Clarendon (Source A) mean by the phrase 'a spring and magazine that should have no bottom' ? (interpretation) 2. How did this arrangement differ from the kind of taxes levied by parliamentary grants? (interpretation in context) 3. How did Berkeley (Source B) assert and justify the King's right to levy Ship Money? (analysis) 4. Upon what grounds did Croke (Source C) disagree with him? (analysis) 5. What evidence in Source D indicates that Ship Money was a serious cause for concern to the Kentish gentry? (interpretation) 6. Did any of those present accept the views of judge Berkeley? How does Source F help to explain why? (cross-reference) 7. Why did others feel that every man ought to be heard'? How do you think that they wished this to be done? (interpretation in context) 8. Does the evidence in Sources D and F suggest that the Kentish gentry were more worried about the tax, or the way that it was being raised? (synthesis) 9. According to Clarendon (Source E), why did opposition to Ship Money increase after the Hampden case? (interpretation) 10. In conclusion, write a short response to the question, 'How serious was opposition to Ship Money?’




Foreign Policy during the Personal Rule The Thirty Years' War The views of Charles and Parliament. In 1630-1 Charles made peace with France and Spain. Given his desire not to call a parliament, Charles' foreign-policy options were limited. Even if he had wished to, he could not afford to interfere actively in the Thirty Years' War. Parliament's view. Despite the failure of Parliament in the 1620s to provide funds for a land-based campaign in, Europe in support of the Protestant cause, the country gentry still saw the war in Europe as being a struggle between the forces of true religion -the Dutch Republic, Sweden and the Protestant German states and the forces of the 'anti-Christ' - the Hapsburgs and the Spanish.

KEY THEME Charles' support for Spain. Charles' support for Spain was clear. He not only used The ship-money fleet to protect the Spanish convoys of treasure and troops as they passed up the Channel, he also allowed Spanish troops to be landed, provisioned and rested in England in 1637. His hope was probably that, in exchange for this, his sister Elizabeth, who had married Frederick V of the Palatinate, might be restored with her husband to her rightful inheritance, as Charles had been hoping since the early 1620s. Of course, the Spanish paid well for the concessions they received from Charles.

Charles' view. Charles simply did not share this view. He admired the absolutist states of Spain and Austria and disliked the 'rebellious' Dutch Republic. For Charles there was no great cause in Europe: the Swedish king, for example, was merely interfering in, and prolonging, a war that Charles had no interest in. Despite Henrietta Maria's desire for a pro-French policy, in general Charles pursued a pro-Spanish policy. As far as the 'country' was concerned, England should have been supporting the Dutch co-religionists, not stabbing them in the back; the pro-Spanish 'neutrality' policy was not popular. Foreign policy was to be a major issue for those who opposed the court in the 1640s. In the late 1630s, the unpopularity of ship money and resistance to its payment were connected with the use that Charles actually made of the fleet that his subjects were reluctantly paying for. Factors which restricted Charles' choice. With no army, and no means of paying for one, Charles had few foreign policy options in the 1630s. Some observations can be made on the policy he chose:

In view of the devastation of continental Europe, his decision to stay out of the 30-year war can be seen as perfectly natural. Foreign observers remarked on the peace and tranquillity England enjoyed in this period. Charles' experience with parliaments in the 1620s was such that he could have been justifiably wary about committing England to war for the Protestant cause. His important misjudgement was to pursue a 'neutrality' that was not even-handed and was to be remembered in 1640-2 as part of a pro-Catholic conspiracy.




Crisis – The impact of the Mulitple Kingdoms In 1637 the monarchy was solvent for the first time in decades and the country was at peace. The king was in excellent health and had five children so there were no fears about the succession. It appeared the Charles would go on governing without a parliament. This apparently rosy picture raises a number of questions. If everything was so splendid in 1637, why was the political nation united against Charles in 1640? Ireland and Thomas Wentworth The most troublesome of the Kings three kingdoms was Ireland.. A Catholic country with alien protestant ruling class imposed upon them and a series of plantations had been created under James. This policy affected native Irish and Catholic „Old English‟ who had lived in Ireland for centuries. Charles used their insecurity to extract money for his wars in 1620s by making promises to make concessions known as „the Graces‟, which confirmed their right to hold land. These graces were not confirmed and their implementation became a major objective of the Catholics. In 1632 Ireland was a financial liability to England - annual deficit of 20 000.

Thomas Wentworth Wentworth was the son of a Yorkshire gentleman. He was blunt and abrupt in his manner and shared a common morality with Charles. During the 1620‟s he was an MP in parliament and a strong opponent of Buckingham, something which often got him in trouble with Charles. After Buckingham‟s death it was natural that he would seek office and nobody saw him as a traitor when he was appointed President of the Council of the North. As President he showed a strong devotion to the King‟s interests by enforcing law and order, reducing the power of local landowners and clans and protected the weak by supporting the Poor Law and relieving hunger. Lord Deputy of Ireland 1633-39 Thomas Wentworth appointed was Deputy of Ireland in 1633. Sending him to Ireland was a good way of securing his services while keeping him distant from the real sources of power. Wentworth together with Laud conceived a style of government known as „Thorough‟. This elevated the Kings prerogative and places great emphasis on central authority and close supervision of local officers. It also sought to make government more efficient and less corrupt. This style of government had limited success in England but in Ireland, Wentworth was able to impose much stricter control.


He brought the Irish parliament into a position of subservience by exerting great pressure in the choice of parliament candidates and by refusing to allow any debate until crowns financial needs had been dealt with. Initially very successful in Ireland - ended the deficit, extended powers of prerogative courts and claimed royal title to huge tracts of land. Large fines were imposed on those who opposed measures In the church Laudians were appointed against the wishes of the Puritan Archbishop Ussher. Together these policies brought in increased revenue, a more efficient admin and a reformed Church - but came at enormous cost – he alienated every section of society and left a potentially explosive situation. Within two years of his departure royal authority had collapsed as rebellion swept the country.

Scotland Charles spent very little time in Scotland during his reign. In an era of personal monarchy it was important to see the king regularly because he was the source of patronage and power The Scots felt slighted by Charles‟ neglect of them and had some justification in feeling bitterness towards England. Scots poorer, economically backward in comparison and institutions accorded less prestige than English counterparts. Scottish privy council had nine non resident English members whereas English Privy Council had four or five Scots In 1625 Charles first act with regard to Scot had been to revoke all grants of land made by crown since 1540, including Church and monastic lands given to nobility as result of reformation. Affected almost all families and was extraordinarily tactless. Two years later this was changed so that men could retain their lands on crown leases. Political price very high. The nobility already excluded from power felt alienated from the crown. However opposition remained passive while nobility at odds with Presbyterian ministers. Charles succeeded in uniting these two strands into a fervent political nationalist uprising by a heavy-handed attempt to introduce a new prayer book. The New Prayer Book Charles and Laud wanted uniformity of religion in three kingdoms. Charles knew to get prayer book accepted he would have to proceed with tact and understanding. He made a number of changes to render book more acceptable; e.g. word „priest‟ deleted. The biggest mistake came in manner of prayer books imposition. Not shown to Scot parliament or Church Assembly but introduced by royal proclamation, abandoning all pretense of government by consent. When new prayer book used at St Giles‟ Cathedral, Edinburgh there was a riot. Powerful mood of resistance. Charles ignored frantic warnings of Scot ministers and believed that firmness would end the problem.


In 1638 he issued a proclamation making protests against the new prayer book an act of treason. Scots now had to choose between loyalty to King and loyalty to Presbyterian Church. A Document called the „Covenant‟ was drawn up to which hundreds of thousands of Scots subscribed swearing to resist to the death the innovations in religion. Charles stedafastly refused to back down THE FIRST BISHOPS WAR Charles resolved to suppress rebels by force. He did not call a parliament, instead summoned the peers to meet him at York April 1639 with appropriates assistance. People were uneasy about supporting the king in his attempt to impose on the Scots Arminian practices which were closely allied to Roman Catholicism in popular mind. However, peers agreed to kings demands with reluctance, but quality of troops assembled at Berwick was so appalling that a campaign against the Scots could not be contemplated. The two sides reached agreement in Treaty of Berwick in June 1639. A Scottish parliament was to meet and both sides would demobilize. To Charles‟s delight, the parliament was dissolved without achieving anything. Wentworth was recalled from Ireland and given Earldom (Strafford). He urged king to call parliament, judging from his experience in Ireland that it would be easy to handle. THE SHORT PARLIAMENT, APRIL 1640 There were many issues in 1630s which had promoted division - ship money, changes in religion, and the activities of the prerogative courts - and these would need discussion. The accumulation of grievances which would require careful handling by the king if he wished parliament to be generous. The Kings hope of quick and profitable session not to be realised. The Commons began to discuss their grievances which were put by John Pym in a famous speech into three categories: infringement of parliamentary liberties, innovations in religion, and violations of property. The Commons were not prepared to make any new grant of money until question of ship money had been settled. Charles offered to relinquish ship money in return for twelve subsidies but before the commons had any real chance to discuss the matter, the king dissolved parliament after only three weeks. He did so probably because he had unrealistic expectations of the speed at which an occasional legislative body with no effective leadership could be expected to make decisions; but his impatience filled the country with foreboding. Charles had lost an opportunity to swing the country behind him, now his position was far worse. Parliament had not voted any money; only a small minority was still paying ship money, there were demonstrations of discontent in London and reports of unrest in the country. THE SECOND BISHOPS WAR 1640 The Levies raised to fight the Scots were threatening mutiny. July 1640 Scots invaded Northumberland. This was a relief for many because it gave them a lever to put pressure on King. Since there was no royal army capable of meeting the Scots, Charles had to agree to a truce at Ripon in October. The Scots were allowed to occupy Northumberland and County Durham and were paid a subsidy of 850 pounds a day until peace made. This effectively tied Charles hands, he had to


summon parliament to get money to pay the Scots and he would not be able to dismiss it while the Scots remained in England. Removed kings principal weapon against difficult parliament that he could dissolve it at will. This parliament would not be like the one in the spring, the political nation was united in its determination to remedy the ills of the past eleven years and to return to the traditional government of England.


Charles I Booklet  

Charles 1625-1641

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