Chapter 3: Charles I: the early years of the reign
Personality and character:
* Strong belief in the divine rights of Kings - he saw all the Parliament’s privileges as being subject to the approval of the sovereign and not as liberties that existed independently of the King’s wishes * Saw criticism and discussion as being treacherous – anyone that questioned his actions he thought as being disloyal * Poor communication skills – brief speeches in parliament, often rebukes with his views that no one could challenge * Influence of his Catholic wife – after Buckingham died Charles became closer to his wife who believed in absolutism (the monarch was all powerful) * Favouring the Armanian group – it stressed the divine nature of the monarch. Armanianism would cause offence to the majority of the Puritan minded Church of England. For the majority of Charles’ subjects Laudian ideas were a form of popery, of Roman Catholicism, taking over the Protestant church, undermining it from within * Absolutism – many MPs became worried that Charles had absolutist ideas that would threaten the Parliament’s existence Crisis of the 1920s:
* Some historians saw 1624-29 as a crisis
* Under strain of raising troops and money for war with Spain and later France, Charles uses methods that many though illegal to force the country gentry to co-operate in raising troops that the countries paid for, while failing to gain victory in Europe * Relationship between the Crown and the House of commons suffered so much that by 1629, Charles was fed up with Parliament and Parliament were suspicious of Charles and his advisors Foreign policy 1925-29:
* Charles and Buckingham had tried to set up an anti-Spanish ‘front’ to force the Hasburgs to restore the Palatine to Charles’ brother in law. Parliament had only voted subsidies for a sea war – Charles and Buckingham had plans worth 2 million. If all the plans had gone well, Parliament may have covered the costs but they did not succeed. * There was a series of failures in foreign policy which made Charles and Buckingham unpopular – by 1626 the strategy was in ruins and Buckingham was being blamed for the failures: * Mansfeld failure 1625, people were forced to go into military, no training and equipped badly, no organisation to feed or look after them – 4,000 out of 6,000 died of disease and starvation * Cadiz failure 1625 – attempt to attack a Spanish port, again untrained poorly disciplined army who found a wine store and became an unruly, troops were withdrawn to the ships
* French match and alliance 1625 – new ally in Europe. Henrietta Maria, Roman Catholic. Charles and Buckingham thought they could persuade France to take part in the war against the Hapasburg Spanish and Imperialists, Henrietta would also bring a dowry which would help towards war. The terms of the marriage included toleration of Roman Catholics in England, this caused suspicion in England as the terms of the marriage were secret and rumours were flying.
* Break with France 1626-27 –Charles lent the French English ships to protect the French crown from Protestant rebels (Huguenots) but Charles didn’t follow the terms of the marriage by not granting Roman Catholicism tolerance due to trying to keep the Roman Catholicism suspicions down. He expelled many of Henrietta’s Catholic servants. The French chief minister Richelieu, regarded Charles and Buckingham as unreliable and had no intention of joining war against the Hapsburgs so Charles reversed his policy and began helping the Huguenots
* War with 2 countries – England was now at war with the 2 most powerful countries in Europe. Buckingham led more military failures and by 1628 became the most despised man in England and the face of military failures
* Buckingham’s death in 1628 – Assassinated by John Felton, a captain who held a grudge against him from the last expedition – house of commons...