Charles' Ability to Finance His Government

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The Personal Rule of Charles I

Charles I, born in Dunfermline, the son of James I and Anne of Denmark, was born in 1600. At the age of five he was made the Duke of York the Prince of Wales in 1616. When James I died in 1625, his son Charles became king. Upon becoming, the King Charles had a sense of greed growing, he would gain money through taxes and laws imposed only for the sense of profit and had been stubborn when it came to his ministers. He imposed a lot of trust in his ministers and was reluctant when it came to their dismissal. The Personal Rule was a period in which Charles governed without any reference to Parliament in the years 1629-1640; he refused to summon any Parliaments until they had a better understanding of what he wanted to do. Historians in a major of ways described this period, but how effective was the period of the Personal rule and had Charles succeeded in governing effectively and financially.

Upon Buckingham’s dispersal, many former enemies of the King had made peace with him and entered his service. The Dukes of Arundel and Bristol, who had been against Buckingham in the House of Lords had decided that Parliament had gone too far in imposing the King and took up positions at Court. The death of the Duke of Buckingham had deeply affected Charles and the King had become reluctant to never again depend on one minister.

Upon introduction of the Personal rule period there was little reaction and resistance to the dispersing of Parliament, enemies of the king worked towards peace in an attempt to become his advisors, and many of them did succeed. King Charles was successful in governing without Parliament by cutting his expenses and increasing income. The greatest drain on resources was the wars against France and Spain leaving the economy at a disadvantage; however this was soon put to an end due to peace treaties being signed with France in 1629 and with Spain in 1630. Peace brought an immediate revival of English trade and commerce. This in turn brought increased customs revenue because Charles continued to collect income through taxes without the agreement of Parliament.

The first of Charles' money schemes was to enforce a law complying that men who own a property worth more than £40 per annum shall receive knighthoods at the royal coronation and from 1630, Charles had also began fining everyone who failed to observe this law. The knighthood fines had stacked up £100,000 by the end of the following year. The most condemned of taxes was Ship Money, a custom that required payment in order to keep naval defences on standby in the case of an emergency. In 1634, with Dunkirk pirates in the Channel and Barbary corsairs raiding Ireland, Cornwall and Devon for slaves, King Charles taxed the coastal counties to pay for the building of new warships. In 1635, he extended the tax to include inland counties. Even though ship-money was intended to finance a new fleet for England's defence, there were strong objections because the King had imposed what amounted to a new tax without the consent of Parliament.

Charles’s decisions that he would call no more parliaments until his subjects had a better understanding of him indicated that the circumstances were exceptional; however it was not unusual for there to be long periods of time without Parliament such as the seven years between the parliaments of 1614 and 1621. Charles’s believed that they weren’t an essential part of the daily government but more for the financial management and problems, which was the reason for the many gatherings that previously took place.

At this point it may be said that Charles’ ability to finance his government effectively had been working, and to some extent his methods of financing had also reduced the resentment during the personal rule period. By deducting some of his expenses and increasing taxes more revenue was generated; however it may also be considered that the taxes may have caused resentment as Ship...
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