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Was Religion the Only Problem James I and Charles I Had with Parliament?

By chicken786 Oct 13, 2012 1996 Words
Monday 11th January 2010

Was religion the only problem James I and Charles I had with Parliament?

James I was monarch of England from 1603-25. He was also King James VI of Scotland throughout his reign. The previous Queen, Elizabeth I, had no children to rule after she died. So her council wanted to know who would be the next monarch. But she could not tell them due to her critical position as she was ill. They then named her cousin, James VI of Scotland. She then raised her hand to show that she agreed. James was married at the age of 22 in 1589 to Princess Anne of Denmark aged 15. Alongside his wife, James had a special friend called George Villiers. George was born in 1592; he became James’ special friend in 1617 until the king’s death. By 1623 James had swiftly made him Duke of Buckingham; this is the highest known ranking subject outside the Royal Family. After James’ death in 1625 George lived on to mentor Charles I and then later was assassinated in 1627. James I had three surviving children one of which was the son in ear king Charles I of England and Scotland he reigned from 1625 to 49, in which he was executed. In March 1623 Prince Charles travelled to Madrid, Spain in disguise. It was to see about marrying a Spanish princess who was Roman Catholic. October 1623 he retreats unmarried. When Elizabeth died in 1603 she left a stable country for the next monarch. However within 46 years England had executed it king and had suffered a civil war. Some things she left are: • She left England as a world power.

• She left a fair country.
• After Elizabeth the country stopped believing in the divine right in king. • Tolerant religion.
• Super power of the sea.
• She installed suitable trade laws and brought in fish and wool trade. • She chose to rule with a parliament.
• She made England into a well economically developed country. As I mentioned before the marriage of Prince Charles I never took place in 1625. James died and his son became King Charles I. He married a 15-year-old French princess called Henrietta Maria. Parliament was angry; it was a bad start to Charles’s reign. Very soon, Charles was quarrelling with parliament, just as his father had done. The arguments were mostly about religion and money.

Religion was a major cause of problems in parliament.
Examples of this, are:
• First and foremost, laud and church was an important issue and affected some of the population. Laud was the Archbishop of Canterbury and ran all church matters in England for Charles I. Laud deficient to worship in the same manner as Catholics and was a foe of Puritans. Laud did achieve some good re-organisation of the church but he punished puritans for: wearing the wrong robes for church services; for altering the wording of the prayer book. He also censored the press and tried to restrict the sermons so popular with puritans. He instigated severe punishments for crimes against the church such as. 1637 3 puritans (William Prynne, Henry Bruton and John Bastwicke) were convicted before the Star Chamber (a court the king was in charge of and everything went by the kings word.) of publicity criticising church policy. They were each sentenced to life in prison, a heavy fine and loss of their ears. This gained them sympathy with the public and when the time came for their penalty (ears) Londoners laid sweet herbs in their path and gave them cups of wine to show how unpopular laud had become. • The second and last point is about Charles’s I marriage to the Roman Catholic French Princess Henrietta Maria. In may 1626 he married Henrietta Maria and when she moved to England by June she was accompanied by many Catholic priests. This upset the people of England. At this time England was at war with Spain and France was its ally. Charles’ friend the duke of Buckingham ran the war and it went very badly with no success either on land or out at sea.

Although religion was a big problem, there were other things that were found at fault with. These are: • The most obvious issue not to do with religion is the financial problems and taxation. James I had financial problems; in 1617 King James owed £726,000. since 1603 he had spent money like water on presents, jewels and feasts and masques (where courtiers dress up in fancy dress and act out a historical moment), paying for his own court and that of his son and heir. So James he had no choice but to ask his ministers for money saying “remember that I told you the show must be made for the foot” The ministers put a businessman, Sir Lionel Cranfield, in charge of James’ money. By 1621 he had managed to save a great deal of money but James continued to spend too much money. James was spending: 3 times as much as Elizabeth had on personal expenses; 3 times as much on his wardrobe;/ 2.5 times as much on his spending money; 50% more on running his courts; 3 times as much on Foreign Ambassadors and agents; 3.5 times as much on gifts and fees; and had additional costs of his son’s court, £54,200 and had a new employee to look solely after his own wardrobe, £4,0000. On the other hand, James was spending much less on his armed forces i.e. only £50,000 whereas Elizabeth spend 7.5 times as much, £380,618. Unfortunately for James his income was much lower then Elizabeth’s: income from his land dropped to £95,430 from £128,257; income from fines dropped from £17,834 to £7,700; and income from customs duties was at £360,000. However there are no figures available from Elizabeth’s reign. James needed money there was a limited amount of things to sell in England. But he could sell courtiers the right to trade certain goods like tobacco, mousetraps, gold thread and licences for taverns. This was unpopular with people. Cranfield suggested: James agree not to collect any taxes except customs duties in return from an annual allowance of £200,000; James was not to give anymore lands away to courtiers (James was selling and re-selling land to other people) James was to stop giving out pensions to favourites; he was to collect all money he was owed; James was to cut back on his court expenses; he was to get rid of those courtiers who were paid but did not actually do any work; James was to sell knighthood’s and peerages to raise money. Parliament had failed to agree to his plan in 1610 but Cranfield offered it again in 1621. • Another problem was political problems. Both James and Charles argued bitterly with parliament, which had begun to discuss more and more the country’s religion and foreign policy. This lead to severe and bitter rows between king and government. In 1629 charles dissolved parliament because they attacked his religious plans and disagreed with how he was raising taxes. Charles jailed his enemies and their leader Eliot died in prison. Charles ruled without parliament for 11 years. Court of the Star Chamber to punish his enemies and take their property without a fair trial: 1. He tried to destroy the way in which the puritans worshiped. 2. He wanted to bring the religion Roman Catholicism back. 3. He wanted his chief minister, the Earl of Strafford, to use the army to crush his enemies. 4. He raised taxes without the permission of parliament. 5. His bishops, who ran the government for him, were lower –class people, and not from the families of the landowners who used to run the government. 6. Charles wanted to rule without parliament.

Charles interfered with trade, starting new companies, breaking up old ones, seizing investors’ savings, ordering merchants on what they should do. 1629 saw a merchants’ revolt when they went on strike and refused to pay custom duties; but the revolt got little support. The port of London came to a standstill but Charles remained firm and by the end of the year the merchants cracked. This was a strange revolt because Charles seemed to emphasis trade and back new ideas and supported the merchants and their attempt to put stop to piracy. • There was also the problem of taxes. Alongside the raising of the amount to be paid on the unpopular taxes set by his father (e.g. taxes on the scale of land and on heir when they married) Charles extended `ship money’ (a tax paid by ports for the upkeep of the navy). He extended it to include inland towns in 1635. the judged Charles had consulted at the believed the king when he said he needed the money to build ships to defend against pirates. Many landowners affected by the new rule disagreed and some, like John Hampden of Buckinghamshire, refused to pay the 20 shillings (£1) demanded. He was taken to court, long legal arguments followed until, at last in February 1638 by a narrow vote of 7 to 5, the judges declared the ship tax legal. The king won but it made him unpopular and his enemies used this case as propaganda against him. Finally in 1635, backed by the judges, Charles extended the ship tax in land. There was much opposition from the wealthy people but it cannot be denied that ship money was the most efficient taxes of the 17th centaury. The anti-piracy fleet was built and used. In 1635 £199000 was demanded and all by £5,000 collected; 1636 saw a shortfall of £7,000. in 1638 the government lowered the ship money demanded to just £70,000, but managed to collect less then a 3rd. • Then as a result of all these problems England soon found them selves in a civil war.


1637 Charles tried to make Scottish people pray in the same way as laud had ordered the English to do. The Scottish refused and riots broke out in Edinburgh and spread across Scotland.

1638 [pic] Charles sent an army to put down the Scottish rising. This failed because they had a strong army.

1639 [pic] Charles was desperate and called Strafford home, he was governor of Ireland and he ruled it with a rule of iron and had raised a strong army to crush any trouble. Strafford worked hard to get Charles’ army back together.

1640-41 [pic] November to April: John Pym, a lawyer, led parliaments’ struggle against Charles. Strafford was tried for treason- they claimed he wanted to use Charles’ Irish troops to smash parliament.

1641 [pic] May: Charles plotted to release Strafford from the tower but he failed and Strafford was executed on 12th may 1641. June- August: parliament stopped the way in which Charles had ran England from 1630-41. it abolished the courts the king had used to punish his enemies, especially the court of the star chamber. November; Ireland rebelled and split between parliament and Charles over how to run the church widened. Parliament wanted to abolish bishops and make everyone worship like the puritans. December: Charles failed to come to an agreement with John Pym and his other enemies at court.

1642 [pic] January: Charles tried to arrest 5 leaders of the opposition in parliament when they were in the House of Commons. They fled before he arrived, the city of London’s troops backed Charles’ enemies and so Charles fled to the country to try to raise support. January – August: Charles tried to get backing from the rest of England. Attempts to solve the rows between Charles and parliament failed and in august Charles declared war on parliament at Nottingham and raised an army to attack London.

England never really benefited from the way James I and Charles I ruled.

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