Why did Charles I lose the First Bishops War?
The First Bishops War is defined as two conflicts between England and Scotland in 1639 and 1640. The cause of the war was due to the Scottish reaction against Charles I attempt to reform the Scottish church. After the implementation of the Scottish National Covenant against the King’s reforms in 1638, the Covenanters became the dominant political and religious force in Scotland. The main reasons for Charles losing the First Bishops War was due to the following factors: lack of funds, lack of support for the war among his subjects and lack of experience among his commanders. The first factor that led to Charles I losing the First Bishops War was the lack of funding. This was because Parliament had taken control of taxes before the civil war and enjoyed a substantial financial advantage, which also leads to the next factor of the lack of support and discipline from the Parliamentarian forces. Following the outbreak of the Scottish Revolution and Hampden’s case, the ship money yield fell dramatically from 90% collection to 20%. Charles tried to deal with the Scots, without recourse to Parliament. Facing financial problems and not wanting to recall Parliament, Charles negotiated the Truce of Berwick in 1639 agreeing to a meeting of a Scottish assembly as Edinburgh and Parliament as well as disbandment of both armies. On his return, Wentworth tried to advise Charles to call an English Parliament as the only means of raising money to fight the scots. However, Charles refused to compromise when he met with the Parliament and he dissolved it determined to face the Scots in the field. Alongside the attempt to collect the ship money, Charles had called for a coat and conduct money which was a tax to support the county-trained bands when they had to serve outside their country. It was supposed to provide for food and other expenses such as transport however there was widespread opposition to this. This links to the next...
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