- Term Papers and Free Essays

James I Was Described As "The Wisest Fool In Christendom" And His Son Charles As "An Inept King". To What Extent Can The Early Stuarts 1603 To 1629 Be Held Responsible For The Breakdown In Relations Between Crown And Parliament?

This essay James I Was Described As "The Wisest Fool In Christendom" And His Son Charles As "An Inept King". To What Extent Can The Early Stuarts 1603 To 1629 Be Held Responsible For The Breakdown In Relations Between Crown And Parliament? is available for you on! Search Term Papers, College Essay Examples and Free Essays on - full papers database.

Autor:   •  November 10, 2010  •  2,528 Words (11 Pages)  •  1,177 Views

Page 1 of 11

This question is looking at trying to understand who and what factors led to the 11 years personal rule by Charles I. The relationship breakdown between Crown and Parliament began in 1603 with James I and ended in 1629 when Parliament was dissolved.

To fully understand the causes of the breakdown we need to look what inherited problems James had to face. Elizabeth had created a debt of Ð'Ј400,000 which was passed onto James, so already he faced severe financial problems. On top of this was the 16th century price rise, which had created an inflation of 400%. This created the Ð''Canker of want' (James) where income was less than expenditure. Inflation had seriously decreased the value of subsidies granted by parliament from Ð'Ј140,000 in 1500 to Ð'Ј72,500 in 1600. James was not happy with Ð''the greatness of my debt and the smallest of my means'. Fixed rents and poor management of his feudal dues created even more problems for James; he could no longer Ð''Live of his own' and had to rely on money from parliament. As Russell said Ð'' The Stuarts inherited a financial system that was already at the point of breakdown'.

The character and qualities of James did not help the relationship. James was not kingly in appearance. His oversized tongue made speaking difficult and his small size and rapier proof double he wore gave him a cowardly look about him. But worse of all was his Scottish heritage. He was seen as a foreigner from a land despised by Englishmen as England was still technically at war with Spain. James wanted to unify England and Scotland and saw himself as a peacemaker, which was not very well recognised after the reign of the ruthless Queen Elizabeth. James did not take very naturally to the new ways of English parliament, as in Scotland he was used to sitting in on parliamentary debates and having control parliament. James also placed himself in a bad position for having Scottish favourites such as Lord Hay, and unwisely excluded his English advisors making him very unpopular. He was not a traveller like his predecessor Elizabeth who spent time progressing around the country, which resulted in him not being liked as much as Ð''Good Queen Bess'. In 1605 the gunpowder plot panicked him into fear of being assassinated and rapier proof doublet to bed which did not give him a good name. We can not really blame James for his character but we can see already the relationship between James and Parliament was unstable; they did not trust him and believed he was bringing Scotsmen Ð''on the make'; it was a foolish failure of patronage

Charles, like his father, had a stubborn belief in divine right, but unlike his father he tried to put it into practice. He saw Parliaments Ð''privileges' as granted by the crown, but Parliament believed they were granted by tradition and Magna Carta. This was inevitably going to cause friction between crown and parliament as they faced the challenge of a new century. Ð''The times were changing' (Reece) and Charles had to Ð''manage the balance of the constitution'. Charles also took criticism badly and saw it as treachery, he couldn't even cope with constructive criticism. Also he was a poor communicator, yet another part of his character like his father. He found it very had to speak in Parliament and his speeches were often short and critical Ð''They are to be or not to be as I see fit'. This added to the lack of communication between crown and Parliament. Charles only had a small circle of favourites such as Buckingham, and Buckingham's failures, such as the Spanish Match, reflected badly on the King.

Already the characters of both kings were going to cause some friction and inept leadership, and was therefore the fault of the kings.

James extravagance was to cause anger in parliament and financial problems. His spending on clothes grew from Ð'Ј8,000 to Ð'Ј37,000 a year. Through his reckless spending James doubled his debts in three years from the Ð'Ј400,000 he had inherited from Elizabeth to Ð'Ј816,000. James was wasting the taxpayers money which created friction, he was spending more than he was getting on expensive gifts for favourites, such as Ð'Ј20,000 to pay Hay's gambling debts, which angered parliament as his debt was increasing. They believed that the amount of subsidies James was receiving a year would be enough to get rid of his debt, but in some ways they were also worried that James was getting too much money from his feudal dues, such as tonnage and poundage, and he could become independent of parliament. They told James he should Ð''live of his own' in times of peace and in 1614 the Addled Parliament refused to grant James the supply of money he genuinely needed. This is evidence for the breakdown between crown and parliament because of money, and the fact that Parliament used subsidies as a means to control and influence the King, but I think James did have some blame for this. His extravagance increased his debt and his poor management of money caused a lack of support for him in Parliament. This and the failure of the Great Contract in 1610 must ultimately rest with parliament, thus to blame James alone would be unbalanced.

Charles also had financial problems. The first started when parliament only granted Charles tonnage and poundage for a year. This was so Charles had reduced independent sources of income so they could use money as a weapon against Charles. His predecessor James had tonnage and poundage granted for life so Charles felt he had been treated unfairly by Parliament so parliament aggressively began the conflict. Due to the Spanish war Charles was desperate for funds. Parliament meanly only granted Ð'Ј250,000 when Ð'Ј2million was needed. Charles sold crown lands worth Ð'Ј350,000 but was not enough. This was to anger Charles and forced him into finding alternative semi legal methods of raising the much needed amount. He introduced forced loans which were hated by Lord Lieutenants and sheriffs who had to collect them. This led to the 5 knight's case who challenged their legality and the arrest of 40 refusers who wouldn't pay. Charles also revived ancient laws such as the distraint of knighthood and forestry laws. This expenditure alienated Charles from those who his throne rested on and did not give him the support he desperately needed. I think this conflict was partially both crown and parliaments fault as Charles was using illegal methods to collect money but parliament wasn't prepared to pay out for a war that was


Download as:   txt (14.8 Kb)   pdf (156.5 Kb)   docx (14.1 Kb)  
Continue for 10 more pages »
Only available on