Report of tensions in the country, 6 January 1642
(Catalogue ref: SP 16/488/27)
These are extracts from a report written by a gentleman called Thomas Wiseman to Sir John Penington. Penington was not in London at the time and wanted to be kept informed of what was happening.
Wealthy and important people at the time were surprisingly well informed about events. There were many pamphlets and newspapers, as well as personal letters such as this one.
By 1642 relations between Charles and Parliament were a disaster. In January 1642 Charles lost patience with Parliament and tried to arrest five leading MPs and one Lord (John Pym, John Hampden, Arthur Haselrigg, Denzel Hollis, William Strode and Lord Mandeville). This destroyed any trust that was left between the two sides after years of arguing.
Clashes between Parliament and Charles leading up to this point included:
One of the most important privileges of Parliament was that the king could not enter unless he was invited. This rule was to prevent the king sitting in Parliament and making MPs too nervous to say what they really thought. The attempt to arrest the MPs was a big step by Charles and convinced many MPs that he could not be trusted.
Although we talk about Charles fighting Parliament, we should remember that not all MPs thought the same way. In 1640 most MPs were united in criticising Charles. By 1642 some MPs were now on the king’s side as they felt that Pym and the other opponents of Charles had gone too far. Many of Charles’s supporters stood by him out of loyalty, rather than because they believed he was in the right.
What was James trying to say? Try to identify parts of the speech showing that: