The National Archives Civil War
Close window Download and print PDF version

Why did people go to war in 1642?

Case study 1: 1637-39 - Source 5

Simplified transcript

Letter from a gentleman called Edward Norgate with Charles’s army against Scotland, 4 May 1639

(Catalogue ref: SP 16/420/45)

[Extra explanations are in square brackets.]

The king has been pleased to send a declaration to the Covenanters with a free pardon to even the greatest troublemaker, if they come in within eight days (with other details that I don't need to repeat to you because you know it better than I). If they have even a little honest loyalty or religion, then no doubt we may hope one day to look homewards again, and to recover lost happiness. …

If the people remain stubborn, we will lose patience and our coats will be stained [with blood]. For never was so a good king wasted on such bad subjects, …