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Why did people go to war in 1642?

Case study 1: 1637-39 – Source 1

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A proclamation by Charles I on playing cards and dice, 1638

(Catalogue ref: SP 45/10/212)

SP45/10/212; order on playing cards & dice, 1639
SP45/10/212; order on playing cards & dice, 1639
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SP45/10/212; order on playing cards & dice, 1639

What is this source?

This is a royal proclamation (announcement or order) from 1638. Charles was effectively taking control of the trade in playing cards and dice.


What’s the background to this source?

Parliaments often gave the king the right to control certain trades. This was usually to make sure that products in a particular trade were safe. Goods that were approved were given the seal of approval. Most trades accepted that they should pay a small fee to get the seal of approval.


It's worth knowing that...

People accepted that kings would try to use regulations like this to raise money, but in the 1630s many people felt Charles was going too far. From 1629-40 he ruled without calling Parliament (the Personal Rule) and instead used measures like this to get the money he needed.


Your turn: What can we learn from this source?

  1. How do we know that this is a genuine royal proclamation?
  2. Study source 1a. The king claimed that this regulation was to protect the public from poor quality dice and cards. Do you think the public were really worried about poor quality dice or cards?
  3. Study source 1b. What do makers or sellers of cards or dice now have to do?
  4. Will it cost them money?
  5. People today often complain about having to pay taxes on too many things. Do you think this proclamation would have led to complaints?
  6. Does this source give us any clues about why the kingdom went to war in 1642?