Report of a discussion between Charles I and Sir Thomas Wilford on the situation with Parliament, 28 May 1639
(Catalogue ref: SP 16/422/65)
This report in the State Papers must have been written by a person at Charles’s court in Newcastle, probably a noble loyal to Charles.
The State Papers (now in The National Archives) contain many reports of discussions between the king and his subjects.
In 1639 Charles I was in the north of England facing a major rebellion in Scotland. Wars were very expensive, so Charles was forced to call a Parliament in April 1640 to ask them for money.
British monarchs called Parliament into session. Parliament could agree to taxes to pay for wars. In return, Parliament usually demanded some say in how the war was fought and often brought up other issues as well. However, Charles hated working with Parliament. From 1629-40 he ruled without calling it once. This period was known as the Personal Rule.
Although many MPs criticised Charles’s policies in the 1630s, many other MPs remained loyal to him. Some stayed neutral if they could, taking neither side (we do not really know exact numbers on each side). Charles didn’t like the criticism, so he ended the Parliament in 1640 after a few weeks.
Many MPs, though unhappy about Charles’s policies, continued to support him. This was partly out of loyalty. It was partly because they disliked Charles’s main critics, the Puritans. It was partly because they believed in Divine Right – that the king was appointed by God.