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Why did people want the king back in 1646?

Case study 2: Viewpoints, 1645-46 - Source 3

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Extracts from a letter written by Parliament to Charles I, 13 January 1646

(Catalogue ref. SP 16/513/10)

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SP16/513/10; letter from Parliament, 1646

What is this source?

This letter to Charles was signed by the speakers of both Houses of Parliament and by the Commissioners for the Parliament of Scotland.


What's the background to this source?

By the time this source was written it was clear that Charles was losing the war. He eventually surrendered in May 1646. The problem for both sides was to work out peace terms.


It's worth knowing that...

Although Parliament and the Scots defeated Charles in battle, there was no question of ruling without him. The idea of ruling without a king was not acceptable to any of the MPs, army officers or Scots. The main issue was whether Charles would be king with no restrictions on his power, a few restrictions, or a lot of restrictions.


Your turn: What can we learn from this source?

  1. What was Parliament’s answer to Charles’s request to meet and talk?
  2. Did Parliament treat Charles with respect in this document?
  3. What did Parliament want Charles to do?
  4. Why did Parliament think its proposals would be a good basis for peace?
  5. MPs and army officers were divided in 1646 between moderates (people who took a middle point of view) and hard-liners. Does this source suggest the moderates or the hard-liners were in charge of Parliament?
  6. How does this source help to explain why Charles gained support in 1646?