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What kind of king was Charles I?

Case study 1: Monarchs before Charles I - Source 3


Part of a speech by James I to Parliament in 1609

(Catalogue ref: SP 14/53/31)

Source 3a

And now because any Christian is bound to gyve accompt of his fayth I will hold it my duty to lett my people knowe what I hold in this poynt.

Kings are gods on earth & this is illustrated by 3 degrees of Comparyson.

1. They are compared to god & sayd to be gods on earth denye it who can.

Source 3b

2. They are the great fathers of the family.

3. They are heads of the politique body.

They are like gods for god maketh & unmaketh soe doe they, god hathe power of lyfe & death soe have they, god is accomptible to noe man, noe more are they, god advanceth & pulleth downe & soe they, all thinges are within the power of god, & soe are goods of the subject in the disposing of the K; & this is trew in a king generally understood. ……

Soe kings in the beginning some were chosen by the people, some by conquest, some otherwise & then they governed as they thought fytt but since they have requested to governe by Lawes, it may now be sayd to them, as the woman said to Philip aut rege secundum legesant ne rex sis. And therefore whosoever shall persuade a K to leave to governe by his Lawes perswadeth him to be a tyrant, foe he can not but be [?] sworne at his Coronation to observe the Lawes &c.