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The National Archives Civil War
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Why did people go to war in 1642?

Case study 2: 1640-42 - Source 1


A petition from the citizens of London, September 1640

(John Rushworth, Historical Collections, Vol III, 1639-1640, p.1263. Published in London, 1680-1701)

To the King's Most Excellent MAJESTY.

The humble Petition of your Majesties Subjects the Citizens of LONDON.

Most Gracious Soveraign,

Being moved with the duty and obedience by which the Laws your Petitioners owe unto your Sacred Majesty, they humbly present unto your Princely and pious wisdom, the several pressing grievances following; viz.

The pressing and unusual Impositions upon Merchandize, Importing and Exporting, and the urging and Levying of Ship-money, notwithstanding both which, Merchants Ships and Goods have been taken and destroyed both by Turkish and other Pirates.

The multitude of Monopolies, Patents and Warrants, whereby Trade in the City and other parts of the Kingdom is much decayed.

The sundry Innovations in matters of Religion.

The Oath and Canons lately enjoyned by the late Convocation whereby your Petitioners are in danger to be deprived of their Ministers.

The great concourse of Papists, and their Inhabitations in London, and the Suburbs, whereby they have more means and opportunity of Plotting and Executing their designs against the Religion established.

The seldom Calling, and suddain dissolutions of Parliaments, without the redress of your Subjects Grievances.

The Imprisonment of divers Citizens for non-payment of Ship-Money and Impositions, and the prosecution of many others in the Star-Chamber, for not conforming themselves to Committees in Patents and Monopolies, whereby Trade is restrained.

The great danger your Sacred person is exposed unto in the present War, and the various fears that seized upon your Petitioners, and their Families by reason thereof, which grievances and fears have occasioned so great a stop and direction in Trade, that your Petitioners can neither Buy, Sell, receive, or pay as formerly, and tends to the utter Ruine of the Inhabitants of the City, the decay of Navigation, and Cloathing, and the Manufactures of this Kingdom.