The interactive parts of this resource no longer work, but it has been archived so you can continue using the rest of it.

The National Archives Civil War
Close window Download and print PDF version

Why did people go to war in 1642?

Case study 2: 1640-42 - Source 6

Simplified transcript

Report of tensions in the country, 6 January 1642

(Catalogue ref: SP 16/488/27)

Source 6a

Twelve bishops were accused of high treason [betraying their country] by the Parliament. This week 5 of the chief members of the House of Commons and the Lord Mandevill in the House of Lords were charged by the king. (You may see their names in the enclosed details.) This has bred such anger, both in the city and Houses of Parliament, that we are not free from the fear of a rebellion.…

Source 6b

His Majesty yesterday came into the city and made a gracious speech to the Lord Mayor and city officials at the Guildhall, where they were assembled to take order for the safety of the city. He did as much as he could to satisfy them all. They cried out to his Majesty to maintain the privilege of Parliament. He gently replied to them that it was his wish to do so and he would not in the least invade upon them. But they must allow him to distinguish between the Parliament and some discontented members in it who have tried by acts of treason to hurt him and to take away the loyalty of his people. So, both for his own safety and for their good, he must and will find them out and bring them to justice. This should be done in a legal and Parliamentary way and in no other ways. If they could clear themselves, he should be glad of it. If otherwise, he would think them unfit to sit in Parliament, which meets together to make good laws and to reform the abuses of the kingdom and not to betray their king.

Source 6c

Afterwards his Majesty was pleased to go to dinner at Sheriff Garrett's, where his Majesty stayed till 3 o'clock. Then, returning to Whitehall, the rude crowd followed him crying again: "Privileges of Parliament! Privileges of Parliament!" The good king was somewhat affected and I believe was glad when he was at home. …

Source 6d

What these disorders will produce God only knows, but it is feared they must end in blood. The Puritan groups are too many, both in city and countryside, so that if the king and Parliament should disagree, no man can tell which party would be strongest. On Tuesday his Majesty went to the House of Commons to demand the persons of those that were accused of treason, but they were not there to be found. The House it seems is taking it badly that the king should come to break their privileges. From what I understand, they decided to protect their members and not to deliver them into the hands of the king. They have such support in the city that to take them by force will cost hot water.