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Why did people go to war in 1642?

Case study 2: 1640-42 - Source 6


Report of tensions in the country, 6 January 1642

(Catalogue ref: SP 16/488/27)

Source 6a

12 Bishops were impeached of high treason by the Parlament and this weeke 5 of the chieffe members of the howse of Commons & the Lord Mandevill in the Lords howse by the King are by the charge given them & theire names you may perceive by a particule herewith inclosed which hath bredd such a distemper both in the cittie & howses of Parlament that wee are not free from the feares of an insurrection …

Source 6b

His Majestie yesterday came in to the Cittie and made a gracious speech to the Lord Maior, Aldermen & Commons Counsell at the Guild haulle where they were assembled to take order for the saftie of the same & did as much as in him lay strive to give them all satisfaction, they crying out to his Majestie to mayntaine the priviledge of parlament to whome hee most gently replyed it was his desire soe to doe & would not in the least invade upon them but they must give him Leave to distinguishe betweene the Parlament & some ill affected members in it which have gone about by treasons, to injure his person and to with drawe his people from their allegiance and therefore both for his owne saftie & theire goods hee must & will finde them out to bring them to Justice which should bee don in a legall and parlamentarye way and no other wayes and if they could clear them selves hee should be glad of it, if other wise hee held them not members fitt to sitt in that Assemblye which were mett together to make good lawes & to reforme the abuses of the kingdom & not to betray theire King.

Source 6c

Afterwards his Majestie was pleased to bidd him selfe to dynner to Sheriff Garretts where his Majestie stayed till 3 of the clock & then returning to Whitehall the rude multitude followed him crying againe priviledges of parlament privelledges of Parlament whereat the good King was some what moved and I beleive was glad when he was at house. …

Source 6d

What these distempers will produce the God of heaven knows but it is feared they cannot otherwise end in blood. The puritan factions which the sectarys & schzmaticks are to prevalent both in Cittie & Countrey soe that no man can tell if the King & Parlament should not agree which partie would bee strongest. On Tewsday his Majestie went to the howse of Commons to demand the persons of those that were accused for Treason but they were not there to bee found; the howse it seemes taking it ill, the King should come to breake these privelledges & for ought I understand resolve to protect theire members & not to deliver them unto the hands of the King to take them by force they have such a partie in the cittie that it will cost hott water.