when conflict of opinion occurred with Parliament's own views of it's role in the government of the state. Such men did not seek to undermine the royal prerogative; rather they sought to ensure that the king did not use them against the liberty of his subjects. The common law was central to the advocates of the 'Ancient Constitution', arguing that it could not be denied by any one man, even the king.

The centre of political and governmental power in early modern England was the court, which politically constituted the king and his great officers of state. It was expected that the monarch would listen to the advice his counsel, though he was not compelled to act upon it. The Privy Council was the fulcrum of early modern English government. The Caroline Court developed serious fissures because Charles I often by-passed or ignored the Privy Council. Access to the king was of fundamental importance because with it came access to the alluring Patronage network of the crown. Scots at the Jacobean Court were resented by an innately xenophobic host of English courtiers. With the accession of a Scottish king to the English throne came a retinue of Scottish nobles eager for a share in the wealth of their King's new kingdom. In England the Scots were already at best resented and at worst despised, and the prospect of these foreign noblemen siphoning off political power, titles and riches from the patronage network fuelled their contempt. However, James had learned the importance of balancing faction and was careful, perhaps with the exception of the riches he lavished on his favourites, not to allow his Scottish noblemen disproportionate amounts of political power. Instead, James strove to maintain a balance between Scots and English in the senior political offices. In lower positions however James was not as careful and ultimately antagonised English resentments and fears. When James VI ascended to the English throne he also became King of Ireland. Unlike Scotland, Ireland was not an independent kingdom but ruled more on a 'colonial' basis. There was an administrative structure established in Dublin; at its head was the Lord Lieutenant or Lord Deputy, and laws enacted in England were administered by the Irish Parliament. Furthermore, the English Privy Council was fully entitled to discuss Irish affairs.

The English were guilty of overlooking - and even having no consideration for - the fact that Ireland was a foreign country with its own distinctive culture and language. Tolerance was not a characteristic familiar to English perspectives on Ireland during this period and the Irish Catholic population, native Gaelic and 'Old English', was seen as a barbarous and wicked race that could be improved and civilised through contact with English political and legal institutions. Further a number of the English Protestant 'Planters' who settled in Ireland in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries would hope for the reformation of religion in the kingdom. However, if English legal and governmental systems and cultural influence were being imposed on Tudor and early Stuart Ireland, concurrently Counter-Reformation Catholicism spread rapidly in opposition to it. In 1603, and indeed even in 1640, it would have been inconceivable that in less than half a century this whole world would be 'turned upside down', the king tried and executed by Parliament, the monarchy abolished and a republic declared. And that is to exclude the parallel events in the government of the Church of England. In short, these events struck at the keystones of early modern English political, religious, social, economic and cultural structures.

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