Charles exploited a loophole in the 1624 Statute of Monopolies that allowed him to grant monopolies to companies as against individuals. This measure aroused bitter resentment. It is estimated that for every £100,000 raised for the crown, the patent holders made £750,000. Most profitable of the crown's new financial expedients was Ship Money. 
[15. Ship Money: Traditionally a tax on the coastal counties in England for the preservation of coastal and maritime defence. Charles I extended Ship Money to the inland counties from 1635. This provoked the hostility of wealthy gentlemen such as John Hampden, who refused to pay. Hampden was brought to court by the government, though the judges only narrowly favoured the King's policy which increased the dubiousness surrounding the levy. Nevertheless non-payment was relatively rare until the tax was increased to pay for the Bishops' Wars (as Charles I went to war without Parliamentary subsidy). Ship Money was declared illegal, in the manner Charles I had abused it, by the Long Parliament in 1641.]
Clarendon provides a clear indication of the problems Charles' financial measures were causing:
Projects of many kinds, many ridiculous, many scandalous, all very grievous, were set on foot; the envy and reproach of which came to the king, the profit to other men.
The financial position of the Crown had been restored by the mid-1630s; this came at a great political cost. This would all be revealed in the proceedings of the Long Parliament against prerogative rights - which notably swept them away.
In 1637 the kingdom appeared stable, the Crown was solvent and at peace, Charles was in good health, and his five children meant the succession question, such an unsettling question under the Tudors, was secure. When writing his History of the Rebellion during the 1660s, Clarendon recalled England in the 1630s as having the 'greatest calm' and 'fullest... felicity', and asserted that Charles' reign at this time stood 'to the wonder and envy of all parts of Christendom.' Superficially it looked as if Charles could continue to govern without Parliament. Without Parliament in session, the country was denied the principal forum for voicing grievances. Outside of this severed channel, there were few safe opportunities to express dissatisfaction with royal policies. The treatment of the puritan pamphleteers, Prynne, Burton and Bastwick in 1637 , aroused widespread revulsion, but it also generated fear. To express discontent in print was to risk charges of sedition or treason, and the penalties that accompanied them. Therefore, it is hardly surprising to find little outward resistance to Charles' government during the Personal Rule. One form of indirect protest was to leave the country.
[16. Prynne, Burton and Bastwick Case, 1637: Contentious trial and corporal punishment of three Puritans, William Prynne, John Bastwick and Henry Burton, before Star Chamber. These men were Puritan pamphleteers who attacked William Laud's influence on the Church of England, describing the Laudian clergy as 'vipers', 'tigers', 'bloodsuckers' and 'cruel stepfathersof the church'. Found guilty by Star Chamber, they were subjected to corporal and penal punishments - their ear lobes were cut off in the pillory, they were branded and heavily fined. The punishments were unusually harsh, but the case aroused further fear of and hostility towards the Laudian Church. The issue was not punishment for challenging Laud's ideas - they had been punished for the similar offences without uproar. The principal objections were that gentlemen could be subjected to such degrading corporal punishment, and fears about the ever-growing arbitrary policies and practices of Charles I's reign.]
During the 1630s there was a significant growth in emigration - mostly puritans hoping to establish a godly commonwealth, their number included key political figures of the next decade - men such as John Pym, Lords Saye and Sele and Brooke, and the Earl of Warwick. Andrew Marvell's poem Bermudas (1653) is concerned with the flight of such puritan emigrants from the wrath of Laudianism in 1634. In its role as the highest court of the land, one of Parliament's roles was to interpret the law in addition to making it. While Parliament was suspended under Charles, the lower courts took on greater importance either in support of royal authority or in defence of tradition against the encroachments of the Crown. The Hampden Case  illustrates this contradictory or dual role.
|Copyright: All texts on Bibliomania are © Bibliomania.com Ltd, and may not be reproduced in any form without our written permission. See our FAQ for more details.|