During the period 1640-1642 there was a complete breakdown in the relationship between Charles and Parliament, a breakdown in public confidence in the King's ability (i.e. rather than his right) to govern the kingdom effectively. The parliamentary 'opposition' at the outset had no grand scheme or thoughts towards rebellion let alone revolution. The collapse of royal authority in Charles' three kingdoms by 1642 is central to the course of events that enveloped during the 1640s.

To many Scottish people it was evident by 1637 that their King threatened the Kirk, Scottish law and property rights. Charles seems to have been oblivious to this, or was so intent on imposing his policies that he did not care to listen to protestation. Dating from his accession in 1625, Charles' political and religious policies in Scotland had the effect of alienating the crown from large sections of the population and provoking serious responses - namely in the formation of the National Covenant in 1638. Faced with serious religious dissent about the Book of Common Prayer, Charles was obstinate and went to war with his own subjects during 1639-40 over their refusal to acknowledge the Anglican liturgy. The Bishops' Wars [4] were brief and inconclusive for the English: they were a humiliating lesson in just how ineffective the English 'war machine' had become.

[4. Bishops' Wars, 1639-40: the Bishops' Wars were the immediate result of Charles I's assertion of Anglicanism over the Scottish Church in 1637. The Book of Common Prayer was a liturgical imposition unacceptable to the Presbyterian population of urban Lowland Scotland in particular. Charles took the decision as part of his drive for religious and political uniformity of crown authority in his three kingdoms, and in doing neglected to consult Scottish lay or ecclesiastical opinion. The Scots perceived this as an affront to their rights and grew fearful of arbitrary or even tyrannical government under their King. When Charles proved recalcitrant over the Book of Prayer the Scots aligned themselves into the National Covenant (1638) for the preservation of their religious and political liberties. Charles I was never a moderately- minded man who could steer his way through periods of difficulty with his subjects by way of pragmatism and compromise. In event Charles attempted to engage the Scots with force of arms twice during 1639- 40. The English armies he attempted to raise without Parliament's financial assistance or consent (the first time a monarch had done so since the fourteenth century in England) were bound for disaster and Charles was forced to commit himself to humiliating peace settlements. The effects of Scottish mobilisation of armed resistance to Caroline authority marked the beginning of the 'British Civil Wars' and set in motion a sequence of events that would culminate in the summer of 1642 with the English Parliament at war with its King]

Charles, now in a precarious financial and political position, was however convinced he could defeat the Covenanters with the support of Parliament and better military preparations. Therefore, in 1640 he called the Short Parliament with the ad hoc intention of extracting war subsidies to defeat the Scottish rebels. It is difficult to entertain the belief that the King did not expect any attempt from the Commons to express grievances that had accumulated since 1629. If Charles had been politically astute and possessed the art of survival he would have treated with both the Scots and Parliament temporarily. Yet Charles was obstinate, duplicitous and head-strong, his will bent on imposing his authority - and when his Scottish subjects challenged his position (or, rather as Charles himself interpreted events) as King and head of the Church, he responded with unmoving determination.

Charles was notoriously duplicitous and resentful of challenges to his authority and it is unlikely he intended to use money granted from the Long Parliament to pay the royalties to Scots agreed in the Treaty of Ripon, but rather intended on subduing his rebellious subjects. The Commons were determined they would no be outmanoeuvred by their King this time. Charles seems to have been under the belief that Parliament would still support the war against the Scots; he believed that his mistake with the Short Parliament had been not to fix the elections. Nevertheless, even this didn't return a House of Commons willing to be pliant to the King's will. Of 504 members returned in October 1640 less than 12% would support Charles in 1641. Charles was firm when Parliament convened, stating the agenda - subsidy for the war, aid for the northern counties and restoration of trust between crown and parliament. Only after this was granted smoothly and unconditionally would the King have considered redress of grievances. Defeat

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