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Personal Government

William Laud - Archbishop of Canterbury. Beheaded at  Tower Hill January 1645.

Personal Government. — The King resolved to summon no more Parliaments until he could be sure of their conformity. For the next 11 years he ruled as an absolute monarch and formed his own policy.

He made peace with Spain in 1629 and with France in 1630. In order to meet necessary expenses he had to continue to increase taxes and duties and to adopt obsolete or questionable methods of raising revenue. In 1634 he levied “Ship Money” (a tax to finance the navy), although the country was not at war. In 1635 he enforced this, not only on the coastal towns and counties, but on the whole kingdom, which was the cause of considerable resentment

Twice consulted, the judges declared that this action was legal but the judges were liable to be dismissed by the King. Even so, when John Hampden forced a decision in the Court of Exchequer chamber, 5 out of the 12 judges decided in Hampden’s favour.

At the same time the King sought to abolish Puritanism. A devout Protestant, Charles put his trust in William Laud, bishop of St. David's, who became in 1628 Bishop of London and in 1633 Archbishop of Canterbury.

Over three years, Laud enforced Arminian doctrine and ritual. With the help of the Court of High Commission he made it impossible for any Puritan minister to maintain his livelihood. When Puritan outrage was expressed in furious pamphlets, the authors were hunted down and punished without mercy in the Star Chamber.


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