Charles I and the Road to Personal Rule by L. J. Reeve

By L. J. Reeve

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This shocking revelation, and the fear that Charles's government had abandoned its commitment to the rule of law, caused the Commons to seek to define the law of imprisonment by legislation. Charles, however, forbade any bill which would encroach on his prerogative in a novel way. 56 The Petition of Right was Sir Edward Coke's proposed solution. This 54 55 56 C. Carlton, Charles I, the personal monarch (London, 1983), p. 109. CD1628, ii, p. 58. See also Russell, Parliaments, pp. 2 2 4 - 7 . Russell, Parliaments, p.

70 That this was seen to be necessary, however, underlines the distance which had emerged between Charles and these men. Unquestionably, the session of 1628 left a legacy of ill will (particularly on Charles's part) and of suspicion. 71 By 1628, among those leading subjects who had opposed Charles, the precious store of trust was seriously diminished. This could only weaken the foundations of his rule. An attitude of confidence in and respect towards the monarch was not only the basis of the social order; it was the element which ultimately made the English constitution workable.

Charles, however, nursed a sense of injury. He was reported to have discounted the five subsidies as nothing in the light of the offence he had received. Having failed to avoid the legal implications of the Petition with an evasive answer, he endeavoured to subvert the parliamentary order for the unembroidered printing of the measure, an action exposed in Parliament in 1629. 65 He seems to have been fearful, and resentful, of what he had conceded. He would later seek strenuously to resist some of the legal implications of the Petition of Right.

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