The Coming of War 1640-42

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The Parliament that assembled 3 November 1640 was fundamentally hostile to Charles I. Candidates associated with the court had been defeated, and almost everyone elected was aggrieved at some aspect of Charles' policies. Parliament had been assembled only because Charles needed money to pay the Scots army. To ensure that it was not dissolved as soon as the Scots army disbanded, Parliament forced Charles to sign an Act (10 May 1641) agreeing that this Parliament would not be dissolved without its own consent. The threat of the Scottish army was also used to persuade the King to consent to the Triennial Act (15 February 1641). This stated that Parliament must be called every three years, and that if the King failed to call Parliament, the Members of the last Parliament should assemble unsummoned. Passing laws was all very well, but many Members of Parliament were afraid that Charles might still mount a violent coup to regain absolute control. To try and prevent this happening, they decided to attack all those who had helped Charles organize the personal rule of the 1630s: William Laud, Lord Keeper Finch, Secretary Windebank, the judges who had upheld the legality of Ship Money and - most importantly - Thomas Wentworth, Earl Strafford. Charles' opponents John Hampden (1594-1643) was a wealthy Buckinghamshire gentleman, who had led to opposition to Ship Money. His lawyer in the Ship Money case (1637) was Oliver St John (1598?-1673) who gave a speech against arbitrary taxation and in support of the belief that the King had no extra-legal powers; this speech was printed frequently. John Pym (1584-1643) was a friend of both Hampden and St John, and an old enemy of Buckingham. In the late 1620s, he opposed Arminianism and the collection of tonnage and poundage. In the Long Parliament, he became the leader of opposition to Charles in the House of Commons. William
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