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Charles I's and the Catholics
Charles wasn't a fanatic about toleration; he would tolerate but mostly just wanted people
to show him outward conformity
The was a "duel standard" because Catholics were subjected to harsh Recusancy fines and
yet Catholic worship was active at court thanks to Queen Henrietta Maria
There was an impression that the government was proCatholic because Laud had called
ministers "priests" which was a Catholic term, the pope had also offered Laud a cardinals
hat (which he had refused) this was viewed that Laud must have been a Catholic. Also the
Queen had lots of influence over Charles and at court.
Attention was drawn to Catholics at court because of there was a number of papal envoys
(representatives of the Pope) around court from 1634 onwards. A number of Charles
ministers were either secret or open Catholics examples Richard Weston, Lord Treasurer.
Francis Cottington, Chancellor of the Exchequer.
It was perceived that Charles wasn't supporting protestant causes
Money given to France was used against Huguenot forces
Chance to seize the Palatinate with the help of King of Sweden, Charles passed up
Spanish ships captured by the Dutch were seized in English ports and allowed to
return home to Spain
People became concerned at the influence of Henrietta Maria.
When there was an attempt to enforce a new prayer book on the Scots in 1637 (which lead
to war with Scotland) Charles allowed the Queen to ask for money from the Catholics to
fund war. This stoked fears of a Catholic influence policy.
Because of the suspicions of a Catholic policy and the presence of 3 Spanish envoys at court
this led to rumours that the end of the short parliament in April 1640 had been because of a
popish plot, some claimed Charles had already converted.
This atmosphere of hysteria in the summer of 1640 destroyed any chance of an
accommodating Parliament. John Pym gave the first speech of the commons "There is a
design to alter the kingdom in both religion and government. This is the highest treason"
Charles was however, committed to the protestant religion although he interpreted the
religion in a way that most of his subjects found incomprehensible.