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The Parliament of 1624
Main Areas of Conflict
There is evidence that James had no intention of calling another
parliament, but in 1624 he had to. The situation on the palatinate
was worse than ever. When James met with parliament, he assured
MPs `ye may freely advise me'. Spirits between parliament and the
King had flared in 1623 when Commons discussed foreign policy,
yet in 1624 they did so again.
Charles and Buckingham had returned from Madrid determined on a war of revenge which coincided
with the current mood of the nation. Charles regularly attended debates in the Upper House and
was pleased with the anti-Spanish atmosphere he found there. Because of this, he was willing to
troubling developments. The most important of which were the subsidy act, the statute of
monopolies and the impeachment of Cranfield.
The commons approved the idea of war but were wary of the funds that would have to be given to
support one after bad harvest in 1622 and 1623. To ensure a grant, Buckingham and Charles
accepted restrictions on how the money was used. The crown agreed that the money parliament
would grant would only be used on the defence of the realm, Ireland, aid to the United Provinces and
the Navy and in return they were given under £300,000. Even then the money would still have to be
spent under the supervision of officials who were appointed by parliament.
The second request from parliament was a constitutional landmark as it was the first statutory
limitation on the royal prerogative. The statute of monopolies was a restatement of the 1621 bill
which had failed. Patents by the king could no longer be issued except on new inventions and even
then the patent only lasted 14 years. Patents on monopolies could be issued to chartered companies
Thirdly, the impeachment of Cranfield was conceded. This undermined royal authority but Charles and
Buckingham encouraged it. Cranfield hoped that a Spanish dowry would cover the majority of
James's debts and so a war would scupper his attempts to improve the crown's finances. Cranfield
did however have support from James until he was found guilty of corruption, fined for £50,000,
barred from court and was imprisoned in the Tower.
While both Charles and parliament were both intent on achieving the same goal, war with Spain, the
relationship was harmonious. However, this was dangerous for the crown as sooner or later relations
between the two would sour and parliament now had new methods of strengthening their position.
Parliament now had the power to restrict how money was spent, impeach ministers and curb
disagreeable aspects of the king's prerogative through legislation. Parliament were quick to
remember these lessons when, after Charles and Buckingham had informally promised a war at sea,
they found out there was no naval war or even a breach with Spain. Parliament also found that,
against the express intentions of the commons, Mansfeld's expedition was sent to the continent.
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Outcomes and consequences of the 1624 Parliament
Parliament agreed to war with Spain but didn't like how much would be spent so Charles and
Buckingham were prepared to have restrictions on what the money would be spent on-which was
the defence of the realm, Ireland, aid to the United Provinces, and the navy. However, this would be
supervised by government officials proving that there still wasn't great trust between the King and