chapter  3
6 Pages


Charles opened his first Parliament on 18 June 1625 with a speech so brief that a subsequent purchaser of its printed text could not believe it was complete (36, pp. 28-30; 175, p. 86). It contained one central point, several times reiterated: that the previous Parlia­ ment, which he regarded as father to the new one, had advised James to break the recent treaties (or negotiations) with Spain, concerning his own marriage and the Palatinate, and encouraged him ‘by your advices [mc] to run the course we are in, with your engagements to the maintaining of it’. He thought little more needed to be said, for ‘it is no new business’ and ‘needs no eloquence. . . to set it forth’. For this he was grateful as he was ‘neither able to, nor’, he added, ‘does it stand with my nature to spend much time in words’ (36, pp. 28-9). If his message lacked definition, circumstances seemed to lend it urgency. The fighting season was well advanced, yet the English fleet was still not ready to put to sea; and a severe visitation of plague threatened shortly to dislocate his government. Even as he spoke, two more proclama­ tions were being issued, restricting access to London and West­ minster (30). The case for war, against an enemy yet to be named, could wait no longer.