Term Paper: Scottish Covenanter Party

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[. . .] This was realised, and the arm grabbing money for the King's purse, Star Chamber, was noted and despised. Its reputation declined accordingly.

Parliament was able to limit the power of the Star Chamber eventually, but remained on the defensive in its attempts to force Charles to recognize its right as a power equal to (or even subordinate to) his own. This would lead to years of quarreling between king and Parliament about money and would lead Charles to dissolve Parliament. He would reign without their advice or consent - or their legal authority to raise taxes - for 11 years.

It was right before this period (as will be discussed below) that the Anglican prayer book was introduced into Scotland, prompting a group who called themselves the Covenanters to attempt an invasion of England. (This is an abbreviated version of their motivations, which are expanded on below.) Charles, who appears to have been genuinely alarmed at this threat from his ancestral homeland, called Parliament back into session to ask them to levy a tax so that he might fight the Covenanters. (It should be noted that one of the ironies of this particular chapter in the English Civil Wars was that the Covenanters in general agreed with Charles that the king should have access to at least some of the money in the treasury without needing to ask Parliament for permission.)

Parliament refused to levy a tax to fight the Covenanters, so Charles once again dissolved Parliament and began to pay the Covenanters to keep them away from London. But in 1641 he ran out of funds to keep the Covenanters at bay.

Stained Glass and Black Robes

Although there were a number of factors that lead to the English Civil Wars, religion was certainly an important cause. And (and this has been the case in other wars as well) it was more often than not the symbols of religion that caused the greatest furor. As noted above, Charles had already caused a sense of unease among many in Parliament and other powerful English nobles and landowners by his marriage of the Catholic (and French) Henrietta Maria. This marriage was not one that Charles had himself chosen - it had been arranged by his father - but the Puritans who held power in England distrusted this foreign, Papist queen, and some of the distrust that they felt for her rubbed off on her husband.

Charles's standing as a good protestant was further called into question by his appointing William Laud as the archbishop of Canterbury. After Laud assumed this office in 1633, he began to make a number of changes to the church itself, reinstating the stained-glass windows, black priestly robes and religious statues that has been removed not so many years before as England helped to lead the Protestant Reformation.

In 1636, Laud made the decision to introduce the Anglican Prayer Book into Scotland, a move that caused rioting across the entire country as the Scots shunned a form of worship that they considered to be far too closely aligned with Catholicism.

On 23 July, in St. Giles Cathedral in Edinburgh, the first readings from a Book of Common Prayer prepared to Anglican ideals by Scottish Bishops provoked a riot. Within months, a petition (the National Covenant) advocating Scottish Presbyterianism as opposed to Episcopalianism had been circulated throughout Scotland and signed by much of the political community.

The General Assembly of the Kirk declared Episcopacy abolished and Charles I sent troops into Scotland to restore order. By June 1639, this had been achieved and the sides had been reconciled by the Treaty of Berwick. On reflection (and with English prompting) Charles decided to renege on his promises and launched a fresh mobilisation against his opponents.

He was not only defeated but humiliated and, further, he was forced to pay a considerable indemnity to the Scots. Not only did this mean his reputation in Scotland decreased, but also it left Charles with fewer Loyalists in England.

Not only did the introduction of the Anglican Prayer Book cause riots in Scotland, but it also prompted a group of Scots to invade England under the banner of the Covenanters. Fearful for the safety of his throne, Charles called Parliament into session to ask them for funds to defeat the Covenanters. But Parliament (some to thwart the power of a hated king, some because they sided with the Covenanters that the Anglican Prayer Book was too Catholic) would not give Charles the authority to raise money to fight the Scots so Charles dissolved Parliament.

He would be forced to call them back into session after he had run out of money to pay the Covenanters to keep them away from London.

Was the Anglican Prayer Book Too Catholic

The prayer book - which established the details of how church services should be carried out - had certainly not been written as an attempt to undermine Protestantism. Thomas Cramer, who authored it, intended for it to establish a new means of worship in England:

The Book of Common Prayer represents an attempt by Thomas Cranmer to introduce church reform in England. Cranmer had risen to prominence by suggesting means to implement Henry VIII's much-desired divorce from Catherine of Aragorn. A grateful Henry made Cranmer his aide in carrying out the divorce and in 1533 made Cranmer Archbishop of Canterbury. Though Cranmer did not participate in some of Henry's more zealous anticlerical acts, he held very profound beliefs about the direction the church should take.

Though Cranmer was hampered during Henry's lifetime from carrying out many of his own reforms, the old king's death in 1547 put the archbishop in a position to carry out a program of religious reform. In 1549 he put forward his major work, The Book of Common Prayer. This handbook for liturgical practice combined in one volume Cranmer's own versions of the Catholic Breviary, Missal, Pontifical, and Ritual. In the Book and the revised version that followed in 1552 Cranmer laid down the language and practice that should guide the Anglican church in England. Adherence to the practices outlined in the Book of Common Prayer was made compulsory under law in the Act of Uniformity of 1549. http://www.courts.fsnet.co.uk/SChamber.htm

http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/timelines/britain/stu_prayer_riots.shtml http://www.britainexpress.com/History/tudor/common-prayer.htm [END OF PREVIEW]

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