Was King Charles I of England a bad man, or just a bad leader?

betgo

Ad Honorem
Jul 2011
6,212
#41
I meant that people were not happy about Spanish domination and repression under Mary. However, to be fair there were many religious executions under Elizabeth also. Catholics were prosecuted for treason in denying the monarch was head of the Church. They couldn't be prosecuted for heresy for following older dogma, and Catholic theology was generally acceptable in England just not allegiance to the Pope. Some of the Catholics prosecuted may have really been guilty of treason in a narrower sense.

Charles I's policies are an advertisement against hereditary monarchy. Probably part of the reason monarchy was temporarily scrapped was he made it look bad. Leaders today generally would not do anything as stupid. Twice putting his father's favorite in command of disasterous military expeditions early in his reign shows terrible judgement.

Charles probably was high Church Anglican, but he was probably used by Roman Catholics to follow the policies that led to civil war.
 

Code Blue

Ad Honorem
Feb 2015
3,980
Caribbean
#44
Uhm you asked if people nowadays were more or less politically sensitive, not me.
And what was the answer? The answer is that people are sensitive to perceived threats. Your post seemed to mitigate the actions of Charles as mere re-organization - not making the CoE Catholic, just something that looks Catholic
"It wasn't so much as making the CoE/S catholic, but that he wanted it organized similarly."

I tried to point out that this is a distinction that is going to be lost on a Reformation Protestant - as if such 'mere' changes of form would be lost on anyone today. As if some President or Prime Minister today could initiate the mere trappings, symbols and forms of Naziism without everyone thinking he is a Nazi.

It would be so missing the point not to understand that to a Reformation Protestant when someone from the government tries to take the place of Jesus as intercessor between man and God - it's wrong, it's Romanism, whether this is the action of a Pope or King. To them, there is no surrendering to a self-professed Vicar of Christ, in Rome or London.

I also tried to explain that they would see no distinction between this "form" and actual substance. But in truth, Charles didn't take long to show it was not just form, but substance. He began arresting the Puritan clergy and burning books. He went to war before 1641.

This gets back to my earlier - Charles picked the wrong side. Romanism was going to lose the day in Britain in the 1600s. Tne country was already too Protestant. The Papacy has no surrogate through whom to send another Armada. In the time of Charles, it a war of committed men against mercenaries. The Protestants are more committed than Charles's "royal" army for hire. Charles may be personally as implacable as a Puritan, as personally as implacable as Cromwell, and he goes to the chopping block with all his arrogance in place, but Charles is not a general, is not leading his men, does not inspire with courage, but only with scrip.
 

Willempie

Ad Honorem
Jul 2015
5,212
Netherlands
#45
And what was the answer? The answer is that people are sensitive to perceived threats. Your post seemed to mitigate the actions of Charles as mere re-organization - not making the CoE Catholic, just something that looks Catholic
"It wasn't so much as making the CoE/S catholic, but that he wanted it organized similarly."
they
Point is that few had Catholicism on their mind when they revolted. He had so much other policies that made people angry. The church things weren't even considered that much as a catholic thing.
I tried to point out that this is a distinction that is going to be lost on a Reformation Protestant - as if such 'mere' changes of form would be lost on anyone today. As if some President or Prime Minister today could initiate the mere trappings, symbols and forms of Naziism without everyone thinking he is a Nazi.
It doesn't work that way. Protestantism in UK developed rather differently. When Henry 8 split off they didn't go Calvin or Luther, they went Catholicism light.
It would be so missing the point not to understand that to a Reformation Protestant when someone from the government tries to take the place of Jesus as intercessor between man and God - it's wrong, it's Romanism, whether this is the action of a Pope or King. To them, there is no surrendering to a self-professed Vicar of Christ, in Rome or London.
Don't get into that stuff. Protestantism in that age is a complete and utter chaos. It isn't a coincidence that many left for the new world.
I also tried to explain that they would see no distinction between this "form" and actual substance. But in truth, Charles didn't take long to show it was not just form, but substance. He began arresting the Puritan clergy and burning books. He went to war before 1641.
Agreed completely
This gets back to my earlier - Charles picked the wrong side. Romanism was going to lose the day in Britain in the 1600s. Tne country was already too Protestant. The Papacy has no surrogate through whom to send another Armada. In the time of Charles, it a war of committed men against mercenaries. The Protestants are more committed than Charles's "royal" army for hire. Charles may be personally as implacable as a Puritan, as personally as implacable as Cromwell, and he goes to the chopping block with all his arrogance in place, but Charles is not a general, is not leading his men, does not inspire with courage, but only with scrip.
I am not so sure. A chap like Cromwell, a staunch Puritan, didn't side until he got economically forced.
 

caldrail

Ad Honorem
Feb 2012
5,296
#46
The problem with Charles 1st was that he was not the sort of ruler suitable for his day. He was prone to employing military force readily (he was accused of being a 'man of blood' during his trial) and did not accept he was answerable to anything less than God - he did not remove his hat during the trial because he felt there was no-one to whom he needed to show obvious respect, and when the silver end of his cane fell off, he looked about for someone in the court to retrieve it until he realised no-one was going to, and reluctantly picked it up himself. His love of beauty caused outrage among the more austere Christian faiths at the time, not forgetting his taxes which precipitated the crisis at the beginning.
 
Sep 2012
1,042
Tarkington, Texas
#47
The main problem was the Stuarts were acting like Scots. The King in Scotland had little political power and was beholden to the Scottish nobility. When the Stuarts succeeded to the English throne they had never had that much political clout and financial power. Their poor political habits won out.

Pruitt
 
Aug 2010
16,202
Welsh Marches
#48
And what was the answer? The answer is that people are sensitive to perceived threats. Your post seemed to mitigate the actions of Charles as mere re-organization - not making the CoE Catholic, just something that looks Catholic
"It wasn't so much as making the CoE/S catholic, but that he wanted it organized similarly."

I tried to point out that this is a distinction that is going to be lost on a Reformation Protestant - as if such 'mere' changes of form would be lost on anyone today. As if some President or Prime Minister today could initiate the mere trappings, symbols and forms of Naziism without everyone thinking he is a Nazi.

It would be so missing the point not to understand that to a Reformation Protestant when someone from the government tries to take the place of Jesus as intercessor between man and God - it's wrong, it's Romanism, whether this is the action of a Pope or King. To them, there is no surrendering to a self-professed Vicar of Christ, in Rome or London.

I also tried to explain that they would see no distinction between this "form" and actual substance. But in truth, Charles didn't take long to show it was not just form, but substance. He began arresting the Puritan clergy and burning books. He went to war before 1641.

This gets back to my earlier - Charles picked the wrong side. Romanism was going to lose the day in Britain in the 1600s. Tne country was already too Protestant. The Papacy has no surrogate through whom to send another Armada. In the time of Charles, it a war of committed men against mercenaries. The Protestants are more committed than Charles's "royal" army for hire. Charles may be personally as implacable as a Puritan, as personally as implacable as Cromwell, and he goes to the chopping block with all his arrogance in place, but Charles is not a general, is not leading his men, does not inspire with courage, but only with scrip.
I don't think you really understand the peculiarities of Anglican Protestantism, Charles was not taking the country toward Catholicism, he was a High Church Anglican, and his opponents (in so far as they were not nonconformists) were Low Church Anglicans who found it a useful line of attack to to call their opponents on the other wing as being closet Catholics, or drawing too close to Catholicism. Henry VIII and Elizabeth I had both sought a middle road between Catholicism and continental Protestantism (of the Calvinist or Lutheran variety), in which something close to continental Protestantism and something close to Catholicism could be tolerated at either extreme; but Charles imperilled this balancing act by tactlessly pressing a very High Church form of Anglicanism and insisting on strict conformity (in England, his attempt to interfere with the Scottish settlement, which was more strictly Protestant, was even more disastrous). To accusing him of trying to take a continental-type Protestant country over to Romanism is to misinterpret the the nature of the situation, and the nature of the mistakes of Charles and of Archbishop Laud. There was a strong Puritan current in England at the time, but this cannot be taken as representing the general attitude in the country, as can be seen by the strong reaction that Puritan rule provoked, setting the country back toward the middle way that Charles had placed under threat, with an eventual tolerance of noncorformism for those who wanted a more severely Protestant form of religion. Charles' form of religion was really little different from the Victorian form of High Church Anglicanism that developed with the Oxford movement, which no one regards as being anything other than Anglican, just as no one would mistake a Low Church Anglican for a Calvinist.
 
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betgo

Ad Honorem
Jul 2011
6,212
#49
Charles' actions caused fears that he was leading England toward Roman Catholicism and that was perhaps the main reason why civil war broke out. He might have been influenced by Roman Catholics including his wife and closet Roman Catholics.
 
Aug 2010
16,202
Welsh Marches
#50
No, he was not influenced by Roman Catholics, he was a firm Anglican who had no intention whatever of trying to lead England toward Roman Catholicism, because he was firmly convinced that the Anglican church was no less Catholic than the Roman church (which had indeed become less so by adopting doctrines that were foreign to the early church), and that people could thus find their own salvation within each. He accepted the decrees of the first four Ecumenical Councils and of the three main creeds, and valued the early Church Fathers above more recent religious writers. He hated the idea of schism ("I do not admit that I am a schismatic") and disliked his title of "Supreme Governor of the Church of England" for that reason, because it implied that the Anglican Church was not Catholic; but if he would have liked unity, he could have never have contemplated the idea that it could be achieved in the English context by submitting to the authority of Rome, since - among many other things - he neither neither recognized the authority of the Pope nor of the decrees of the Council of Trent (and other later Roman teachings). One really has to try to understand his religious outlook as he himself understood it, rather than as it was mischaracterized by his religious and political enemies, who were all too willing to present him as a closet Roman Catholic, or at least as having fallen under Roman Catholic influence.

George Conn recordered a convesration in which Charles once remarked to him that he was a Catholic in the presence of his mother-in-law Marie de Medici, prompting her to say that one must be a Roman Catholic, to which he retorted that even if she and her ladies would not understand, that was simply self-contradictory (implicantia in adjecto). There is a considerable between his religious outlook and that of Elizabeth I, except that he placed a higher value on the aesthetic element in religious practice ('the beauty of holiness'). It shoud be remembered in the latter conncetion, however, that Elizabeth had saved the musical and choral traditions of the church from the musical equivalent of iconoclasm.
 
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