The relationship between king and Parliament steadily eroded. Extravagant spending (particularly on James’ favourites), inflation and bungled foreign policies discredited James in the eyes of Parliament. Parliament refused to give funds to a king who ignored their concerns and were annoyed by rewards given to favourites and great amounts spent on decoration.

James had enormous difficulties in coping with parliamentary criticism. The structure of English government made it impossible to raise sufficient revenue without parliaments, but his belief in the Divine Right of Kings made him unwilling to listen to criticism of his unpopular diplomatic schemes.

The early days of James’s 1st parliament in 1604 were dominated by a tussle over parliamentary privilege. The questions on wardship and purveyance also surfaced early on in this parliament, but, although James showed some willingness to find a way to address these grievances, nothing was actually achieved.

Other issue was to unite the two kingdoms of England and Scotland but was eventually abandoned in 1607 after much argueing.

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Dissolved his first parliament in 1610 on anything but pleasant terms with its members complaining that ‘these seven years last past……our fame and actoins have been daily tossed like tennis balls amongst them, and all that spite and malice might do to disgrace and inflame us hath been used’.

James new parliament met in 1614, as it proved almost entirley unproductive and failed to pass any legislation, it became known as the addled parliament. The issue about financial supply was a mistake. They suggested that, in return for the grant of two subsidies, James should give up his right to collect impositions. They offered to pay James a one-off payment of £140,000 and asking him to accept an annual income of £70,000. James dissolved the parliament in june without a grant of subsidy.

James was desperate for financial assistance but, like their predecessors in the first parliament of the first reign, the members of the commons in 1614 were united in their refusal to grant the sums necessary to provide the crown with the secure financial base.

Followin the outbreak of major european war in 1618 james called a parliament at the beginning of 1621 to back up his commitment to go to war to recover palatinate which had been invaded by spanish troops the previous summer. They offered him two subsidies and then proceeeded to launch a full scale assualt upon monopolists who had purchased from the crown the sole right to manufacture certain basic commodities and who were thus able to sell inferior products at inflated prices. This attack brought about the arrest of two monopolists Sir Giles Mompesson and sir Francis Michell, and resulted in the impeachment of the lord chancellor, francis bacon.

A bitter quarrel over whether the war which james had threatened should now be launched ensued. When the MP’s called for the adoption of the alternative strategy of naval war on Spain and the termination of the marriage negotiations with madrid, James furiously reminded them that they had no right to discuss foreign policy and further claimed that they held their privileges only by royal favour. The commons then drew up their famous protestation, claiming that ‘freedom of speech was the ancient and undoubted birthright and inheritance of the subjects of england’.This resulted in the session and James furiously ripping the protestation out of the commons journal and imprisoning a number of prominent MP’s.

When a new palriament met in february 1624, those in the commons who were looking for a war against spain had gained two powerful allies, Prince charles and the duke of Buckingham. With their encouragement, in March, the commons called for an immediate decleration of war. James wanted at least a million to fund the war but was only offered £300,000. The war they had voted for did not materialize until after James death ten months later.

While all four of james’s parliaments were marked by tension, disagreements and understanding, such problems had characterized parliamentary sessions.of themselves they do not provide reason to conclude that by 1625 crown and parliament were trapped in a desperate power struggle.


With all these facts in mind I disagree with the statement that James’ 3rd and 4th parliaments had more success than his 1st and 2nd. Although, they may not have achieved more,James was able to control over his 1st and 2nd parliament and could achieve what he wanted. The 3rd and 4th parliaments had to many people against James and members were turning the house against James and his decisions. Even the war against Spain took over 4 years to be finally declared. Members such as Prince Charles and the Duke of Buckingham were demanding freedom of speech. James didn’t like this and again resulting in a tussle between crown and parliament. So non of the 4 parliaments that came into the commons were productive or didn’t really achieve any success.

So with this I conclude that none of the four parliaments that came into the commons were productive or didn’t really achieve any success with James during this period, the statement therefore is false.


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