By L. J. Reeve
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Extra resources for Charles I and the Road to Personal Rule
This Parliament came to cause him great trouble. The delay to supply further undermined his war effort, and the nature of that delay, the debates culminating in the Petition of Right, were a significant constitutional threat. The parliamentary session was actually the scene of a conflict between Charles's espousal of a kind of absolutism and those who sought to defend the traditional rule of law. As Digges understood, 'We are now upon this question whether the king may be above the law, or the law above the king.
This was, in fact, to be a salient feature of political change in England as Charles's personal rule emerged. 66 Politically, the Petition of Right was the product of a national war crisis which had led to fear over the meaning of Charles's policies. Those policies suggested constitutional change and the threat of alien ways. In 1628 Parliament challenged him to govern in traditional fashion - under the law and in co-operation with the assembled political nation. It expressed a widespread desire for reform and employed and sought to satisfy public opinion.
Yet exactly when he received the critical overture is unclear. Weston was working in Wentworth's interests as early as 1625. 122 Inspired by a temporary falling out with Buckingham, and by a concern for reform, Wentworth opposed the forced loan in 1627. 123 In the Commons in 1628 he led the debates for much of the session, favouring a bill for the liberties of the subject and later supporting the Petition of Right. 124 At some point in early 1628 Weston 120 121 122 123 124 Laud, Works, iii, p. 2 0 8 ; Tyacke, 'Puritanism, Arminianism', pp.