King Charles' Second Parliament, 1626

After the ignominious failure of an English expedition against the Spanish port of Cadiz, King Charles and the Duke of Buckingham turned their attention to the plight of the Huguenots of La Rochelle, who were threatened by the forces of Catholic France. Intent on making war with both Spain and France, Charles urgently needed funds to re-equip the fleet and re-arm his troops. Reluctantly, he decided to call another Parliament.

In an attempt to manage the elections, Charles made his leading opponents from the 1625 Parliament into county sheriffs because, as officers of the Crown, they became ineligible for membership of the House of Commons. He also tried to prevent Lord Arundel and Lord Bristol — avowed enemies of the Duke of Buckingham — from attending the House of Lords.

Despite the King's attempts at manipulating Parliament, fierce criticism of Buckingham's mismanagement of the Cadiz expedition was heard, spearheaded by Sir John Eliot. The House of Commons tried to impeach Buckingham for high treason and threatened to delay all votes on taxation until the House of Lords had delivered its verdict on the impeachment. Under pressure from the Lords, Charles was unable to prevent Arundel and Bristol from taking their seats. Realising that a parliamentary majority against Buckingham seemed likely, Charles ordered the dissolution of Parliament in June 1626.


Pauline Gregg, King Charles I (Berkeley 1984)

Mark A. Kishlansky and John Morrill, King Charles I, Oxford DNB 2004