Letter XXXII


It may be partially correct to assume that I chose this letter because it is so short, but another major reason I selected it is that it provides evidence to support two of the major accusations made in the annotations to The King’s Cabinet Opened:  that “nothing great or small is transacted without [the queen’s] privity & consent” and that “[t]he Queen appears to have been as harsh, and imperious towards the King … as she is implacable to our religion, Nation and Government.”

Throughout the letter, one gets the idea that King Charles I is bowing to Queen Henrietta Maria’s authority.  It begins with the king stating that he is surprised to find that the queen seems displeased with his last letter, something that he immediately apologizes for, stating “you write as if I had in my Letter something which had displeased you.  If that hath been, I am very innocent in my intention.  I only did believe that it was necessary you should know all.”  Although this doesn’t directly support the accusation that the queen has been imperious towards the king, it does demonstrate that she has power in her relationship with the king, something that was very controversial in a patriarchal society that believed the king should be the dominant political figure.  In this case, he was not living up to his political role or his gender role.

After apologizing for his previous letter, the king apologizes for allowing Lord Ier to decipher the letters he has been receiving from the queen.  (Lord Ier was trusted to decipher messages between the King and Queen.)  In a pleading tone, he explains why he was allowing Lord Ier to decipher them and says that if she would like him to, he will not allow anyone in the world to see their letters.  This supports the idea that nothing great or small can be transacted without the queen’s consent.  In this case, the king is not allowed to use a trusted decoder  to perform the potentially time-consuming activity of deciphering a letter, a relatively small matter that the king presumably should have the authority to make a decision about.  This is controversial because the queen’s control over the king could easily translate into political influence over the English people.

Given the historical context of The King’s Cabinet Opened, I can see some similarities between the publishers and modern-day whistleblowers such as Snowden and Manning (primarily the desire to expose something that “the people” should know but don’t), but I would like to point out one major difference.  In “The Banality of Systemic Evil,” an opinion piece for The New York Times, Peter Ludlow argues that modern whistleblowers take action against a system when they feel that the system is violating a moral principle that cannot be addressed within the system.  Although the publishers of The King’s Cabinet Opened claimed to be taking action due to a moral principle (and it very well may be true that they did), it must be kept in mind that their primary motivation was that they were the political opposition to the king.  Although whistleblowers’ actions are political in nature, their actions are much less likely to result in personal political gain than in personal hardship.  If modern whistleblowers do not have a lot more to lose, they certainly have much less to gain (personally) than the publishers of the King’s Cabinet Opened.  In this way the two events are not completely analogous.


Controversy or Necessary Procedure? Letter XXIV

King Charles I sent many letters to many people other than his wife, such as Secretary Nicholas in Letter XXIV. After a little research, I discovered Nicholas was appointed Secretary of State under Charles I, and was a very big supporter of his. He eventually followed the family into exile, remaining loyal to Charles I until the end. Although this is one of his shorter letters, one can tell that it is full of important information.

In this letter, King Charles seems to be going over some points that were of discussion between the two of them. He first touches on religion and church, but says that this matter is already taken care of and should not be discussed anymore. His second point is instructing that Nicholas keep his part of their militia deal by letting Charles pick one half of the soldiers, no matter what country they are from.

The third and largest point, however, contains a bit of controversy. Charles demands for Nicholas to promise certain security people rewards for completing certain tasks. These things are not clearly stated, but we can tell that they are private matter because he says “with this last you are only to acquaint Richmond, Southampton, Culpeper and Hide“. This implies that there is secret information being kept from certain people, yet entrusted in others.

It was rather difficult to find information about these people in which Charles refers to. Culpeper could be referring to Thomas Culpeper, second baron of Thoresway. At one point in his life he was a governor under Charles of the Isle of Wight. Southampton could be Chalres FitzRoy, first baron of Southampton, or it could just be the city of Southampton in general. Richmond is most likely referring to the city itself as well, and no information could be found on Hide.

This situation ties in nicely to the Edward Snowden case. Snowden was, of course, an employee with access to certain confidential information, much like the figures Charles mentions in his letter. After Snowden leaked some things that were not meant to be leaked to the public, we realize that not everyone in the government can be fully trusted. This is probably why Charles writes that Nicholas should be cautious with what he does, because some of these security men “be not of great trust”. He is also worried about this controversial information leaking, but is this necessarily a bad thing? David Brooks, who was quoted in “The Banality of Systemic Evil” article, states ” ‘For society to function well, there have to be basic levels of trust and cooperation’ “. This does make sense, so maybe what we see as controversial is truly just a cautionary way to deal with society and the happenings within it.

Letter XXIX

Letter XXIX begins, as all others do, by the queen addressing her husband as her “deare heart” (Fairfax 29). This term of endearment could, in a sense, come off as manipulative through the control of emotion and attachment. The stage is set here for the controlling role of the queen over the king.

Immediately after addressing her husband, the queen alludes to Frederick Cornwallis, the existing Archbishop of Canturbury, who assumedly accompanied the queen on her journey  as far as Adbury, England, near Newbury. The queen notes that she has been feeling ill from her traveling and intends to rest before she starts up again to travel to Bristol, about 70 miles away, in order to return some carts. I presume that these carts are for travel to carry luggage and passengers.

The queen then refers to a Lord Dillon, who identifies as Officer James Dillon of the armies of the Irish Confederate Catholic and a member of the Parliament of Ireland. He had worked for King Charles by snuffing out a rebellion against the king in Scotland. He was a royalist who wished to for reconciliation between Charles I and the Irish Catholics and a dominant military leader. Clearly he was accompanying the queen along her journey from which she now writes.

Lord Dillon, the queen mentions, conveyed to her an indirect message from the king that the queen herself should write a letter to the Commissioners of Ireland instructing them to desist from their present orders, whatever those may have been, and to wait until their condition is better for further instruction. This is a highly unlikely responsibility for a queen; it is clear that it has been given her because she has some predisposed control over the situation. The fact that the message was indirect from the king seems fishy, also, since she has been so infamous for taking charge over the king and overlooking any of his commands.

She tells her husband that she does not want to go through with this action without his approval and reiterates her point excessively, trying to come off as the inferior and not possessing any power that she clearly has. She seems to be inadvertently asserting her dominant power but disguising it with a very domestic and inferior disguise. She speaks to him as if she were a proper and obedient wife, yet she is the one on the road and communicating with officers and commissioners, which includes a Lord Muskery which she then mentions she plans to write to. Lord Muskery is a military officer who lead several battles against Irish forces in the Cromwellian conquests. Again, another military man of power and influence that the queen is making direct instructional contact with.

A Catholic queen in a protestant England having dominance over the Protestant king is a recipe for suspicion and controversy. When the queen controls the king, she controls the people. And the people of England are not a fan of a Catholic head of the monarchy. The editor bluntly points out in the annotations that “It is plaine, here, first. that the King’s Counsels are wholly managed by the Queen; though she be of the weaker sexe” (Fairfax 43), emphasizing the mismatched roles of the monarchs and the unorthodox character of the situation.

Similar to the Edward Snowden case, the queen sneaks under social law and controls the situation for a better outcome. Although she faced animosity and undermined the king’s position, she was needed to help the king in his weak position. If the king could have carried out his military duties, the queen would have had no need to step up. So, like Edward Snowden’s controversial yet hugely beneficial contributions to the social world, the queen, too, made her contribution. In response to the Snowden case, David Brooks illustrated a moral code opposite to that of Swartz, Manning and Snowden. He stated: “For society to function well, there have to be basic levels of trust and cooperation, a respect for institutions and deference to common procedures”. This can be directly applied to the unorthodox societal role-reversal that occurred between the king and queen. It caused social upheaval and a loss of a sense of security in the way things were supposed to be. Yet although these ongoings were upsetting and changed the course of societal development, in many ways these changes produced a greater good.


Using Excuses To Shelter Lies

  All throughout the letters produced by King George I, we can see a great amount of controversy. Some of these controversies are clearly obvious and some are not so distinct. In letter XXII the controversy that is exposed is somewhat difficult to discover. In a way the King is using words to cover up something he is ashamed of. In the letter the King is writing to his wife to express his reasons for why he has shown loyalty to Ireland. He uses many excuses to explain why people might not approve of his devotion to the country. The main excuse that is used by the King in the letter is the failure to deliver his past letters to those people that he wrote to. He states the reason for why his support is not offered to the people is because of the process of sending written messages. The King tells his wife that he has wrote letters to the people he claims to be faithful to, but he believes that those people have not received the letters he has sent. Did the King really write the letters he claimed to have written, or did he lie about it by saying this to cover up his non-apparent allegiance to Ireland?     

 The controversy that I believe can be brought about from the letter is the notion of self-denial. The King is trying to cover up his inability to care about the people he is suppose to govern by conveying lies about his previous attempts to show loyalty to the people. He states, “As I confess it a mis-fortune (but deny it a fault) thy not hearing oftner from me, so excuse me to deny that it can be of so ill consequence as thou mentions, if their affections were so real, as they make shew of to thee; for the difficulty of sending is known to all”, which in fact illustrates how the King believes he has attempted to prove his diligence to the people but has fallen short in completing his correspondence. He goes on to explain the amount of letters he has written to the people of Ireland, and later tries to blame it on the failure of those people receiving the letters. This in my eyes looks as if he trying to get out of dark hole he has put himself into by not actually writing the letters in the first place. I think this is evident by the amount of clarifying he does towards his wife in the letter, and also the way he tries to make his wife feel sorry for him. In the annotations of the letters it states, “And indeede it is a sad consideration to thinke what unhappy use the King hath ever Made of the obedience, and patient loyalty of this Nation”, this shows just how corrupt these papers can be. It is trying to tell how the King has always shown obedience when in fact it is obvious in letter XXII that he has not shown obedience. If the King would have shown obedience than he would not be writing to his wife explaining how his previous letters have not been delivered and that nobody supposedly believes he is loyal.

  Based off the three assigned articles it can be seen that the King’s letter do relate to the ideas of certain controversies. In the Edward Snowden article some of the conflicts that are present are how Snowden has turned his back on his country by revealing information that was crucial to the well being of the United States. I think this could related to the King’s letter by not showing his loyalty to his people while he was in control. In the “Banality of Systemic Evil” articles the ideologies that are being threatened are the safe keeping of valuable information. In this article its states that these people did with they did because they believed it was the right thing to do at the time. In the end the ideologies that are questioned here is the notion of being trustworthy to the country even though some might think that what is going on is wrong. The Scandal that can be brought to attention in these articles is the presentation of classified information to the public or outside sources. These present different topics of where inside information has gotten into foreign hands through their own personal actions. Was it right to do what they did and leak crucial information to the public? Some might say it was right, but when your actions affect a great amount of people around you, and even an entire country you might have to think twice because it could be detrimental to humanity. 

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Letter 3

In this letter, the King is asking his Queen why she is not letting “D. of Lorrains” through France. D. of Lorrains would be the Duke of Lorraine who was Nicholas Francis at the time. He suggests that it would truly be the easiest thing to do and states that this man is very important to him. The strange part is that he says at the end “this is an opinion, not a direction.” A King has every right to demand his Queen do exactly as he says. Especially in the case of not allowing a very important man pass through a country. He also begins the paragraph by saying that she totally has the power to not let him through. He basically says this is her choice. He has absolutely no power over his wife.

He continues to say that business is going well and that hopefully they will be reunited soon. To me, this suggests that he’s merely trying to convince his wife further that she needs to let this man through. Given that this man is a business man, I feel that this is what he’s trying to convey here. Now, this may just be a far stretch but given the nature of the letter already, I think I am right. Which brings us back down to why doesn’t he just tell his wife to let the man through. He should have the power to go above her head and command the men in her watch that they must do as he says and not listen to the silly commands of a Queen.

He goes on to talk about the fact that he doesn’t really want to put certain men in any kind of power. One can assume that it was the Queen who suggested these men. Again, the King does not come out and say no. He skips around the subject. This man has no backbone!

Donagan talks about the importance of upholding certain codes and formalities and what would happen if they were to fall short. “the problem of failure to observe codes will be approached through some of the conflict’s more unsettling events, which raise issues of atrocity and war crime.” (Donagan, 1139). I think the Queen has a huge influence in this. By not upholding her husband’s wishes, she’s nearly committing treason. The only way to say she isn’t, is to remark that her husband refuses to give her a straight order.

The only connection I can make between the letters and the articles regarding Edward Snowden is the slight similarities in the NSA and how the King and Queen interact with each other. One of the articles states that the NSA isn’t a totally lawless organization but then goes on to tell all the things that they have done that are so against the law such as collect a whole lot of information illegally. They aren’t exactly a lawful organization either but the law isn’t really doing anything about it. That’s kind of how I view the Queen. She’s not really doing anything super illegal but the King also isn’t telling her that she can’t. It’s all a bunch of slaps on the wrists.

Letter XV

Letter XV of the King’s Cabinet starts as a normal doting letter from the King to his Queen saying how much he loved her confidence in their relationship saying he “infinitely [finds] joy in the expressions of thy condiment love” of him. He goes on to say that anyone who does not even pretend to be a fond of their relationship is misguided and a liar because their love is true. He goes on and on about how true their love is and how caring and kind the Queen is to him. He brings God into his letter saying that he professes to God that he has never seen such a love as the love she offers him. He is very repetitive in saying that their love is a strong and he does not find any faults in her. The King then refers to the Treaty which started the day he wrote the letter.

This treaty, from what I researched into, was the Treaty of Ripon in 1640 which brought peace to the Bishop’s War. The Bishop’s War started as a result to the suspicions over Charles I’s aims in what he was doing as a monarch regarding him imposing a new Prayer book especially after he married Henrietta Maria, the French Roman Catholic woman. Religion was a huge issue in England and Scotland and what the King really believed in. In the letter, Charles I assures the Queen that she should be confident in what he was doing and doesn’t want to abandon his friends through his actions.

With his letter he included his directions to his Commissioners and references a Digby which upon research is a George Digby who was in the House of Commons and then the House of Lords. He was of course a Royalist but his character was questioned by the advice that he gave to the King a lot of the time. The King says that Digby will explain the directions he gave to his Commissioners and other political and military matters she may be concerned about. The letter also talks about a political move he my make from a proposition he got that included a sum of money and his son marrying the master’s son of the King of Spain.

These letters as described in the annotation are meant to be like a “drawing of this Curtain” between the reality and ideal version of who King Charles I was as a ruler and where his loyalties really stood during his reign. These letters were never meant to be published for the public to see just like the information that Edward Snowden hacked was not meant to be seen publicly either. Though Snowden thought that he was in the right for leaking the information to the public because “things need to be determined by the public and not by somebody who was simply hired by the government” (Ludlow). That is the same idea that went along with publishing these letters between the King, Queen, and Odmon. The public needed to form an opinion and not have everything kept behind closed doors. The preface clearly said that the goal that was to come from publishing the letters was to have the reader be “abundantly satisfied with these letters here printed and take notice therefrom, how the Court has been caiolde….[and]Papists and we the more believing sort of Protestants, by the Court” (7). That the letters were to be persuasive and give the reader an option to open their mind to the King’s views seen here in his personal letters.

The letters play an interesting role in being publicized to let the people form an opinion on the true feelings and words of the King in his, what he assumed were going to be, private letters. The public needed to form an opinion on the King because the King is the leader of the people and there was much controversy over his choice of wife during this time. By showing these letter, the relationship between the King and Queen can be shown and analyzed by the public. It is necessary for the public to have an opinion over him because these letters shed some light onto what type of man he was. This letter plays an interesting role in seeing how much the King shares with his wife about all of the on-goings in the kingdom and how controversial their relationship can be seen because of her influence. The King makes a strong point to emphasize how wrong any one would be in questioning their relationship saying they aren’t loyal to the Crown if they are in fact having doubts about the relationship. The King specifically says that the Queen can be informed of all information if she asks Digby. It is also interesting that the King didn’t just mail his directions directly to his Commissioners but instead sent them through the Queen. This shows how much went through the Queen and emphasizes the relationship that they had. The public can look at all of this to see what kind of man was leading their country and see where his decisions came from. The public’s lives are based solely on the actions of the King. They needed to know how he felt about her being a French Catholic woman to see what he would do about other Catholics in the country. The people’s religious freedom is being looked at here. The people want to know if he is okay with Catholics in his country since he married one. Where does the King stand on Catholicism and religious freedom in his country? That is what the public is forming their opinion about. And this controversial relationship is shown here in this particular letter for those reasons.

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