Essay on James I and the Financial Problem

Essay on James I and the Financial Problem

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James I and the Financial Problem

a. A subsidy is a sum of money given to the monarch by Parliament.
From 1588-1625, the value of a parliamentary subsidy fell by half,
from about £140,000 to £70,000.

In 1605, James would have needed the subsidy because he had a family,
which therefore resulted in a higher personal spending compared to
Elizabeth. The early 17th Century was also a time of inflation, and
James could not really have lived off the Ordinary Revenue, as it was
so low.

Although the Venetian Ambassador who wrote Source A could not
understand James' need for a subsidy, they only referred to the ending
of the war with Spain, and the peace on the Scottish border, they did
not mention any other factors which would have increased James' need
for money such as his family.

b. Source B is very useful as evidence of James' recognition of his
financial problem. In a private letter to Robert Cecil (his Chief
Minister,) 1604, James admits his financial problems and that he is
extravagant with money, "It is true that my heart is greater than my
means," and that he wants to pay off his debts to maintain his "honour
and credit." I think James may have been embarrassed by his debts, and
as it is a private letter James had no need to lie, so the source can
be 'trusted' as the information it contains would have been true.

In a letter to his Privy Council, 1607, James draws an analogy between
himself and his ministers to a patient and doctors, "I am the patient,
and you are the physician,' and admits his debts being removed would
make happy, "this eating cancer of want, which being removed I could
think myself as happy."


... middle of paper ... did to
try and contain James' debt, or James personal spending such as family

Overall, James and his ministers had no real success in solving the
debts, but did try a number of methods to reduce and contain James'
spending. There were a lot of factors which contributed to the debt,
some were James; fault as he lavishly spent and wasted money but the
sources do not mention the inflation throughout Europe, the slump of
the European economy, the irregular and disrupted tax system, the
dishonest Nobility who continually tried to dodge paying taxes, and
the fall in value of the subsidies.

Therefore, James and his ministers were also not totally unsuccessful
in solving the financial difficulties, as the underlying causes had to
be taken into account, and compensated for as well as the other

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