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Charles thought the political class were not helpful in running the country. Parliaments would sit without a prime minister, a cabinet, or parties. Priviledged individuals would  argue amongst themselves to promote their self interests without recourse to a real electorate. Charles had national interests at heart. He knew the country needed a strong navy, militia and to care for the poor. The Dutch East India company sold our wool abroad so that the price of wool at home was triple the price. Rich investors and merchants became richer and the King's subjects had no one to defend their corner. Charles forced a reasonable price for woolen goods at home and cut the profits of some very powerful people when he did so. The raising of ship tax in land, not only taxed the gentry, but also it reduced their rents because their tenents had to pay too. To achieve all of this without a parliament, he reissued the Book of Orders, principally to relieve poverty but also to bring local governement to local people at a local level, and thus invited 'the common sort' into government.

Traditionally the local office holders were people with 'Knowledge' and 'ability in estate'. These people would more than likely be yeomen and such like. Certainly the gentry avoided local office because of the high workload. Those who could not refuse were 'the poorest and simplest sort of people'. Charles' personal rule was disenfranchising the wealthy. I enclose the 'Book of orders' below in their entirity. If you would like to see them for yourself, they are in F.M. Eden 'The State of the Poor (2nd Volume 1966) PP 156 to 160, and are copied there from the original document.


1. That the Justices of Peace of every shire within the realme doe divide themselves, and allot amongst themselves what justices of the Peace, and what Hundreds, shall attend monethly at some certaine places of the shire. And, at this day and place, the High Constables, Petty Constables, and Church-wardens and Overseers for the Poore of those Hundreds, shall attend the said justices. And there inquire shall be made, and information taken by the justices, how every of these officers in their several places have done their duties, in execution of the lawes mentioned in the commission annexed, and what persons have offended against any of the said lawes.

2. Where neglect, or defect, is found in any of the said officers, in making their presentments, condigne punishment to be inflicted upon them by the justices, according to law.

3. When offences are presented at one meeting, then the penalties of the lawes offended, to be leavied and brought to the justices at the next meeting.

4. When the penalties are leavied, the justices are to take care that the same be imployed accordingly as by the statutes are appointed.

5. For incouragement to men that doe informe and prosecute others for offending against these lawes, or any of them, libertie to bee let to the justices of the peace, that doe meete, to reward the informer prosecutor, out of part of the money leavied upon his or their presentments or information. Though the Statute doe not prescribe this, yet this is not against the law that gives the penaltie to the Poore, which penaltie, nor no part therof, would else come unto the Poore, but by this meanes.

6. That the severall justices of peace of every shire doe, once every three moneths, certifie an account in writing to the High Sheriff of the countie, of their proceedings in this way; whom they have punished, what they have levyed, and how they have imployed it.

7. That the High Sheriffe, within foureteene dayes after this account delivered, doe send the same over to the justices of assize for that county, or to one of them; and the justice, or justices, that receive the same, to certifie it in the beginning of every terme next after to the Lords Commissioners. And if any of the justices of peace shall faile to make such account to the Sheriffe, then the Sheriffe shall certifie such default to the Lords Commissioners.

8. The justices of Assize in every circuite are to enquire, and specially to marke, what justices of the peace are carefull and diligent in execution of these lawes, and the directions given, and who are negligent and remisse. And what other things of note happen in their circuits, to make report therof to the King, upon thier returne from their circuits every halfe yeare.


1. That the Lords of manours and townes take care that their tenants, and the parishioners of every towne, may be releeved by worke, or otherwise at home, and not suffered to straggle, and beg up and downe in their parish.

2. That stewards to lords and gentlemen, in keeping their leetes twice a yeere, doe specially enquire upon those articles that tend to the reformation, or punishment, of common offences an abuses; as of bakers and brewers for breaking of assizes: of forestallers and re-graters: against tradesmen of all sorts, for selling with under-weights, or at excessive prises, or things unwholsome, or things made in deceipt: of people, breakers of houses, common theeves, and their receivers: haunters of taverns or alehouses; those that goe in good clothes, and fare well, and none knowes whereof they live; those that be night-walkers, builders of cottages, and takers in of inmates; offences of victuallers, artificers, workemen, and labourers.

3. That the poore children in every parish be put forth apprentices to husbandry, and other handy-crafts; and money to be raised in the parishes for placing them, according to the law; and if any party shall fefuse to take the said apprentice, being put out according to the law, such party as shall refused to take the said apprentice, to be bound over to the next quarter-sessions, or assizes, and there to be bound to his good behaviour, or otherwise ordered, as shall be found fit.

4. That the Statute of Labourers, for retaining of servants, and ordering of wages betwixt the servant and the master, be not deluded by private contracts, before they come to the statutes; and the common fashion of essoynging many absent, not to bee allowed of course, as is used.

5. That the weekly taxations for the reliefe of the Poore, and other purposes mentioned in the 43d Elizabeth, bee, in these times of scarcitie, raised to higher rates in every parish, than in times tofore were used; and contributions had from other parishes to helpe the weaker parishes, especially from those places where depopulations have beene, some good contribution to come, for helpe of other parishes. And where any money, or stocke, hath beene, or shall be given to the reliefe of the poore in any parish, such gift to be no occasion of lessening the rates of the parish.

6. That the petty constables in all parishes be chosen of the abler sort of parishioners; and the office not to bee put upon the poorer sort, if it may be.

7. Watches in the night and warding by day, and to bee appointed in every towne and village, for apprehension of rogues and vagabonds, and for safety and good order.

8. And because it is found by dayly experience, that the remissenesse and negligence of petty constables is a great cause of the swarming of rougues and beggars: therfore the high constables in thier severall divisions, are specialy to be charged to looke unto the petty constables, that they use diligence in their offices, and the high constables to present to the justices of peace, the defaults of the petty constables, for not punishing the rogues, or not presenting those that are relievers of the rogues and beggars, the law inflicting a penalty upon the constable for not punishing them, and upon such party as shall relieve them.

9. If in any parish there be found any persons that live out of service, or that live idly and will not worke for reasonable wages, or live to spend all they have at the ale-house, those persons to be brought by the high constables, and petty constables, to the justices at thier meetings, there to bee ordered and punished as shall be found fit.

10. That the correction-houses in all counties may bee made adjoining to the common prisons, and the gaoler to be made governor of them, that so he may imploy to worke prisoners committed for small causes, and so they may learne honestly by labour, and not live idly and miserably long in prison, whereby they are made worse when they come out, then they were when they went in; and where many houses of correction are in one county, one of them, a least, to bee neere the gaole.

11. That no man harbour rogues in their barnes or out-housings. And the wandering persons with women and children, to give an account to the constable or justice of peace, where they were married, and where their childeren were christened; for these people live like salvages, neither marry, nor bury, nor christen; which licentious liebertie make so many delight to be rogues and wanderers.

12. And because the highways in all counties of england are in great decay, partly so growne, for that men think there is no course by the common law, or order from the state to amend the same: and the worke days appointed by the statute are so omitted, or idly performed, that there comes little good by them. Therefore the justices of peace at these monethly meetings, are to take speciall care of; and not only to cause the surveyors of the highwayes to present the same; but by their owne viewe, to informe themselves, that at the next quarter sessions after every meeting, they may present all such neglects and offences, (as upon their owne view,) and the offenders there to bee punished according to law.