The General Assembly promised by the king at the end of the First Bishop’s War met in August 1639 with David Dickson as Moderator. It confirmed all the decisions of the previous Assembly and asked the privy council to pass an act ordering everyone to sign the National Covenant. The parliament of 1639 asked the king to confirm the acts of the General Assembly, but the king postponed the parliament until the next year, as he was already planning to go to war again. In April 1640, after ruling for eleven years without a parliament, he called the Short Parliament to try and get money to fight the Covenanters. However when the English parliament tried to discuss their own concerns about the king before giving him the money, Charles stopped it. Then, in ‘the single greatest miscalculation of his career’ (ODNB), he decided to go to war without the money he needed.
The Scottish parliament met in June 1640 despite the king’s attempts to try and stop it. It confirmed all the acts of the General Assembly of 1639 and removed all acts in favour of bishops and against the freedom of the church, such as that enforcing the Five Articles of Perth. During this time the Covenanters had been building up their army, and on 20 August 1840, rather than wait for Charles to attack, they invaded England in defence of their religion and liberties. Soon, after a short battle at Newburn, they had captured Newcastle, one of the richest cities in England, which surrendered without a fight.
Charles was forced to agree to the Treaty of Ripon in October 1840. The treaty said that the English government would have to pay the Scottish army until a full peace treaty was agreed. Charles therefore was forced to call the Long Parliament in November to get money to do this. A full peace treaty, the Treaty of London, was eventually agreed in August 1641. Charles agreed to confirm the acts of the recent General Assemblies, including the abolition of bishops.
BCW: Bishops’ Wars
David Stevenson, The Scottish Revolution, 1637-44 (2nd edn, Edinburgh, 2003), pp 162-223.
DSCHT: Bishops’ Wars
Mark A. Kishlansky and John Morrill, ‘Charles I (1600–1649)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, Sept 2004; online edn, Oct 2008