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Bedford, Francis Russell, 4th earl of

Bedford, Francis Russell, 4th earl of (1593–1641). Bedford hoped to resolve the political crisis of early 1641, since he was acceptable to Charles I as well as the parliamentary leaders. In concert with his client John Pym, a key figure in the Commons, he planned to accept office in the king's government, take control of the Treasury, and restore the royal finances with the aid of a substantial parliamentary grant. In return, Charles would abandon both Strafford and the Arminians and return to traditional rule in church and state. Bedford was prepared to save Strafford's life, which Charles made a condition, but could not carry his parliamentary associates with him. At this critical moment, he was struck down by smallpox and died on 9 May.

Roger Lockyer

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