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Though the restoration of Charles the Second was unconditional, it was none the less a compromise. The monarchy which was restored was not the purely personal rule which Charles I had endeavoured to establish, but the parliamentary monarchy which the statesmen of the Long Parliament had set up on its ruins in 1641. Theoretically the constitution as it existed in March, 1642, before the outbreak of the War came into force again as the basis of the new settlement. Practically any settlement must also contain some guarantee for the new interests which had developed during the last eighteen years, and it was only through Parliament that such security could be obtained. The Declaration of Breda had outlined such a scheme of settlement; but the extent to which the King’s suggestions would be adopted depended upon the temper of the nation, or rather of the House of Commons, and on the statesmanship of the King and his Ministers.

Charles II was thirty years of age on the day when he reentered London; he was now in the twelfth year of his reign by right; but, as he had been for the last eleven a king without a kingdom, he possessed no experience of administration. While he had a large knowledge of men he had none of popular assemblies. Yet he had great popular gifts when he chose to exert them, and was at once pliable and persistent. In the vicissitudes of his life he had learnt to adapt himself to the exigencies of the moment, and to adopt without scruple any expedient which seemed necessary for success. His political aims were simple and varied little throughout his reign. He desired to make the Crown independent of Parliament, but in order to be free from control rather than from love of power. He took throughout a genuine interest in the development of the commercial and naval power of England, and in the extension of its colonies. In religion he was half a follower of Hobbes and half a Catholic—with a preference for toleration, based partly on policy and partly on indifference, but not strong enough to resist the pressure of circumstances. It would be unjust to say that his policy was purely selfish, but in the long run personal considerations or family ties exercised a predominant influence on his political actions. At the end of his reign events gave him for a moment almost absolute power; but he used it with comparative moderation because he was resolved, as he said, “not to go on his travels again.” At the beginning of his reign, when his position was infinitely less secure, the same motive was still stronger. Added to this, the King’s pleasures made him incapable of prolonged attention to public business, and obliged him to devolve the burden of public affairs upon a Minister. “Naturally I am more lazy than I ought to be,” Charles frankly confessed; but nature had given him great abilities, and he possessed a fund of dormant energy which time revealed.

Edward Hyde, who had been Lord Chancellor since 1658, and the King’s chief adviser since 1652, became the ruling spirit of the Government. The hostility of the Presbyterian leaders and the intrigues of the Queen-Mother failed to overthrow his influence, and even the marriage of his daughter with the Duke of York in the end confirmed it. In November, 1660, he was raised to the peerage, and at the King’s coronation in April, 1661, he was made Earl of Clarendon.

In most respects Clarendon was well fitted for his task. Upright, laborious and faithful to his master’s interests, he did not shrink from maintaining them against Court intrigue or popular opposition, or the King’s own fluctuating will. In his political aims he was consistent, in his choice of means a strict observer of legality. No man was better qualified to restore the reign of law after a period of revolution; but he very imperfectly appreciated the changes which that period had effected in the temper of the English nation. Intellectually he was a contrast to his master—a slow-moving mind, inaccessible to new ideas, and neither quick to grasp new conditions nor ready to adapt his policy to them. He could rebuild the constitution upon the old lines, but he was not the man to reconcile conflicting parties, and his settlement contained the seeds of future strife.

In Clarendon’s conception of the constitution the most important organ was a well-composed Council. Through it rather than through Parliament the machine of government was to be animated and directed. The Privy Council formed in June, 1660, represented the union of parties which had brought about the restoration. Monck, now Duke of Albemarle, Montague and Cooper, both also raised to the peerage; Manchester, Robartes, and Saye, sat in it side by side with Hyde, Ormond, Nicholas, and Southampton. In this and in other branches of the administration the fact that the royalist nobles had long been debarred from the management of affairs,, while the ex-rebels were frequently experienced officials, gave the latter a weight out of proportion to their comparative numbers.

As a preliminary to the legislative settlement of the kingdom it was necessary first to confirm the authority of the Convention itself, which, since it had not been summoned by the King’s writ, was not legally a Parliament. An Act “for removing all questions and disputes” on this point received the King’s assent on June 11, 1660; and all the chief measures of the Convention were subsequently confirmed by an Act of the next Parliament which became law on July 8, 1661. The principle upon which the Convention proceeded in making the settlement of 1660 was the illegality of all the de facto Governments which had existed since 1642 and the invalidity of all their Acts. One exception only was made. On August 29 an Act for the confirmation of judicial proceedings since May 1, 1642, received the King’s assent. But all the Acts and ordinances of the Long Parliament and its successors were swept away, none of them having received the assent of Charles I or his son. It was necessary, however, to reenact some few of these measures without delay. Hence an Act was passed for the confirmation of the civil marriages which had taken place under the provisions of the measure passed by the Little Parliament in 1653. To conciliate the commercial classes the Navigation Act of 1651 was reenacted with but slight modification. To conciliate the country gentry, the abolition of wardship and other feudal incidents, completed by Cromwell’s second Parliament in 1656, was maintained by the passing of an Act which abolished the Court of Wards, tenures in capite and by knight’s service, and purveyance. The King was compensated for the loss of revenue by a moiety of the excise on beer and other liquors.

A question which for political reasons was much more pressing was the confirmation of the amnesty promised in the Declaration of Breda. The Indemnity Bill led to a conflict between the two Houses in which the Lords urged more severity than the Commons were willing to permit, while Charles and Hyde intervened in favour of lenity. “Let it be in no man’s power,” said the King, “to charge me or you with a breach of our word or promise, which can never be a good ingredient to our future security.” In the end, punishment fell almost exclusively upon the regicides. Thirteen suffered capitally—ten in 1660, and three who were subsequently captured in Holland in 1662—while about twenty-five were imprisoned for life. Three politicians deeply compromised in the later troubles, though not guilty of the King’s death, were also excepted, Lambert and Heselrige being imprisoned for life, while Sir Henry Vane was tried and executed for high treason in June, 1662. “He is too dangerous a man to let live, if we can honestly put him out of the way,” wrote Charles to Clarendon. For other persons the amnesty was complete and comprehensive, securing those who had fought against the Crown from judicial proceedings of any kind, though they were liable to be arrested and imprisoned whenever the Government suspected the existence of a plot.

1660-1] The land and the financial settlements.

Far more difficult to settle, though it provoked less public dispute, was the question of the land settlement. A Bill for “the satisfaction of purchasers of public lands” failed to pass. The Crown lends and the jointure of the Queen-Mother were restored by a general vote. Newcastle, Buckingham, and a few favoured noblemen were restored by special Acts to the possession of all they had held before the wars began. The lands of other noblemen and gentlemen, whose estates had been confiscated and sold by the successive Governments of the revolutionary period, reverted to their original owners, on the ground that sales by an unlawful authority could give no valid title. The restitution of the lands of the Church, estimated to be worth £2,400,000, met with more delay. A Commission was appointed to mediate between the purchasers and the rightful owners; but no agreement was arrived at. In this case, as in other cases in which lands had been sold by the State, the purchasers received no compensation for their outlay, though some became lease­holders on more or less advantageous terms. Thus a sweeping transference of landed property took place throughout England, and those who had invested their money in public lands became permanently alienated from the new Government. While the sales made by the State were thus nullified, private contracts were rigidly maintained. But since the late Governments had usually punished political delinquents by fines, which often obliged them to sell parts of their estates to find the money, a large amount of land had changed hands in consequence of the war, and many royalist families were permanently impoverished. The Royalists would have had these sales also annulled, but failed to effect this, and since they received no compensation for their losses they too were alienated from the Government. Moreover the permanent feud between the Royalists who had sold their lands and the Roundheads who had bought them embittered English politics for the next generation, and underlay the later animosities of Whig and Tory.

Statesmanship might have done something to mitigate the hardships which this rough settlement of the land question caused; but with the rudimentary machinery of public credit which then existed any large measure of compensation for the sufferers was impossible. Moreover, England was on the brink of national bankruptcy. At the moment all the resources of the State were strained in order to pay off the army and navy. Besides the fleet, there were in England and Scotland about 85,000  troops to be disbanded, and both soldiers and sailors had been promised their arrears in full. Parliament voted about £850,000 for this purpose, of which £210,000 was raised by a poll-tax and the rest by monthly assessments. By February, 1661, the work was completed.

Simultaneously the general question of the revenue was taken in hand. On September 4, 1660, the House of Commons pledged itself to make up the income of the Government to the sum of £1,200,000 a year; but the various sources of revenue allocated for this purpose failed to produce their estimated yield, and in 1661 it became necessary to increase the excise and to impose the hearth-tax (March, 1662) to make up the deficit. Even so the shrinkage in the revenue continued; and from the commencement of the reign the Government of Charles II had to struggle with pecuniary difficulties which were not of its own making. Burnet’s story that Clarendon might have obtained a larger revenue for the King if he had asked for it, but that he preferred to keep Charles dependent upon Parliament, is a mere fiction:

The religious difficulty proved as hard to solve as the financial. At the moment when the King returned the probable solution seemed to be some kind of union between moderate Presbyterians and Episcopalians. The King’s declaration had held out the prospect of “liberty to tender consciences,” and promised that no man should be “disquieted or called in question” for differences of opinion in matters of religion, which did not disturb the peace of the kingdom. Since the King’s assent was secure beforehand, nothing remained but to draw up an Act of Parliament “for the full granting of that indulgence.” All that the Convention could achieve was, however, the passing of an Act for the restoration of ejected ministers to their livings and for the confirmation of the present holders of livings in cases where the rightful incumbent was dead. A Bill for the settlement of the true Protestant religion was read twice, but dropped in committee, and the matter was then referred to the King and such divines as he should select. The King then put forward a scheme of comprehension which he embodied in a Declaration published on October 25, 1660. Its basis was limited episcopacy. Bishops were to be assisted and advised in the exercise of their spiritual jurisdiction by elected presbyters. The liturgy was to be revised by a committee of divines of both parties selected by the King. Questions of ritual were to be determined by a future synod, and in the meantime certain ceremonial requirements were to be relaxed in the interest of scrupulous consciences. The Presbyterians were full of hope. Reynolds accepted a bishopric, and Baxter thought of accepting one. “His scheme”, said Baxter, “though not such as we desired was such as any honest sober minister might submit to.” But when Sir Matthew Hale introduced a Bill for converting the declaration into law it was rejected on the second reading by 183 to 157 votes (November 20, 1660). Since courtiers and officials both voted with the Noes, it seems clear that the Government did not really desire the Bill to pass. Charles had ceased to take much interest in the scheme for comprehension since the opposition of the Presbyterian ministers had obliged him to omit a provision in favour of toleration. Hyde had determined that the restoration of monarchy should be accompanied by the restoration of episcopacy in its integrity, and that the Church should be put in the position which it held before the revolution. Thus the Anglican opposition had free play.

On December 29, 1660, the Convention Parliament was dissolved, and the work it left unfinished devolved on its successor. In the interim a conference took place in the Savoy between twelve Bishops and twelve Presbyterian divines, with eighteen assistants of lower rank. Baxter produced a brandnew liturgy and his colleagues a paper of objections to that already in existence. The Bishops gave in a list pf fourteen minor concessions which they were prepared to make, and for the rest stood rigidly on the defensive. They said that they had nothing to do till their opponents had proved there was a necessity for alteration, which they had not yet done. Then followed a discussion, or rather a disputation, in which Baxter and Gunning were the protagonists. “Baxter and he,” says Burnet, “spent some days in much logical arguing to the diversion of the town, who thought here were a couple of fencers engaged in a thread of disputes, that could never be brought to an end, nor have any good effect.” So it proved, and at the close of the conference the commissioners reported that “the Church’s welfare, unity and peace, and his Majesty’s satisfaction, were ends on which they were all agreed; but as to the means they could not come to an harmony.”

Before the Savoy Conference had ended the new Parliament which met on May 8, 1661, was at work. Few but thorough-going Royalists and Anglicans had found seats there, and its ardour for Crown and Church was difficult for the Government to control. In its temper it resembled the French Chambre introuvable of 1815, which was the product of a similar reaction and had to deal with like problems. But while the French Chamber lasted for but one year the English Parliament sat till January, 1679, and left a more lasting trace on the history of its country. In secular matters its views, for some years, were in harmony with those of the Government. Clarendon held that the late rebellion could never be extirpated and pulled up by the roots till the King’s regal and inherent power should be fully avowed, and vindicated, and till the usurpations in both Houses of Parliament since the year 1640 were disclaimed and made odious. The first step which Parliament took to effect this was the passing of an Act “for the preservation of the King’s person,” in which it was affirmed that neither one House nor both together had any legislative power without the King. A second Act declared that the sole command of the militia and of all forces by sea and land belonged to the King, and that neither House had any claim to it, or could lawfully levy war against his Majesty. A third provided that no petition should he presented to the King by more than ten persons, and none which sought for the alteration of things established by law in Church or State should be circulated for signature unless it had been previously approved hy the magistrates.

These measures were followed in December, 1661, by the Corporation Act, which provided for purging the governing bodies in all corporate towns by the imposition of a double test. A declaration that the Covenant was an unlawful oath excluded the Nonconformists, while another that it was not lawful under any pretext to bear arms against the King shut out all political opponents of the Government. Next came a Press Act (May 19, 1662) establishing a rigid censorship, requiring a license for all new books, restricting the importation of printed matter from abroad, and reducing the number both of presses and printers. The reconstruction of the constitution was completed two years later by the repeal of the Triennial Act (April 5, 1664). Charles boldly told the two Houses that “he would never suffer a parliament to come together by the means prescribed in that bill,” and the Commons obeyed, though not without some resistance. “There are many in the House displeased at it, though they dare not say much”, noted Pepys. A clause was added to the Bill stipulating that thereafter the holding of Parliaments should not be intermitted above three years at the most, and this compromise disarmed the nascent opposition. Politically the House of Lords was still more reactionary than the Commons. If the majority could have had their will they would have repealed not only the Triennial Act but all the Acts passed in the first two sessions of the Long Parliament, and a committee reported in favour of the revival of the Star Chamber.

The same uncompromising spirit was shown in the ecclesiastical legislation of these three years 1661 to 1664. The Act by which the Long Parliament had disabled all persons in holy orders from exercising any temporal jurisdiction or authority was promptly re­pealed ; and on November 20, 1661, the Bishops once more reappeared in the upper House. A second Act restored the disciplinary jurisdiction of the ecclesiastical Courts which the Long Parliament had abolished, and enabled them once more to punish blasphemies or excommunicate nonconformists for non-payment of tithes. In their zeal the Commons, without waiting for the Savoy Conference to end, took in hand the amendment of the Prayerbook and read three times a Bill for imposing it. Then the Government intervened and by the King’s orders Convocation undertook the revision of the Prayerbook, which it completed in December, 1661. Some six hundred alterations were made, tending for the most part to make the liturgy less palatable to Puritans rather than to meet any of their objections. An addition which testified to the neglect of Church ordinances during the troubles was that of a form of baptism “ for such as are of riper years,” while the memory of civil discord was made more lasting by the insertion of services to be used on January 30 and May 29. During the spring of 1662 the revised Prayerbook was approved by the two Houses; and on May 19 the Act of Uniformity was passed, which imposed on clergymen of every rank, on all Fellows of colleges and university officials, on all tutors and schoolmasters, a declaration of their unfeigned assent and consent to all that the Prayerbook contained. All were also obliged to take the non-resistance oath and the renunciation of the Covenant imposed in the Corporation Act. Those who did not comply with these conditions by St Bartholomew’s Day next were to vacate their livings. When that date came (August 24, 1662) about 1100 or 1200 refused to conform; and, since it is probable that about 800 more had been deprived during the two years which had elapsed since the King’s return, the total number of non-conformists ejected must have been about 2000. The Lords had wished to allow one-fifth of the income of a living to the ejected minister; the Commons rejected this provision. Hence, as Baxter says, “hundreds of able ministers, with their wives and children, had neither house nor bread.” Since they were allowed neither to preach nor to teach, while the severity of lie censorship made it difficult for them to earn their bread by writing, many were driven to maintain themselves by handicrafts or husbandry. Others became dependent on the charity of their late congregations.

1662] The Act of Uniformity.

The Act of Uniformity marked the close of a period in the history of the Church of England. The policy of comprehension was permanently defeated, and the half-hearted attempt to revive it after the Revolution only emphasised the final character of the decision made in 1662. For the best part of a century the Puritan party had striven to alter the government, the doctrine, and the ceremonial of the Church while remaining within it; henceforth it was outside the Church that Puritanism must seek to realise its ideals. For the next generation the question at issue was whether Puritanism, or rather Nonconformity as it had now come to be called, should be allowed to exist and to develop itself in freedom, or whether it should be suppressed by penal laws as Catholicism had been.

The King was pledged to a policy of toleration. During his exile he had promised the Pope and the Catholic Princes of Europe to repeal the penal laws; by the Declaration of Breda he had promised toleration to the Protestant Nonconformists. The King was honourably anxious to keep his pledges. He owed much to the Presbyterians for the share they had taken in his restoration, and still more to the Knglish Catholics for their devoted loyalty during the war. But both Protestant Nonconformity and Catholicism were politically discredited, Catholicism by the Irish rebellion, Nonconformity by the English. Independency in all its forms was still more odious, and to talk of conscience had come to be regarded as an excuse for sedition. Public opinion looked back on the late times as a period when, in Diyden’s words,

“Sanhedrin and priest enslaved the nation,

And justified their spoils by inspiration”

Both “hot Levites” and “dreaming saints” were equally distrusted, and Venner’s rising in January, 1661, supplied a pretext for confounding Independents in general with Fifth Monarchy Men and Anabaptists.

Whilst the feeling of the nation was hostile to all who stood outside the pale of the national Church, Protestant Nonconformists in general regarded Catholics with hatred and suspicion, and Presbyterians felt a similar aversion from the extreme sects of Protestant Nonconformists. A period of common suffering was necessary in order to produce mutual tolerance. When the King’s Declaration of October 25, 1660, was under discussion, it was proposed to add to it, on the petition of the Independents and Anabaptists, a proviso authorising those sects and others to meet together for public worship so long as they did not disturb the public peace. Baxter protested against toleration. As to Papists, all that was wanted was the enforcement of the laws against them. As to sectaries, he said, “we distinguish the tolerable parties from the intolerable.” In consequence of this the clause was dropped. Presbyterians adhered too strongly to the idea of a national Church to throw in their lot with those who demanded religious freedom.

A similar failure followed the attempt of the Catholics to obtain toleration for themselves. Upon their petition the House of Lords on June 10, 1661, appointed a Committee to take the penal laws into consideration, and ordered a Bill for the relaxation of those laws to be prepared. But the Bill was never introduced, and the restoration of the Bishops to their seats iri the Lords made its prospects hopeless.

For Catholics as for Protestant Nonconformists the only hope lay in the constancy of the King. On March 17, 1662, when the Act of Uniformity was under discussion, Clarendon presented on the King’s behalf a proviso allowing Charles, if he thought fit, to exempt from deprivation ministers whose sole objection was to the wearing of the surplice and the use of the cross in baptism; but while the Lords accepted this proviso the Commons rejected it (April 22, 1662). After the passing of the Act the King made a renewed attempt. On the petition of the Nonconformists, which was backed by Albemarle and Manchester, he promised to suspend the execution of the Act for three months. But this plan was frustrated by the opposition of Clarendon and Archbishop Sheldon.

These schemes would have relieved Protestant Nonconformists only and done nothing for the Catholics. Under the influence of Bennett, who became Secretary of State in October, 1662, and of the Earl of Bristol, who assumed the leadership of the English Catholics, Charles issued on December 26; 1662, a declaration announcing his intention of exempting from the penalties of the Act of Uniformity peaceable persons whose conscientious scruples prevented them from conforming. Parliament was invited to pass an Act which would enable him to exercise “with a more universal satisfaction” his inherent dispensing power. “I am in my nature,” Charles told Parliament when it next met, “an enemy to all severity for religion and conscience, how mistaken soever it be, when it extends to capital and sanguinary punishments.” Lord Robartes brought in an “Act concerning his Majesty’s power in ecclesiastical affairs,” which would enable the King by the issue of letters-patent to grant dispensations from the Act of Uniformity and from other laws requiring oaths and subscriptions of the same kind (February 23, 1663). It was read twice in the House of Lords, but met with great opposition. While Lord Ashley spoke strongly in its favour, Clarendon was vehement against it. The Lords limited the operation of the Bill to Protestant Nonconformists; the Commons protested against it, declaring that it would “establish schism by law.” Both Houses together presented a petition for the enforcement of the laws against the Catholics, and the Bill was consequently dropped.




Charles was, in Clarendon’s phrase, “infinitely troubled” by this defeat. His feeling in favour of toleration was sincere, if not very deep, and it is significant that the passage of the Act of Uniformity was accompanied by a proclamation for the release of imprisoned Quakers (August 22, 1662). In the colonies he could carry his intentions into effect. The charters of Rhode Island and Carolina, the instructions to the Governors of Jamaica and Virginia attest the King’s tolerant policy. But at home the sons of Levi were too strong for him. After this, according to Clarendon, Charles never treated any of the Bishops with the respect he had formerly showed them, and often spoke of them slightingly.

For the same reason the King was angry with Clarendon himself. The Chancellor had been in favour of comprehension in a general way, and had at first sought to conciliate the Presbyterians. But when he found the slight concessions he thought sufficient ineffectual he declared it useless to concede anything. “Their faction,” said he, “is their religion.” In the same way Clarendon would have been glad if the Act of Uniformity had been less rigorous, but when it was passed he thought that it ought to be obeyed without any connivance, and he was still more opposed to a systematic plan of toleration based upon the dispensing power. In spite of his protests he was credited with inspiring the opposition to the Bill, and its promoters, who were also his rivals, made the most of the charge with the King. Clarendon’s power seemed shaken. The Earl of Bristol seized the opportunity to bring forward a charge of high treason against him (July 10, 1663), but the accusation was ill managed, and the articles extravagant and ill supported. Amongst other things Bristol alleged that Clarendon had said that the King was popishly inclined and that he intended to legitimate the Duke of Monmouth—suggestions which it was so undesirable to put into circulation that Charles declared the charge a libel against himself and his Government. Bristol was ruined instead of Clarendon.

From this time forward Clarendon’s favour with the King sensibly diminished, but his retention of power depended now more on Parliament than the King. Parliament, and in it the House of Commons, was more and more the dominant factor in determining the policy of the State. In 1660 the nation had surrendered itself unconditionally to the King. “We submit and oblige ourselves and our posterities to your Majesty for ever,” said the Commons; but in reality the last twenty years had but strengthened the resolution of England to control its own fate. Foreign observers who visited England after the Restoration noted with wonder the keen interest which all classes of the people took in public affairs. In this country, reported the French ambassadors in 1665, every man thinks he has a right to talk about matters of State. Even the watermen, as they rowed the Lords to Westminster, would try to get them to speak about the political questions of the day. What happened at Court was the continual subject of debate in the City. “As they are naturally lazy,” says another traveller, “and spend half their time taking tobacco, they are all the while exercising their talents about the Government; talking of new customs, of the chimney-tax, the management of the public finances and the lessening of trade.” All this activity of public opinion outside stimulated Parliament to assert itself. “Let the King come in,” said Harrington in 1660, “and let him call a Parliament of the greatest cavaliers in England, so they be men of estates, and let them sit but seven years, and they will all turn commonwealthsmen.” The prediction was not yet fulfilled; but there were signs that it was on its way to fulfilment. Inevitably something of the spirit which animated the Long Parliament of Charles I passed into the Long Parliament of Charles II. During the civil troubles first one branch of government, then another, had fallen under the control of the House of Commons. It had assumed not only the legislative power but the direct control of the executive. All the different functions of administration had been taken charge of by its committees; all the highest questions of policy had been subjected to its decision. Men might change and principles might change, but such an experience could not be forgotten, and the increasing independence and growing claims of the House of Commons testified its consciousness of its past. King and Minister were alike obliged in the long run to yield to its pressure. What Charles wished to do became a minor question. The King of France, wrote Courtin to Lionne in 1665, can make his subjects march as he pleases; but the King of England must march with his people. What Clarendon thought best for the King’s service was more and more liable to be over­ruled, and he was obliged to conform himself, though not without a struggle, to the views of Parliament.

Accordingly, Parliament proceeded to complete its ecclesiastical settlement by a series of measures for the complete suppression of Nonconformity. An Act specially directed against the Quakers had been passed in May, 1662. If five or more of them met for worship they were to be fined five pounds each or three months’ imprisonment for the first offence, ten pounds or six months for a second, and to be banished to the Plantations on a third conviction. In 1664 this Act was strengthened and extended to Presbyterians and Independents in general, under the pretext that their assemblies were “the seed plots and nurseries of seditious opinions.” A conventicle was defined as a meeting of more than five persons over and above the members of a household; conviction was facilitated, and offenders who could not pay the cost of their own transportation to the colonies were to serve five years as indentured labourers; transported convicts who escaped or returned to England before the expiration of their sentence were to suffer death as felons. A year later came the Five Mile Act, which aggravated the lot of ejected nonconformist ministers by prohibiting them from residing within five miles of any corporate town or teaching in any public or private school, unless they had taken a test. The test consisted, of the non-resistance oath imposed by the Corporation Act, with the additional pledge not to “endeavour at any time any alteration of government either in Church or State.” This closed the series of measures which some historians have dubbed “ the Clarendon Code.” Clarendon approved of the Conventicle Act; his attitude with regard to the Five Mile Act is uncertain. The King’s compliance was due to his pecuniary necessities.

The growing power of Parliament was not only shown by the fact that it forced its ecclesiastical policy upon the King. It influenced both the relations of England to the rest of the British Isles, and still more its relation to Europe.

The settlement of Scotland and Ireland had proceeded pari passu with that of England. In both kingdoms the restoration of the old constitution in 1660 entailed the restoration of their separate Parliaments, and the undoing of the legislative union which Cromwell had effected. Equality of commercial privileges perished with the Cromwellian union or survived it only for a short time. The Navigation Act of 1660 excluded Scotland from the benefits of the colonial trade, though it included Ireland. The Act for the encouragement of English trade passed in 1663 imposed a heavy tax on the importation of Scottish cattle and sheep; Scottish com was practically excluded, Scottish salt ere long heavily burdened.

Restrictions on Irish trade.

Clarendon hints that the King might have done well to maintain the Union with Scotland, but that he “would not build according to Cromwell’s models.” In Ireland Charles had to do this, whether he would or not. The Cromwellian settlement rested on a solid legal basis, since the last acts to which Charles I had given his assent before the civil war began were a series of measures confiscating the lands of the Irish rebels, in order to pay the cost of reducing that country. The new colonists were in possession; all the machinery of government was in their hands, and English public opinion was unanimous in their support. Despite the King’s obligations to the Irish Catholics, despite his pity for “the miserable condition of the Irish nation,” all he could do was to restore a few favoured individuals to their estates, and induce the soldiers and the Adventurers to submit to a slight reduction of their share of the land for the benefit of the dispossessed. On the other hand, the commercial jealousy which found expression in the restrictions placed by England upon Scottish trade was still more strongly felt with regard to Irish. In 1663 Irish shipping was entirely excluded from the colonial trade. In 1666 the importation of Irish cattle, sheep and swine, alive or dead, was totally prohibited. The latter Act led to a long struggle between the country gentlemen who backed it and the Government. The King yielded under compulsion; the House of Lords resisted stubbornly, and became involved in a heated controversy with the Commons; Clarendon sacrificed the last shreds of his popularity with the country party in his endeavour to maintain the prosperity of Ireland and the rights of the upper House and the King against the encroachments of the Commons. But the lower House would hear of no compromise; as in the case of the ecclesiastical statutes, so in that of economic statutes, they refused to leave any loophole for the exercise of the King’s dispensing power, and carried the day. “The House of Commons,” commented Clarendon, “seemed much more morose and obstinate than it had formerly, appeared to be, and solicitous to grasp as much power and authority as any of their predecessors had done.”

English foreign policy during the period between the Restoration and the close of 1664 developed upon similar lines; that is, its control passed by degrees from the hands of the King and his Ministers into the hands of the Parliament. Clarendon’s policy, as stated by himself, was straightforward and intelligible. “ He laboured nothing more than that his Majesty might enter into a firm peace with all his neighbours, as most necessary for the reducing his own dominions into that temper of subjection and obedience as they ought to be in.” At first sight it seemed easy to attain this modest aim. The fact that the King was restored without the interposition of any foreign Power appeared to leave him free to follow what policy he pleased. It is true that Charles was personally pledged by his treaty with Spain in April, 1656, that when he recovered his throne he would abandon Jamaica and other possessions in the West Indies acquired since 1630, and would assist Philip IV to regain Portugal. But it might be argued that the King’s restoration without Spanish aid freed him from these stipulations. England was still nominally at war with Spain when the King returned; but a formal cessation of hostilities was proclaimed on September 10, 1660. But Charles turned a deaf ear to the Spanish demands for the restoration of Jamaica and Dunkirk. Parliament was firm on that point and a Bill for annexing both places in perpetuity to the Crown of England passed the House of Commons on September 11, 1660. Their retention rendered an agreement with Spain impossible; the old treaty of November 15, 1630, was republished, but hostilities in the West Indies still continued, and in October, 1662, an expedition from Jamaica took and destroyed Santiago de Cuba. A new treaty of peace and commerce was not signed till May, 1667, and the American quarrels were not settled till July, 1670.

During the same period Charles instead of assisting Spain to recover Portugal adopted exactly the opposite policy. England had from the first favoured Portuguese independence. In 1642 Charles I signed a treaty with Portugal securing great privileges for English merchants, which were further increased by Cromwell’s treaty with Portugal in 1654. Blake’s fleet helped to preserve Portugal from the navy of Spain, and Cromwell’s diplomacy laboured to compose her quarrel with Holland. On the very eve of the Restoration, in April, 1660, the English Council of State signed a treaty permitting Portugal to levy 12,000 men in England. It was natural therefore that Portugal, abandoned by Louis XIV at the Treaty of the Pyrenees, should turn to Charles II for aid as soon as he was restored to his throne. In the summer of 1660 Francisco de Mello, the Portuguese ambassador, proposed a match between Charles and the Infanta Catharine, daughter of John IV, and sister of the reigning king Alfonso VI. As an inducement he offered the cession of Tangier and Bombay, commercial privileges and complete liberty of conscience for English merchants, and a dowry of two million crusados. The Cromwellian statesmen in the King’s council, Albemarle and Sandwich, were strongly in favour of the proposed alliance; Ormond and Hyde, the heads of the cavalier section, approved it; Bristol, the leader of the Catholic party, worked hard with the aid of the Spanish ambassador to prevent its acceptance. The treaty was signed on June 23, 1661; the marriage followed on May 21, 1662. England became pledged to assist Portugal with 2000 foot, 1000 horse, and ten ships of war until her independence was attained; Old soldiers were not difficult to find at the moment; the removal of the Cromwellian garrisons in Scotland, which took place about the end of 1661, supplied an organised body of infantry, whilst Irish Catholics who had served the King in Flanders helped to furnish the cavalry. Both did good service; in the battles of Amegial (June 8,1663) and Montes Claros (June 17, 1665) the English contingent bore a large part in winning the victory. English diplomacy, too, represented by Fanshawe, Southwell and Sandwich, worked indefatigably on behalf of Portugal until the treaty of February 13,1668, secured its independence.

England and France.

By retaining Cromwell’s conquests from Spain and by assisting Portugal, Charles returned to Cromwell’s foreign policy, though he succeeded in avoiding open war with Spain. At the same time he naturally drew nearer to France. At first he had testified his resentment of Mazarin’s close alliance with the usurper by ordering Bordeaux, the ambassador who had been the instrument of the Cardinal in effecting it, to leave England. But this feeling did not prevent the reestablishment of good relations between the two Powers. Queen Henrietta Maria, who exerted all her influence to restore them, proposed a match between Charles and Hortense Mancini, Mazarin’s niece, to whom the Cardinal promised to give a dowry of 4 million livres. Charles refused the match as beneath his dignity, but the Queen succeeded in negotiating a marriage between the Princess Henrietta and Louis XIV’s brother, the Duke of Orleans. It took place on March 31, 1661, and the Duchess of Orleans became ere long the channel for all confidential communications between Charles and Louis.

The marriage of Charles with Catharine of Braganza formed a second link with France. Debarred from assisting Portugal openly Louis was anxious to prevent her reconquest by Spain, in order to keep that Power weak. Hence when Charles hesitated Louis pressed the match, and promised to contribute 800,000 crowns towards the expense of defending Portugal, besides permitting a certain number of French officers and soldiers to take service under the Portuguese standards.

The sale of Dunkirk to France constituted a third link. It was an expensive possession, for it required a garrison of nearly 4000 men, and cost about 100,000 a year. The harbour was poor, which made it of little value as a naval station, and with the abandonment of Cromwell’s plan for a great European league for the support of Protestantism its military value was greatly diminished. For strategic reasons Albemarle and Sandwich urged its sale; Tangier, they said, would be far more valuable as a naval base, and it was impossible to hold both places. For financial reasons, Southampton, the Lord Treasurer, took the same line, and Clarendon both approved the plan and managed the bargain. The two possible purchasers were France and Spain, and the former was at once the better paymaster and the more desirable ally. After much haggling between Clarendon and D’Estrades the price was finally fixed at 2,500,000 livres; and the transfer took place on October 27,1662.

It seemed at the close of 1662 as if Charles had definitely resolved to range himself on the side of France in her struggle with the Spanish monarchy, and as if as close an alliance between Charles and Louis was about to be formed as that which Cromwell had made with Mazarin. But the difference was that religious interests had no part in determining the policy of Charles, nor was his inclination towards France connected with any definite scheme of European policy. His policy was mainly dictated by commercial considerations, and he looked outside Europe. “Upon the King’s first arrival in England,” says Clarendon, “he manifested a very great desire to improve the general traffic and trade of the nation, and upon all occasions conferred with the most active merchants upon it, and offered all that he could contribute to the advancement thereof.” He began by erecting a Council of Trade (November 7,1660), and by its side a Council for Foreign Plantations (December 1,1660).

The alliance with Portugal was dictated by commercial consideration, and it was popular because the Portuguese was “the most beneficiallest trade that ever this nation was engaged in.” Bombay was to be the centre of a lucrative traffic with India, while the possession of Tangier was not only to secure for England the trade of northern Africa, but to enable it “to give the law to all the trade of the Mediterranean.” When Burnet visited England in 1663 “Tangier was talked of at a mighty rate, as the foundation of a new empire.” It was by holding out the prospect of easy conquests in Africa and the Indies, and of enormous mercantile profits, that D’Estrades, on behalf of Louis XIV, encouraged Charles to accept the offers of Portugal.

The materialism of the King’s policy exactly fitted the temper of his people; but any attempt to obtain for England a larger share of the commerce of the world was certain to produce a conflict with the present holders of commercial dominion, the Dutch. Other causes of conflict between England and Holland were not lacking. Charles II had a personal grievance against the Dutch Government. He was anxious for the restoration of his nephew, the Prince of Orange, to the political and military functions from which he had been debarred by the Act of Exclusion in 1654, and the position was further complicated by a dispute about the guardianship of William, who was but ten years old in 1660. At the Hague, before he returned to England, Charles urgently recommended the interests of his sister and her son to the States-General; after his return he became still more pressing. The Dutch Government revoked the Act of Exclusion (September 25, 1660) and the States of Holland took the care of the Prince’s education into their own hands. The death of the Princess Mary on December 24, 1660, reopened the question. Charles at her request assumed the guardianship of the Prince, which he shared by agreement with another uncle, the Elector of Brandenburg: they entrusted William to the control of his grand­mother, Amalia, Princess-Dowager of Orange, ousting the representatives of Holland from their charge.

Portuguese affairs added to the friction. For nearly twenty years the Dutch and Portuguese had been fighting over their possessions in South America and the East Indies. Cromwell had sought to mediate between the two States, and Charles pledged himself by a secret article in his marriage-treaty to follow Cromwell’s example. Downing, the very diplomatist Cromwell had employed, was despatched again to the Hague to continue the mediation. On August 6, 1661, a treaty was signed by which the Portuguese retained Brazil and the Dutch Ceylon, but its ratification was retarded till December, 1662, owing to disputes about the comparative privileges of Dutch and English commerce in the Portuguese possessions.

These quarrels retarded the treaty between England and the United Provinces which had been set on foot in 1661 and was not concluded till September, 1662. It settled the long disputes about freedom of fishing and the salute of the British flag, but it left two outstanding questions undetermined. One was the question of the compensation claimed by the owners of two English ships taken by the Dutch in 1643, the other was the question of the restoration of Pularoon, one of the Spice Islands. The Dutch had expelled the English from it about 1620; and the verdict of the arbitrators appointed under the treaty of April 5, 1654, had adjudged it to England. The new treaty promised that the long-delayed transfer should be effected; but when one of the ships of the English East India Company arrived with authority to take possession the Dutch Governor refused to give it up. Besides this breach of faith, there were fresh complaints of the capture of English ships in the East Indies and the forcible obstruction of English traders in West Africa. Reprisals inevitably followed. Shortly after the Restoration Charles had granted letters-patent for the formation of the Royal African Company (December 18, 1660), to which he subsequently granted a charter (June 10, 1663). The Duke of York was the special patron of the company and one of its founders. At his instigation in October, 1663, Robert Holmes, with a small squadron, was sent to the African coast to protect the trade of the company against the Dutch, which he effected by capturing most of the Dutch stations there. England had also shadowy claims on the territories occupied by the Dutch West India Company in America. On March 12, 1664, Charles granted to his brother James a patent for Long Island and the whole country between the Connecticut and Delaware rivers. In May a small expedition under Colonel Nicolls set sail from Portsmouth to put the Duke in possession.

Throughout 1664 the war-feeling in England grew stronger and stronger. In April the Turkey Company and the East India Company presented complaints to Parliament claiming that damages to the amount of £714,000 had been inflicted upon them by the Dutch, and the two Houses petitioned the King to take effectual measures to obtain redress. In October and the following months de Ruyter recaptured the English possessions on the Gold Coast. In December an English squadron under Allen attacked the Dutch Smyrna fleet. War was declared on March 14, 1665.

Charles II was pushed into war by his people and by his brother. “I never saw so great an appetite to war as is in both this town and country, especially in the parliament men,” he wrote to the Duchess of Orleans on June 2, 1664. “I find myself almost the only man in my kingdom who doth not desire war,” he added three months later. Clarendon too was notoriously opposed to war; but, like his master, he was obliged to follow the current. When the English Government saw that war was inevitable, it began to look round for allies. Fanshawe was sent to Madrid and Southwell to Lisbon, to negotiate a truce between Spain and Portugal, and if possible an offensive and defensive league with Spain. Sir Gilbert Talbot was sent to Denmark, and Henry Coventry to Sweden, to secure the aid of those Powers against the Dutch. Lord Carlingford went to Vienna to propose to the Emperor Leopold a league between England and the House of Habsburg; Sir Walter Vane was despatched to Berlin to gain the support of the Elector of Brandenburg. But the only ally England could obtain was the Bishop of Munster, who offered his services in return for a subsidy, made a treaty with Charles II on June 13, 1665, and invaded Holland two months later. All this diplomatic activity was frustrated by the atti­tude of Louis XIV. On April 27, 1662, he had signed an alliance with Holland by which he was pledged, if Holland were attacked, to aid the Dutch with 12,000 men, and to declare war against its assailant within tour months. Charles was badly served by Lord Holies, his ambassador at Paris, and neither realised the precise nature of the engagements of Louis to the Dutch nor the political motives which swayed the French King. Through his sister he endeavoured in vain to procure the support of the French King, or at least his neutrality, and argued that since the Dutch were in reality the aggressors, Louis was not bound to help them. It was all in vain. Louis had no love for the Dutch, but, in view of his designs against the Spanish Netherlands, their future neutrality was necessary to him; nor was he disposed to overthrow their maritime and commercial power for the benefit of England When the war broke out he sent two extraordinary ambassadors to England in April, 1665, to endeavour to mediate, and sought through his diplomacy to prevent other Powers from taking part in the war. The death of Philip IV of Spain (September 17, 1665) somewhat altered the situation, since an agreement between England and Holland might hinder the designs of Louis on the Netherlands, arid its prolongation might facilitate their execution. Accordingly he sent an auxiliary force to the aid of the Dutch, which drove the Munster forces out of Holland, and declared war against England on January 26,1666. The result was decisive. The King of Denmark, guaranteed by France against any danger from Sweden, allied himself with the Dutch on February 11,1666. The Elector of Brandenburg on February 16, 1666, made a treaty with the Dutch, promising to aid them with 12,000 men. England’s only ally, the Bishop of Munster, threatened alike by France and Brandenburg, made his peace with the Dutch on April 18. Sweden, which had been on the point of forming a league with England, declared itself neutral on July 17, and offered its mediation in the quarrel. Finally, on October 25, 1666, Holland, Denmark, Brandenburg, and the Dukes of Brunswick-Lüneburg formed what was known as the “Quadruple Alliance” for mutual defence. The diplomatic defeat of England was complete.

At sea during the same period, in spite of some reverses, England had more than held its own. The details of the naval war are related elsewhere. Southwold Bay (June 3, 1665) was a great victory, and the repulse at Bergen (August 16, 1665) had been compensated by the capture of many Dutch ships during the next few months. The battle of June 14,1666, was a defeat, but it was avenged by the victory of July 25, and by the burning of the Dutch merchantmen in the Vlie on August 8. In the West Indies Jamaica and Barbados were two strongholds from which English expeditions sallied forth against the Dutch or the French. Privateers from Jamaica captured St Eustatia, Santa Saba, and Tobago in 1665. In 1666 fortune turned the other way. Antigua, Montserrat., and the English half of St Christopher’s fell into the hands of the French, and Surinam was captured by the Dutch.

On the other hand, the internal condition of England at the close of 1666 was extremely unfavourable. The strain of the war had been aggravated by two extraordinary calamities. The plague, which raged in London during the summer and autuipn of 1665, swept away nearly 70,000 persons out of a population of rather less than half a million. It was still raging in the eastern and south-eastern counties during the first half of 1666, and in Colchester alone between 4000 and 5000 persons perished from it. In September, 1666, came the Great Fire of London, which is said to have destroyed 13,200 houses and reduced two-thirds of the capital to smouldering ruins. Throughout England there was widespread discontent, with complaints of heavy taxes, and of abuses. “The nation,” said an anonymous letter addressed to Charles himself, “are ready with every puff of wind to rise up in arms because of the oppression that is laid upon them.” There were rumours of conspiracies for the restoration of the Republic. Ludlow, Algernon Sidney, and other exiled republicans were summoned to Amsterdam. It was said that the Dutch Government intended “ to relieve the good people,” and that Dutch statesmen had at last come to see that their government could not long subsist if monarchy continued in England. De Witt suggested that Louis XIV should seize a convenient port in Ireland, and call on that people to shake off the English yoke. In Scotland there was still greater danger. The war with Holland had closed the only remaining market for Scotch merchandise; and in the western shires, exasperated by religious persecution, a general rising would certainly have followed any landing of the Dutch troops. The Pentland rising showed the temper of the Whigs; and its suppression at Rullion Green on November 27, 1666, was a piece of undeserved good fortune for the Government.

The real difficulty of Charles the Second’s Ministers, however, was not the political, but the financial, situation. The King’s ordinary revenue, nominally £1,200,000 a year, was really about £900,000, and he was in debt before the war began. In June, 1664, at the first threat of war, he had to borrow £100,000 from the City of London in order to equip a fleet for sea. Parliament voted large sums for the expenses of the war. In December, 1664, it imposed a “Royal Aid" of £2,477,500, to be raised by a monthly assessment during the next three years beginning in January, 1665. In October, 1665, it voted an additional aid of £1,250,000, to be levied in the next two years beginning in January, 1666. Thus during 1665 the monthly assessment levied was £68,500 per month, while during 1666 and 1667 it rose to £120,000 per mensem, which was what the Long Parliament had raised during the first Dutch War. But this sum was far from sufficient. The expenses of the navy between September 1, 1664, and September £29,1666, came to £3,200,000, and of that sum about £900,000 was still owing. About £238,000 had been spent in subsidies to the Bishop of Munster, whose services had proved a very insufficient return. The deficiency was freely attributed to malversation in high places. It was reported that since the war began £400,000 had been diverted from the service of the State to the Privy Purse, and people said: “Give the King the Countess of Castlemaine, and he cares not what the people suffers.” In reality Charles was not to blame for the deficit. No doubt he was extravagant in his private pleasures, but the embarrassments of the State were due to other causes. The new taxes should have been imposed when the preparations for war began, not months after war had broken out. They dribbled in slowly; not a penny of the “ Royal Aid” voted in December, 1664, reached the Exchequer till April, 1665. They brought in less than their estimated yield; the “Royal Aid ” fell short by about £85,000; the “additional aid” by about £100,000. The Government had to borrow money from bankers at high rates for its daily expenditure, and it could only borrow with great difficulty. For there was no efficient way of anticipating the receipts of taxes already voted by borrowing on the credit of them, nor was the device of funding the debts of the State and assigning certain revenues to provide the interest due upon them as yet naturalised in England. In both respects the Dutch Government had a great advantage over the English. Not only were the United Provinces a far richer country, in which the rate of interest was much lower than it was in England and the available capital much larger, but the whole machinery of public finance was more highly developed, so that the Dutch could bear with comparative ease the burden of a war expenditure which was crushing to an economically more backward nation.

When Parliament met in September, 1666, it resolved to raise £1,800,000 for the King’s service; but long disputes followed before the method of raising the sum could be agreed upon. Eventually it was determined to raise £1,256,000 by a monthly assessment beginning in January, 1667, and a poll-tax which was expected to produce £500,000, but really brought iu only half that sum. At the same time the House of Commons proceeded to claim the control of the finances of the State. Already in 1665, when the House voted the additional aid of £1,250,000, a proviso had been introduced into the Bill requiring that the mopey raised should be applicable only to the purposes of the, war. But now, besides the right of appropriating supplies, it claimed the right of examining into their expenditure, and sent up a Bill nominating commissioners to inspect the public accounts. The King opposed it as an encroachment on his prerogative, and the House of Lords backed him. In the end, Parliament was prorogued before the Bill was perfected (February 8, 1667), and Charles, at the suggestion of the Lords, appointed commissioners of his own choice to carry out the proposed examination (March, 1667). With insufficient supplies and with a quarrel with the Commons on his hands, the King was left to face the difficulties of the next year’s war.

In this extremity the King’s Council adopted a plan full of peril. It was resolved to stand entirely upon the defensive; to lay up the great ships, and to send nothing but squadrons of light frigates to sea during the next year; to suffer the sailors who should have manned the fleet to take service on board merchantmen; to fortify Sheemess and other places in order to protect the ships in the river. No other course seemed open: there was no money in hand either to repair the ships, or victual them, or pay their crews. To the King and his political advisers it seemed a safe and economical way out of their difficulties. Peace seemed close at band. Overtures had been made by the Dutch in the latter part of 1666, and in the spring of 1667 Charles had three negotiations on foot. There was a public one through the Swedish mediators, which ended on March 18, with an agreement for a general treaty to take place at Breda. There was a secret attempt set on foot by Lisola, the Imperial ambassador, to bring England and Holland to terms, in order that both might league themselves with the House of Habsburg for the defence of the Spanish Netherlands. Finally, through St Albans and the Queen-Mother, Charles was privately treating with France on the basis of the restoration of the French conquests in the West Indies, in return for the complicity of England in the attack on the Netherlands. In April the two Kings concluded their bargain, and in May the French army invaded Flanders.

In the same month the negotiations at Breda began. It was agreed that both England and Holland should keep their conquests; and after Charles had at last abandoned the demand for the restoration of Pularoon nothing but minor questions remained to be settled. Over these questions the English envoys at Breda, Holies and Coventry, haggled and delayed. The King felt secure. Now that he had agreed with France the Dutch would be obliged to come to his terms; and either Louis would prevent the Dutch fleet from putting to sea, or the preparations; made would be sufficient to repel them. On the other hand the Dutch, who had refused to agree to a cessation of arms, were eager for peace, and their eagerness was increased by the French invasion of the Netherlands. De Witt resolved, by a sudden and decisive blow, to prevent the prolongation of the negotiations, and enforce the conclusion of peace. The appearance of de Ruyter’s fleet in the Thames, and the burning of the ships in the Medway on June 13, were the result not only of a strategic blunder but of diplomatic incompetence. The story of the disaster itself is told in a later chapter. Peace was signed at Breda six weeks later on the terms which the Dutch had offered in May (July 81, 1667). Charles had made up his mind to accept them before the Dutch fleet sailed, and de Witt with wise moderation did not attempt to raise his demands.

In England public feeling, exasperated by the national disgrace, demanded satisfaction. Men said in private that Clarendon and Arlington, who were responsible for the King’s foreign policy, with Sir George Carteret and Sir William Coventry, who were responsible for the administration of the navy, were to be sacrificed. Nothing but some concession to the Nonconformists would put an end to domestic discontents; there must be a severe inquisition into the late miscarriages, and Parliament must take the whole management of affairs into its own hands. When Parliament met the first demand made was for the disbanding of the newly raised forces (July 15); for the fear of a standing army had become one of the dominant instincts of all English politicians. When the Cromwellian army was disbanded the intention was to leave Charles II with no forces but his guards and a few companies scattered through various garrisons. But Venner’s rising in January, 1661, showed the need for more troops, and Monck’s regiment was continued in arms under the name of the Coldstream Guards. The withdrawal of the garrison of Dunkirk added a second battalion to the King’s own regiment, so that by 1663 Charles had a standing force of about 3400 foot and 1000 horse, quite apart from the troops in Scotland and Ireland and the garrison of Tangier. Each addition had excited the jealousy of Parliament, and the war caused a further increase. Three regiments of foot and 23 troops of horse were added during 1665 and 1666, while in June, 1667, 12,000 more foot and 2400 horse were raised to resist the threatened Dutch landing. Charles had over 20,000 armed men at his disposal, and it was freely reported that he meant to rule by a standing army, and to assimilate the government of England to that of France. Public opinion regarded the Duke of York as the man who had pressed this design upon the King, and Clarendon as his tool. There was some colour for the charge against the Chancellor. At the end of June, 1667, he had combated the proposal to summon Parliament, and had urged a dissolution and the calling of a new Parliament in the autumn. In Council he had advised that the newly raised forces should be supported by levying contributions on the counties in money or in provisions, so long as the present emergency lasted. The belief that Clarendon sought to alter the Constitution was without foundation; yet, since his constitutional ideas were incompatible with the claim which Parliament now made, its leaders were right in regarding him'as their enemy. Appropriation of supplies, audit of accounts, control of the armed forces of the nation, all appeared to him encroachments which the King must resist to the last.

Clarendon was likewise regarded as the inspirer of the King’s foreign policy, though in reality he was merely its instrument. English opinion attributed the Chatham disaster as much to French intrigue as Dutch arms, watched with rising hostility the progress of the French in the Netherlands, and blamed the Minister for subserviency to France. The ambassadors of Austria and Spain fanned the flame, and sought to overthrow one whom they regarded as the creature of Louis XIV. Had the Commons sat a day longer an address in favour of a league with the House of Habsburg and a war with France would have been presented to the King.

For the moment the sudden prorogation of Parliament (July 29) saved Clarendon from direct attack; but it still more embittered parliamentary feeling against him, because it seemed a personal insult to the members. It did not diminish the King’s difficulties. Charles was obliged to disband the newly raised forces because the conclusion of peace left him no excuse for maintaining them. He was obliged to dismiss Clarendon because his retention would make peace at home impossible, and on August 30 the Chancellor, by the King’s order, gave up the Great Seal. Clarendon, in his autobiography, attributes his fall to personal reasons. He had been too bold with his master; he had told him plainly that he had no prerogative to make vice virtue; the courtiers and the mistress had poisoned the King’s ears; this phrase had been misconstrued and that act intentionally misrepresented. But the real reason lay much deeper. It was true that the King had outlived any personal attach­ment to his Minister, but he also perceived that the situation demanded Ministers who possessed the confidence of Parliament. It was not possible, he told Ormond, to keep Clarendon, “and to do those things with the Parliament that must be done or the government will be lost.” Clarendon did not realise this. “Parliaments,” he told Charles in his last interview, “were not formidable unless the King chose to make them so; it was yet in his own power to govern them, but if they found it was in theirs to govern him, nobody knew what the end would be.” Nobody knew better than the King that the first half of the sentence was a fundamental misconception; as to the second, Charles felt that it was easier to outmanceuvre Parliament than to fight it. In the seven years which had passed since he reentered London statecraft had come to mean not the steady pursuit of a well-considered policy, but the art of managing Parliament. And more and more Parliament signified the. House of Commons, “a beast not to be understood”, because there were yet no definite parties, and because no machinery had yet been devised for securing cooperation between the executive and the legislative.

When Parliament met, the King yielded all the points at issue. He had already disbanded the newly raised forces; he now assented to the Bill appointing Parliamentary Commissioners to examine the public accounts (December 19,1667), and permitted a searching enquiry into the naval miscarriage of the late war. But, though Charles promised never to employ Clarendon again, his enemies were not satisfied, and drew up articles of impeachment for high treason against the fallen Minister. The Lords refused to commit Clarendon, on the ground that the articles accused him of treason in general only, and did not specify any particular treason. There followed a complete breach between the two Houses. The Commons voted that the refusal of the Lords was an obstruction of the public justice of the kingdom. In the meantime Clarendon, hearing that Parliament was to be prorogued, and that he was to be tried by a special Court erected for the purpose, took the King’s advice and fled the kingdom. The two Houses ordered the vindication he left behind him to be burnt, and passed an Act which banished him for life, and made his pardon impossible without their consent.

In dismissing Clarendon Charles had submitted to the will of Parliament—not for the first time, but more conspicuously than he had done before. But he did not feel that he had permanently surrendered any portion of his royal power. His concessions seemed to him, in his own words, rather “inconvenient appearances than real mischiefs.” His new Ministers were his own choice, not imposed upon him by Parliament. The removal of Clarendon was the removal of a check upon his freedom of action; and in his heart Charles agreed with the courtier who told him that he was now King, which he never had been before. He began to meditate large projects at home and abroad, and initiated a policy of his own which was distinct from the official policy of his Government.

Clarendon lived until 1674 an exile in France. He spent the last years of his life in compiling a vindication of his political career, and in revising the exposition of constitutional royalism, which ultimately bcame the History of the Rebellion. The fundamental principle of that creed was the necessity of the union of Church and State. Clarendon’s great political achievement had been the realisation of that principle by reuniting Parliamentary Government and the Anglican Church after they had been separated by the Civil War. One might almost say that the unconditional restoration of the old Church was the work of Clarendon, as the unconditional restoration of monarchy was the work of Monck. But, in achieving his purpose, Clarendon failed to perceive that toleration had become necessary to the peace of the nation, and his error led to the fall of the House of Stewart.


Further reading

Fortescue, J. W. (John William) - History of the British army (Vols 8)

James Mackintosh - History of the revolution in England in 1688. Comprising a view of the reign of James II from his accession, to the enterprise of the Prince of Orange

Richard Robert Madden - The history of the penal laws enacted against Roman Catholics .

Tulloch, John - Rational theology and Christian philosophy in England in the seventeenth century

William Chadwick - The life and times of Daniel De Foe: with remarks digressive and discursive


Henrietta Maria (French: Henriette Marie; 25 November 1609 – 10 September 1669) was Queen of England, Scotland, and Ireland as the wife of Charles I. She was mother of his two immediate successors, Charles II and James II and VII. Contemporaneously, by a decree of her husband, she was known in England as Queen Mary, but she did not like this name and signed her letters "Henriette R"

Henrietta Maria was the youngest daughter of Henry IV of France (Henry III of Navarre) and his second wife, Marie de' Medici, and named after her parents. She was born at the Palais du Louvr on 25 November 1609, but some historians give her a birth-date of 26 November. In England, where the Julian calendar was still in use, her date of birth is often recorded as 16 November. Henrietta Maria was brought up as a Catholic. As daughter of the Bourbon king of France, she was a Fille de France and a member of theHouse of Bourbon. She was the youngest sister of the future Louis XIII of France. Her father was assassinated on 14 May 1610, when she was less than a year old. As a child, she was raised under the supervision of the royal governess Françoise de Montglat.

Henrietta Maria first met her future husband in 1623 at a court entertainment in Paris, on his way to Spain with the Duke of Buckingham to discuss a possible marriage with Maria Anna of Spain.The proposal fell through when Philip IV of Spain demanded he convert to Catholicism and live in Spain for a year as conditions for the marriage. As Philip was aware, such terms were unacceptable and when Charles returned to England in October, he and Buckingham demanded James declare war on Spain. Searching elsewhere for a bride, Charles sent his close friend Henry Rich, 1st Earl of Holland to Paris in 1624. A Francophile and godsonof Henry IV of France, Holland strongly favoured the marriage, the terms of which were negotiated by James Hay, 1st Earl of Carlisle.

A Proxy marriage was held at Notre-Dame de Paris on 1 May 1625, shortly after Charles succeeded as king, with the couple spending their first night together at St Augustine's Abbey near Canterbury on 13 June 1625. As a Catholic, Henrietta Maria was unable to participate in the Church of England ceremony on 2 February 1625 when Charles was crowned in Westminster Abbey. A suggestion she be crowned by the Catholic Bishop of Mende who accompanied her to England was unacceptable, although she was allowed to watch the ceremony at a discreet distance. This went down badly with the London crowds, while England's pro-French policy gave way rapidly to a policy of supporting French Huguenot uprisings, and then a disengagement from European politics as internal problems grew.

After an initially difficult period, she and Charles formed a close partnership and were devoted to each other, but Henrietta Maria never fully assimilated into English society. She did not speak English before her marriage, and as late as the 1640s had difficulty writing or speaking the language. Combined with her Catholicism, this made her unpopular among English contemporaries who feared Catholic subversion and conspiracies such as the Gunpowder Plot. Henrietta Maria has been criticised as being an "intrinsically apolitical, undereducated and frivolous figure during the 1630s; others have suggested that she exercised a degree of personal power through a combination of her piety, her femininity and her sponsorship of the arts