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of reproach could sully it. In the midst of the rejoicings at his brother's coronation, he was seized with a fatal attack of small-pox. Soon afterwards, his eldest sister, Mary, Princess of Orange, was carried off by the same complaint. She left one young son, named William, who became very famous in our history.

Charles the Second was a graceful, well-bred man, his conversation very witty and sensible, his manners so lively and engaging, that they pleased every one. The nation was wild with joy at the restoration of its ancient government. One way in which this feeling showed itself, was by taking the body of Cromwell out of his grave, and hanging it on a gibbet at Tyburn, after which it was thrown into a hole beneath the gallows. This unworthy deed of revenge was committed by order of the parliament; but it was even more disgraceful, that Charles should command the body of the heroic Blake to be disentombed from its honoured restingplace in Westminster Abbey, that it might be interred amongst the undistinguished dead in the neighbouring churchyard.

It was too soon seen that Charles the Second could not admire any man merely for having served his country well; for he cared not at all for the honour of England, or for anything but his own ease and pleasure. If he might but lead an idle, merry life, he was satisfied. He would give no attention to the business of the state, but surrounded himself with dissolute companions, elegant men and beautiful women, who were some of the most profligate characters that have ever disgraced a court. He had



married Catherine of Portugal, a sensible and amiable princess; but he utterly neglected her, and squandered the large marriage-portion she had brought him on the companions of his vicious pleasures.

Charles was not unmerciful; he took no stern vengeance on the men who had murdered his father, and had forced him to spend so many years in exile and penury. Eleven only of those who had sat in judgment on Charles the First, or assisted in his death, were executed, all of them glorying in their deed to the last. But the king showed little gratitude to the men who had suffered for his father and himself. Many a brave man who had spent all his goods, and shed his blood in the service of Charles the First, was left destitute of a home or a meal, while the king lavished money and rewards on the courtiers who amused him. The evil example of the court spread downwards, and affected all classes of the people; they were weary of the restraints which their puritan governors had imposed even on their innocent pleasures, and now they ran into the opposite extreme of riot and intemperance.


REIGN OF CHARLES II.-(continued).


(From 1660 to 1667.)

NOTWITHSTANDING the careless indolence of the king, it seemed at first that England would enjoy good government under his reign. Clarendon, and

other upright men who had followed him in his exile, were promoted to chief offices in the state. The great and good Sir Matthew Hale, who had been too honest a judge to please Cromwell, was now made one of the principal judges, and afterwards chief justice.

The bishops and clergy who had been deprived of their offices were restored to them, and it was hoped, at first, that some plan might be formed by which the Churchmen and the Presbyterians could agree together, so as to form one church. But the Presbyterians wanted too many changes, and the Churchmen were not very willing to make any; and in the second year after the king's return, an act of parliament was passed, which required that every clergyman who had a parish should be ordained by a bishop, and use the Book of Common Prayer.

A great number of the parishes were held by the puritan ministers who had taken possession of them in the times of the civil war and the commonwealth, and about two thousand of these refused to conform to the act. They were obliged, therefore, to give place to churchmen. This was done at the Feast of St. Bartholomew, 1662, exactly the same time at which, sixteen years before, the loyal clergy had been turned out of their livings.

The puritan ministers were now called Nonconformists; they were much more gently dealt with than the clergy had been, but they were forbidden to preach to congregations, and the people were forbidden to hear them; for no set of men in England, whether churchmen or puritans, had yet learned to allow other men to worship God according to their



own consciences. And some very wise and good nonconformists were much harassed on this account.

In the third year of the king's reign he sold Dunkirk to the French, much to the displeasure of his own subjects. It was said, in excuse, that it was too expensive a possession; but the people saw too plainly that Charles wasted every year a great deal more money than would have been necessary to keep up the garrison and fortifications of Dunkirk. Soon afterwards, the Dutch and English merchants who traded to the colonies quarrelled so much, that England went to war with Holland. Some victories were gained by Monk, Prince Rupert, and the Duke of York, but the war seemed to be to little purpose, excepting to waste the lives of brave men on both sides; and the English grew the more weary of it, because of the calamities which had befallen them at home, in the years 1665 and 1666.

In 1665 broke out the Great Plague of London. The city had been many times visited by the plague, for the old wooden houses and the narrow winding streets harboured infection; but so terrible a pestilence as this had not been known since the Black Death, in the days of Edward the Third. It began in the winter, and while the weather continued cold not many persons died, only the number increased weekly. But in May, when the air grew warm and close, the sickness increased fearfully, and went on growing worse and worse till September, when the deaths were ten thousand a week. As London then contained not more than one quarter of its present population, and was not one quarter so large as it is now, we may imagine how dreadful this plague

appeared to the people. The king and court fled to Oxford, and all who could do so, shut up their houses and shops, and went away; but they carried the infection with them, and several other places, as well as London, suffered terribly.

At last the country people would not let any one who had been in an infected place come into their houses, and people camped out of doors in any solitary place which they could find. In the city, the sight was dismal indeed. Every house where the plague appeared was immediately shut up-a red cross, and the words, "Lord, have mercy upon us!" were marked on the outside, and no one was suffered to go in or come out. Provisions were put in at the windows. All night long the dead-carts went their dismal rounds, and at the call, "Bring out your dead," the watchers at each house brought forth the corpses, which were conveyed away to the nearest buryingground, and shot into one common grave. No funeralservice was read, no friend was permitted to attend these gloomy interments, and few would have dared to do it. Men were afraid to speak to one another in the streets, lest they should receive infection. Some suffered terribly, and would throw themselves out of the windows, or rush into the river in their frenzy; but others felt no pain, and went about their daily business as usual, till suddenly they grew faint, the plague spots appeared, and in less than an hour all was over.

After 100,000 persons had perished, the pestilence seemed to be ceasing; and early in 1666, the people who had fled away returned to the city. But on the 2d September in that year, began the Great

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