« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
THE SECOND STUART PERIOD; OR, THE PERIOD OF THE RESTORATION AND THE REVOLUTION. 1660 TO 1689.
Charles II. reigned 24 years; from 1660 to 1685.
CHAPTER XII. THE REIGN OF CHARLES THE SECOND. CHARLES II. Reigned twenty-four years eight months and one week, from 29th May, 1660, to 6th February, 1685. Born 29th May, 1630. Married Catherine of Braganza, 21st May, 1662. Died 6th February, 1685. Buried in Henry the Seventh's Chapel, Westminster.
SECTION I.-DURING THE ADMINISTRATION OF LORD CLARENDON. 1660-1667.
I. PROCEEDINGS OF THE CONVENTION PARLIAMENT.
1. The Act of Indemnity. Four subjects of great importance and difficulty occupied the Convention Parliament, from the day of the King's return till its dissolution in the following December These were, a general indemnity; the restoration of the church and crown lands; the settlement of the revenue and the abolition of military tenures; and the re-establishment of the church.
The general pardon promised by Charles in his Declaration from Breda, was not understood by him and his advisers to include any who had been immediately concerned in his father's death, and therefore the four exceptions which Monk had proposed were extended by the Commons to twenty, and then, as their loyalty grew warmer, they added to this number all the judges of King Charles who did not surrender themselves, in obedience to a royal proclamation which was issued on the 30th of June. The Lords were still more vindictive; they condemned all who had ever sat in judg ment upon any Royalist, and they gave to the next relations of the four peers whom the Commonwealth had executed, viz., Hamilton, Holland, Capel, and Derby, the detestable privilege of selecting, each, a regicide for execution-a privilege which was exercised in the three last instances; but was nobly refused by Lord Denbigh, the kinsman of Hamilton. The Commons, the majority of whom were moderate Presbyterians, resisted this revengeful spirit, and, after some altercations, an Act of Indemnity was passed, and assented to by Charles on the 29th of August. Vane Lambert, and fifty-one others actually concerned in the death of
King Charles, were excepted from pardon as to life and estate; Haselrigg, Monson, and five others, as regarded liberty and property; and all judges who had presided in any high court of justice, Hutchinson, Lenthall, St. John, and sixteen others by name, were declared incapable of holding any office in the state, church, or army. Those regicides who had surrendered themselves were not pardoned, but reserved for the sentence of a future parliament.
2. Execution of the regicides. In pursuance of this act, so audaciously termed An Act of Indemnity and Oblivion, twenty-nine regicides were tried by a special commission, chiefly composed of men who had betrayed the cause of the revolution, viz., Ashley Cooper, one of Cromwell's most trusty advisers; Monk and Montague, two of his lords and admirals; Say and Holles, parliamentary leaders; Manchester and Robartes, parliamentary commissioners; and Atkins and Tyrrel, parliamentary judges. All the prisoners were condemned; nineteen, who had surrendered in obedience to the proclamation, were respited till the assembling of the next parliament; and these ten were executed, viz., Harrison, Scott, Jones, Carew, Clements, and Scroop, who had signed the royal death-warrant; Cook, the solicitor at the trial; Axtel and Hackers, who had guarded the royal prisoner: and Peters, the minister. In the course of the year, three other regicides, carried off from Holland in defiance of the law of nations, terminated their career on the scaffold; and the bodies of Cromwell, Ireton, and Savage Bradshaw were exhumed, suspended from gibbets, decapi- of the dead. tated, and otherwise insulted and desecrated in the most barbarous manner. The body of Blake was also removed from its honoured resting-place in Westminster Abbey, and re-interred in St. Margaret's Churchyard.
In the two following years, the regicides left in prison were condemned to perpetual imprisonment; and Vane and Lambert were brought to trial. Though not actually guilty of the Trial and death of Charles, the indictments against them alleged of Vane. as overt acts of high treason against Charles II., their exercise of civil and military functions under the usurping government,—an accusation under which many who had been the most active in the King's restoration, might have stood at the bar. Their condemnation was wholly against the spirit, if not the letter, of the statute of Henry VII. in favour of a king de facto. For if there was no king, there was a parliament, which by parity of reasoning, stood in the place of a king, and obedience to it could not, therefore, be deemed a crime against
the king de jure. The judges, however, went beyond all bounds of constitutional precedents, and of common sense, and decided that Charles II. had always been a king de facto, and had never been out of possession! To which Vane replied that, if the king had never been out of possession, the indictment against him fell to the ground, because it alleged that he had endeavoured to keep out the king. The courage, the proud consciousness of right, and the lofty principles which he displayed during his trial, secured his condemnation in the mind of such a selfish, corrupt, faithless, and shameless man as Charles, who told Clarendon that he must be put out of the way. He was executed on the 14th of June, 1662, although Charles had solemnly promised the two houses, when they addressed him on the subject, to spare his life. Lambert was banished to Guernsey.*
3. Restitution of the church and crown lands. The great question of the restitution of the church and crown lands was a very complicated one, owing to the numerous sales which had been made under the authority of parliament. A bill was brought in to confirm all these sales, or to give indemnity to the purchasers, except in the matter of crown lands. But Clarendon demanded that the church property should also be excepted, to which the Commons objected, and no bill was passed. The dispute was therefore left to be decided by the common course of law, and the consequence was, that the church, the crown, and the dispossessed Royalists triumphantly re-entered into possession, the holders not being allowed to plead a title derived from an usurped authority. The great body of the Cavaliers, however, had not been entirely ousted from their lands, but had retained portions by compounding for their delinquency. These found no remedy at law, because the Act of Indemnity prevented them from instituting any suits of recovery; and mortified to see the clergy restored, and those Royalists who had lost all fully reinstated, they loudly accused the King of ingratitude, as if his honour was to be sacrificed to their interests.
The great question of the church establishment was not brought forward in the Convention, because the Presbyterian majority would have opposed it. During the Commonwealth, the legal provision for the clergy had never been disturbed, and the private rights of presentation had been peacefully exercised, although the pulpits were nearly all occupied by Puritans and Independents, and the Liturgy had been abolished. The Episcopal ministers who were deprived, though excluded from toleration, were yet allowed
* Forster's Lives, IV., 210-240; Hallam, II., 23-25.
sufficient indulgence in the exercise of their functions, The and in the reign of Cromwell, they were fully tolerated. restoring But the re-establishment of Episcopacy was the necessary pal clergy. complement of the Restoration, and, as the Presbyterians readily perceived this, they sought to impose restrictions upon Charles while he was yet at Breda. All that they obtained was the promise, in the Declaration, to grant liberty of conscience, if parliament enacted such an indulgence; but not a word was mentioned about the Establishment. The moderate party in parliament, therefore, who saw the danger of permitting an oppressed body of churchmen to regain their superiority without some restraint, immediately proposed a compromise. The Commons accordingly introduced and passed a bill for restoring the Episcopal ministers to their livings, but without any legal right to the intermediate profits; and establishing the present possession of those Presbyterian clergy against whom there was no claimant living to dispute it, as well as of those who had been presented on legal vacancies. But this measure was a delusion; for with the revival of the Episcopal system, the penalties imposed upon nonconformity would revive also, and the Presbyterian clergy who refused to observe the Liturgy would become liable to ejection. Hence the latter proposed the establishment of an episcopate on Bishop Bishop Usher's model, which consisted, first, in the appointment model. of a suffragan bishop for each rural deanery, holding a monthly synod of the presbyters within his district; and secondly, in an annual synod of suffragans and representatives of the presbyters, under the presidency of the bishop, which should decide upon all questions by plurality of suffrages. A revision of the Liturgy was also proposed, especially with reference to the use of the surplice, the cross in baptism, kneeling at the communion, and other ceremonies. But the Episcopal divines contemptuously refused to entertain any idea of a compromise; though the King found it prudent to conciliate the Presbyterians by appointing Baxter, Calamy, and others of their leading men, his chaplains in ordinary, and offering them bishoprics; and by publishing The the "Healing Declaration," in which he promised to Declaration. appoint "model" bishops, and that a conference should meet for the purpose of revising the Liturgy. The object of this concession was, to prevent the parliament interfering in this important matter; it was never intended to be observed; and when it was brought before parliament, the courtiers, who had received their instructions from Clarendon, vigorously opposed it, and it was rejected by 183 to 157.
* Hallam, II., 17. + Ibid, II., 19.
4. Settlement of the revenue. In the exuberance of its devotion, the Convention Parliament resolved to make such an ample provision for the executive power, as should place it beyond the pretended necessity of raising money by unlawful means. The crown revenue was, therefore, settled at £1,200,000, and tonnage and poundage were voted for the king's life. A stipulation of the utmost importance was annexed to this grant. The military Abolition tenures of the feudal system were abolished, with all tenures. their oppressive incidents of fines for alienations, of forfeitures, and of wardships; as well as the more generally obnoxious demands of purveyance-all which relics of feudal prerogative would have revived with the re-establishment of the monarchy. A measure so highly advantageous to the aristocracy and landowners, was not likely to create much difference of opinion; some little discussion ensued as to the new sources whence the revenue was to be derived, and in the end, the burden was most unjustly thrown upon the commonalty, in the shape of an excise duty on beer, cider, wine, tea, and some other permanent articles. Thus the customs and the excise-the two established. great sources of modern revenue-were placed absolutely in the King's hands, and Charles rendered almost independent of parliament for the ordinary expenditure of the crown. the abolition of two such vexatious exercises of prerogative as wardship and purveyance was of immense benefit to the country, although we ought to be grateful to the revolution of 1641, when Star Chamber, and all feudal superiorities whatsoever, were done away with, for so beneficial a change.
In fixing upon £1,200,000 as a competent revenue for the crown, the Commons tacitly gave it to be understood that a regular military force was not among the necessities for which they meant to provide. They looked upon the army of 60,000 men with apprehension and jealousy; it was already showing signs of disaffection to the new order of things, and the monthly assessment of £70,000 was still being levied for its support. A bill was therefore passed for disbanding all the regiments to be kept except that of Monk's, called the Coldstream, and another of horse. A third regiment was formed out of the troops brought from Dunkirk, and thus began, under the name of guards, the present regular army of Great Britain. In 1662, it numbered about 5,000 men. At the same time, an act was passed for enabling the disbanded soldiers to exercise their trades unfettered by any restraints of apprenticeship or corporate privileges; and so readily did they avail themselves of the liberties thus