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ton's " Rota " Club, and Milton, agonized by the imminent


ruin of all his hopes, conjured the members of the Rump
frankly to assume the character of a permanent govern-
ment, which, in fact, from his point of view, was the
best thing to be done. The weakness of the parliament
throughout had been its want of permanent character as a
government. It appeared always as a representative as-
sembly which had lost its elective base and feared to go to
its constituents.

General Monck was still commanding the army of
occupation in Scotland, where he had continued to carry
out the Protector's policy well. He was a man with
no theory, probably not with much principle ; shrewd and
silent ; ready to serve any paymaster, but loyal to the
paymaster whom he served. Of his loyalty to the Pro-
tectorate there was no doubt. He had given Richard wise
counsel, advising him to make friends of the moderate
party and reduce the army by throwing two regiments
into one, getting rid by the way of dangerous spirits
among the officers, who, he assured him, when cashiered,
would be powerless. He had kept himself close, watched
the progress of anarchy, opened communication with Fair-
fax, and weeded his own army of all upon whom he could
not rely. When anarchy reached its height he moved on
London. There he went through a singular course of what 1660
is commonly deemed dissimulation and deceit, but may have
been only wavering. He for some time bore himself as
the loyal servant of the Rump, going so far as to disman-
tle, in obedience to its command, the street defences of
Presbyterian and now royalist London. Suddenly he
turned round and, amidst the wildest enthusiasm of the
city, declared for a free parliament. To declare for a free
parliament was to declare for a parliament in which,


though Cavaliers could not sit, men elected under their
influence might, in which royalist Presbyterians would
predominate, and which would certainly recall the king, a
general stampede to whom at once set in.
1660 Recalled at once by the Convention Parliament with
every appearance of national enthusiasm the king was.
From Dover to London Charles moved through a living
avenue of jubilation. It was a reaction, not against the
Protectorate of Oliver, or even that of Richard, but against
the military anarchy which had followed ; yet in these
shouts of welcome there was much of genuine attachment
to monarchy. One sign of this was that touching for the
king's evil began again on a large scale. Such was the
concourse of dupes that some were crushed to death. If
any one was healed by the hand of Mrs. Palmer's lover,
the power of working miracles must have been strictly
attached to the office.

There was the army of the Commonwealth still strong
enough, if it chose, to put the veto of its sword on the
Restoration. Would it quietly allow everything for
which it had fought and bled to go by the board? By
long service the soldier had probably been made more pro-
fessional and less political ; he had shown indifference, if
Evelyn speaks the truth, at Cromwell's funeral. Monck,
too, had been weeding out dangerous elements. But an
army, though with a chief irresistible, cannot act without
a chief, and this army now had none. So Cromwell's vete-
rans took their arrears of pay and went back to their
homesteads or workshops, showing themselves thereafter
to have been Ironsides only by their superior industry and
worth. "No other prince in Europe," said Chancellor
Hyde, on the occasion, " would be willing to disband such


an army, an army to which victory is entailed, and which,
humanly speaking, could hardly fail of conquest whither-
soever he should lead it ; an army whose order and disci-
pline, whose sobriety and manners, whose courage and
success hath made it famous over the world." This, from
Hyde's lips, is at least the language of genuine fear.
These men, though they dispersed so peacefully, must
have hung their swords over their hearths, and could
hardly have forgotten Marston, Naseby, and Worcester.
What did they think and say when the corpse of their old
chief was gibbeted at Tyburn, when their old officers
were being hanged and quartered for treason, when vin-
dictive prelacy was persecuting their religion and crowd-
ing the prisons with the preachers on whose lips they had

This was the end of Puritanism, or of so much of it as
was mortal, in England. It could not fail, like other great
moral movements, to leave traces on national character,
but in its distinct and original form it quits the scene.
In England it lay vanquished by the traditional forces,
which, though by the preternatural energy concentrated
in a resolute minority and a powerful chief it had for a
time thrust them aside, closed upon it and overpowered it
in the end. But on the eve of the conflict in England it
had placed itself beyond the chances of war. A company
of peasants persecuted by Laud and seeking an asylum for
their faith and wprship had, after undergoing with heroic
constancy much suffering and discouragement, founded a
little Commonwealth on the other side of the Atlantic.
Afterwards a larger emigration, drawn from a higher class
and led by a landed gentleman, had founded, by the side
of the original colony, one more properly called Puritan,

650 THE UNITED KINGDOM chap, xxiii

the original colony having been really Independent. To
this Sir Henry Vane and other leading spirits of the Puri-
tan party, groaning under the tyranny of Charles and
Laud, had been drawn or turned their thoughts, when the
revolution, breaking out in England, gave them work
enough and hope at home. The founders of a republic on
the bleak and lonely shore of Massachusetts had not to
contend with a superstitious reverence for monarchy, a
deeply rooted aristocracy, or a powerful prelacy ; their
drawback was the religious narrowness contracted in the
English struggle which led them to confine their common-
wealth to a sect, and even presently to become persecutors
in their turn. Though in the end Puritanism was fated
here also to die, the republic lived, not without traces of
the Puritan character, some of which are discernible per-
haps even at the present day. In New England there was
no Restoration. 'There, in the day of Cavalier vengeance,
the hunted regicide found shelter and has left his memory
in the Judge's Cave. The statue of Cromwell, rejected at
Westminster, might, if the Irish vote were not in the way,
be fitly set up at Washington.

End op Volume I






The best form of government is that which doth actuate
and inspire every part and member of a state to the
common good. — Pym.

Two Volumes in One




All rights reserved


Bt the macmillan company.

Set up and clcctrotyped November, 1899. Reprinted February,
One volume edition August, 1907.

NorijjooK T&xtfii

J. S. CuBhing & Co. — Berwick & Smith

Norwood Mast. U.S.A.




Charles II 1-52

James II. — The Revolution and its Results . . 53-99

William III 100-127

Anne 128-153


George I. and George II. — The Ministries op Wal-

pole and Chatham 154-194

George HI 195-312

George IV. and William IV. . . . . . . 313-340





Parliamentary Reform . . .... 341-357

The Fruits of Parliamentary Reform . . . 358-383

The Empire 384-431

INDEX . 433-482


Born 1630; Restored 1660; Died 1685

'PHE poet of Puritanism, at the beginning of the third
book of " Paradise Lost," rejoices in his re-ascent
from the obscure sojourn of the Stygian pool to the
realm's of heavenly light. From a realm comparatively
of light we descend to the Stygian pool in passing from
the Revolution to the Restoration. In the Revolutionary
period, with all its violence, havoc, and suffering, we have
at least been among great men, lofty aspirations, and
heroic actions. In the succeeding period we are in the
midst of all that is the reverse of great, lofty, or heroic.
Such is the nemesis of revolution. Over-tension is fol-
lowed by collapse ; over-excitement by prostration of
spirit ; the wreck of chimerical hopes by loss of faith
in rational effort.

Puritanism, aiming at an unattainable standard, had
denied the multitude pleasure, not only evil pleasure,
such as that of bear-baiting, cock-fighting, and tippling,
but the innocent pleasures of the drama, the may-pole,
the Sunday dance or archery, the Christmas feast of
family love, such pleasure as is a moral necessity of
human nature. The consequences, when the Puritan
yoke was cast off and the recoil ensued, were the man-
ners, the literature, and the drama of the Restoration.

VOL. II — 1 1


Religion, associated with a gloomy repression, could not
fail to become odious ; associated with political power
and pelf, it could not fail to become hypocritical; asso-
ciated with crazy fanaticism and spiritual mania, it could
not fail to incur contempt. The inevitable sequel to a
tyranny of godliness was an outburst of ungodliness ; the
hypocrisy of piety was followed by an ostentation of pro-
fanity ; and vice became not only a propensity but a

The political philosopher of this age, and the guide of
some of its most active spirits, is Hobbes, who had once
been Charles's tutor. Revolution and civil war had bred
in Hobbes the belief that man is the natural enemy of
man, every man by nature desiring to take everything
for himself ; and that nothing can limit desire and keep
the peace in the human herd but absolute government,
that of the great Leviathan, submission to which must be
unbounded. Religion, which has been the cause of all the
confusion and anarchy, must be regulated by the govern-
ment, thought alone being left free. He who made reli-
gion a matter of state, not of conviction, must have been
a practical atheist, whether he was a theoretical atheist or
not. Hobbes's own conversation was profane. He was,
however, a great intelligence as well as a writer of uncom-
mon vigour, and he had a clear conception of a govern-

The spirit of the triumphant party, with its hatred of
high aspiration and austere morality, was embodied, to
the delight of a merry monarch and his court, in the
rhyme of " Hudibras," a clever, coarse, and dirty imita-
tion of "Don Quixote"; while over the grave of Puritan-
ism rose " Paradise Lost."


There could not have been a fitter king of his epoch
than Charles II. He was a thorough man of pleasure,
good-natured, affable, and witty, but careless, selfish, cyn-
ical, and heartless. He openly kept concubines, and
owned a troop of bastards. " Your Majesty," said a flat-
terer to him, " is the father of your people." " Of a good
many of them," was his reply, "I believe I am." When
treating with him was suggested, Cromwell replied, " He
is so damnably debauched that he would ruin us all." No
mean section of British aristocracy owed its origin to
Charles's seraglio. Perhaps he and the other royal
libertines of these times, as it was their doom to marry
ugly princesses for the purpose of begetting heirs, might
be partly excused if they kept pretty mistresses for love.
Charles had to marry a Portuguese princess who, he said,
was like a bat ; yet, if he had been a gentleman, as some
pretend, he would not have forced his mistress on the
society of his wife. He painted his own character as
a king well when, being worried by the inquiries of par-
liament into his scandalous finance, he said that he did
not wish to sit like the grand Turk bowstringing people,
but that he objected to have a set of fellows prying into
his affairs. The Tory Johnson pronounced him a very
good king. In a certain sense he was ; for had a respect-
able bigot and absolutist, attentive to business and loyal
to the Anglican church, been in Charles's place, with the
tide of loyalty running so high, he might have extin-
guished the liberties of England.

At his side Charles had his brother James, Duke of
York, an active and aggressive, while Charles was a lazy,
absolutist ; an avowed, while Charles was a secret, convert
to Catholicism ; a bigot, while Charles, if not at heart a


sceptic, was indifferent about religion. The chief minister
of the crown during the first years of the reign was Hyde,
Charles's political tutor, and made at his coronation Earl
of Clarendon, the author of that picturesque and stately
narrative classed by Hallam among histories to be read
for the delight which they afford us by their literary
beauty without reference to their truth. Clarendon has
veiled the fact that he was a reformer in the first days of
the Long Parliament, when he almost certainly voted for
the attainder of Strafford. He was in the highest degree
respectable, though not incapable of countenancing a plot
for the assassination of a regicide Protector. His ideal
was the rule of a monarch with a loyal and obedient
parliament, as a necessary support of which he was bent
on restoring the Anglican church and hierarchy to the
plenitude of their wealth and privilege. Nor did he err
in thinking that a clergy, richly endowed and dependent
on the state, would, with ritualism and orthodoxy, be the
bulwark of monarchical power. Hyde had a colleague in
Southampton, a thoroughly upright and honourable gen-
tleman, the most moderate of loyalists and a staunch
upholder of indemnity. Ormonde, the Lord Lieutenant
of Ireland, was another man of the same school. All
three were men of a bygone, serious, religious, and, in the
eyes of Restoration rakes and courtiers, antiquated gen-
eration. Southampton's influence was not enough felt.
He seems to have been wanting in force, perhaps from the
weakness of his health.

The time was propitious to absolutist designs. The
monarchy of Louis XIV. was rising like the sun in its
power and magnificence, and was holding forth to all
kings an example of unrestricted rule, awakening within


them a sense of their divinity, and giving new life to the
monarchical as well as to the catholic cause. The Stuart
brothers, having long lived in France, and as refugees
from a republic, were thoroughly imbued with the idea
of French monarchy and prepared to look up to the
French monarch as their cynosure and the patron of their

The Convention Parliament, in restoring the king, had
stipulated for a general indemnity, from which, however,
the regicides were excepted. Ten of these at once, and 1660
three more, caught afterwards in Holland, suffered the
penalties of treason in their most barbarous form, while
a number of others were imprisoned for life or deprived
of civil rights. These men had no doubt taken their
lives in their hands. They had no warrant but their
conviction and their cause. Confident in the goodness of
those warrants, such as were put to death met their fate
like martyrs. " Take notice," said Harrison, the valiant
soldier and visionary of the Fifth Monarchy, " that for
being instrumental in that cause and interest of the Son
of God which hath been pleaded amongst us and which
God hath witnessed to by appeals and wonderful victo-
ries, I am brought to this place to suffer death this day.
And if I had ten thousand lives, I would freely , and
cheerfully lay down them all to witness to this matter.
Again, I do not lay down my life by constraint, but will-
ingly ; for if I had been minded to have run away, I
might have had many opportunities. But being so clear
in the thing, I durst not turn my back nor step a foot
out of the way, by reason I have been in the service of
so glorious and great a God." His last words were char-
acteristic of the Fifth Monarchy man militant : " He


hath covered my head many times in the day of battle.
By God I have leaped over a wall; by God I have
run through a troop ; and by my God I will go through
this death, and He will make it easy to me. Now into
Thy hands, O Lord Jesus, I commit my spirit." So, not
ignobly, passed away the dream of dominion founded on
grace, which had been dreamed by Wycliffe three cen-
turies before.

The gentle Evelyn missed the execution of some of the
regicides, but " met their quarters mangled, and cut and
reeking, as they were brought from the gallows in baskets
on the hurdle." He piously ejaculates, "Oh, the stupen-
dous and inscrutable judgments of God ! " " The judg-
ment of God was upon them, sir," said a Tory fop, speak-
ing of the regicides to Quin, " the judgment of heaven
was upon them ; almost all of them came to violent ends."
" So, my lord," replied Quin, " did almost all the apos-
tles." The king was present at some of the executions.
1661 The bodies of Cromwell, Bradshaw, Ireton, and Pride
were torn out of their graves, dragged to Tyburn, there
hanged, and afterwards buried under the gallows, while
their heads were set on the top of Westminster Hall.
Ladies, we learn from Pepys, enjoyed the sight.

Much of this was the work of Presbyterians who pre-
dominated in the Convention Parliament, and had the
king's assurance of favour to their sect. Prynne, with
a cowl covering his head to hide the stumps of ears
cropped by Stuart tyranny, was disgustingly forward in
the hunt of vengeance. It is difficult to defend the
participation of Manchester and others who, though they
were not regicides, had met the king in battle. Axtell,
who had commanded the guard at the king's execution,


might well say that he was no more guilty than Essex,
than Fairfax, who had remained in command of the
army, than Manchester, Monck, or any soldier who had
fought against the king's person under the orders of the

The Convention Parliament, from which Cavaliers
were still, by the Ordinances, excluded, and in which
Presbyterians predominated, was succeeded by a parlia- 1661
ment full of Cavaliers thirsting for unlimited vengeance.
The country gentlemen, many of whom had once been
Puritans, had, since the reign of the sectaries, passed
almost in a body to the royalist side, and were full not
only of political and religious, but of social exasperation.
This assembly would have made bloody work had not
Clarendon and Southampton, to their honour, strenuously
upheld indemnity. Clarendon tells us that an attempt
was made in vain to find the body of Charles I. This
story, as Hallam says, cannot be true, since it was known
both to the attendants at the funeral and to workmen
where the body had been laid. Perhaps Clarendon did
not wish the body to be found, because its production
and a performance of solemn obsequies might have
excited beyond control the passions of the Cavaliers.
Cromwell's soldiers, though disbanded, were still there.
Vengeance, however, was further satiated by outrages
on the dead. Upwards of twenty persons who had been
buried in Westminster Abbey were dug up and thrown
into St. Mary's churchyard ; among them were the bodies
of Pym, Admiral Blake, his gallant colleague Admiral
Deane, May the poet and historian. Dr. Twisse the
prolocutor of the Westminster Assembly, Cromwell's
mother, his sister, and two other women. To this


1662 period also belongs the judicial murder of Vane. Vane
was not a regicide. Nor was there anything except
superior ability and loftiness of spirit to distinguish his
case from that of his fellows in the Council of State. His
great crime in Cavalier eyes probably was his production
of fatal evidence against Strafford. His execution was
a dastardly murder. His lofty bearing at his trial had
excited the craven fears of Charles, who was personally
responsible for the execution after having pledged his
word that Vane's life should be spared. The judicial
1661 murder of Argyle in Scotland was, if possible, still more
1661 infamous, as was also that of Guthrie, who seems to have
been put to death simply as the most prominent Presby-
terian, to strike terror into his sect. Charles had leaned
on Argyle's support when he set up his banner in Scot-
land as a Covenanting king, and in subsequently accept-
ing the Protectorate . Argyle had done no more than
Monck and many others who enjoyed impunity or were
even taken into favour. Monck had the baseness, when
evidence was wanting against Argyle, to produce private
letters showing that the marquis had been hearty and
zealous on the side of the usurpation of which Monck
himself had been the vicegerent. The marquis showed
in his death the difference between physical and moral
courage. He looked calmly on the axe, though he had
never been able to look upon the sword. How Milton,
the great defender, if not the instigator, of regicide,
escaped is a mystery. He must have had powerful and
adroit friends. Well he might say that he was "with
darkness and with dangers compassed round." The
Solemn League and Covenant, the symbol of Presbyterian
rebellion, was burned by the public hangman.


The Commonwealth perished, but with it by no means
perished all the political fruits of the Revolution. The
engines of the, first Charles's arbitrary government which
the Long Parliament had swept away, the star chamber,
the court of high commission, the council of the north, the
stannaries court, were not restored. The privy council
no more dared to usurp the legislative powers of parlia-
ment. Ship money was not revived. There were to be
no more benevolences or forced loans ; nor were taxes to
be imposed without a vote of the representatives of the
nation. What the government hereafter did in the way
of irregular exaction it had to do by fraud or sufferance,
not by an exertion of the prerogative.

The personal government of Charles I. had been sup-
ported partly by exaction of feudal dues of the crown, its
wardships, and its compositions for knighthood. In the
war with Scotland it had called out its military tenants in
feudal array. All this, suspended by the Revolution, was
now formally abolished. The lands before held in mili-
tary tenure were henceforth to be held in free soccage.
The vexatious court of wards was never to vex more.
The not less vexatious privilege of purveyance was
resigned. Thus the nation finally took leave of feudalism
and the middle age, while the king lost, with his feudal
over-lordship, something of his dignity and power. To
indemnify him for the surrender of his feudal revenues
and perquisites he received an hereditary excise. A land-
lord* parliament thus made the nation pay for a boon
which was confined to a class. The Act which did away
with the service of the lord of the manor to the crown
confirmed the services of the copy-holder to the lord of
the manor. Nearly at the same time the old feudal sys-


tern of subsidies, which had been imperfectly 'and unfairly
levied, was changed for that of regular assessments, the
fiscal system of the Commonwealth. ,

The Triennial Act requiring the crown to call a parlia-
ment not less than once in three years, and providing
remedies against the crown in case of its default, was

1664 repealed as being, what it unquestionably was, an in-
fringement of the constitutional right of the king to call
and dissolve parliaments. But in the repealing Act words
were inserted affirming the principle of triennial parlia-
ments which showed that the House of Commons, how-
ever, in its Cavalier mood, it might be disposed extrava-
gantly to exalt the crown, was not disposed to part
with its own power. In truth, after a few years, when
the factitious haze of Restoration sentiment had been
cleared away, it appeared that, instead of having been
effaced, parliament had really been the winner in the
long struggle, and that in it had vested the sovereign
power. Henceforth, if the crown forms sinister de-
signs, instead of setting the representatives of the nation
at defiance, it will have to resort to packing and corrup-
tion ; nor, pack and corrupt as it may, will it induce par-
liament, however devoid of public principle, by parting
with power, to ruin the market for votes ; opposition is
necessary to extort the bribe. There was, however, no
limit to the duration of parliaments, so that the king

Online LibraryGoldwin SmithThe United kingdom; a political history → online text (page 47 of 84)