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the principle of toleration. As Oliver died and Richard
could not support the burden of his succession, what
alternatives were open to the country? Two forms of
government had been found equally wanting. The old
Monarchy, as administered by Charles I, had been found
wanting, but those experiments, which had taken the name
of Republic, had failed still more completely. While the
Army, possessing, if not right, at least might, showed
itself able to create something, the mutilated Parliament,
possessing neither might nor right, afraid equally of the


people on one side and of the army on the other, had
foiled in '53, and now in '59 failed again.

There appeared to be only two paths by which the
country could make its way back to a stable condition of

One lay through a restoration of the ancient system,
under which the country had been glorious in the last years
of Elizabeth, prosperous and happy in the first years of
James. King and Parliament might now be reconciled,
each being wiser and sadder than A in the time of their
mortal struggle, each having learned that King could not
stand without Parliament nor Parliament without King.

At the same time it could not but strike Charles Stuart
at least that another course was open, a course which to
him personally would be preferable. Cromwell's new
system had in many respects succeeded not less well than
the old system of Elizabeth. It had been discovered that
the country might be governed gloriously without the help
of its ancient constitution. To learn the dead enchanter's
spell might be difficult, but if occasion should serve, or if
the other plan should fail, or threaten to fail, it was always
worth while to remember how marvellous had been its
operation, and it could not be forgotten that the most
potent words in that spell had been ' Religious Toleration '
and ' Standing Army.' We grasp perhaps the clue to the
policy of the later Stuarts when we remark that they had
always before their minds the splendid success of Cromwell.
The Monarch of the Restoration would naturally desire to
succeed to the mighty power of the Protector rather than
to the feebleness of Charles I, or if he could not actually
take over the position of Cromwell he would desire at least
to engraft the Protectorate on the ancient Monarchy. And
indeed it is the most obvious characteristic of the policy of


Charles II and James II that they try to appropriate to
the Monarchy the advantages to be derived from religious
toleration and from a standing army.

But while they have two rival examples for imitation,
their father and the Protector, the influences and circum-
stances of their exile contribute more perhaps than any
imitation to shape their policy. They have lived for years
in dependence on foreign courts, especially the court of
France. To the French court they are bound not merely
by obligation but by family connexion and by the power-
ful influence of their mother. From the beginning she
had observed English politics with the eyes of a Catholic
and a daughter of Henry IV. She had seen her brother
and her nephew establish absolute monarchy in conflict
with turbulent factions and with Parliaments. Of this
absolute monarchy the foundation had been laid by her
father when he made his great recantation. Her own
Catholic feeling was intensely strong. By her counsels
and by their own observation of the fall of the Fronde
Charles and James would be led to think of establishing
rather an absolute and military than a parliamentary
monarchy in England. At the same time they formed
the habit of depending on the French court for money.
And lastly they received a strong bias towards Catholicism.

There was one point of resemblance between Henry IV
and Cromwell religious toleration for Henry IV was the
author of the Edict of Nantes. It was natural therefore
that the restored Stuarts, studying Cromwell on the one
side and the Bourbon Monarchy on the other, should form
a vague scheme of establishing in England a monarchy
similar to that of Louis XIV by means of religious
toleration. Such is the dream which floats before the
mind both of Charles II and James IL


In foreign, even more than in domestic, policy the
Monarchy of the Restoration must have been attracted
by the example of Cromwell. He had put Great Britain
in the very front rank of states, whereas under Charles I
the English Government had been held in slight regard
alike by Habsburg and the Bourbon. When on Cromwell's
death Charles began to look forward to restoration he ex-
pected to take his seat not on his father's throne but on
the first throne in Europe. But the prospect was at the
moment as embarrassing as it was attractive. Cromwell's
foreign policy had been wholly novel, and it had forced
Charles Stuart into a position which was strange, false, and
most perplexing. His family connexions attached him to
France ; a French alliance and a French marriage summed
up the foreign policy to which both his mother and himself
would have been naturally inclined. But Cromwell, re-
versing the foreign relations of the Commonwealth, had, as
it were, taken violent possession of France. Accordingly at
the moment of Cromwell's death Charles Stuart found him-
self on the side of Spain, residing in Spanish territory and
sending his brothers and his followers into the field against
the armies of the French king, his cousin Louis XIV.

From such a position it would require some agility to
vault into the saddle which Cromwell now vacated, to take
up Cromwell's French alliance and his war of conquest
against Spain. Charles could indeed without much diffi-
culty disentangle himself from that extremely close con-
nexion with the Spanish cause into which he had latterly
been driven ; and so we see him in April, 1660, taking a
somewhat hurried flight from Brussels, that is from the
dominions of Philip IV, and establishing himself at Breda,
from which Dutch town he issued the Declaration which
was preliminary to his restoration. But altogether to


change sides, to pass over to France and to become an
enemy to Spain this was a doubtful and difficult policy.
It was indeed agreeable to his own personal inclination so
far as he was a Frenchman, nor could he think of inaugu-
rating his reign by giving back Jamaica and Dunkirk to
the Spaniard. At the same time war with Spain was un-
popular in the commercial world of England, and Cromwell's
policy as a whole was too essentially Protestant to suit a
prince who had such close relations with Catholicism.

All these thoughts might have passed through the
mind of Charles at the moment of receiving the news of
Cromwell's death. In a year and a half from that time his
position was defined by the particular manner in which his
Restoration was accomplished. That he would be restored
in some way had appeared extremely probable from the
moment of the fall of the rival dynasty in the person of
Richard. But between April, 1659, and May, 1660, it was
decided by what parties and in what way he should be
restored, a question upon which depended the position he
would hold after his restoration.

Three modes of restoration, wholly distinct, were con-
ceivable, besides various combinations of these three

1. He might step at once into the place of Richard
Cromwell, and so convert the Protectorate, which in Oliver's
time had grown visibly more and more like a Monarchy,
once for all into a Monarchy.

2. As the fall of Richard and the confusion which
followed betrayed the failure of the whole revolutionary
movement, Charles might return as a conqueror at the
head of a foreign army, welcomed and supported by the
whole royalist party of England, which would now force its
way back to political power.


3. The Restoration might be accomplished wholly
without the aid either of the party of the Protectorate
or of the royalist party and of foreign Powers. It might
be the work of that parliamentary party which had con-
ducted the war with Charles I, intending only to reduce,
not at all to destroy, the power of the Monarchy, and which
at the moment when it seemed about to complete its work
had been overwhelmed by the military insurrection.

By the first of these modes of Restoration Charles II
would be a direct successor of Oliver, supplying the want
of Oliver's personal genius by the legitimacy and splendour
of the ancient Monarchy.

By the second he would take the place of his father, as
his father would have been if immediately after the arrival
of the Queen in 1644 he had won a great victory over the
armies of the Parliament and so had crushed the rebellion.

By the third he would take the place of his father as
his father would have been if the Treaty of Newport
had been carried to a successful conclusion, with this ex-
ception that, while he would have made great concessions
to the Parliament, he would at the same time have taken
his seat on the throne not as a defeated but rather as
a victorious Monarch.

In personal character Charles resembles his grandfather
Henry IV, deducting the heroism and the inexhaustible
energy. He resembles him particularly in the easy cheer-
ful indifference to principle which had enabled Henry to
be at one time leader of the Huguenots and at another to
put himself at the head of the Catholic revival, while he
shamed both Churches equally by his unbounded profligacy.
In like manner Charles, son of the martyr of Anglicanism,
had at one time taken the Covenant, and later on meditated
putting himself at the head of the Catholic party.


It is not therefore impossible to conceive him succeeding
Cromwell as the head of the military party, as we know
that there had been at one time a serious negociation
between this party and Charles I. When in the summer
of 1659 the antagonism between Parliament and Army
once more showed itself, the question rose again whether
the Military State might not be saved at the last moment
by the aid of the ancient Monarchy. In that case Charles
would have appeared as Cromwell's successor, master of a
great army, inheritor of the leadership of the Protestant
party in Europe, and probably no religious or moral scruples
would have caused him to hesitate. It seems possible that
Lambert brooded over this idea. But it was a chimera, as
Cromwell himself had found it to be a chimera in 1647.
Even if Charles and Lambert could have come to terms,
the party behind Lambert, the army, and the party behind
Charles, the royalists, the Catholics and the followers of
the Queen, could never have consented to so unnatural a

That it was impossible was a most momentous fact, for
it caused the fall of the Military State. If the Army
could not make the Restoration in its own interest, nothing
remained but that the Army should be disbanded, and
England, deprived of her redoubted army, must resign
at once her position at the head of the states of Europe.

While Lambert perhaps meditated the first mode, the
second mode of Restoration, that by a rising of the Royalists
aided by foreign troops, was rashly attempted in August,
1659. In Surrey and Sussex, in Sherwood Forest, in
Lancashire and Cheshire, the royalists rose. It is im-
portant to remark how much at this moment they depended
upon French aid. Turenne was prepared to carry the Duke
of York over to England and to furnish him with troops


and artillery. We see here the first outline of a policy to
which the House of Stuart was henceforth to accustom
itself more and more. This same Duke of York, how
often in later life, when he was known as James II, would
he crave help from Louis XIV ! And, long after both
Charles II and James II and Louis XIV himself had
disappeared, Stuart Pretenders were to lean on France.
As Turenne meditates an invasion of England in 1659,
Saxe more than eighty years later designs to bring over
from the Low Countries Charles Edward, the grandson of
James II.

We see from Mazarin's letters to Turenne how he
regarded English affairs at this conjuncture. On Sep-
tember 8th he writes, 'As to the affairs of England I
am in some anxiety about the possible consequences of
the resolution you have thought it right to take for the
reasons you give, since... prudence compels us always
equally to distrust those who have ever been considered
irreconcileable enemies of France (he means here the Span-
iards)...^ is for this reason that I have used the utmost
circumspection in the answers I have been forced to give
both to the Queen of England and to Mr Germain ( Jermyn),
Montague, and others who keep writing to beg me to induce
the King to aid the King of England at this crisis. It
seems to me that even if His Majesty should be convinced,
as I am convinced, that a king in England would be much
better than a republic, and that for other reasons we ought
to concern ourselves about the justice of the said king's
cause, still before committing ourselves we ought to take
good care and such precautions that at least we might be
assured that the King of England will be obliged to us and
will be a friend to us, and especially we ought to allow
time, so that there may be nothing to arrange with respect
D. IL 8


to the conclusion of the peace between the two crowns 1
(France and Spain) '.

Once more special reasons, we see, prevented France
from striking in at a most critical moment of English
politics. All along Mazarin had favoured Monarchy in
England; nevertheless he had been forced to allow the
Commonwealth to come into existence, and latterly he had
been led to form a close alliance with it. Now that it seems
about to fall, he is hampered by the fact that Charles Stuart
has become an enemy of France, and is actually living in
Spanish territory as an ally of Spain. Before we can help
to restore the King, he says, ' we must be sure that he will
be a friend to us/ Moreover, as it chances, his hands are
full. He is winding up the war of twenty-five years with
Spain which he inherited from Richelieu. He is making
the Treaty of the Pyrenees. An age of peace is dawning ;
armies are to be disbanded ; it is no time for new enter-
prises. Least of all can any plan be entertained which
might endanger or retard the pacification.

This pacification began just after the fall of Richard
Cromwell by the armistice which was signed on May
8th, 1659. A preliminary treaty was signed on June 4th.
Lastly on November 7th the Peace of the Pyrenees was
signed in the Isle of Pheasants.

Thus the negociation occupied the very months when
the affairs of England were in the utmost confusion. One
consequence of this was that England, which had had no
inconsiderable share in the decisive campaign of the war,
had no share in the treaty of peace, and was barely men-
tioned in the armistice. But another consequence was
that Mazarin abstained from intervention in England.
He spoke indeed warmly of the necessity of putting down
1 ChSruel op. cit. in, 290.


the Republic (tin exemplo tan escandaloso contra las monar-
quias) ; he received indeed most eager solicitations from
Charles Stuart, who appears to have offered to himself
personally, and to his heirs in perpetuity, the government
of Ireland 1 . At the moment when the treaty was about
to be signed, and when the French and Spanish Govern-
ments had begun to regard each other as friends, Charles
Stuart himself arrived at Fuentarabia, had an interview
with Don Louis de Haro, and contrived that Ormond should
have an interview with Mazarin. He asked only 4000 in-
fantry and 1500 cavalry, with which he hoped to suppress
a scandal equally distasteful to the King of Spain and
the King of France, viz. the English Republic. But both
Ministers turned a deaf ear, and Mazarin contented himself
with renouncing by a secret article of the treaty his treaties
of 1657 and 1658 with Cromwell.

Thus no foreign aid could be obtained for the royalist
insurrection, and the insurrection itself, which had been
intended to be universal, and which had broken out in
Cheshire under Sir G. Booth, was put down by Lambert
after a short engagement at Winnington Bridge.

Restoration in the second mode was not to take place.
The third mode still remained to be tried.

A deadlock was produced in the latter months of 1659
by the opposition of the Military Power and the Parliament.
The former had force but no legitimacy, the latter a certain
shadow only a shadow of legitimacy, but no force.
Cromwell had half succeeded in removing this opposition ;
but it had now returned and become irreconcileable. A sort
of equilibrium had set in which made government impos-
sible. But by the failure of the royalist insurrection and

1 Valfrey, Hugues de Lionne, p. 312.



the inaction of foreign Powers the Commonwealth still
retained one power, that of recalling Charles Stuart volun-
tarily, and, as it were, in its own way. Charles did not
return by any kind of force nor by the action of his own
adherents. The royalist party remained spectators of the
Restoration. It was achieved by a combination between
two sections of the party hitherto opposed to the King,
the presbyterian section of the parliamentary party and the
section headed by Monk of the military party. Until the
last moment the King was not named, and, strangely
enough, the euphemistic term, adopted by those who
wished to avoid the word ' King,' was ' Parliament '; men
called for ' a free Parliament/

On the other hand the enemy vanquished at the
Restoration was that political Army which had invaded
English politics at Pride's Purge. The grand principle
asserted by Monk in the bosom of the army itself was this,
that the army must be subject to the civil powder. This
earned with it the whole system of legitimacy, including
the Monarchy.

But the Army could not thus be vanquished without
being also disbanded. If Military Government were to
cease the Military State itself must fall.

Thus at the very moment when the military state was
acquiring an unrivalled organisation in France, for Tu-
renne was made Marshal-General about this time, and
about this time the whole programme of Louis XIVs age
was arranged, in England on the other hand the Military
State was dissolved. Charles II, when he compared him-
self with his cousin at Paris, must have bitterly regretted
that he was condemned to a Monarchy without an army,
all the more because the army had been there, and he had
himself seen it melt away.


When we consider the Restored Monarchy with respect
to foreign policy, we make this remark first,

That England ceases again to be a Military State. She
is indeed in the full tide of victory. She has received a
mighty impulse towards colonial expansion. And she will
remain a great and enterprising naval Power. But in the
process of forming a great army, through which she might
have given the law to Europe, she has been suddenly
arrested. A dread and dislike of standing armies are
henceforth deeply implanted in the English mind.

But we remark also,

That the Restored Monarchy is singularly free from
foreign entanglements. A King, who in his exile had been
dependent on the subsidies of foreign courts, is now un-
expectedly restored without foreign aid. No foreign Power
had any share in the English Restoration. 'This/ says
Ranke, ' is one of the most important of all negative events,
if such an expression may be used.' For the moment it
was open to Charles II, especially as he was still unmarried,
to take his own course in the European politics of the day.

As the domestic aspect of the Restoration concerns us
here but indirectly, we note as briefly as possible the further
developement which took place necessarily as soon as the
Monarchy had been reestablished, and modified even its
foreign policy. By the help of the King the Parliament,
as we have seen, had quelled and at last dissolved the
revolutionary army. But it could not recall the King
without recalling the royalist party. Charles would not
this time be a Covenanting king. The Restoration, though
not made by the royalists, necessarily fell into their hands,
nor could the Presbyterians, who had made it, find in it
even an asylum. Intended as a reaction against the mili-
tary movement of 1648, it developed into a reaction against


the movement of 1642. The Act of Uniformity was
passed, the Anglican Church issued victoriously from its
long struggle, and the party of Falkland, led by Chancellor
Clarendon, obtained control of English policy.

This change, succeeding the fall of the army, destroyed
the Protestant State along with the Military State. All
sympathy with foreign Protestant Churches vanished.
England returned to that middle path in religion to which
she had first grown accustomed under Elizabeth. While
the instrument of Cromwell's European policy, the army,
disappeared, his principle, his Panevangelicalism, disap-
peared too.

It was involved in all this that the expediency of re-
taining Dunkirk was called in question.

Meanwhile, monarchy being restored, royal marriage
recovered the momentous importance that belonged to it
in the monarchic system. Charles Stuart entered London
on his thirtieth birthday. His marriage was henceforth
one of the greatest political questions of the day.

The occurrences which mark the transition of British
Policy from the age of Cromwell to the second Stuart
period are these two, the marriage of Charles II to
Catharine of Braganca and the sale of Dunkirk to the
King of France.

Considered together they mark, first, the fall of the
Military State together with the maintenance of the
Naval and Colonial State (for Dunkirk represents Crom-
well's continental plans, and this is abandoned, while the
retention of Jamaica and the alliance with Portugal
indicate the adoption of Cromwell's maritime policy);
secondly, an ominous revival of the dynastic system. Once
more after long disuse the method is revived of attaching
the foreign interests of England, her commercial communi-


cations in the Mediterranean and the Indian Ocean, her
relations with foreign Powers, to the marriages of the
royal family.

This reaction after Cromwell reminds us of the reaction,
which was considered above, after Elizabeth, the un-
married, childless, kinless Elizabeth. We have recognised
however that the dynastic system, cautiously handled,
might do little harm, and that in a few cases it had been
known to produce splendid results ; for had it not brought
together Aragon and Castille, England and Scotland?
The Braganca marriage might seem to afford a favourable
specimen of the system; it remained for time to decide
whether the second reaction would on the whole be
harmless or even beneficial, or whether it would be
mischievous, as the first had been, or even far more

We obtain a sort of general formula for the period
before us when we remark (1) that the later Stuarts were
exposed by their dynastic position to a peculiar danger,
thft of being absorbed and lost in a French alliance,
unnational and catholicising; (2) that at the outset the
danger was both manifest and easily avoidable, the Resto-
ration having been accomplished without French aid.
Thus we distinguish two phases in the period. At first
the Stuart policy is on the whole independent, at parti-
cular moments energetically independent, of France, though
from the outset France exerts a strong attractive power.
Then comes the phase of dependence on France, during
which again opposite tendencies occasionally prevail. This
phase however grows at last so decided that the Stuart
king himself ends by retiring to France, where he passes
his latter days as a pensionary of Louis XIV. The
transition from one phase to the other is pretty clearly
marked by the Treaty of Dover.


In delineating these phases we may keep almost
exclusively in view the relations of England and France.

As the Stuarts ended in the dependent alliance upon
France against the nation, it is notable that they began
with hostility to France with the nation. Cromwell's
French Alliance had not been openly brought to an
end, and Charles was fresh from fighting on the side of
Spain against France, when the Restoration took place.

Online LibraryJohn Robert SeeleyThe growth of British policy → online text (page 41 of 62)