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Ecclesiastical history of England : from the opening of the long parliament to the death of Oliver Cromwell (Volume 3) online

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' Banvick's Life, 270, 520.


OHAKLES, on his way to England, had reason for
anxious care and steady forethought. Never had
an Enghsh Prince come to the throne under such cir-
cumstances. A civil war was just over — the swelling of
the storm had hardly ceased ; a party adverse to that
which the King regarded as his own remained still in
power ; many were expecting at his hand favour for
recent services, notwithstanding former offences ; Pres-
byterians looked at least for com.prehension within the
Establishment. Independents, Baptists, Quakers, asked
for toleration, and Koman Catholics, who had been friends
to the beheaded father and the exiled son, thought them-
selves entitled to some measure of religious liberty. The
Episcopal Church claimed the new Mod arch as her own;
her prelates and ministers were waiting to welcome him
— to open in the parish churches once more the beautiful
old Prayer Book, with its litanies and collects for the
King and Royal family. They sought exclusive re-
estabhshment ; they would cast out all Presbyterian
intruders — they would tolerate no Sectaries. Here were
perplexing circumstances to be encountered. The Breda
Declaration had bound Charles to be considerate in deal-
ing with rehgious matters, to show respect for tender
consciences. Comprehension, toleration — he stood pledged
to promote. But how were the problems to be solved ?

Chap. IV.] THE KING's RETURN. 73

He was a Constitutional King. He was to rule through
Parliaments. Should bigotry arise and carry all before
it in the Commons' House, as elsewhere, what was he to
do ? Should his Ministers differ from him, how then ?
Such possibilities gazed at by a thoughtful man might
well have made him anxious, if not alarmed. Who would
not sympathize with any conscientious prince under such
circumstances ? Charles possessed certain intellectual and
social qualities which fitted him for the task he had now
to perform ; for he had common sense — was keen and
clever, with quick insight into character, made still more
so by large acquaintance with human nature, — he knew
how to put unpleasant things in a pleasant way, — could
command considerable powers of persuasion when he liked,
and was courteous, affable, and of winning manners.
But he was not thoughtful — not conscientious; he lacked
the two things which alone could enable him to turn his
abilities and experience to good account. The crown
was to him a toy; the throne a chair of pleasure, at
best, of pompous state. The heedless, folly-loving prince
takes himself quite out of the range of our sympathies,
and leaves us to condemn the breach of his plighted
faith, and all the intolerance incident to his return. A
useless controversy was once carried on as to whether he
was really a Papist at the time of the Kestoration. It
is idle to dispute respecting the theological opinions of a
man so utterly destitute of religious feeling and thought-
fulness. That he was not a Protestant at the time —
meaning by the word a person attached to the Reformed
faith — is plain enough from what is said by those who
knew him best. Probably Buckingham, who calls him a
Deist, is nearest the truth.^ But that he had sympathies

' Buckingham's ^Vorks, ii. 55. See Harris's Lives, v. 52, et seq., for
evidence as to his being a Papist.


with the Koman Cathohc party, and considered their
Church as the most convenient for an easy-hying gen-
tleman hke himself, there can be no doubt. Had death
stared him in the face just after his return, he would
probably have sought refuge in confession and priestly
absolution, as he did twenty- five years later. Yet he
professed to be a Protestant by solemn kingly acts, and
in other ways when he thought it politic, Charles was a
dissembler.^ He had, with all his occasional rollicking
frankness, an almost equal mastery over his conversation
and his countenance. His face, encompassed by flowing
black locks, illuminated by lustrous eyes, was said to be
as little a blab as most men's : it might tell tales to a
good physiognomist, but it was no prattler to people in
general. If he had a wish to conceal his purpose, he
could do it effectually. Lord Halifax apologized for him
by saying, that if he dissembled it is to be remembered
"that dissimulation is a jewel of the crown," and that
*'it is very hard for a man not to do sometimes too much

of that which he concludeth necessary for him to prac-
tise. "2

Monk proceeded to Dover May the 22nd.^ Numbers
of the nobility and gentry wished to follow him, and he
arranged that they should march in companies, in dif-

' See what Hanis lias collected to be put to the rack for discovery,

on this subject, v. 1 3 ei seq. It is said the King escaped a plot of

* Character of Charles IT., ^(^. some Frenchmen at the Hague to

' "23rd. General Monk marched pistol the Iving in his coach, but

from London, with a gallant train discovered by one who was in pre-

of attendants to meet the King. It sence once hearing them, and they

is said that several fanatics inter- suspecting him, shot him as dead,

mingled themselves with the troops, but recovering to speak, discovered

but were discovered, whereof three their intentions. From all such or

killed, and some hurt, and three any other, God ever preserve and

taken, who do confess the design protect liis pious Majesty!" — Wor-

was to pistol the King. 24th, One cester MS.

Chap. IV.] THE king's RETURN. 75

ferently-colourcd uniforms, under certain noblemen, who
were to act as captains of these loyal bands. They had
not fought any of Monk's battles ; they came in now to
swell Monk's triumph. As the General was standing at a
window in the City of Canterbury, while they marched by
gaily with green scarfs and feathers, a friend observed :
"You had none of these at Coldstream, Ceneral ; but
grasshoppers and butterflies never come abroad in frosty
weather, and, at the best, never abound in Scotland."

On Friday, the 25th of May, at one o'clock, Charles
landed at Dover ; and, notwithstanding his levity, his
heart surely must have been touched as the Castle guns
gave him welcome; and another and far more gladdening
demonstration proceeded from the ten thousands of his
subjects, who lined the pebbly beach, or looked down
from the old chalk cliffs, waving their broad-brimmed
and feathered hats, and giving the home-bound exile
right hearty cheers such as only Englishmen can give.
General Monk, with all the nobility and gentry present,
prostrated themselves before the Prince as he stepped
ashore, with his plumed beaver in his hand ; and some
rushed forward to kiss the hem of his garment, whilst
he gracefully raised from his Imees, and embraced the
soldier, who whatever might be his character in other
respects, had certainly proved the star of his master's
fortune. A canopy was ready for His Majesty, as he
walked to the town ; and the Mayor and Aldermen made
obeisance as their chaplain placed in the Royal hands a
gold-clasped Bible. No Bishop was present.

A State coach stood in waiting, in which the King
seated himself, the Duke of York by his side> and oppo-
site, the Duke of Gloucester; General Monk and the
Duke of Buckingham occupying the boot. Thus they
travelled two miles out of Dover, when they mounted


horse, and so proceeded the rest of the way to Canter-
bury, — where speeches were made, and a gold tankard was
presented to the King ; on the followmg day several
persons were knighted by him, and Monk, the real hero
of the hour, was invested with the Order of the Garter.
All went to the Cathedral on Sunday, when the Liturgy
was used ; and on Monday they proceeded to Rochester,
where a basin and ewer, silver-gilt, were loyally given,
and graciously accepted. Between four and five o'clock
on Tuesday morning, they started again, "the militia
forces of Kent lining the ways, and maidens strewing
herbs and flowers, and the several towns hanging out
white sheets." At Dartford, certain regiments of cavahy
presented an address, and at Blackheath, the old Army
appeared drawn up to meet the very Monarch against
whom so many of them had been fighting. The vexation
felt at this termination of the great change inaugurated
by the Civil Wars must have touched many a Republican
to the quick ; and at the moment of their chagrin rap-
turous feelings filled many a noble Royalist, like those
which inspired the Nimc dimittas of Sir Henry Lee, so
touchingly described on the last page of Scott's Wood-

At St. George's-in-the-Field the Corporation of London
waited in a tent to receive their Sovereign, where the
Lord Mayor presented the City sword, and then the pro-
cession slowly moving from Southwark, passed through
the City Gates, crossed the pent-up alley of London
Bridge, and marched on through Cheapside, Fleet-street,
and the Strand, the houses all the way adorned with
tapestry ; — the train bands lining the streets on one side,
and the livery companies on the other. A troop of 300
men, in cloth of silver doublets, led the van ; then came
1 200 in velvet coats, with footmen in pui-ple ; followed

Chap. IV.J THE king's RETURN. 77

by another troop in buff and silver, and rich green scarfs ;
then 150 in blue and silver, with six trumpeters and
seven footmen in sea-green and silver ; then a troop of
220, with 30 footmen in grey and silver; then other
troops in like splendour. The Sheriff's men in red cloaks,
to the number of fourscore, with half-pikes — and hundreds
of the companies on horseback in black velvet with golden
chains followed in due order. Preceded by kettle-drums
and trumpets, came twelve London ministers, their
Genevan gowns and bands looking "sad" amidst the
glaring colours. The Life Gruards followed : more trum-
peters appeared in satin doublets ; and next, the City
Marshal, attended by footmen in French green trimmed
with white and crimson. The City Waits succeeded, and
and next the Sheriffs and the Aldermen, with their foot-
men in scarlet, and with heralds. The Lord Mayor
carried the Sword of State, and close by him rode Monk
and the Duke of Buckingham. Then appeared the King,
accompanied by his brothers York and Gloucester : the
Royal eyes, black and keen, looking out with gracious
smiles from a sallow face on the gathered thousands,
who, with awe and delight, returned the gaze. Troops,
with white flags, brought up the rear; and thus the
gaudy and imposing pageant filed under the very window,
where fourteen years before had stood the scaffold of
Charles U

As soon as Charles IL had taken his seat on the
throne addresses flowed in from all quarters — from the
nobility, the gentry, and the militia of counties ; from
the Corporations and inhabitants of towns, and from
divers religious bodies. The time had not yet come for
Episcopalians to address His Majesty. Presbyterianism,

' Kennet, 160-164.


recognized by the Conyeution as the estabhshed religion,
had not been dethroned from its supremacy ; and it was
not quite safe at present for its great rival ecclesiastical
power prominently to show itself. Their silence just then
is very significant. The Koman Catholics, many of
whom had sacrificed much for the sake of the Stuart
family, assured the King of their attachment; and dis-
tinctly repudiated the doctrine, that the Pope can lay any
commands upon English Catholic subjects in civil and
temporal matters; also the "damnable and most un-
christian position," — these are the veiy words — "that
kings or absolute princes, of what belief soever, who are
excommunicated by the Pope may be deposed, killed, or
murthered by their subjects."^ Presbyterian ministers ex-
pressed the warmest loyalty. " Such," they said, "of late
days, have been the wonderful appearances of God towards
both your Royal self and the people, that (when we feared
our quarrels should be entailed and bound over to pos-
terity) we hope they all are miraculously taken up in
your Majesty's restoration to your Crown and imperial
dignity. It cannot be denied, but that Providence was
eminently exalted in the work of your protection for
many years ; but it seems to avail to the efficacy of that
grace, which hath prevented you from putting forth your
hands unto iniquity, and sinful compliances with the
enemies of the Protestant, and in disposing of the hearts
of your subjects to receive you with loyalty and affection."
With this expression of loyalty is combined the utterance
of hope. "We beseech you not to give Him less than
He requires by w^ay of gratitude, of which we are the
more confident, when we consider your Majesty's gracious
letters to both Houses of Parliament, with the enclosed

' Butler's Hist. Memorials of the Catholics, iii. 21

Ohap IV.] THE king's RETURN. 79

Declaration, wherein we see yonr zeal for the Protestant
religion, with a pitiful heart toward tender consciences,
wherein we have assurance that the hail of your dis-
pleasure shall not fall on any who have (upon the word
of Moses) betaken themselves to yourself as a sanctuary.
And now, most gracious Sovereign, what remains for us
to do ? We are not fit to advise you, but give us leave to
be your remembrancers before the Lord." They conclude
with devout aspirations for His Majesty's spiritual welfare :
" May you never see the handwriting on the wall that
your kingdom is divided, but let this be your motto —
' Not by power, not by might, but by the Spirit.' May joii
rejoice in this, that you have better chariots and horse-
men (in the many of your subjects who are faithful, chosen,
and true) than other princes can boast of. And still,
may your tenderness be found, that of a nursing father
towards the young and weak of the flock that cannot
pace it with their elder brethren, and yet are God's
anointed, nay, God's jewels, the apple of His eye. His
children, they for whom Christ died, and is now an
Intercessor. "1

There was also an address from the Independent
ministers of London and Westminster, in which they
referred to the Breda Declaration, indicating how greatly
it sustained their hopes. They did not, they said, wish
for liberty longer than they deserved it. " And it is
our desire," they added, " no longer to sit under the
shadow, and to taste the fruit of this your Majesty's
royal favour, than we approve ourselves followers of
peace with all men, seeking the peace of these king-
doms united under your Majesty's Government, and

■ From Godly ministers in Exeter and Devonshire. — State Papers, Dom.
Charles II., 1660, vol. i. 28.


abidmo- in oiir loyalty to your royal person and submis-
sion to your laws."^

An address, sent by the ministers of Lancashire at a
later period, shows their desire to wipe out the stigma of
disloyalty : —

" Whereas we, or some of us, have been injuriously
misrepresented to your Majesty, or some eminent persons
about you, and have also been prejudiced and molested,
as if we denied your Supremacy, or were disaffected to
your Government (which hindered this our application to
your Majesty, although prepared, and which otherwise
had been much earlier, even wath the first), we do, in all
humility, and with great earnestness, profess before God
and man, that we detest and abhor the very thoughts of
such unworthy principles, behaviour, and expression,
having always, according to occasion, expressed and de-
clared the contrary. "2

In this address we notice a recognition of the Royal
Supremacy. Not only the civil, but, in some sense, the
ecclesiastical Supremacy of the Crown must, under the
circumstances, have been meant. Ecclesiastical Su-
premacy would be claimed and exercised by the restored
sovereign as a matter of course. No new Act of Parlia-
ment was passed reconferring it on the Crown, and de-

• (Sigaed) Philip Nye William Hook Matthew Barker

Joseph Caryl Thomas Brookes Edward Pearce

Samuel Slater George Cokayn John Rowe

Richard Kentish Jo. Loder Robert Bragg

George Griffiths Thomas Malony Jo. Baker
Matt. Mede The. Walley Seth Wood

John Hodges William Greenehill

— State Papers, Dom. Charles II., vol i. No. 36.
' (Signed) John Angier, Nathaniel Heywood, Henry Newcome, Nathaniel

Baxter, and many others. Peter Aspinwall signs himself '• minister of

Formby, where now more people go openly to Mass than to our ChurCh."

State Papers xxiv., 29.

Chap. IV.] THE king's RETURN. 81

fining the limits.^ Henry VIII. had been declared
" Ecclesice Anglicance ct HiherniccE Supremiim Caput."
That title had been continued during the reign of Edward
VI., but was repealed in the reign of Queen Mary. In
the first year of Queen Elizabeth, Supremacy was restored
to the Crown, the Queen being styled, not " Supreme
Head of the Church," but " Supreme Governor, as well
in all spiritual and ecclesiastical causes as in others."
Henry's and Edward's title had never been resumed, but
that of Elizabeth, having belonged to the first two
monarchs of the Stuart line, descended to Charles 11.^
Charles II., then, could not, in legal phrase, be " Head
of the Church ;" if he happened to be so designated, it
would be in adulation or in ignorance. But he inherited
the ecclesiastical powers possessed by Queen Elizabeth,
except in relation to the High Commission Court, which
had been abolished by Act of Parliament in the reign of
his father. The canons — as well as Acts of Parliament
unrepealed before the Civil Wars— were regarded by
Churchmen as remaining in force, and the second canon
required an oath to the effect that " the King's Majesty
hath the same authority in causes ecclesiastical that the
Godly kings had amongst the Jews, and Christian em-
perors of the primitive Church" — whatever might be meant
by that vague appeal to ancient and obscure precedents.

■ A new Act, touching the Royal Supremacy of the Crown by i Eliza-
Supremacy, was passed in the beth c. i., ss. 16-23, — D'njest of
Scotch ParUament, January, 1661 Statutes]i.,\'i%T. The doctrine of the
(See Mutiny's Collection of the Royal Supremacy arose as a counter-
Acts), but that does not come mthin action of the doctrine of Papal Su-
the Limits of our histor}'. premacy ; and nothing in its way

* Stat. 26 Henry VIII. c. i., re- can be more dignified and noble than

pealed i and 2 Philip and Mary, c. the preface to the Statute 24 Henry

viii., ss. 12-20. That Act was re- VIII., c. 12. The conflict between

pealed by i Elizabeth c. i., ss. i, 2. Papal Supremacy and national Eng-

Except in certain particulars, pro- lish Independence began long be-

vision is made for the ecclesiastical fore the Reformation,


The Supremacy of the Crown, however, as asserted by
AngHcan lawyers, would be one thing ; the Supremacy,
as acknowledged by Puritans, especially any Noncon-
formist portion of them, would be quite another. The
authority of the temporal ruler over the temporalities of
the Church, all parties probably would be prepared to
allow ; those of them who approved of a State Church
would not object to his being invested with ecclesiastical
patronage ; Presbyterians, who wished for the establish-
ment of perfect parochial discipline by the magistrate's
aid, could not consistently object to some kind of Royal
Supremacy in reference to that matter ; but High Church
Puritans, if I may so term persons holding exalted ideas
of the spiritual, as distinguished from the temporal
powers, like High Church Anglicans, would entertain a
reduced and modified conception of the legitimate inter-
ference of the Crown with Christ's Church ; whilst Non-
conformists, who embraced the voluntary principle, would
(even if from loyal courtesy they conceded the title of
Supreme Governor in causes ecclesiastical) extract from
it almost all which constituted its signification in the
eyes of others.

It should fui-ther be borne in mind, not only here, but
throughout this division of our narrative, indeed onward
to the passing of the Act of Uniformity, — that ecclesias-
tical affairs were in a transition state, that scarcely any-
thing could be regarded as perfectly settled. The High
Church party took it for granted, that with the return of
the King came the return of the episcopal constitution,
with its laws, ceremonies, and usages. They assumed
that at once, without any new Parliamentary statute,
the stream of affairs would flow back into the old channel
— that all which had been done by the Long Parliament,
without the sanction of the Crown, ought to be treated as


if it had never been clone at all. The opposite party
also had law on their side ; for some valid Acts, affecting
the Establishment, remained unrepealed — for example,
the Act for divesting Bishops of their temporal powers.
Under existing circumstances, much might be said on
behalf of other portions of recent legislation, even where
the Royal assent had not been obtained. And very few
people now will deny that the clergy holding preferment
during the Commonwealth had reason and common sense
in their favour when they maintained — that, after nearly
twenty years of change, after a revolution carried on by
a de facto Government which had destroyed old vested
rights, and created new ones — things could not be ex-
pected to resume their former position as a matter of
course ; that those in possession, and in possession by
sanction of Government, had something to say for them-
selves, and that the conclusion as to the Church of the
future was not foreclosed. And whatever might be said
to the contrary, this aspect of the question had been, and
still was, tacitly accepted as the true one by Charles and
by Clarendon, in their negotiations with the Presbyterians,
for they kept them in suspense for more than a year,
holding out the idea of a compromise, and did not
attempt to carry matters with a high hand until the
Presbyterians had been reduced to a condition in which
they could be easily crushed.

The counsellors by whom Charles was surrounded on
his return were men of diflerent characters, and they
ought at once to be noticed, since they had more or less
to do with the ecclesiastical affairs, which it is our
business to study. Hyde immediately became Chief
Minister. His round face and double chin, as we see
them in his portrait, appear signs of good nature ; but,
perhaps, a skilful physiognomist would discover in his



eyes and lips indications of qnalities less pleasant. He
was a different man from his master. Like Charles I.,
he was sincerely attached to the Episcopal Church of
England. That unhappy Monarch, in one of his pub-
Hshed letters, dated Oxford, March 30, 1646, assures
Queen Henrietta that " Ned Hide " was fully of his mind
on the subject of Episcopacy; he was almost, if not
altogether (at that time), the only person in the con-
fidence of the King who concurred with him on the point
of religion. 1 The same year, when matters were even
worse, Hyde expressed himself against "buying a peace
at a dearer price than was offered at Uxbridge," and en-
couraged the notion that it was the duty of the Royalists
to submit to a kind of martyrdom. " It may be," he
remarked, " God hath resolved we shall perish, and then
it becomes us to perish with those decent and honest
circumstances that our good fame may procure a better
peace to those who succeed us, than we were able to
procure for them, and ourselves shall be happier than
any other condition could render us."^ Looking at the
circumstances under which the letter was written, there
can be no doubt of the sincerity of this confession — a
sincerity confirmed in all the years of his exile under
the Commonwealth, and in his active solicitude for the
interests of the Church in the prospect of the Restoration.
His subsequent conduct in reference to ecclesiastical
affairs will appear as we proceed.

The Duke of Ormond, who had done and suffered
much for the Stuarts, was, according to Burnet, a courtier
of graceful manners, of lively wit, and of cheerful temper,
extravagant in his expenditure, but decent in his vices ;
he was a firm Protestant, and always kept up the forms

' Charles I. in 164.6, 30.

' Clarendon's State Papers, ii. 237,

Chap. IV.] THE king's RETURN. 85

of religion, even amidst the indulgence of his passions.^
The Earl of Southampton, who had faithfully adhered to
Charles I. and his son throughout their troubles, enjoyed

Online LibraryJohn StoughtonEcclesiastical history of England : from the opening of the long parliament to the death of Oliver Cromwell (Volume 3) → online text (page 7 of 41)