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Title: History of the English People, Volume VI (of 8) - Puritan England, 1642-1660; The Revolution, 1660-1683
Author: Green, John Richard, 1837-1883
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "History of the English People, Volume VI (of 8) - Puritan England, 1642-1660; The Revolution, 1660-1683" ***

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Transcriber's note:

      Text in italics in the original is surrounded by _underscores_.

      The index for the entire 8 volume set of _History of the
      English People_ was located at the end of Volume VIII.
      For ease in accessibility, it has been removed and produced

      An additional transcriber's note will be found at the end of
      the text.



Honorary Fellow of Jesus College, Oxford



MacMillan and Co., Ltd.
New York: MacMillan & Co.
All rights reserved

First Edition 1879; Reprinted 1882, 1886, 1891.
Eversley Edition, 1896



   PURITAN ENGLAND. 1642-1660


        THE CIVIL WAR. 1642-1646                         1


        THE ARMY AND THE PARLIAMENT. 1646-1649          43


        THE COMMONWEALTH. 1649-1653                     70


        THE PROTECTORATE. 1653-1660                     92


   THE REVOLUTION. 1660-1760


        THE RESTORATION. 1660-1667                     160


        THE POPISH PLOT. 1667-1683                     244


    I. MAP OF MARSTON MOOR[vii:1]             _Pages 20, 21_

   II. MAP OF NASEBY FIGHT[vii:1]          _To face page 38_

         IT WAS UNDER LEWIS XIV.          _To face page 293_


[vii:1] By permission of Mr. Markham.




[Sidenote: Edgehill.]

The breaking off of negotiations was followed on both sides by
preparations for immediate war. Hampden, Pym, and Holles became the
guiding spirits of a Committee of Public Safety which was created by
Parliament as its administrative organ. On the twelfth of July 1642 the
Houses ordered that an army should be raised "for the defence of the
king and the Parliament," and appointed the Earl of Essex as its
captain-general and the Earl of Bedford as its general of horse. The
force soon rose to twenty thousand foot and four thousand horse; and
English and Scotch officers were drawn from the Low Countries. The
confidence on the Parliamentary side was great. "We all thought one
battle would decide," Baxter confessed after the first encounter; for
the king was almost destitute of money and arms, and in spite of his
strenuous efforts to raise recruits he was embarrassed by the reluctance
of his own adherents to begin the struggle. Resolved however to force on
a contest, he raised the Royal Standard at Nottingham "on the evening of
a very stormy and tempestuous day," the twenty-second of August, but the
country made no answer to his appeal. Meanwhile Lord Essex, who had
quitted London amidst the shouts of a great multitude with orders from
the Parliament to follow the king, "and by battle or other way rescue
him from his perfidious councillors and restore him to Parliament," was
mustering his army at Northampton. Charles had but a handful of men, and
the dash of a few regiments of horse would have ended the war; but Essex
shrank from a decisive stroke, and trusted to reduce the king peacefully
to submission by a show of force. But while Essex lingered Charles fell
back at the close of September on Shrewsbury, and the whole face of
affairs suddenly changed. Catholics and Royalists rallied fast to his
standard, and the royal force became strong enough to take the field.
With his usual boldness Charles resolved to march at once on the capital
and force the Parliament to submit by dint of arms. But the news of his
march roused Essex from his inactivity. He had advanced to Worcester to
watch the king's proceedings; and he now hastened to protect London. On
the twenty-third of October 1642 the two armies fell in with one
another on the field of Edgehill, near Banbury. The encounter was a
surprise, and the battle which followed was little more than a confused
combat of horse. At its outset the desertion of Sir Faithful Fortescue
with a whole regiment threw the Parliamentary forces into disorder,
while the Royalist horse on either wing drove their opponents from the
field; but the reserve of Lord Essex broke the foot, which formed the
centre of the king's line, and though his nephew, Prince Rupert, brought
back his squadrons in time to save Charles from capture or flight, the
night fell on a drawn battle.

[Sidenote: Charles at Oxford.]

The moral advantage however rested with the king. Essex had learned that
his troopers were no match for the Cavaliers, and his withdrawal to
Warwick left open the road to the capital. Rupert pressed for an instant
march on London, where the approach of the king's forces had roused
utter panic. But the proposal found stubborn opponents among the
moderate Royalists, who dreaded the complete triumph of Charles as much
as his defeat; and their pressure forced the king to pause for a time at
Oxford, where he was received with uproarious welcome. When the
cowardice of its garrison delivered Reading to Rupert's horse, and his
daring capture of Brentford in November drew the royal army in his
support almost to the walls of the capital, the panic of the Londoners
was already over, and the junction of their train-bands with the army
of Essex forced Charles to fall back again on his old quarters. But
though the Parliament rallied quickly from the blow of Edgehill, the
war, as its area widened through the winter, went steadily for the king.
The fortification of Oxford gave him a firm hold on the midland
counties; while the balance of the two parties in the North was
overthrown by the march of the Earl of Newcastle, with a force he had
raised in Northumberland, upon York. Lord Fairfax, the Parliamentary
leader in that county, was thrown back by Newcastle's attack on the
manufacturing towns of the West Riding, where Puritanism found its
stronghold; and the arrival of the queen in February 1643 with arms from
Holland encouraged the royal army to push its scouts across the Trent,
and threaten the eastern counties, which held firmly for the Parliament.
The stress of the war was shown by the vigorous efforts of the Houses.
Some negotiations which had gone on into the spring were broken off by
the old demand that the king should return to his Parliament; London was
fortified; and a tax of two millions a year was laid on the districts
which adhered to the Parliamentary cause.

[Sidenote: The Cornish rising.]

In the spring of 1643 Lord Essex, whose army had been freshly equipped,
was ordered to advance upon Oxford. But though the king held himself
ready to fall back on the West, the Earl shrank from again risking his
raw army in an encounter. He confined himself to the recapture of
Reading, and to a month of idle encampment round Brill. But while
disease thinned his ranks and the Royalists beat up his quarters the war
went more and more for the king. The inaction of Essex enabled Charles
to send a part of his small force at Oxford to strengthen a Royalist
rising in the West. Nowhere was the royal cause to take so brave or
noble a form as among the Cornishmen. Cornwall stood apart from the
general life of England: cut off from it not only by differences of
blood and speech, but by the feudal tendencies of its people, who clung
with a Celtic loyalty to their local chieftains, and suffered their
fidelity to the Crown to determine their own. They had as yet done
little more than keep the war out of their own county; but the march of
a small Parliamentary force under Lord Stamford upon Launceston forced
them into action. In May 1643 a little band of Cornishmen gathered round
the chivalrous Sir Bevil Greenvil, "so destitute of provisions that the
best officers had but a biscuit a day," and with only a handful of
powder for the whole force; but, starving and outnumbered as they were,
they scaled the steep rise of Stratton Hill, sword in hand, and drove
Stamford back on Exeter with a loss of two thousand men, his ordnance
and baggage-train. Sir Ralph Hopton, the best of the Royalist generals,
took the command of their army as it advanced into Somerset, and drew
the stress of the war into the West. Essex despatched a picked force
under Sir William Waller to check their advance; but Somerset was
already lost ere he reached Bath, and the Cornishmen stormed his strong
position on Lansdowne Hill in the teeth of his guns. The stubborn fight
robbed the victors of their leaders; Hopton was wounded, Greenvil slain,
and with them fell the two heroes of the little army, Sir Nicholas
Slanning and Sir John Trevanion, "both young, neither of them above
eight-and-twenty, of entire friendship to one another, and to Sir Bevil
Greenvil." Waller too, beaten as he was, hung on their weakened force as
it moved for aid upon Oxford, and succeeded in cooping up the foot in
Devizes. But in July the horse broke through his lines; and joining a
force which Charles had sent to their relief, turned back, and dashed
Waller's army to pieces in a fresh victory on Roundway Down.

[Sidenote: Hampden and the War.]

The Cornish rising seemed to decide the fortune of the war; and the
succours which his queen was bringing him from the army of the North
determined Charles to make a fresh advance upon London. He was preparing
for this advance, when Rupert sallied from Oxford to beat up the
quarters of the army under Essex, which still remained encamped about
Thame. Foremost among this Parliamentary force were the "Greencoats" of
John Hampden. From the first outbreak of warfare Hampden had shown the
same energy in the field that he had shown in the Parliament. He had
contributed two thousand pounds to the loan raised by the Houses for the
equipment of an army. He had raised a regiment from among his own
tenantry, with the parson of Great Hampden for their chaplain. The men
wore his livery of green, as those of Holles or Brooke or Mandeville
wore their leaders' liveries of red, and purple, and blue; the only sign
of their common soldiership being the orange scarf, the colour of Lord
Essex, which all wore over their uniform. From the first the
"Greencoats" had been foremost in the fray. While Essex lay idly
watching the gathering of an army round the king, Hampden was already
engaged with the royal outposts. It was the coming up of his men that
turned the day at Edgehill; and that again saved Lord Brooke from
destruction in the repulse of the royal forces at Brentford. It was
Hampden's activity that saved Reading from a second capture. During the
gloomy winter, when the fortunes of the Houses seemed at their worst,
his energy redoubled. His presence was as necessary in the Parliament as
in the field; and he was continually on the road between London and
Westminster. It was during these busy months that he brought into
practical shape a league which was destined to be the mainstay of the
Parliamentary force. Nowhere was the Puritan feeling so strong as in the
counties about London, in his own Buckinghamshire, in Hertfordshire,
Bedfordshire, and the more easterly counties of Huntingdon, Cambridge,
and Northampton. Hampden's influence as well as that of his cousin,
Oliver Cromwell, who was already active in the war, was bent to bind
these shires together in an association for the aid of the Parliament,
with a common force, a common fund for its support, and Lord Manchester
for its head. The association was at last brought about; and Hampden
turned his energies to reinforcing the army of Essex.

[Sidenote: Rupert's raid.]

The army was strengthened; but no efforts could spur its leader into
activity. Essex had learned his trade in the Thirty Years War; and like
most professional soldiers he undervalued the worth of untrained levies.
As a great noble, too, he shrank from active hostilities against the
king. He believed that in the long run the want of money and of men
would force Charles to lay down his arms, and to come to a peaceful
understanding with the Parliament. To such a fair adjustment of the
claims of both a victory of the Parliament would, he thought, be as
fatal as a victory of the king. Against this policy of inaction Hampden
struggled in vain. It was to no purpose that he urged Essex to follow
Charles after Edgehill, or to attack him after his repulse before
Brentford. It was equally to no purpose that he urged at the opening of
1643 an attack upon Oxford. Essex drew nearer to the town indeed; but
at the news of the queen's junction with her husband, and of the
successes of the Cornishmen, he fell back to his old cantonment about
Thame. Hampden's knowledge of the country warned him of danger from the
loose disposition of the army, and he urged Essex to call in the distant
outposts and strengthen his line; but his warnings were unheeded. So
carelessly were the troops scattered about that Rupert resolved to beat
up their quarters; and leaving Oxford in the afternoon of Saturday, the
17th of June, he seized the bridge over the Thame at Chiselhampton, and
leaving a force of foot to secure his retreat, threw himself boldly with
his horsemen into the midst of the Parliamentary army. Essex with the
bulk of his men lay quietly sleeping a few miles to the northward at
Thame as Rupert struck in the darkness through the leafy lanes that led
to the Chilterns, and swooped on the villages that lay beneath their
slopes. At three in the morning he fell on the troops quartered at
Postcombe, then on those at Chinnor. Here some fifty were slain, and
more taken prisoners, as they sprang half-naked from their beds. The
village was fired, and Rupert again called his men together to pursue
their foray. But the early summer sun had now risen; it was too late to
attack Wycombe as he had purposed; and the horsemen fell back again
through Tetsworth to secure their retreat across the Thame.

[Sidenote: Death of Hampden.]

It was time to think of retreat, for Hampden was already in pursuit. He
had slept at Watlington; but the tidings of the foray in the village
hard by roused him from slumber, and he at once despatched a trooper to
Essex to bid the Earl send foot and horse and cut off the Prince from
Chiselhampton bridge. Essex objected and delayed till Hampden's patience
broke down. The thought of his own village blazing in that Sunday dawn,
his own friends and tenants stretched dead in the village streets,
carried him beyond all thought of prudence. A troop of horse volunteered
to follow him; and few as they were, he pushed at once with them for the
bridge. The morning was now far gone; and Rupert had reached Chalgrove
Field, a broad space without enclosures, where he had left his foot
drawn up amidst the standing corn to secure his retreat. To Hampden the
spot was a memorable one; it was there, if we trust a Royalist legend,
that "he first mustered and drew up men in arms to rebel against the
king." But he had little time for memories such as these. His resolve
was to hold Rupert by charge after charge till Essex could come up; and
the arrival of these troops of horse with some dragoons enabled him to
attack. The attack was roughly beaten off, and the assailants thrown
into confusion, but Hampden rallied the broken troops and again led them
on. Again they were routed, and Rupert drew off across the river without
further contest. It was indeed only the courage of Hampden that had
fired his little troop to face the Cavaliers; and he could fire them no
more. In the last charge a shot struck him in the shoulder and disabled
his sword-arm. His head bending down, his hands resting on his horse's
neck, he rode off the field before the action was done, "a thing he
never used to do." The story of the country-side told how the wounded
man rode first towards Pyrton. It was the village where he had wedded
the wife he loved so well, and beyond it among the beech-trees of the
Chilterns lay his own house of Hampden. But it was not there that he was
to die. A party of Royalists drove him back from Pyrton, and turning
northwards he paused for a moment at a little brook that crossed his
path, then gathering strength leaped it, and rode almost fainting to
Thame. At first the surgeons gave hopes of his recovery, but hope was
soon over. For six days he lay in growing agony, sending counsel after
counsel to the Parliament, till on the twenty-fourth of June the end
drew near. "O Lord, save my country," so ended Hampden's prayers; "O
Lord, be merciful to----!" here his speech failed him, and he fell back
lifeless on his bed. With arms reversed and muffled flags, his own men
bore him through the lanes and woods he knew so well to the little
church that still stands unchanged beside his home. On the floor of its
chancel the brasses of his father and his grandfather mark their graves.
A step nearer to the altar, unmarked by brass or epitaph, lies the
grave in which, with bitter tears and cries, his greencoats laid the
body of the leader whom they loved. "Never were heard such piteous cries
at the death of one man as at Master Hampden's." With him indeed all
seemed lost. But bitter as were their tears, a noble faith lifted these
Puritans out of despair. As they bore him to his grave they sang, in the
words of the ninetieth psalm, how fleeting in the sight of the Divine
Eternity is the life of man. But as they turned away the yet nobler
words of the forty-third psalm broke from their lips, as they prayed
that the God who had smitten them would send out anew His light and His
truth, that they might lead them and bring them to His holy hill. "Why
art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou so disquieted within me?
Hope in God; for I shall yet praise him, which is the help of my
countenance, and my God!"

[Sidenote: Relief of Gloucester.]

To Royalists as to Parliamentarians the death of Hampden seemed an omen
of ruin to the cause he loved. Disaster followed disaster: Essex, more
and more anxious for a peace, fell back on Uxbridge; while a cowardly
surrender of Bristol to Prince Rupert gave Charles the second city of
the kingdom, and the mastery of the West. The news of the loss of
Bristol fell on the Parliament "like a sentence of death." The Lords
debated nothing but proposals of peace. London itself was divided. "A
great multitude of the wives of substantial citizens" clamoured at the
door of the Commons for peace; and a flight of six of the few peers who
remained at Westminster to the camp at Oxford proved the general despair
of the Parliament's success. From this moment however the firmness of
the Parliamentary leaders began slowly to reverse the fortunes of the
war. If Hampden was gone, Pym remained; and while weaker men despaired
Pym was toiling night and day to organize a future victory. The spirit
of the Commons was worthy of their great leader: and Waller was received
on his return from Roundway Hill "as if he had brought the king prisoner
with him." The Committee of Public Safety were lavish of men and money.
Essex was again reinforced. The new army of the associated counties,
which had been placed under the command of Lord Manchester, was ordered
to check the progress of Newcastle in the North. But it was in the West
that the danger was greatest. Prince Maurice continued his brother
Rupert's career of success, and his conquest of Barnstaple and Exeter
secured Devon for the king. Gloucester alone interrupted the
communications between the royal forces in Bristol and those in the
North; and at the opening of August Charles moved against the city with
hope of a speedy surrender. But the gallant resistance of the town
called Essex to its relief. It was reduced to a single barrel of powder
when the Earl's approach forced Charles to raise the siege on the sixth
of September; and the Puritan army fell steadily back again on London
after an indecisive engagement near Newbury, in which Lord Falkland
fell, "ingeminating 'Peace, peace!'" and the London train-bands flung
Rupert's horsemen roughly off their front of pikes.

[Sidenote: League with Scotland.]

The relief of Gloucester proved to be the turning-point of the war. It
was not merely that Charles had met with a repulse; it was that he had
missed a victory, and that in the actual posture of affairs nothing but
a great victory could have saved the king. For the day which witnessed
the triumphant return of Essex witnessed the solemn taking of the
Covenant. Pym had resolved at last to fling the Scotch sword into the
wavering balance; and in the darkest hour of the Parliament's cause Sir
Harry Vane had been despatched to Edinburgh to arrange the terms on
which the aid of Scotland would be given. First amongst these terms
stood the demand of a "unity in Religion"; an adoption, in other words,
of the Presbyterian system by the Church of England. To such a change
Pym had been steadily opposed. He had even withstood Hampden when, after
the passing of the bill for the expulsion of bishops from the House of
Peers, Hampden had pressed for the abolition of episcopacy. But events
had moved so rapidly since the earlier debates on Church government
that some arrangement of this kind had become a necessity. The bishops
to a man, and the bulk of the clergy whose bent was purely episcopal,
had joined the royal cause, and were being expelled from their livings
as "delinquents." Some new system of Church government was imperatively
called for by the religious necessities of the country; and though Pym
and the leading statesmen were still in opinion moderate Episcopalians,
the growing force of Presbyterianism, and still more the absolute need
of Scottish aid and the needs of the war, forced them to seek such a
system in the adoption of the Scotch discipline.

[Sidenote: England swears to the Covenant.]

Scotland, for its part, saw that the triumph of the Parliament was
necessary for its own security. Whatever difficulties stood in the way
of Vane's wary and rapid negotiations were removed in fact by the policy
of the king. While the Parliament looked for aid to the North, Charles
had been seeking assistance from the Irish rebels. Wild tales of the
supposed massacre had left them the objects of a vengeful hate unknown
before in England, but with the king they were simply counters in his
game of kingcraft. Their rising had now grown into an organized
rebellion. In October 1642 an Assembly of the Confederate Catholics
gathered at Kilkenny. Eleven Catholic bishops, fourteen peers, and two
hundred and twenty-six commoners, of English and Irish blood alike,
formed this body, which assumed every prerogative of sovereignty,
communicated with foreign powers, and raised an army to vindicate Irish
independence. In spite of this Charles had throughout the year been
intriguing with the confederates through Lord Glamorgan; and though his
efforts to secure their direct aid were for some time fruitless he
succeeded in September in bringing about an armistice between their
forces and the army under the Earl of Ormond which had as yet held them
in check. The truce left this army at the king's disposal for service in
England; while it secured him as the price of this armistice a pledge
from the Catholics that they would support his cause. With their aid
Charles thought himself strong enough to strike a blow at the Government
in Edinburgh; and the Irish Catholics promised to support by their
landing in Argyleshire a rising of the Highlanders under Montrose. None
of the king's schemes proved so fatal to his cause as these. On their
discovery officer after officer in his own army flung down their
commissions, the peers who had fled to Oxford fled back again to London,
and the Royalist reaction in the Parliament itself came utterly to an
end. Scotland, anxious for its own safety, hastened to sign the
Covenant; and on the twenty-fifth of September 1643 the Commons, "with
uplifted hands," swore in St. Margaret's church to observe it. They
pledged themselves to "bring the Churches of God in the three Kingdoms
to the nearest conjunction and uniformity in religion, confession of
faith, form of Church government, direction for worship, and
catechizing; that we, and our posterity after us, may as brethren live
in faith and love, and the Lord may delight to live in the midst of us";
to extirpate Popery, prelacy, superstition, schism, and profaneness; to
"preserve the rights and privileges of the Parliament, and the liberties
of the Kingdom"; to punish malignants and opponents of reformation in
Church and State; to "unite the two Kingdoms in a firm peace and union
to all posterity." The Covenant ended with a solemn acknowledgement of
national sin, and a vow of reformation. "Our true, unfeigned purpose,
desire, and endeavour for ourselves and all others under our power and
charge, both in public and private, in all duties we owe to God and man,
is to amend our lives, and each to go before another in the example of a
real reformation."

[Sidenote: Pym's plan for 1644.]

The conclusion of the Covenant had been the last work of Pym. He died on
December 6, 1643, and a "Committee of the Two Kingdoms" which was
entrusted after his death with the conduct of the war and of foreign
affairs did their best to carry out the plans he had formed for the
coming year. The vast scope of these plans bears witness to his amazing
ability. Three strong armies, comprising a force of fifty thousand men,
appeared in the field in the spring of 1644, ready to co-operate with
the Scots in the coming campaign. The presence of the Scottish army
indeed changed the whole face of the war. With Lord Leven at its head,
it crossed the Border in January "in a great frost and snow"; and
Newcastle, who was hoping to be reinforced by detachments from Ormond's
army, was forced to hurry northward single-handed to arrest its march.
He succeeded in checking Leven at Sunderland, but his departure freed
the hands of Fairfax, who in spite of defeat still clung to the
West-Riding. With the activity of a true soldier, Fairfax threw himself
on the forces from Ormond's army who had landed at Chester, and after
cutting them to pieces at Nantwich on the twenty-fifth of January,
marched as rapidly back upon York. Here he was joined by the army of the
Associated Counties, a force of fourteen thousand men under the command
of Lord Manchester, but in which Cromwell's name was becoming famous as
a leader. The two armies at once drove the force left behind by
Newcastle to take shelter within the walls of York, and formed the siege
of that city. The danger of York called Newcastle back to its relief;
but he was too weak to effect it, and the only issue of his return was
the junction of the Scots with its besiegers. The plans of Pym were now
rapidly developed. While Manchester and Fairfax united with Lord Leven
under the walls of York, Waller, who with the army of the West had held
Prince Maurice in check in Dorsetshire, marched quickly to a junction
with Essex, whose army had been watching Charles; and the two forces
formed a blockade of Oxford.


[Sidenote: Marston Moor.]

Charles was thrown suddenly on the defensive. The Irish troops, on which
he counted as a balance to the Scots, had been cut to pieces by Fairfax
or by Waller, and both in the North and in the South he seemed utterly
overmatched. But he was far from despairing. Before the advance of Essex
he had answered Newcastle's cry for aid by despatching Prince Rupert
from Oxford to gather forces on the Welsh border; and the brilliant
partizan, after breaking the sieges of Newark and Lathom House, burst
over the Lancashire hills into Yorkshire, slipped by the Parliamentary
army, and made his way untouched into York. But the success of this feat
of arms tempted him to a fresh act of daring. He resolved on a decisive
battle; and on the second of July 1644 a discharge of musketry from the
two armies as they faced each other on Marston Moor brought on, as
evening gathered, a disorderly engagement. On the one flank a charge of
the king's horse broke that of the Scotch; on the other, Cromwell's
brigade won as complete a success over Rupert's troopers. "God made them
as stubble to our swords," wrote the general at the close of the day;
but in the heat of victory he called back his men from the chase to
back Manchester in his attack on the Royalist foot, and to rout their
other wing of horse as it returned breathless from pursuing the Scots.
Nowhere had the fighting been so fierce. A young Puritan who lay dying
on the field told Cromwell as he bent over him that one thing lay on his
spirit. "I asked him what it was," Cromwell wrote afterwards. "He told
me it was that God had not suffered him to be any more the executioner
of His enemies."

[Sidenote: Newbury.]

At nightfall all was over; and the Royalist cause in the North had
perished at a blow. Newcastle fled over sea: York surrendered, and
Rupert, with hardly a man at his back, rode southward to Oxford. The
blow was the more terrible that it fell on Charles at a moment when his
danger in the South was being changed into triumph by a series of
brilliant and unexpected successes. After a month's siege the king had
escaped from Oxford; had waited till Essex, vexed at having missed his
prey, had marched to attack what he looked on as the main Royalist
force, that under Maurice in the West; and then, turning fiercely on
Waller at Cropredy Bridge, had driven him back broken to London, two
days before the battle of Marston Moor. Charles followed up his success
by hurrying in the track of Essex, whom he hoped to crush between his
own force and that under Maurice; and when, by a fatal error, Essex
plunged into Cornwall, where the country was hostile, the king hemmed
him in among the hills, and drew his lines tightly round his army. On
the second of September the whole body of the foot were forced to
surrender at his mercy, while the horse cut their way through the
besiegers, and Essex himself fled by sea to London. Nor was this the
only reverse of fortune which brought hope to the royal cause. The day
on which the army of Essex surrendered to the king was marked by a
Royalist triumph in Scotland which promised to undo what Marston Moor
had done. The Irish Catholics fulfilled their covenant with Charles by
the landing of Irish soldiers in Argyle; and as had long since been
arranged, Montrose, throwing himself into the Highlands, called the
clans to arms. Flinging his new force on that of the Covenanters at
Tippermuir, he gained a victory which enabled him to occupy Perth, to
sack Aberdeen, and to spread terror to Edinburgh. The news at once told.
The Scottish army in England refused to march further from its own
country; and used the siege of Newcastle as a pretext to remain near the
Border. With the army of Essex annihilated and the Scots at a safe
distance, no obstacle seemed to lie between the king and London; and as
he came up from the West Charles again marched on the capital. But if
the Scots were detained at Newcastle the rest of the victors at Marston
Moor lay in his path at Newbury; and their force was strengthened by the
soldiers who had surrendered in Cornwall, but whom the energy of the
Parliament had again brought into the field. On the twenty-seventh of
October Charles fell on this army under Lord Manchester's command; but
the charges of the Royalists failed to break the Parliamentary
squadrons, and the soldiers of Essex wiped away the shame of their
defeat by flinging themselves on the cannon they had lost, and bringing
them back in triumph to their lines. Cromwell seized the moment of
victory, and begged hard to be suffered to charge with his single
brigade. But Manchester shrank like Essex from a crowning victory over
the king. Charles was allowed to withdraw his army to Oxford, and even
to reappear unchecked in the field of his defeat.

[Sidenote: Cromwell.]

The quarrel of Cromwell with Lord Manchester at Newbury was destined to
give a new colour to the war. Pym, in fact, had hardly been borne to his
grave in Westminster Abbey before England instinctively recognized a
successor of yet greater genius in the victor of Marston Moor. Born in
the closing years of Elizabeth's reign, the child of a cadet of the
great house of the Cromwells of Hinchinbrook, and of kin, through their
marriages, with Hampden and St. John, Oliver had been recalled by his
father's death from a short stay at Cambridge to the little family
estate at Huntingdon, which he quitted for a farm at St. Ives. We have
seen his mood during the years of personal rule, as he dwelt in
"prolonging" and "blackness" amidst fancies of coming death, the
melancholy which formed the ground of his nature feeding itself on the
inaction of the time. But his energy made itself felt the moment the
tyranny was over. His father had sat, with three of his uncles, in the
later Parliaments of Elizabeth. Oliver had himself been returned to that
of 1628, and the town of Cambridge sent him as its representative to the
Short Parliament as to the Long. It is in the latter that a courtier,
Sir Philip Warwick, gives us our first glimpse of his actual appearance.
"I came into the House one morning, well clad, and perceived a gentleman
speaking whom I knew not, very ordinarily apparelled, for it was a plain
cloth suit, which seemed to have been made by an ill country tailor. His
linen was plain, and not very clean; and I remember a speck or two of
blood upon his little band, which was not much larger than his collar.
His hat was without a hat-band. His stature was of a good size; his
sword stuck close to his side; his countenance swoln and reddish; his
voice sharp and untuneable, and his eloquence full of fervour."

[Sidenote: The Ironsides.]

He was already "much hearkened unto," but his power was to assert itself
in deeds rather than in words. He appeared at the head of a troop of his
own raising at Edgehill; but with the eye of a born soldier he at once
saw the blot in the army of Essex. "A set of poor tapsters and town
apprentices," he warned Hampden, "would never fight against men of
honour"; and he pointed to religious enthusiasm as the one weapon which
could meet and turn the chivalry of the Cavalier. Even to Hampden the
plan seemed impracticable; but the regiment of a thousand men which
Cromwell raised for the Association of the Eastern Counties, and which
in later times were known as his Ironsides, was formed strictly of "men
of religion." He spent his fortune freely on the task he set himself.
"The business . . . hath had of me in money between eleven and twelve
hundred pounds, therefore my private estate can do little to help the
public. . . . I have little money of my own (left) to help my soldiers."
But they were "a lovely company," he tells his friends with soldierly
pride. No blasphemy, drinking, disorder, or impiety were suffered in
their ranks. "Not a man swears but he pays his twelve pence." Nor was
his choice of "men of religion" the only innovation Cromwell introduced
into his new regiment. The social traditions which restricted command to
men of birth were disregarded. "It may be," he wrote, in answer to
complaints from the Committee of the Association, "it provokes your
spirit to see such plain men made captains of horse. It had been well
that men of honour and birth had entered into their employments; but why
do they not appear? But seeing it is necessary the work must go on,
better plain men than none: but best to have men patient of wants,
faithful and conscientious in their employment, and such, I hope, these
will approve themselves." The words paint Cromwell's temper accurately
enough; he is far more of the practical soldier than of the reformer;
though his genius already breaks in upon his aristocratic and
conservative sympathies, and catches glimpses of the social revolution
to which the war was drifting. "I had rather," he once burst out
impatiently, "have a plain russet-coated captain, that knows what he
fights for and loves what he knows, than what you call a gentleman, and
is nothing else. I honour a gentleman that is so indeed!" he ends, with
a return to his more common mood of feeling, but the outburst was none
the less a characteristic one.

[Sidenote: The Independents.]

The same practical temper broke out in a more startling innovation.
Against dissidents from the legal worship of the Church the
Presbyterians were as bitter as Laud himself. But Nonconformity was
rising into proportions which made its claim of toleration, of the
freedom of religious worship, one of the problems of the time. Its rise
had been a sudden one. The sects who rejected in Elizabeth's day the
conception of a National Church, and insisted on the right of each
congregation to freedom of worship, had all but disappeared at the close
of the queen's reign. Some of the dissidents, as in the notable instance
of the congregation that produced the Pilgrim Fathers, had found a
refuge in Holland; but the bulk had been driven by persecution to a
fresh conformity with the Established Church. As soon however as Abbot's
primacy promised a milder rule, the Separatist refugees began to venture
timidly back again to England. During their exile in Holland the main
body had contented themselves with the free developement of their system
of independent congregations, each forming in itself a complete Church,
and to these the name of Independents attached itself at a later time. A
small part however had drifted into a more marked severance in doctrine
from the Established Church, especially in their belief of the necessity
of adult baptism, a belief from which their obscure congregation at
Leyden became known as that of the Baptists. Both of these sects
gathered a Church in London in the middle of James's reign, but the
persecuting zeal of Laud prevented any spread of their opinions under
that of his successor; and it was not till their numbers were suddenly
increased by the return of a host of emigrants from New England, with
Hugh Peters at their head, on the opening of the Long Parliament, that
the Congregational or Independent body began to attract attention.

[Sidenote: The Parliament and Uniformity.]

Lilburne and Burton declared themselves adherents of what was called
"the New England way"; and a year later saw in London alone the rise of
"fourscore congregations of several sectaries," as Bishop Hall
scornfully tells us, "instructed by guides fit for them, cobblers,
tailors, felt-makers, and such-like trash." But little religious weight
however could be attributed as yet to the Congregational movement.
Baxter at this time had not heard of the existence of any Independents.
Milton in his earlier pamphlets shows no sign of their influence. Of the
hundred and five ministers present in the Westminster Assembly only five
were Congregational in sympathy, and these were all returned refugees
from Holland. Among the one hundred and twenty London ministers in 1643,
but three were suspected of leaning towards the Sectaries. The struggle
with Charles in fact at its outset only threw new difficulties in the
way of religious freedom. The great majority of the Parliament were
averse from any alterations in the constitution or doctrine of the
Church itself; and it was only the refusal of the bishops to accept any
diminution of their power and revenues, the growth of a party hostile to
Episcopalian government, the necessity for purchasing the aid of the
Scots by a union in religion as in politics, and above all the urgent
need of constructing some new ecclesiastical organization in the place
of the older organization which had become impossible from the political
attitude of the bishops, that forced on the two Houses the adoption of
the Covenant. But the change to a Presbyterian system of Church
government seemed at that time of little import to the bulk of
Englishmen. The dogma of the necessity of bishops was held by few; and
the change was generally regarded with approval as one which brought the
Church of England nearer to that of Scotland, and to the reformed
Churches of the Continent. But whatever might be the change in its
administration, no one imagined that it had ceased to be the Church of
England, or that it had parted with its right to exact conformity to its
worship from the nation at large. The Tudor theory of its relation to
the State, of its right to embrace all Englishmen within its pale, and
to dictate what should be their faith and form of worship, remained
utterly unquestioned by any man of note. The sentiments on which such a
theory rested indeed for its main support, the power of historical
tradition, the association of "dissidence" with danger to the State, the
strong English instinct of order, the as strong English dislike of
"innovations," with the abhorrence of "indifferency" as a sign of
lukewarmness in matters of religion, had only been intensified by the
earlier incidents of the struggle with the king.

[Sidenote: Growth of dissidence.]

The Parliament therefore was steadily pressing on the new system of
ecclesiastical government in the midst of the troubles of the war. An
Assembly of Divines, which was called together in 1643 at Westminster,
and which sat in the Jerusalem Chamber during the five years which
followed, was directed to revise the Articles, to draw up a Confession
of Faith, and a Directory of Public Worship; and these with a scheme of
Church government, a scheme only distinguished from that of Scotland by
the significant addition of a lay court of superior appeal set by
Parliament over the whole system of Church courts and assemblies, were
accepted by the Houses and embodied in a series of Ordinances. But while
the Divines were drawing up their platform of uniform belief and
worship, dissidence was growing fast into a religious power. In the
terrible agony of the struggle against Charles individual conviction
became a stronger force than religious tradition. Theological
speculation took an unprecedented boldness from the temper of the times.
The shock of war had broken the bonds of custom, and given a violent
impulse to the freest thought. "Behold now this vast city!" cried Milton
from London, "a city of refuge, the mansionhouse of liberty, encompassed
with God's protection! The shop of war hath not there more anvils and
hammers working to fashion out the plates and instruments of armed
justice in defence of beleaguered truth than there be pens and heads
there, sitting by their studious lamps, musing, searching, revolving new
notions and ideas wherewith to present us, as with their homage and
fealty, the approaching reformation; others as fast reading, trying all
things, according to the force of reason and convincement." The poet
himself had drifted from his Presbyterian standpoint and saw that "new
Presbyter is but old Priest writ large." The same change was going on
widely about him. Four years after the war had begun a horror-stricken
pamphleteer numbered sixteen religious sects as existing in defiance of
the law; and, widely as these bodies differed among themselves, all were
at one in repudiating any right of control in faith or in worship on the
part of the Church or its clergy. Above all, the class which became
specially infected with the spirit of religious freedom was the class to
whose zeal and vigour the Parliament was forced to look for success in
the struggle. Cromwell had wisely sought for good fighting men among the
"godly" farmers of the Associated Counties. But where he found such men
he found dissidents, men who were resolved to seek God after their own
fashion, and who were as hostile to the despotism of the National Church
as to the despotism of the king.

[Sidenote: Cromwell and the dissidents.]

The problem was a new and a difficult one; but Cromwell met it in the
same practical temper which showed itself in his dealings with the
social difficulties that stood in the way of military organization. The
sentiments of these farmers were not his own. Bitter as had been his
hatred of the bishops, and strenuously as he had worked to bring about a
change in Church government, Cromwell, like most of the Parliamentary
leaders, seems to have been content with the new Presbyterianism, and
the Presbyterians were more than content with him. Lord Manchester
"suffered him to guide the army at his pleasure." "The man, Cromwell,"
writes the Scotchman Baillie, "is a very wise and active head,
universally well beloved as religious and stout." But they were startled
and alarmed by his dealings with these dissident recruits. He met the
problem in his unspeculative fashion. He wanted good soldiers and good
men; and, if they were these, the Independent, the Baptist, the Leveller
found entry among his troops. "You would respect them, did you see
them," he answered the panic-stricken Presbyterians who charged them
with "Anabaptistry" and revolutionary aims: "they are no Anabaptists:
they are honest, sober Christians; they expect to be used as men." But
he was busier with his new regiment than with theories of Church and
State; and his horsemen were no sooner in action than they proved
themselves such soldiers as the war had never seen yet. "Truly they were
never beaten at all," their leader said proudly at its close. At Winceby
fight they charged "singing psalms," cleared Lincolnshire of the
Cavaliers, and freed the eastern counties from all danger from
Newcastle's partizans. At Marston Moor they faced and routed Rupert's
chivalry. At Newbury it was only Manchester's reluctance that hindered
them from completing the ruin of Charles.

[Sidenote: Self-denying Ordinance.]

Cromwell had shown his capacity for organization in the creation of the
Ironsides; his military genius had displayed itself at Marston Moor.
Newbury raised him into a political leader. "Without a more speedy,
vigorous, and effective prosecution of the war," he said to the Commons
after his quarrel with Manchester, "casting off all lingering
proceedings, like those of soldiers of fortune beyond sea to spin out a
war, we shall make the kingdom weary of us, and hate the name of a
Parliament." But under the leaders who at present conducted it a
vigorous conduct of the war was hopeless. They were, in Cromwell's plain
words, "afraid to conquer." They desired not to crush Charles, but to
force him back, with as much of his old strength remaining as might be,
to the position of a constitutional king. The old loyalty, too, clogged
their enterprise; they shrank from the taint of treason. "If the king be
beaten," Manchester urged at Newbury, "he will still be king; if he beat
us he will hang us all for traitors." To a mood like this Cromwell's
reply seemed horrible: "If I met the king in battle I would fire my
pistol at the king as at another." The army, too, as he long ago urged
at Edgehill, was not an army to conquer with. Now, as then, he urged
that till the whole force was new modelled, and placed under a stricter
discipline, "they must not expect any notable success in anything they
went about." But the first step in such a reorganization must be a
change of officers. The army was led and officered by members of the two
Houses, and the Self-denying Ordinance, which was introduced by Cromwell
and Vane, declared the tenure of military or civil offices incompatible
with a seat in either.

[Sidenote: The New Model.]

The long and bitter resistance which this measure met in either House
was justified at a later time by the political results that followed the
rupture of the tie which had hitherto bound the Army to the Parliament.
But the drift of public opinion was too strong to be withstood. The
country was weary of the mismanagement of the war, and demanded that
military necessities should be no longer set aside on political grounds.
The Ordinance passed the Houses on the third of April 1645, and its
passage brought about the retirement of Essex, Manchester, and Waller.
The new organization of the army went rapidly on through the spring
under a new commander-in-chief, Sir Thomas Fairfax, the hero of the long
contest in Yorkshire, and who had been raised into fame by his victory
at Nantwich and his bravery at Marston Moor. But behind Fairfax stood
Cromwell; and the principles on which Cromwell had formed his brigade
were carried out on a larger scale in the "New Model." The one aim was
to get together twenty thousand "honest" men. "Be careful," Cromwell
wrote, "what captains of horse you choose, what men be mounted. A few
honest men are better than numbers. If you choose godly honest men to be
captains of horse, honest men will follow them." The result was a
curious medley of men of different ranks among the officers of the New
Model. The bulk of those in high command remained men of noble or gentle
blood, Montagues, Pickerings, Fortescues, Sheffields, Sidneys, and the
like. But side by side with these, though in far smaller proportion,
were seen officers like Ewer, who had been a serving-man, like Okey, who
had been a drayman, or Rainsborough, who had been a "skipper at sea." A
result hardly less notable was the youth of the officers. Amongst those
in high command there were few who, like Cromwell, had passed middle
age. Fairfax was but thirty-three years old, and most of his colonels
were even younger.

[Sidenote: The Army and the dissidents.]

Equally strange was the mixture of religions in its ranks. The
remonstrances of the Presbyterians had only forced Cromwell's mind
forward on the road of toleration. "The State, in choosing men to serve
it," he wrote before Marston Moor, "takes no notice of these opinions.
If they be willing faithfully to serve it, that satisfies." Marston Moor
spurred him to press on the Parliament the need of at least "tolerating"
dissidents; and he succeeded in procuring the appointment of a
Committee of the Commons to find some means of effecting this. But the
conservative temper of the bulk of the Puritans was at last roused by
his efforts. "We detest and abhor," wrote the London clergy in 1645,
"the much endeavoured Toleration"; and the Corporation of London
petitioned Parliament to suppress all sects "without toleration." The
Parliament itself too remained steady on the conservative side. But the
fortunes of the war told for religious freedom. Essex and his
Presbyterians only marched from defeat to defeat. Though a large
proportion of the infantry was composed of pressed recruits, the cavalry
was for the most part strongly Puritan, and in that part of the army
especially, as in Cromwell's horsemen drawn from among the farmers from
the eastern counties, dissidence of every type had gained a firm

[Sidenote: Negotiations at Uxbridge.]

Of the political and religious aspect of the New Model we shall have to
speak at a later time; as yet its energy was directed solely to "the
speedy and vigorous prosecution of the war." At the very moment when
Fairfax was ready for action the policy of Cromwell was aided by the
policy of the king. From the hour when Newbury marked the breach between
the peace and war parties in the Parliament, and when the last became
identified with the partizans of religious liberty, the Scotch
Commissioners and the bulk of the Commons had seen that their one
chance of hindering what they looked on as revolution in Church and
State lay in pressing for fresh negotiations with Charles. These were
opened at Uxbridge, and prolonged through the winter; but the hopes of
concession which the king held out were suddenly withdrawn in the spring
of 1645. He saw, as he thought, the Parliamentary army dissolved and
ruined by its new modelling at an instant when news came from Scotland
of fresh successes on the part of Montrose, and of his overthrow of the
troops under Argyle's command in a victory at Inverlochy. "Before the
end of the summer," wrote the conqueror, "I shall be in a position to
come to your Majesty's aid with a brave army." He pressed Charles to
advance to the Scottish border, where a junction of their armies might
still suffice to crush any force the Parliament could bring against
them. The party of war at once gained the ascendant in the royal
councils. The negotiations at Uxbridge were broken off, and in May
Charles opened his campaign by a march to the north.

[Illustration: BATTLE OF NASEBY.]

[Sidenote: Naseby.]

At first all went well for the king. Leicester was stormed, the blockade
of Chester raised, and the eastern counties threatened, until Fairfax,
who had hoped to draw Charles back again by a blockade of Oxford, was
forced to hurry on his track. Cromwell, who had been suffered by the
House to retain his command for a few days in spite of the Ordinance,
joined Fairfax as he drew near the king, and his arrival was greeted by
loud shouts of welcome from the troops. On the fourteenth of June 1645
the two armies met near Naseby, to the north-west of Northampton. The
king was eager to fight; "Never have my affairs been in as good a
state," he cried; and Prince Rupert was as impatient as his uncle. On
the other side, even Cromwell doubted as a soldier the success of his
newly-drilled troops, though his religious enthusiasm swept away doubt
in the assurance of victory. "I can say this of Naseby," he wrote soon
after, "that when I saw the enemy draw up and march in gallant order
towards us, and we a company of poor ignorant men, to seek to order our
battle, the general having commanded me to order all the horse, I could
not, riding alone about my business, but smile out to God in praises, in
assurance of victory, because God would by things that are not bring to
nought things that are. Of which I had great assurance, and God did it."
The battle began with a furious charge of Rupert uphill, which routed
the wing opposed to him under Ireton; while the Royalist foot, after a
single discharge, clubbed their muskets and fell on the centre under
Fairfax so hotly that it slowly and stubbornly gave way. But the
Ironsides were conquerors on the left. A single charge broke the
northern horse under Langdale, who had already fled before them at
Marston Moor; and holding his troops firmly in hand, Cromwell fell with
them on the flank of the Royalist foot in the very crisis of its
success. A panic of the king's reserve, and its flight from the field,
aided his efforts. It was in vain that Rupert returned with forces
exhausted by pursuit, that Charles in a passion of despair called on his
troopers for "one charge more." The battle was over: artillery, baggage,
even the royal papers, fell into the conqueror's hands; five thousand
men surrendered; and only two thousand followed the king in his headlong
flight from the field.

[Sidenote: Close of the War.]

The war was ended at a blow. While Charles wandered helplessly along the
Welsh border in search of fresh forces, Fairfax marched rapidly on the
south-west, where an organized royal force alone existed; routed
Goring's force at Langport, in Somersetshire; broke up the Royalist
army; and in three weeks was master to the Land's End. A victory at
Kilsyth, which gave Scotland for the moment to Montrose, threw a
transient gleam over the darkening fortunes of his master's cause; but
the surrender of Bristol to the Parliamentary army, and the dispersion
of the last force Charles could gather from Wales in an attempt to
relieve Chester, were followed in September by news of the crushing and
irretrievable defeat of the "Great Marquis" at Philiphaugh. In the wreck
of the royal cause we may pause for a moment over an incident which
brings out in relief the best temper of both sides. Cromwell, who was
sweeping over the southern counties to trample out the last trace of
resistance, "spent much time with God in prayer before the storm" of
Basing House, where the Marquis of Winchester had held stoutly out
through the war for the king. The storm ended its resistance, and the
brave old Royalist was brought in a prisoner with his house flaming
around him. He "broke out," reports a Puritan bystander, "and said,
'that if the king had no more ground in England but Basing House, he
would adventure it as he did, and so maintain it to the uttermost,'
comforting himself in this matter 'that Basing House was called
Loyalty.'" Of loyalty such as this Charles was utterly unworthy. The
seizure of his papers at Naseby had hardly disclosed his earlier
intrigues with the Irish Catholics when the Parliament was able to
reveal to England a fresh treaty with them, which purchased no longer
their neutrality, but their aid, by the simple concession of every
demand they had made. The shame was without profit, for whatever aid
Ireland might have given came too late to be of service. The spring of
1646 saw the few troops who still clung to Charles surrounded and routed
at Stow. "You have done your work now," their leader, Sir Jacob Astley,
said bitterly to his conquerors, "and may go to play, unless you fall
out among yourselves."




[Sidenote: The new struggle.]

With the close of the Civil War we enter on a time of confused
struggles, a time tedious and uninteresting in its outer details, but of
higher interest than even the war itself in its bearing on our after
history. Modern England, the England among whose thoughts and sentiments
we actually live, began, however dimly and darkly, with the triumph of
Naseby. Old things passed silently away. When Astley gave up his sword
the "work" of the generations which had struggled for Protestantism
against Catholicism, for public liberty against absolute rule, in his
own emphatic phrase, was "done." So far as these contests were
concerned, however the later Stuarts might strive to revive them,
England could safely "go to play." English religion was never to be more
in danger. English liberty was never to be really in peril from the
efforts of kings after a personal rule. Whatever reaction might come
about, it would never bring into question the great constitutional
results that the Long Parliament had wrought. But with the end of this
older work a new work began. The constitutional and ecclesiastical
problems which still in one shape or another beset us started to the
front as subjects of national debate in the years between the close of
the Civil War and the death of the king. The great parties which have
ever since divided the social, the political, and the religious life of
England, whether as Independents and Presbyterians, as Whigs and Tories,
as Conservatives and Liberals, sprang into organized existence in the
contest between the Army and the Parliament. Then for the first time
began a struggle which is far from having ended yet, the struggle
between political tradition and political progress, between the
principle of religious conformity and the principle of religious

[Sidenote: Religious liberty.]

It was the religious struggle which drew the political in its train. The
victory of Naseby raised a wider question than that of mere toleration.
"Honest men served you faithfully in this action," Cromwell wrote to the
Speaker of the House of Commons from the field. "Sir, they are trusty: I
beseech you in the name of God not to discourage them. He that ventures
his life for the liberty of his country, I wish he trust God for the
liberty of his conscience." The storm of Bristol encouraged him to
proclaim the new principle yet more distinctly. "Presbyterians,
Independents, all here have the same spirit of faith and prayer, the
same presence and answer. They agree here, have no names of difference;
pity it is it should be otherwise anywhere. All that believe have the
real unity, which is the most glorious, being the inward and spiritual,
in the body and in the head. For being united in forms (commonly called
uniformity), every Christian will for peace' sake study and do as far as
conscience will permit. And from brethren in things of the mind we look
for no compulsion but that of light and reason." The increasing firmness
of Cromwell's language was due to the growing irritation of his
opponents. The two parties became every day more clearly defined. The
Presbyterian ministers complained bitterly of the increase of the
Sectaries, and denounced the toleration which had come into practical
existence without sanction from the law. Scotland, whose army was still
before Newark, pressed for the execution of the Covenant and the
universal enforcement of a religious uniformity. Sir Harry Vane, on the
other hand, who now headed the party which advocated religious freedom
in the Commons, strove to bring the Parliament round to less rigid
courses by the introduction of two hundred and thirty new members, who
filled the seats left vacant by the withdrawal of Royalist members, and
the more eminent of whom, such as Ireton and Algernon Sidney, were
inclined to support the Independents. But the majority in both Houses
still clung to the Tudor tradition of religious uniformity; and it was
only the pressure of the New Model, and the remonstrances of Cromwell as
its mouthpiece, that hindered any effective movement towards

[Sidenote: Charles in the Scotch camp.]

Amidst the wreck of his fortunes Charles seized on the growing discord
among his opponents as a means of retrieving all. He trusted that the
dread of revolution would at last rally the whole body of conservative
Englishmen round the royal standard; and it is likely enough that had he
frankly flung himself on the side of the Parliament at this juncture he
might have regained much of his older power. But, beaten and hunted as
he was from place to place, he was determined to regain not much but
all. The terms which the Houses offered were still severe; and Charles
believed that a little kingcraft would free him from the need of
accepting any terms whatever. He intrigued therefore busily with both
parties, and promised liberty of worship to Vane and the Independents at
the moment when he was negotiating with the Parliament and with the
Scots. His negotiations were quickened by the march of Fairfax upon
Oxford. Driven from his last refuge at the close of April 1646, the king
had to choose between a flight from the realm or a surrender to one of
the armies about him. Charles had no mind to forsake England when all
seemed working for his success; and after some aimless wanderings he
made his appearance in May in the camp of the Scots. The choice was
dexterous enough. The Parliament and the Army were still left face to
face. On the other hand the Scots were indignant at what they regarded
as a breach of faith in the toleration which existed in England, and
Charles believed that his presence would at once rekindle their loyalty
to a king of Scottish blood. But the results of his surrender were other
than he had hoped. To the world at large his action seemed simply the
prelude to an accommodation with his opponents on the ground of
religious uniformity. This new aspect of affairs threatened the party of
religious freedom with ruin. Hated as they were by the Scots, by the
Lords, by the City of London, the apparent junction of Charles with
their enemies destroyed their growing hopes in the Commons, where the
prospects of a speedy peace on Presbyterian terms at once swelled the
majority of their opponents. The two Houses laid their conditions of
peace before the king without a dream of resistance from one who seemed
to have placed himself at their mercy. They required for the Parliament
the command of the army and fleet for twenty years; the exclusion of all
"Malignants," or Royalists who had taken part in the war, from civil and
military office; the abolition of Episcopacy; and the establishment of
a Presbyterian Church. Of toleration or liberty of conscience they said
not a word.

The Scots, whose army had fallen back with its royal prize to Newcastle,
pressed these terms on the king "with tears." His friends, and even the
queen, urged their acceptance. But the aim of Charles was simply delay.
His surrender had not brought about the results he had hoped for; but he
believed that time and the dissensions of his enemies were fighting for
him. "I am not without hope," he wrote coolly, "that I shall be able to
draw either the Presbyterians or the Independents to side with me for
extirpating one another, so that I shall be really king again." With
this end he refused the terms offered by the Houses. His refusal was a
crushing defeat for the Presbyterians. "What will become of us," asked
one of them, "now that the king has rejected our proposals?" "What would
have become of us," retorted an Independent, "had he accepted them?" The
vigour of Holles and the Conservative leaders in the Parliament rallied
however to a bolder effort. It was plain that the king's game lay in
balancing the Army against the Parliament, and that the Houses could
hope for no submission to these terms so long as the New Model was on
foot. Nor could they venture in its presence to enforce religious
uniformity, or to deal as they would have wished to deal with the
theories of religious freedom which were every day becoming more
popular. But while the Scotch army lay at Newcastle, and while it held
the king in its hands, they could not insist on dismissing their own
soldiers. It was only a withdrawal of the Scots from England and their
transfer of the king's person into the hands of the Houses that would
enable them to free themselves from the pressure of their own soldiers
by disbanding the New Model.

[Sidenote: Surrender of the king.]

In his endeavour to bring these two measures about Holles met with an
unexpected success. Hopeless of success in the projects of accommodation
which they laid before the king, and unable to bring him into Scotland
in face of the refusal of the General Assembly to receive a sovereign
who would not swear to the Covenant, the Scottish army in January 1647
accepted £400,000 in discharge of its claims, handed Charles over to a
Committee of the Houses, and marched back over the Border. The success
of their diplomacy restored the confidence of the Houses. The
Presbyterian leaders looked on themselves as masters of the king, and
they resolved to assert their mastery over the New Model and the
Sectaries. They voted that the army should be disbanded, and that a new
army should be raised for the suppression of the Irish rebellion with
Presbyterian officers at its head. It was in vain that the men protested
against being severed from "officers that we love," and that the Council
of Officers strove to gain time by pressing on the Parliament the
danger of mutiny. Holles and his fellow-leaders were resolute, and their
ecclesiastical legislation showed the end at which their resolution
aimed. Direct enforcement of conformity was impossible till the New
Model was disbanded; but the Parliament pressed on in the work of
providing the machinery for enforcing it as soon as the army was gone.
Vote after vote ordered the setting up of Presbyteries throughout the
country, and the first-fruits of these efforts were seen in the
Presbyterian organization of London, and in the first meeting of its
Synod at St. Paul's. Even the officers on Fairfax's staff were ordered
to take the Covenant.

[Sidenote: Temper of the New Model.]

All hung however on the disbanding of the New Model, and the New Model
showed no will to disband itself. Its attitude can only fairly be judged
by remembering what the conquerors of Naseby really were. They were
soldiers of a different class and of a different temper from the
soldiers of any other army that the world has seen. Their ranks were
filled for the most part with young farmers and tradesmen of the lower
sort, maintaining themselves, for their pay was twelve months in arrear,
mainly at their own cost. They had been specially picked as "honest," or
religious men, and, whatever enthusiasm or fanaticism they may have
shown, their very enemies acknowledged the order and piety of their
camp. They looked on themselves not as swordsmen, to be caught up and
flung away at the will of a paymaster, but as men who had left farm and
merchandise at a direct call from God. A great work had been given them
to do, and the call bound them till it was done. Kingcraft, as Charles
was hoping, might yet restore tyranny to the throne. A more immediate
danger threatened that liberty of conscience which was to them "the
ground of the quarrel, and for which so many of their friends' lives had
been lost, and so much of their own blood had been spilt." They would
wait before disbanding till these liberties were secured, and if need
came they would again act to secure them. But their resolve sprang from
no pride in the brute force of the sword they wielded. On the contrary,
as they pleaded passionately at the bar of the Commons, "on becoming
soldiers we have not ceased to be citizens." Their aims and proposals
throughout were purely those of citizens, and of citizens who were ready
the moment their aim was won to return peacefully to their homes.
Thought and discussion had turned the army into a vast Parliament, a
Parliament which regarded itself as a representative of "godly" men in
as high a degree as the Parliament at Westminster, and which must have
become every day more conscious of its superiority in political capacity
to its rival. Ireton, the moving spirit of the New Model, had no equal
as a statesman in St. Stephen's: nor is it possible to compare the
large and far-sighted proposals of the Army with the blind and narrow
policy of the two Houses. Whatever we may think of the means by which
the New Model sought its aims, we must in justice remember that, so far
as those aims went, the New Model was in the right. For the last two
hundred years England has been doing little more than carrying out in a
slow and tentative way the scheme of political and religious reform
which the army propounded at the close of the Civil War.

[Sidenote: Its seizure of the king.]

It was not till the rejection of the officers' proposals had left little
hope of conciliation that the army acted, but its action was quick and
decisive. It set aside for all political purposes the Council of
Officers, by which its action had hitherto been directed, and elected a
new Council of Agitators or Agents, two members being named by each
regiment, which summoned a general meeting of the army at Triploe Heath,
where the proposals of pay and disbanding made by the Parliament were
rejected with cries of "Justice." While the army was gathering, in fact,
the Agitators had taken a step which put submission out of the question.
A rumour that the king was to be removed to London, a new army raised by
the Parliament in his name, and a new civil war begun, roused the
soldiers to madness. Five hundred troopers appeared on the fourth of
June before Holmby House, where the king was residing in charge of
Parliamentary Commissioners, and displaced its guards. "Where is your
commission for this act?" Charles asked the cornet who commanded them.
"It is behind me," said Joyce, pointing to his soldiers. "It is written
in very fine and legible characters," laughed the king. The seizure had
in fact been previously concerted between Charles and the Agitators. "I
will part willingly," he told Joyce, "if the soldiers confirm all that
you have promised me. You will exact from me nothing that offends my
conscience or my honour." "It is not our maxim," replied the cornet, "to
constrain the conscience of any one, still less that of our king." After
a first burst of terror at the news, the Parliament fell furiously on
Cromwell, who had relinquished his command and quitted the army before
the close of the war, and had ever since been employed as a mediator
between the two parties. The charge of having incited the mutiny fell
before his vehement protest, but he was driven to seek refuge with the
army, and on the twenty-fifth of June it was in full march upon London.
Its demands were expressed with perfect clearness in an "Humble
Representation" which it addressed to the Houses. "We desire a
settlement of the Peace of the kingdom and of the liberties of the
subject according to the votes and declarations of Parliament. We desire
no alteration in the civil government: as little do we desire to
interrupt or in the least to intermeddle with the settling of the
Presbyterial government." What they demanded in religious matters was
toleration; but "not to open a way to licentious living under pretence
of obtaining ease for tender consciences, we profess, as ever, in these
things when the State has made a settlement we have nothing to say, but
to submit or suffer." It was with a view to such a settlement that they
demanded the expulsion of eleven members from the Commons, with Holles
at their head, whom the soldiers charged with stirring up strife between
the Army and the Parliament, and with a design of renewing the civil
war. After fruitless negotiations the New Model drew close upon London;
the terror of the Londoners forced the eleven to withdraw; and the
Houses named Commissioners to treat on the questions at issue.

[Sidenote: The Army negotiates with the King.]

Though Fairfax and Cromwell had been forced from their position as
mediators into a hearty co-operation with the army, its political
direction rested at this moment with Cromwell's son-in-law, Henry
Ireton, and Ireton looked for a real settlement, not to the Parliament,
but to the king. "There must be some difference," he urged bluntly,
"between conquerors and conquered"; but the terms which he laid before
Charles were terms of studied moderation. The vindictive spirit which
the Parliament had shown against the Royalists and the Church
disappeared in the terms exacted by the New Model; and the Army
contented itself with the banishment of seven leading "delinquents," a
general Act of Oblivion for the rest, the withdrawal of all coercive
power from the clergy, the control of Parliament over the military and
naval forces for ten years, and its nomination of the great officers of
State. Behind these demands however came a masterly and comprehensive
plan of political reform which had already been sketched by the army in
the "Humble Representation," with which it had begun its march on
London. Belief and worship were to be free to all. Acts enforcing the
use of the Prayer-Book, or attendance at Church, or the enforcement of
the Covenant were to be repealed. Even Catholics, whatever other
restraints might be imposed, were to be freed from the bondage of
compulsory worship. Parliaments were to be triennial, and the House of
Commons to be reformed by a fairer distribution of seats and of
electoral rights; taxation was to be readjusted; legal procedure
simplified; a crowd of political, commercial, and judicial privileges
abolished. Ireton believed that Charles could be "so managed" (says Mrs.
Hutchinson) "as to comply with the public good of his people after he
could no longer uphold his violent will." But Charles was equally dead
to the moderation and to the wisdom of this great Act of Settlement. He
saw in the crisis nothing but an opportunity of balancing one party
against another; and believed that the Army had more need of his aid
than he of the Army's. "You cannot do without me--you are lost if I do
not support you," he said to Ireton as he pressed his proposals. "You
have an intention to be the arbitrator between us and the Parliament,"
Ireton quietly replied, "and we mean to be so between the Parliament and
your Majesty."

[Sidenote: Flight of the king.]

But the king's tone was soon explained. If London had been
panic-stricken at the approach of the army, its panic soon disappeared.
The great city was goaded to action by the humiliation of the
Parliament, and still more by the triumph of religious liberty which
seemed to be approaching through the negotiations of the Army with the
king. A mob of Londoners broke into the House of Commons and forced its
members to recall the eleven. The bulk of Vane's party, some fourteen
peers and a hundred commoners, fled to the army; while those who
remained at Westminster prepared for an open struggle with it and
invited Charles to return to London. But the news no sooner reached the
camp than the army was again on the march. "In two days," Cromwell said
coolly, "the city will be in our hands." On the sixth of August the
soldiers entered London in triumph and restored the fugitive members;
the eleven were once more expelled; and the army leaders resumed their
negotiations with the king. The indignation of the soldiers at his
delays and intrigues made their task hourly more difficult: but
Cromwell, who now threw his whole weight on Ireton's side, clung to the
hope of accommodation with a passionate tenacity. His mind, conservative
by tradition, and above all practical in temper, saw the political
difficulties which would follow on the abolition of Monarchy, and in
spite of the king's evasions he persisted in negotiating with him. But
Cromwell stood almost alone. The Parliament refused to accept Ireton's
proposals as a basis of peace; Charles still evaded; and the army grew
restless and suspicious. There were cries for a wide reform, for the
abolition of the House of Peers, for a new House of Commons; and the
Agitators called on the Council of Officers to discuss the question of
abolishing Royalty itself. Cromwell was never braver than when he faced
the gathering storm, forbade the discussion, adjourned the Council, and
sent the officers to their regiments. But the strain was too great to
last long, and Charles was still resolute to "play his game." He was in
fact so far from being in earnest in his negotiation with Cromwell and
Ireton that at the moment they were risking their lives for him he was
conducting another and equally delusive negotiation with the Parliament,
fomenting the discontent in London, and preparing for a fresh Royalist
rising. What he still more counted on was aid from the North. The
intervention of the Scots had ruined his cause, but their intervention
might again restore it. The practical suspension of the Covenant and the
triumph of the party of religious liberty in England had produced a
violent reaction across the Tweed. Argyle and the zealous Presbyterians
still clung to the alliance between the two countries, though it
disappointed their hopes; but Hamilton, who had now become a Duke, put
himself at the head of the more moderate religionists, and carried the
elections for a new Parliament. Charles at once saw the results of the
Duke's success. "The two nations," he wrote joyously, "will soon be at
war." All that was needed for the success of these schemes was his own
liberty: and in November 1647, in the midst of their hopes of an
accommodation, the army leaders learned that they had been duped
throughout, and that the king had fled.

[Sidenote: The second Civil War.]

The flight fanned the excitement of the New Model into frenzy, and only
the courage of Cromwell averted an open mutiny in its gathering at Ware.
But even Cromwell was powerless to break the spirit which now pervaded
the soldiers, and the king's perfidy left him without resources. "The
king is a man of great parts and great understanding," he said, "but so
great a dissembler and so false a man that he is not to be trusted." The
danger from his escape indeed soon passed away. By a strange error
Charles had ridden from Hampton Court to the Isle of Wight, perhaps
with some hope from the sympathy of Colonel Hammond, the Governor of
Carisbrook Castle, and again found himself a prisoner. But the wider
perils remained. Foiled in his effort to put himself at the head of the
new civil war, the king set himself to organize it from his prison; and
while again opening delusive negotiations with the two Houses he signed
a secret treaty with the Scots for the invasion of the realm. All that
Hamilton needed to bring the new Scotch Parliament to an active support
of the king was his assent to a stipulation for the re-establishment of
Presbytery in England. This Charles at last brought himself to give in
the spring of 1648, and the Scots at once ordered an army to be levied
for his support. In England the whole of the conservative party, with
many of the most conspicuous members of the Long Parliament at its head,
was drifting in its horror of the religious and political changes which
seemed impending towards the king; and at the close of May the news from
Scotland gave the signal for fitful insurrections in almost every
quarter. London was only held down by main force, old officers of the
Parliament unfurled the royal flag in South Wales, and surprised
Pembroke. The seizure of Berwick and Carlisle opened a way for the
Scotch invasion. Kent, Essex, and Hertford broke out in revolt. The
fleet in the Downs sent their captains on shore, hoisted the king's
pennon, and blockaded the Thames.

[Sidenote: The Houses and the Army.]

"The hour is come," cried Cromwell, "for the Parliament to save the
kingdom and to govern alone." But the Parliament showed no will to
"govern alone." It looked on the rising and the intervention of the
Scots as means of freeing it from the control under which it had been
writhing since the expulsion of the eleven. It took advantage of the
crisis to profess its adherence to Monarchy, to reopen the negotiations
it had broken off with the king, and to deal the fiercest blow at
religious freedom which it had ever received. The Presbyterians flocked
back to their seats; and an "Ordinance for the Suppression of
Blasphemies and Heresies," which Vane and Cromwell had long held at bay,
was passed by triumphant majorities. Any man--ran this terrible
statute--denying the doctrine of the Trinity or of the Divinity of
Christ, or that the books of Scripture are "the Word of God," or the
resurrection of the body, or a future day of judgement, and refusing on
trial to abjure his heresy, "shall suffer the pain of death." Any man
declaring (amidst a long list of other errors) "that man by nature hath
free will to turn to God," that there is a Purgatory, that images are
lawful, that infant baptism is unlawful; any one denying the obligation
of observing the Lord's day, or asserting "that the Church government by
Presbytery is antichristian or unlawful," shall, on a refusal to
renounce his errors, "be commanded to prison." It was plain that the
Presbyterians counted on the king's success to resume their policy of
conformity, and had Charles been free, or the New Model disbanded, their
hopes would probably have been realized.

[Sidenote: The Scotch Invasion.]

But Charles was still safe at Carisbrook; and the New Model was facing
fiercely the danger which surrounded it. The wanton renewal of the war
at a moment when all tended to peace swept from the mind of Fairfax and
Cromwell, as from that of the army at large, every thought of
reconciliation with the king. Soldiers and generals were at last bound
together again in a stern resolve. On the eve of their march against the
revolt all gathered in a solemn prayer-meeting, and came "to a very
clear and joint resolution, 'That it was our duty, if ever the Lord
brought us back again in peace, to call Charles Stuart, that man of
blood, to account for the blood he has shed and mischief he has done to
his utmost against the Lord's cause and people in this poor nation.'"
The stern resolve was followed by vigorous action. In a few days Fairfax
had trampled down the Kentish insurgents, and had prisoned those of the
eastern counties within the walls of Colchester, while Cromwell drove
the Welsh insurgents within those of Pembroke. Both towns however held
stubbornly out; and though a rising under Lord Holland in the
neighbourhood of London was easily put down, there was no force left to
stem the inroad of the Scots, who poured over the Border at the opening
of July some twenty thousand strong. Luckily the surrender of Pembroke
at this critical moment set Cromwell free. Pushing rapidly northward
with five thousand men, he called in a force under Lambert which had
been gallantly hanging on the Scottish flank, and pushed over the
Yorkshire hills into the valley of the Ribble, where the Duke of
Hamilton, reinforced by three thousand Royalists of the North, had
advanced as far as Preston. With an army which now numbered ten thousand
men, Cromwell poured down on the flank of the Duke's straggling line of
march, attacked the Scots on the seventeenth of August as they retired
behind the Ribble, passed the river with them, cut their rearguard to
pieces at Wigan, forced the defile at Warrington, where the flying enemy
made a last and desperate stand, and drove their foot to surrender,
while Lambert hunted down Hamilton and the horse. Fresh from its
victory, the New Model pushed over the Border, while the peasants of
Ayrshire and the West rose in a "Whiggamore raid" (notable as the first
event in which we find the name "Whig," which is possibly the same as
our "Whey," and conveys a taunt against the "sour-milk" faces of the
fanatical Ayrshiremen), and, marching upon Edinburgh, in September,
dispersed the Royalist party and again installed Argyle in power.

[Sidenote: Demand of justice on the king.]

Argyle welcomed Cromwell as a deliverer, but the victorious general had
hardly entered Edinburgh when he was recalled by pressing news from the
South. The temper with which the Parliament had met the Royalist revolt
was, as we have seen, widely different from that of the Army. It had
recalled the eleven members, and had passed the Ordinance against
heresy. At the moment of the victory at Preston the Lords were
discussing charges of treason against Cromwell, while in September
commissioners were again sent to the Isle of Wight, in spite of the
resistance of the Independents, to conclude peace with the king.
Royalists and Presbyterians alike pressed Charles to grasp the easy
terms which were now offered him. But if his hopes from Scotland had
utterly broken down, they had given place to hopes of a new war with the
aid of an army from Ireland; and the negotiators of the Houses saw forty
days wasted in useless chicanery. "Nothing," Charles wrote to his
friends, "is changed in my designs." With Ireland and Scotland on his
side, with Royalists still in arms in the eastern counties, with the
Houses at issue with the Army, and as it seemed on the point of yielding
unconditionally to the king in their dread of organic changes, he
believed that the hour of his triumph was at last at hand. But the
surrender of Colchester to Fairfax in August and Cromwell's convention
with Argyle had now set free the Army, and it at once struck fiercely at
its foes. Petitions from its regiments demanded "justice on the king." A
fresh "Remonstrance" from the Council of Officers called for the
election of a new Parliament; for electoral reform; for the recognition
of the supremacy of the Houses "in all things"; for the change of
kingship, should it be retained, into a magistracy elected by the
Parliament, and without veto on its proceedings. Above all they demanded
"that the capital and grand author of our troubles, by whose
commissions, commands, and procurements, and in whose behalf and for
whose interest only, of will and power, all our wars and troubles have
been, with all the miseries attending them, may be specially brought to
justice for the treason, blood, and mischief he is therein guilty of."

[Sidenote: Pride's Purge.]

The demand drove the Houses to despair. That the king should be forced
back into legal courses, and if need be forced by stress of arms, seemed
to the bulk of the English gentry who were ranged on the Parliament side
a necessity, though a hard necessity. But the tradition of loyalty, of
reverence for the Crown, was strong even in the men who had fought
hardest against Charles. They shrank with horror from the sight of a
king at the bar of a court of justice, or yet more on the scaffold. The
demand for a new Parliament was hardly less horrible. A new Parliament
meant the rule of the Sectaries, a revolution in the whole political and
religious system of the realm. To give way to Charles altogether, to
surrender all that the war had gained, seemed better than this. Their
reply to the Remonstrance was to accept the king's concessions,
unimportant as they were, as a basis of peace. The calculations of
Charles were verified by the surrender of his old opponents; but the
surrender came too late to save either Parliament or king. The step was
accepted by the soldiers as a defiance. On the thirtieth of November
Charles was again seized by a troop of horse, and carried off to Hurst
Castle, while a letter from Fairfax announced the march of his army upon
London. "We shall know now," said Vane, as the troops took their post
round the Houses of Parliament, "who is on the side of the king, and who
on the side of the people." But the terror of the army proved weaker
among the members than the agonized loyalty which strove to save the
monarchy and the Church; and a large majority in both Houses still voted
for the acceptance of the terms which Charles had offered. The next
morning, that of the sixth of December, saw Colonel Pride at the door of
the House of Commons with a list of forty members of the majority in his
hands. The Council of Officers had resolved to exclude them, and as each
member made his appearance he was arrested, and put in confinement. "By
what right do you act?" a member asked. "By the right of the sword,"
Hugh Peters is said to have replied. The House was still resolute, but
on the following morning forty more members were excluded, and the rest
gave way.

[Sidenote: Ruin of the Parliament.]

The sword had fallen; and the old system of English government sank
helplessly beneath the blow. The two great powers which had waged this
bitter conflict, the Parliament and the Monarchy, suddenly disappeared.
The expulsion of one hundred and forty members, in a word of the
majority of the existing House, reduced the Commons to a name. The
remnant who remained to co-operate with the army were, in the coarse
imagery of popular speech, but the "rump" of a Parliament. Their will
was no longer representative of the will of the country; their acts were
no longer national acts. They were simply the acts of a body of
partizans who had the luck to find themselves on the side of the sword.
While the House of Commons dwindled to a sham, the House of Lords passed
away altogether. The effect of Pride's Purge was seen in a resolution of
the Rump for the trial of Charles, and the nomination on the first of
January 1649 of a Court of one hundred and fifty Commissioners to
conduct it, with John Bradshaw, a lawyer of eminence, at their head. The
rejection of this Ordinance by the few peers who remained brought about
a fresh resolution from the members who remained in the Lower House,
"that the People are, under God, the original of all just power; that
the Commons of England in Parliament assembled--being chosen by, and
representing, the People--have the supreme power in this nation; and
that whatsoever is enacted and declared for law by the Commons in
Parliament assembled hath the force of a law, and all the people of this
nation are concluded thereby, although the consent and concurrence of
the king or House of Peers be not had hereunto."

[Sidenote: Death of the king.]

And with the ruin of the Parliament went the ruin of the Monarchy. On
the twentieth of January Charles appeared before Bradshaw's Court only
to deny its competence and to refuse to plead; but thirty-two witnesses
were examined to satisfy the consciences of his judges, and it was not
till the fifth day of the trial that he was condemned to death as a
tyrant, traitor, murderer, and enemy of his country. The popular
excitement vented itself in cries of "Justice," or "God save your
Majesty," as the trial went on, but all save the loud outcries of the
soldiers was hushed as, on the 30th of January 1649, Charles passed to
his doom. The dignity which he had failed to preserve in his long
jangling with Bradshaw and the judges returned at the call of death.
Whatever had been the faults and follies of his life, "he nothing
common did, nor mean, upon that memorable scene." Two masked
executioners awaited the king as he mounted the scaffold, which had been
erected outside one of the windows of the Banqueting House at Whitehall;
the streets and roofs were thronged with spectators; and a strong body
of soldiers stood drawn up beneath. His head fell at the first blow, and
as the executioner lifted it to the sight of all a groan of pity and
horror burst from the silent crowd.

[Sidenote: Abolition of Monarchy.]

The delays and hesitation which marked the action of the Commons on the
king's death showed how stunned they were by the revolution which they
were driven to bring about. To replace Charles by a new king was
impossible. His son alone would be owned as sovereign by the bulk of the
nation; and no friendship was possible between the men who now held
England in their grasp and the son of the man they had sent to the
block. But it was only slowly that they bowed to necessity. It was not
till the seventeenth of March that Monarchy was formally abolished; and
two months more elapsed before the passing of that memorable Act of the
nineteenth of May which declared "that the People of England and of all
the dominions and territories thereunto belonging are, and shall be, and
are hereby constituted, made, established, and confirmed, to be a
Commonwealth and Free State, and shall henceforth be governed as a
Commonwealth and Free State by the supreme authority of this nation, the
representatives of the People in Parliament, and by such as they shall
appoint and constitute officers and ministers for the good of the
People, and that without any king or House of Lords."




[Sidenote: Dangers of the Commonwealth.]

The news of the king's death was received throughout Europe with a
thrill of horror. The Czar of Russia chased the English envoy from his
court. The ambassador of France was withdrawn on the proclamation of the
Republic. The Protestant powers of the Continent seemed more anxious
than any to disavow all connexion with a Protestant people who had
brought their king to the block. Holland took the lead in acts of open
hostility to the new power as soon as the news of the execution reached
the Hague. The States-General waited solemnly on the Prince of Wales,
who took the title of Charles the Second, and recognized him as
"Majesty," while they refused an audience to the English envoys. Their
Stadtholder, his brother-in-law, the Prince of Orange, was supported by
popular sympathy in the aid and encouragement he afforded to Charles;
and eleven ships of the English fleet, which had found a refuge at the
Hague ever since their revolt from the Parliament, were suffered to sail
under Rupert's command, and to render the seas unsafe for English
traders. The danger however was far greater nearer home. In Scotland
even the zealous Presbyterians whom Cromwell had restored to power
refused to follow England on its rejection of monarchy. Argyle and his
fellow-leaders proclaimed Charles the Second as king on the news of his
father's death; and at once despatched an embassy to the Hague to invite
him to ascend the throne. In Ireland the factions who ever since the
rebellion had turned the country into a chaos, the old Irish Catholics
or native party under Owen Roe O'Neill, the Catholics of the English
Pale, the Episcopalian Royalists, the Presbyterian Royalists of the
North, had at last been brought to some sort of union by the diplomacy
of Ormond; and Ormond called on Charles to land at once in a country
where he would find three-fourths of its people devoted to his cause.

[Sidenote: England and the Commonwealth.]

Of the dangers which threatened the new Commonwealth some were more
apparent than real. The rivalry of France and Spain, both anxious for
its friendship, secured it from the hostility of the greater powers of
the Continent; and the ill-will of Holland could be delayed, if not
averted, by negotiations. The acceptance of the Covenant was insisted
on by Scotland before it would formally receive Charles as its ruler,
and nothing but necessity would induce him to comply with such a demand.
On the side of Ireland the danger was more pressing, and an army of
twelve thousand men was set apart for a vigorous prosecution of the
Irish war. But the real difficulties were the difficulties at home. The
death of Charles gave fresh vigour to the Royalist cause; and the
loyalty which it revived was stirred to enthusiasm by the publication of
the "Eikon Basilike," a work really due to the ingenuity of Dr. Gauden,
a Presbyterian minister, but which was believed to have been composed by
the king himself in his later hours of captivity, and which reflected
with admirable skill the hopes, the suffering, and the piety of the
royal "martyr." For a moment there were dreams of a rising, which had to
be roughly checked by the execution of the Duke of Hamilton and Lords
Holland and Capell, who had till now been confined in the Tower. But the
popular disaffection was a far more serious matter than these Royalist
intrigues. It was soon plain that the revolution which had struck down
Parliament and monarchy alike was without sanction from the nation at
large. The government of the country had been provided for by the
creation of a Council of State, consisting of forty-one members selected
from what was left of the Commons, and who were entrusted with full
executive power at home and abroad. But if the Rump consented to profit
by the work of the soldiers, it showed no will to signify its approval
of it. A majority of the members of the Council declined the oath
offered to them at their earliest meeting, pledging them to an approval
of the king's death and the establishment of the Commonwealth. In the
nation at large the repudiation of the army's work was universal. Half
the judges retired from the bench. Thousands of refusals met the demand
of an engagement to be faithful to the Republic which was made from all
beneficed clergymen and public functionaries. It was not till May, and
even then in spite of the ill-will of the citizens, that the Council
ventured to proclaim the Commonwealth in London.

[Sidenote: Designs of the Rump.]

It was plain that England had no mind to see her old parliamentary
liberties set aside for a military rule. But in truth the army itself
never dreamed of establishing such a rule. Still less did it dream of
leaving the conduct of affairs in the hands of the small body of members
who still called themselves the House of Commons, a body which numbered
hardly a hundred, and whose average attendance was little more than
fifty. In reducing it by "Pride's Purge" to the mere shadow of a House
the army had never contemplated its continuance as a permanent assembly:
it had, in fact, insisted as a condition of even its temporary
continuance that it should prepare a bill for the summoning of a fresh
Parliament. The plan, put forward by the Council of Officers is still
interesting as the basis of many later efforts towards parliamentary
reform. It advised a dissolution in the spring, the assembling every two
years of a new Parliament consisting of four hundred members, elected by
all householders rateable to the poor, and a redistribution of seats
which would have given the privilege of representation to every place of
importance. Paid military officers and civil officials were excluded
from election. The plan was apparently accepted by the Commons, and a
bill based on it was again and again discussed. But it was soon
whispered about that the House had no mind to dissolve itself. Whatever
might be the hopes of the soldiers or their leaders, the shrewder
statesmen who sate at Westminster knew that the country was eager to
undo the work that had been done; and that the first effort of a
fairly-chosen Parliament would be to put an end to the Commonwealth and
to religious liberty. Their aim therefore was to gain time; to continue
their rule till what they looked on as a passing phase of national
feeling had disappeared, and till the great results which they looked
for from their policy both at home and abroad had reconciled the nation
to the new system of government. In a witty paraphrase of the story of
Moses, Henry Marten was soon to picture the Commonwealth as a new-born
and delicate babe, and hint that "no one is so proper to bring it up as
the mother who has brought it into the world." Secret as this purpose
was kept, suspicions of it no sooner stole abroad than the popular
discontent found a mouthpiece in John Lilburne, a brave, hot-headed
soldier, and the excitement of the army appeared in a formidable mutiny
in May. But the leaders of the army set all suspicion aside. "You must
cut these people in pieces," Cromwell broke out in the Council of State,
"or they will cut you in pieces"; and a forced march of fifty miles to
Burford enabled him to burst with Fairfax on the mutinous regiments at
midnight, and to stamp out the revolt.

[Sidenote: Cromwell in Ireland.]

But resolute as he was against disorder, Cromwell went honestly with the
army in its demand of a new Parliament; he believed, and in his harangue
to the mutineers he pledged himself to the assertion, that the House
purposed to dissolve itself. In spite of the delays thrown in the way of
the bill for a new Representative body Cromwell entertained no serious
suspicion of the Parliament's design when he was summoned to Ireland by
a series of Royalist successes which left only Dublin in the hands of
the Parliamentary forces. With Scotland threatening war, and a naval
struggle impending with Holland, it was necessary that the work of the
army in Ireland should be done quickly. The temper too of Cromwell and
his soldiers was one of vengeance, for the horror of the alleged
massacre remained living in every English breast, and the revolt was
looked upon as a continuance of the massacre. "We are come," he said on
his landing, "to ask an account of the innocent blood that hath been
shed, and to endeavour to bring to an account all who by appearing in
arms shall justify the same." A sortie from Dublin had already broken up
Ormond's siege of the capital; and feeling himself powerless to keep the
field before the new army, the Marquis had thrown his best troops, three
thousand Englishmen under Sir Arthur Aston, as a garrison into Drogheda.
Cromwell landed in Ireland on the fifteenth of August 1649; and his
storm of Drogheda in September was the first of a series of awful
massacres. The garrison fought bravely, and repulsed the first attack;
but a second drove Aston and his force back to the Mill-Mount. "Our men
getting up to them," ran Cromwell's terrible despatch, "were ordered by
me to put them all to the sword. And indeed, being in the heat of
action, I forbade them to spare any that were in arms in the town, and I
think that night they put to death about two thousand men." A few fled
to St. Peter's church, "whereupon I ordered the steeple to be fired,
where one of them was heard to say in the midst of the flames: 'God damn
me, I burn, I burn.'" "In the church itself nearly one thousand were put
to the sword. I believe all their friars were knocked on the head
promiscuously but two," but these were the sole exceptions to the rule
of killing the soldiers only. At a later time Cromwell challenged his
enemies to give "an instance of one man since my coming into Ireland,
not in arms, massacred, destroyed, or banished." But for soldiers there
was no mercy. Of the remnant who surrendered through hunger, "when they
submitted, their officers were knocked on the head, every tenth man of
the soldiers killed, and the rest shipped for the Barbadoes." "I am
persuaded," the despatch ends, "that this is a righteous judgement of
God upon these barbarous wretches who have imbrued their hands in so
much innocent blood, and that it will tend to prevent the effusion of
blood for the future."

[Sidenote: Charles and the Scots.]

A detachment sufficed to relieve Derry and to quiet Ulster; and Cromwell
turned to the south, where as stout a defence was followed by as
terrible a massacre at Wexford. A fresh success at Ross brought him to
Waterford; but the city held stubbornly out, disease thinned his army,
where there was scarce an officer who had not been sick, and the general
himself was arrested by illness. At last the tempestuous weather drove
him into winter quarters at Cork with his work half done. The winter of
1649 was one of terrible anxiety. The Parliament was showing less and
less inclination to dissolve itself, and was meeting the growing
discontent by a stricter censorship of the press and a fruitless
prosecution of John Lilburne. English commerce was being ruined by the
piracies of Rupert's fleet, which now anchored at Kinsale to support the
Royalist cause in Ireland. The energy of Vane indeed had already
re-created a navy, squadrons of which were being despatched into the
British seas, the Mediterranean, and the Levant; and Colonel Blake, who
had distinguished himself by his heroic defence of Taunton during the
war, was placed at the head of a fleet which drove Rupert from the Irish
coast, and finally blockaded him in the Tagus. But even the energy of
Vane quailed before the danger which now broke on England from the
Scots. "One must go and die there," the young king cried at the news of
Ormond's defeat before Dublin, "for it is shameful for me to live
elsewhere." But his ardour for an Irish campaign cooled as Cromwell
marched from victory to victory; and from the isle of Jersey, which
alone remained faithful to him of all his southern dominions, Charles
renewed the negotiations with Scotland which his hopes from Ireland had
broken. They were again delayed by a proposal on the part of Montrose to
attack the very Government with whom his master was negotiating; but the
failure and death of the Marquis in the spring of 1650 forced Charles to
accept the Presbyterian conditions; and while an army was raised in the
North, the young king prepared to cross to his Scottish dominions.

[Sidenote: Cromwell in Scotland.]

Dismayed as they were, the English leaders resolved to anticipate the
danger by attacking the new enemy in his own home; but the Lord-General
Fairfax, while willing to defend England against a Scotch invasion,
scrupled to take the lead in an invasion of Scotland. The Council
recalled Cromwell from Ireland, but his cooler head saw that there was
yet time to finish his work in the west. During the winter he had been
busily preparing for a new campaign, and it was only after the storm of
Clonmell and the overthrow of the Irish army under Hugh O'Neill in the
hottest fight the army had yet fought, that he embarked for England. The
new Lord-General entered London amidst the shouts of a great multitude;
and in July 1650, but a month after Charles had landed on the shores of
Scotland, the English army crossed the Tweed fifteen thousand men
strong. But the terror of his massacres in Ireland hung round its
leader, the country was deserted as he advanced, and he was forced to
cling for provisions to a fleet which sailed along the coast. The Scotch
general, Leslie, with a larger force, refused battle, and lay
obstinately in his lines between Edinburgh and Leith. A march of the
English army round his position to the slopes of the Pentlands only
brought about a change of the Scottish front; and as Cromwell fell back
baffled upon Dunbar, Leslie encamped upon the heights above the town,
and cut off the English retreat along the coast by the seizure of
Cockburnspath. His post was almost unassailable, while the soldiers of
Cromwell were sick and starving; and their general had resolved on an
embarkation of his forces when he saw in the dusk of evening signs of
movement in the Scottish camp. Leslie's caution had at last been
overpowered by the zeal of the preachers, and on the morning of the
third of September the Scotch army moved down to the lower ground
between the hillside on which it was encamped and a little brook which
covered the English front. Leslie's horse was far in advance of the main
body, and it had hardly reached the level ground when Cromwell in the
dim dawn flung his whole force upon it. "They run, I profess they run!"
he cried as the Scotch horse broke after a desperate resistance, and
threw into confusion the foot who were hurrying to its aid. Then, as the
sun rose over the mist of the morning, he added in nobler words: "Let
God arise, and let His enemies be scattered! Like as the mist vanisheth,
so shalt Thou drive them away!" In less than an hour the victory was
complete. The defeat at once became a rout; ten thousand prisoners were
taken, with all the baggage and guns; three thousand were slain, with
scarce any loss on the part of the conquerors. Leslie reached Edinburgh,
a general without an army.

[Sidenote: Break with Holland.]

The effect of Dunbar was at once seen in the attitude of the
Continental powers. Spain hastened to recognize the Republic, and
Holland offered its alliance. But Cromwell was watching with anxiety the
growing discontent at home. He was anxious for a "settlement." He knew
that for such a settlement a new Parliament was necessary, and that
England would never consent to be ruled against her will by the mere
rump of members gathered at Westminster. Yet every day made it plainer
that it was their purpose to continue to rule her. The general amnesty
claimed by Ireton and the bill for the Parliament's dissolution still
hung on hand; the reform of the courts of justice, which had been
pressed by the army, failed before the obstacles thrown in its way by
the lawyers in the Commons. "Relieve the oppressed," Cromwell wrote from
Dunbar, "hear the groans of poor prisoners. Be pleased to reform the
abuses of all professions. If there be any one that makes many poor to
make a few rich, that suits not a Commonwealth." But the House was
seeking to turn the current of public opinion in favour of its own
continuance by a great diplomatic triumph. It resolved secretly on the
wild project of bringing about a union between England and Holland, and
it took advantage of Cromwell's victory to despatch Oliver St. John with
a stately embassy to the Hague. His rejection of an alliance and Treaty
of Commerce which the Dutch offered was followed by the disclosure of
the English proposal of union. The proposal was at once refused by the
States; and the envoys, who returned angrily to the Parliament,
attributed their failure to the posture of affairs in Scotland. Charles
was preparing there for a new campaign. Humiliation after humiliation
had been heaped on the young king since he landed in his northern realm.
He had subscribed to the Covenant; he had listened to sermons and
scoldings from the ministers; he was called on at last to sign a
declaration that acknowledged the tyranny of his father and the idolatry
of his mother. Hardened and shameless as he was, the young king for a
moment recoiled. "I could never look my mother in the face again," he
cried, "after signing such a paper"; but he signed. He was still however
a king only in name, shut out from the Council and the army, with his
friends excluded from all part in government or the war. But he was
freed by the victory of Dunbar. "I believe that the king will set up on
his own score now," Cromwell wrote after his victory, as he advanced to
occupy Edinburgh while the royal forces fell back upon Stirling and
Perth. With the overthrow of Leslie in fact the power of Argyle and the
narrow Presbyterians whom he led came to an end. Hamilton, the brother
and successor of the Duke who had been captured at Preston, brought back
the Royalists to the camp, and Charles insisted on taking part in the
Council and on being crowned at Scone.

[Sidenote: Worcester.]

Master of Edinburgh, but foiled in an attack on Stirling, Cromwell
waited through the winter and the long spring of 1651, while intestine
feuds broke up the nation opposed to him, and while the stricter
Covenanters retired sulkily from the king's army on the return of the
"Malignants," the Royalists of the earlier war, to its ranks. With
summer the campaign recommenced, but Leslie again fell back on his
system of positions, and Cromwell, finding his camp at Stirling
unassailable, crossed into Fife and left the road open to the South. The
bait was taken. In spite of Leslie's counsels Charles resolved to invade
England, and call the Royalist party again to revolt. He was soon in
full march through Lancashire upon the Severn, with the English horse
under Lambert hanging on his rear, and the English foot hastening by
York and Coventry to close the road to London. "We have done to the best
of our judgement," Cromwell replied to the angry alarm of the
Parliament, "knowing that if some issue were not put to this business it
would occasion another winter's war." At Coventry he learned Charles's
position, and swept round by Evesham upon Worcester, where the Scotch
king was encamped. Throwing half his force across the river, Cromwell
attacked the town on both sides on the third of September, the
anniversary of his victory at Dunbar. He led the van in person, and was
"the first to set foot on the enemy's ground." When Charles descended
from the cathedral tower to fling himself on the division which remained
eastward of the Severn, Cromwell hurried back across the river, and was
soon "riding in the midst of the fire." For four or five hours, he told
the Parliament, "it was as stiff a contest as ever I have seen"; for
though the Scots were outnumbered and beaten into the city, they gave no
answer but shot to offers of quarter, and it was not till nightfall that
all was over. The loss of the victors was as usual inconsiderable. The
conquered lost six thousand men, and all their baggage and artillery.
Leslie was among the prisoners: Hamilton among the dead. Charles himself
fled from the field; and after months of strange wanderings and
adventures made his escape to France.

[Sidenote: Activity of the Parliament.]

"Now that the king is dead and his son defeated," Cromwell said gravely
to the Parliament, "I think it necessary to come to a settlement." But
the settlement which had been promised after Naseby was still as distant
as ever after Worcester. The bill for dissolving the present Parliament,
though Cromwell pressed it in person, was only passed, after bitter
opposition, by a majority of two: and even this success had to be
purchased by a compromise which permitted the House to sit for three
years more. Internal affairs were almost at a deadlock. The Parliament
appointed committees to prepare plans for legal reforms or for
ecclesiastical reforms, but it did nothing to carry them into effect. It
was overpowered by the crowd of affairs which the confusion of the war
had thrown into its hands, by confiscations, sequestrations,
appointments to civil and military offices, in fact the whole
administration of the State; and there were times when it was driven to
a resolve not to take any private affairs for weeks together in order
that it might make some progress with public business. To add to this
confusion and muddle there were the inevitable scandals which arose from
it; charges of malversation and corruption were hurled at the members of
the House; and some, like Haselrig, were accused with justice of using
their power to further their own interests. The one remedy for all this
was, as the army saw, the assembly of a new and complete Parliament in
place of the mere "rump" of the old, but this was the one measure which
the House was resolute to avert. Vane spurred it to a new activity. In
February 1652 the Amnesty Bill was forced through after fifteen
divisions. A Grand Committee, with Sir Matthew Hale at its head, was
appointed to consider the reform of the law. A union with Scotland was
pushed resolutely forward; eight English Commissioners convoked a
Convention of delegates from its counties and boroughs at Edinburgh,
and, in spite of dogged opposition, procured a vote in favour of the
proposal. A bill was introduced which gave legal form to the union, and
admitted representatives from Scotland into the next Parliament. A
similar plan was proposed for a union with Ireland.

[Sidenote: War with Holland.]

But it was necessary for Vane's purposes not only to show the energy of
the Parliament, but to free it from the control of the army. His aim was
to raise in the navy a force devoted to the House, and to eclipse the
glories of Dunbar and Worcester by yet greater triumphs at sea. With
this view the quarrel with Holland had been carefully nursed; a
"Navigation Act," prohibiting the importation in foreign vessels of any
but the products of the countries to which they belonged, struck a fatal
blow at the carrying trade from which the Dutch drew their wealth; and
fresh debates arose from the English claim to salutes from all vessels
in the Channel. In May 1652 the two fleets met before Dover, and a
summons from Blake to lower the Dutch flag was met by the Dutch admiral,
Tromp, with a broadside. The States-General attributed the collision to
accident, and offered to recall Tromp; but the English demands rose at
each step in the negotiations till war became inevitable. The army
hardly needed the warning conveyed by the introduction of a bill for its
disbanding to understand the new policy of the Parliament. It was
significant that while accepting the bill for its own dissolution the
House had as yet prepared no plan for the assembly which was to follow
it; and the Dutch war had hardly been declared when, abandoning the
attitude of inaction which it had observed since the beginning of the
Commonwealth, the army petitioned, not only for reform in Church and
State, but for an explicit declaration that the House would bring its
proceedings to a close. The Petition forced the House to discuss a bill
for "a New Representative," but the discussion soon brought out the
resolve of the sitting members to continue as a part of the coming
Parliament without re-election. The officers, irritated by such a claim,
demanded in conference after conference an immediate dissolution, and
the House as resolutely refused. In ominous words Cromwell supported the
demand of the army. "As for the members of this Parliament, the army
begins to take them in disgust. I would it did so with less reason."
There was just ground, he urged, for discontent in their selfish greed
of houses and lands, the scandalous lives of many, their partiality as
judges, their interference with the ordinary course of law in matters of
private interest, their delay of law reform, above all in their manifest
design of perpetuating their own power. "There is little to hope for
from such men," he ended with a return to his predominant thought, "for
a settlement of the nation."

[Sidenote: Blake.]

For the moment the crisis was averted by the events of the war. A
terrible storm had separated the two fleets when on the point of
engaging in the Orkneys, but Ruyter and Blake met again in the Channel,
and after a fierce struggle the Dutch were forced to retire under cover
of night. Since the downfall of Spain Holland had been the first naval
power in the world, and the spirit of the nation rose gallantly with its
earliest defeat. Immense efforts were made to strengthen the fleet; and
the veteran, Tromp, who was replaced at its head, appeared in the
Channel with seventy-three ships of war. Blake had but half the number,
but he at once accepted the challenge, and throughout the twenty-eighth
of November the unequal fight went on doggedly till nightfall, when the
English fleet withdrew shattered into the Thames. Tromp swept the
Channel in triumph, with a broom at his masthead; and the tone of the
Commons lowered with the defeat of their favourite force. A compromise
seems to have been arranged between the two parties, for the bill
providing a new Representative was again pushed on; and the Parliament
agreed to retire in the coming November, while Cromwell offered no
opposition to a reduction of the army. But the courage of the House rose
afresh with a turn of fortune. The strenuous efforts of Blake enabled
him again to put to sea in a few months after his defeat; and in
February 1653 a running fight through four days ended at last in an
English victory, though Tromp's fine seamanship enabled him to save the
convoy he was guarding. The House at once insisted on the retention of
its power. Not only were the existing members to continue as members of
the new Parliament, thus depriving the places they represented of their
right of choosing representatives, but they were to constitute a
Committee of Revision, and in this capacity to determine the validity of
each election and the fitness of the members returned.

[Sidenote: The Parliament driven out.]

A conference took place between the leaders of the Commons and the
officers of the Army, who resolutely demanded not only the omission of
these clauses, but that the Parliament should at once dissolve itself,
and commit the new elections to a Council of State. "Our charge,"
retorted Haselrig, "cannot be transferred to any one." The conference
was adjourned till the next morning, on an understanding that no
decisive step should be taken; but it had no sooner reassembled on the
twentieth of April than the absence of the leading members confirmed the
news that Vane was fast pressing the bill for a new Representative
through the House. "It is contrary to common honesty," Cromwell angrily
broke out; and, quitting Whitehall, he summoned a company of musketeers
to follow him as far as the door of the Commons. He sate down quietly in
his place, "clad in plain grey clothes and grey worsted stockings," and
listened to Vane's passionate arguments. "I am come to do what grieves
me to the heart," he said to his neighbour, St. John; but he still
remained quiet, till Vane pressed the House to waive its usual forms and
pass the bill at once. "The time has come," he said to Harrison. "Think
well," replied Harrison, "it is a dangerous work!" and Cromwell listened
for another quarter of an hour. At the question "that this bill do
pass," he at length rose, and his tone grew higher as he repeated his
former charges of injustice, self-interest, and delay. "Your hour is
come," he ended, "the Lord hath done with you!" A crowd of members
started to their feet in angry protest. "Come, come," replied Cromwell,
"we have had enough of this"; and striding into the midst of the
chamber, he clapt his hat on his head, and exclaimed, "I will put an end
to your prating!" In the din that followed his voice was heard in broken
sentences--"It is not fit that you should sit here any longer! You
should give place to better men! You are no Parliament." Thirty
musketeers entered at a sign from their General, and the fifty members
present crowded to the door. "Drunkard!" Cromwell broke out as Wentworth
passed him; and Marten was taunted with a yet coarser name. Vane,
fearless to the last, told him his act was "against all right and all
honour." "Ah, Sir Harry Vane, Sir Harry Vane," Cromwell retorted in
bitter indignation at the trick he had been played, "you might have
prevented all this, but you are a juggler, and have no common honesty!
The Lord deliver me from Sir Harry Vane!" The Speaker refused to quit
his seat, till Harrison offered to "lend him a hand to come down."
Cromwell lifted the mace from the table. "What shall we do with this
bauble?" he said. "Take it away!" The door of the House was locked at
last, and the dispersion of the Commons was followed a few hours after
by that of their executive committee, the Council of State. Cromwell
himself summoned them to withdraw. "We have heard," replied the
President, John Bradshaw, "what you have done this morning at the House,
and in some hours all England will hear it. But you mistake, sir, if you
think the Parliament dissolved. No power on earth can dissolve the
Parliament but itself, be sure of that!"




[Sidenote: The Sword unveiled.]

The thin screen which the continuance of a little knot of
representatives had thrown over the rule of the sword was at last torn
away. So long as an assembly which called itself a House of Commons met
at Westminster, men might still cling to a belief in the existence of a
legal government. But now that even this was gone such a belief was no
longer possible. The army itself had to recognize its own position. The
dispersion of the Parliament and of the Council of State left England
without a government, for the authority of every official ended with
that of the body from which his power was derived; and Cromwell, as
Captain-General, was forced to recognize his responsibility for the
maintenance of public order. The one power left in England was the power
of the sword. But, as in the revolution of 1648, so in the revolution of
1653, no thought of military despotism can be fairly traced in the acts
of the general or the army. They were in fact far from regarding their
position as a revolutionary one. Though incapable of justification on
any formal ground, their proceedings since the establishment of the
Commonwealth had as yet been substantially in vindication of the rights
of the country to representation and self-government; and public opinion
had gone fairly with the army in its demand for a full and efficient
body of representatives, as well as in its resistance to the project by
which the Rump would have deprived half England of its right of
election. It was only when no other means existed of preventing such a
wrong that the soldiers had driven out the wrongdoers. "It is you that
have forced me to this," Cromwell exclaimed, as he drove the members
from the House; "I have sought the Lord night and day that He would
rather slay me than put me upon the doing of this work." If the act was
one of violence to the little group who claimed to be a House of
Commons, the act which it aimed at preventing was one of violence on
their part to the constitutional rights of the whole nation. The people
had in fact been "dissatisfied in every corner of the realm" at the
state of public affairs: and the expulsion of the members was ratified
by a general assent. "We did not hear a dog bark at their going," the
Protector said years afterwards. Whatever anxiety may have been felt at
the use which was like to be made of "the power of the sword," was in
great part dispelled by a proclamation of the officers. They professed
that their one anxiety was "not to grasp the power ourselves nor to keep
it in military hands, no not for a day," and their promise to "call to
the government men of approved fidelity and honesty" was to some extent
redeemed by the nomination of a provisional Council of State, consisting
of eight officers of high rank and four civilians, with Cromwell as
their head, and a seat in which was offered, though fruitlessly, to

[Sidenote: The Convention.]

The first business of such a body was clearly to summon a new Parliament
and to resign its trust into its hands. But the bill for Parliamentary
reform had dropped with the expulsion of the Rump; and reluctant as the
Council was to summon a new Parliament on the old basis of election, it
shrank from the responsibility of effecting so fundamental a change as
the creation of a new basis by its own authority. It was this difficulty
which led to the expedient of a Constituent Convention. Cromwell told
the story of this unlucky assembly some years after with an amusing
frankness. "I will come and tell you a story of my own weakness and
folly. And yet it was done in my simplicity--I dare avow it was. . . .
It was thought then that men of our own judgement, who had fought in the
wars, and were all of a piece on that account--why, surely, these men
will hit it, and these men will do it to the purpose, whatever can be
desired! And surely we did think, and I did think so--the more blame to
me!" Of the hundred and fifty-six men, "faithful, fearing God, and
hating covetousness," whose names were selected for this purpose by the
Council of State from lists furnished by the Congregational churches,
the bulk were men, like Ashley Cooper, of good blood and "free estates";
and the proportion of burgesses, such as the leather-merchant,
Praise-God Barebones, whose name was eagerly seized on as a nickname for
the body to which he belonged, seems to have been much the same as in
earlier Parliaments. But the circumstances of their choice told fatally
on the temper of its members. Cromwell himself, in the burst of rugged
eloquence with which he welcomed their assembling on the fourth of July,
was carried away by a strange enthusiasm. "Convince the nation," he
said, "that as men fearing God have fought them out of their bondage
under the regal power, so men fearing God do now rule them in the fear
of God. . . . Own your call, for it is of God: indeed it is marvellous,
and it hath been unprojected. . . . Never was a supreme power under such
a way of owning God and being owned by Him." A spirit yet more
enthusiastic appeared in the proceedings of the Convention itself.

[Sidenote: Its work.]

The resignation of their powers by Cromwell and the Council into its
hands left it the one supreme authority; but by the instrument which
convoked it provision had been made that this authority should be
transferred in fifteen months to another assembly elected according to
its directions. Its work was, in fact, to be that of a constituent
assembly, paving the way for a Parliament on a really national basis.
But the Convention put the largest construction on its commission, and
boldly undertook the whole task of constitutional reform. Committees
were appointed to consider the needs of the Church and the nation. The
spirit of economy and honesty which pervaded the assembly appeared in
its redress of the extravagance which prevailed in the civil service,
and of the inequality of taxation. With a remarkable energy it undertook
a host of reforms, for whose execution England has had to wait to our
own day. The Long Parliament had shrunk from any reform of the Court of
Chancery, where twenty-three thousand cases were waiting unheard. The
Convention proposed its abolition. The work of compiling a single code
of laws, begun under the Long Parliament by a committee with Sir Matthew
Hale at its head, was again pushed forward. The frenzied alarm which
these bold measures aroused among the lawyer class was soon backed by
that of the clergy, who saw their wealth menaced by the establishment of
civil marriage and by proposals to substitute the free contributions of
congregations for the payment of tithes. The landed proprietors too rose
against a scheme for the abolition of lay-patronage, which was favoured
by the Convention, and predicted an age of confiscation. The "Barebones
Parliament," as the assembly was styled in derision, was charged with a
design to ruin property, the Church, and the law, with enmity to
knowledge, and a blind and ignorant fanaticism.

[Sidenote: Close of the Convention.]

Cromwell himself shared the general uneasiness at its proceedings. His
mind was that of an administrator rather than that of a statesman,
unspeculative, deficient in foresight, conservative, and eminently
practical. He saw the need of administrative reform in Church and State;
but he had no sympathy whatever with the revolutionary theories which
were filling the air around him. His desire was for "a settlement" which
should be accompanied with as little disturbance of the old state of
things as possible. If Monarchy had vanished in the turmoil of war, his
experience of the Long Parliament only confirmed him in his belief of
the need of establishing an executive power of a similar kind, apart
from the power of the legislature, as a condition of civil liberty. His
sword had won "liberty of conscience"; but, passionately as he clung to
it, he was still for an established Church, for a parochial system, and
a ministry maintained by tithes. His social tendencies were simply those
of the class to which he belonged. "I was by birth a gentleman," he
told a later Parliament, and in the old social arrangement of "a
nobleman, a gentleman, a yeoman," he saw "a good interest of the nation
and a great one." He hated "that levelling principle" which tended to
the reducing of all to one equality. "What was the purport of it," he
asks with an amusing simplicity, "but to make the tenant as liberal a
fortune as the landlord? Which, I think, if obtained, would not have
lasted long. The men of that principle, after they had served their own
turns, would then have cried up property and interest fast enough." To a
practical temper such as this the speculative reforms of the Convention
were as distasteful as to the lawyers and clergy whom they attacked.
"Nothing," said Cromwell, "was in the hearts of these men but 'overturn,
overturn.'" In December however he was delivered from his embarrassment
by the internal dissensions of the Assembly itself. The day after the
decision against tithes the more conservative members snatched a vote by
surprise "that the sitting of this Parliament any longer, as now
constituted, will not be for the good of the Commonwealth, and that it
is requisite to deliver up unto the Lord-General the powers we received
from him." The Speaker placed their abdication in Cromwell's hands, and
the act was confirmed by the subsequent adhesion of a majority of the

[Sidenote: The Instrument of Government.]

The dissolution of the Convention replaced matters in the state in which
its assembly had found them; but there was still the same general
anxiety to substitute some sort of legal rule for the power of the
sword. The Convention had named during its session a fresh Council of
State, and this body at once drew up, under the name of the Instrument
of Government, a remarkable Constitution which was adopted by the
Council of Officers. They were now driven by necessity to the step from
which they had shrunk, that of convening a Parliament on the reformed
basis of representation, though such a basis had no legal sanction. The
House was to consist of four hundred members from England, thirty from
Scotland, and thirty from Ireland. The seats hitherto assigned to small
and rotten boroughs were transferred to larger constituencies, and for
the most part to counties. All special rights of voting in the election
of members were abolished, and replaced by a general right of suffrage,
based on the possession of real or personal property to the value of two
hundred pounds. Catholics and "Malignants," as those who had fought for
the king were called, were excluded for the while from the franchise.
Constitutionally all further organization of the form of government
should have been left to this Assembly; but the dread of disorder during
the interval of its election, as well as a longing for "settlement,"
drove the Council to complete their work by pressing the office of
"Protector" upon Cromwell. "They told me," he pleaded afterwards, "that
except I would undertake the government they thought things would hardly
come to a composure or settlement, but blood and confusion would break
in as before." If we follow however his own statement, it was when they
urged that the acceptance of such a Protectorate actually limited his
power as Lord-General, and "bound his hands to act nothing without the
consent of a Council until the Parliament," that the post was accepted.
The powers of the new Protector indeed were strictly limited. Though the
members of the Council were originally named by him, each member was
irremovable save by consent of the rest: their advice was necessary in
all foreign affairs, their consent in matters of peace and war, their
approval in nominations to the great offices of State, or the disposal
of the military or civil power. With this body too lay the choice of all
future Protectors. To the administrative check of the Council was added
the political check of the Parliament. Three years at the most were to
elapse between the assembling of one Parliament and another, and, once
met, it could not be prorogued or dissolved for five months. Laws could
not be made nor taxes imposed but by its authority, and after the lapse
of twenty days the statutes it passed became laws, even though the
Protector's assent was refused to them. The new Constitution was
undoubtedly popular; and the promise of a real Parliament in a few
months covered the want of any legal character in the new rule. The
Government was generally accepted as a provisional one, which could only
acquire legal authority from the ratification of its acts in the coming
session; and the desire to settle it on such a Parliamentary basis was
universal among the members of the new Assembly which met in September
1654 at Westminster.

[Sidenote: The Parliament of 1654.]

Few Parliaments have ever been more memorable, or more truly
representative of the English people, than the Parliament of 1654. It
was the first Parliament in our history where members from Scotland and
Ireland sate side by side with those from England, as they sit in the
Parliament of to-day. The members for rotten boroughs and
pocket-boroughs had disappeared. In spite of the exclusion of Royalists
and Catholics from the polling-booths, and the arbitrary erasure of the
names of a few ultra-republican members by the Council, the House had a
better title to the name of a "free Parliament" than any which had sat
before. The freedom with which the electors had exercised their right of
voting was seen indeed in the large number of Presbyterian members who
were returned, and in the reappearance of Haselrig and Bradshaw, with
many members of the Long Parliament, side by side with Lord Herbert and
the older Sir Harry Vane. The first business of the House was clearly
to consider the question of government; and Haselrig, with the fiercer
republicans, at once denied the legal existence of either Council or
Protector, on the ground that the Long Parliament had never been
dissolved. Such an argument however told as much against the Parliament
in which they sate as against the administration itself, and the bulk of
the Assembly contented themselves with declining to recognize the
Constitution or Protectorate as of more than provisional validity. They
proceeded at once to settle the government on a Parliamentary basis. The
"Instrument" was taken as the groundwork of the new Constitution, and
carried clause by clause. That Cromwell should retain his rule as
Protector was unanimously agreed; that he should possess the right of
veto or a co-ordinate legislative power with the Parliament was hotly
debated, though the violent language of Haselrig did little to disturb
the general tone of moderation. Suddenly however Cromwell interposed. If
he had undertaken the duties of Protector with reluctance, he looked on
all legal defects in his title as more than supplied by the general
acceptance of the nation. "I called not myself to this place," he urged,
"God and the people of these kingdoms have borne testimony to it." His
rule had been accepted by London, by the army, by the solemn decision of
the judges, by addresses from every shire, by the very appearance of
the members of the Parliament in answer to his writ. "Why may I not
balance this Providence," he asked, "with any hereditary interest?" In
this national approval he saw a call from God, a Divine Right of a
higher order than that of the kings who had gone before.

[Sidenote: Cromwell's administration.]

But there was another ground for the anxiety with which Cromwell watched
the proceedings of the Commons. His passion for administration had far
overstepped the bounds of a merely provisional rule in the interval
before the assembling of the Parliament. His desire for "settlement" had
been strengthened not only by the drift of public opinion, but by the
urgent need of every day; and the power reserved by the "Instrument" to
issue temporary Ordinances "until further order in such matters, to be
taken by the Parliament," gave a scope to his marvellous activity of
which he at once took advantage. Sixty-four Ordinances had been issued
in the nine months before the meeting of the Parliament. Peace had been
concluded with Holland. The Church had been set in order. The law itself
had been minutely regulated. The union with Scotland had been brought to
completion. So far was Cromwell from dreaming that these measures, or
the authority which enacted them, would be questioned, that he looked to
Parliament simply to complete his work. "The great end of your meeting,"
he said at the first assembly of its members, "is healing and
settling." Though he had himself done much, he added, "there was still
much to be done." Peace had to be made with Portugal, and alliance with
Spain. Bills were laid before the House for the codification of the law.
The plantation and settlement of Ireland had still to be completed. He
resented the setting these projects aside for constitutional questions
which, as he held, a Divine call had decided, and he resented yet more
the renewed claim advanced by Parliament to the sole power of
legislation. As we have seen, his experience of the evils which had
arisen from the concentration of legislative and executive power in the
Long Parliament had convinced Cromwell of the danger to public liberty
which lay in such a union. He saw in the joint government of "a single
person and a Parliament" the only assurance "that Parliaments should not
make themselves perpetual," or that their power should not be perverted
to public wrong.

[Sidenote: Dissolution of the Parliament.]

But whatever strength there may have been in the Protector's arguments,
the act by which he proceeded to enforce them was fatal to liberty, and
in the end to Puritanism. "If my calling be from God," he ended, "and my
testimony from the People, God and the People shall take it from me,
else I will not part from it." And he announced that no member would be
suffered to enter the House without signing an engagement "not to alter
the Government as it is settled in a single person and a Parliament." No
act of the Stuarts had been a bolder defiance of constitutional law; and
the act was as needless as it was illegal. One hundred members alone
refused to take the engagement, and the signatures of three-fourths of
the House proved that the security Cromwell desired might have been
easily procured by a vote of Parliament. But those who remained resumed
their constitutional task with unbroken firmness. They quietly asserted
their sole title to government by referring the Protector's Ordinances
to Committees for revision, and for conversion into laws. The
"Instrument of Government" was turned into a bill, debated, and after
some serious modifications read a third time. Money votes, as in
previous Parliaments, were deferred till "grievances" had been settled.
But Cromwell once more intervened. The Royalists were astir again; and
he attributed their renewed hopes to the hostile attitude which he
ascribed to the Parliament. The army, which remained unpaid while the
supplies were delayed, was seething with discontent. "It looks," said
the Protector, "as if the laying grounds for a quarrel had rather been
designed than to give the people settlement. Judge yourselves whether
the contesting of things that were provided for by this government hath
been profitable expense of time for the good of this nation." In January
1655, with words of angry reproach he declared the Parliament

[Sidenote: The Major-Generals.]

The dissolution of the Parliament of 1654 was a turning-point in the
relations of England and the army. As yet neither the people nor the
soldiers had fairly recognized the actual state of affairs. From the
revolution of 1648 the sword had been supreme, but its supremacy had
been disguised by the continuance of the Rump. When the Rump was
expelled, the military rule which followed still seemed only
provisional. The bulk of Englishmen and the bulk of the army itself
looked on its attitude as simply imposed on it by necessity, and
believed that with the assembly of a Parliament all would return to a
legal course. But the Parliament had come and gone; and the army still
refused to lay down the sword. On the contrary, it seemed at last to
resolve to grasp frankly the power which it had so long shrunk from
openly wielding. All show of constitutional rule was now at an end. The
Protectorate, deprived by its own act of all chance of legal sanction,
became a simple tyranny. Cromwell professed indeed to be restrained by
the "Instrument": but the one great restraint on his power which the
Instrument provided, the inability to levy taxes save by consent of
Parliament, was set aside on the plea of necessity. "The People," said
the Protector in words which Strafford might have uttered, "will prefer
their real security to forms." That a danger of Royalist revolt existed
was undeniable, but the danger was at once doubled by the general
discontent. From this moment, Whitelock tells us, "many sober and noble
patriots," in despair of public liberty, "did begin to incline to the
king's restoration." In the mass of the population the reaction was far
more rapid. "Charles Stuart," writes a Cheshire correspondent to the
Secretary of State, "hath five hundred friends in these adjacent
counties for every one friend to you among them." But before the
overpowering strength of the army even this general discontent was
powerless. Yorkshire, where the Royalist insurrection was expected to be
most formidable, never ventured to rise at all. There were risings in
Devon, Dorset, and the Welsh Marches, but they were quickly put down,
and their leaders brought to the scaffold. Easily however as the revolt
was suppressed, the terror of the Government was seen in the energetic
measures to which Cromwell resorted in the hope of securing order. The
country was divided into ten military governments, each with a
major-general at its head, who was empowered to disarm all Papists and
Royalists, and to arrest suspected persons. Funds for the support of
this military despotism were provided by an Ordinance of the Council of
State, which enacted that all who had at any time borne arms for the
king should pay every year a tenth part of their income, in spite of the
Act of Oblivion, as a fine for their royalist tendencies. The despotism
of the major-generals was seconded by the older expedients of tyranny.
The ejected clergy had been zealous in promoting the insurrection, and
they were forbidden in revenge to act as chaplains or as tutors. The
press was placed under a strict censorship. The payment of taxes levied
by the sole authority of the Protector was enforced by distraint; and
when a collector was sued in the courts for redress, the counsel for the
prosecution were sent to the Tower.

[Sidenote: Settlement of Scotland.]

If pardon indeed could ever be won for a tyranny, the wisdom and
grandeur with which he used the power he had usurped would win pardon
for the Protector. The greatest among the many great enterprises
undertaken by the Long Parliament had been the union of the three
Kingdoms: and that of Scotland with England had been brought about, at
the very end of its career, by the tact and vigour of Sir Harry Vane.
But its practical realization was left to Cromwell. In four months of
hard fighting General Monk brought the Highlands to a new tranquillity;
and the presence of an army of eight thousand men, backed by a line of
forts, kept the most restless of the clans in good order. The settlement
of the country was brought about by the temperance and sagacity of
Monk's successor, General Deane. No further interference with the
Presbyterian system was attempted beyond the suppression of the General
Assembly. But religious liberty was resolutely protected, and Deane
ventured even to interfere on behalf of the miserable victims whom
Scotch bigotry was torturing and burning on the charge of witchcraft.
Even steady Royalists acknowledged the justice of the Government and the
wonderful discipline of its troops. "We always reckon those eight years
of the usurpation," said Burnet afterwards, "a time of great peace and

[Sidenote: Settlement of Ireland.]

Sterner work had to be done before Ireland could be brought into real
union with its sister kingdoms. The work of conquest had been continued
by Ireton, and completed after his death by General Ludlow, as
mercilessly as it had begun. Thousands perished by famine or the sword.
Shipload after shipload of those who surrendered were sent over sea for
sale into forced labour in Jamaica and the West Indies. More than forty
thousand of the beaten Catholics were permitted to enlist for foreign
service, and found a refuge in exile under the banners of France and
Spain. The work of settlement, which was undertaken by Henry Cromwell,
the younger and abler of the Protector's sons, turned out to be even
more terrible than the work of the sword. It took as its model the
Colonization of Ulster, the fatal measure which had destroyed all hope
of a united Ireland, and had brought inevitably in its train the revolt
and the war. The people were divided into classes in the order of their
assumed guilt. All who after trial were proved to have personally taken
part in the "massacre" were sentenced to banishment or death. The
general amnesty which freed "those of the meaner sort" from all question
on other scores was far from extending to the landowners. Catholic
proprietors who had shown no goodwill to the Parliament, even though
they had taken no part in the war, were punished by the forfeiture of a
third of their estates. All who had borne arms were held to have
forfeited the whole, and driven into Connaught, where fresh estates were
carved out for them from the lands of the native clans. No such doom had
ever fallen on a nation in modern times as fell upon Ireland in its new
settlement. Among the bitter memories which part Ireland from England
the memory of the bloodshed and confiscation which the Puritans wrought
remains the bitterest; and the worst curse an Irish peasant can hurl at
his enemy is "the curse of Cromwell." But pitiless as the Protector's
policy was, it was successful in the ends at which it aimed. The whole
native population lay helpless and crushed. Peace and order were
restored, and a large incoming of Protestant settlers from England and
Scotland brought a new prosperity to the wasted country. Above all, the
legislative union which had been brought about with Scotland was now
carried out with Ireland, and thirty seats were allotted to its
representatives in the general Parliament.

[Sidenote: Settlement of England.]

In England Cromwell dealt with the Royalists as irreconcileable enemies;
but in every other respect he carried fairly out his pledge of "healing
and settling." The series of administrative reforms planned by the
Convention had been partially carried into effect before the meeting of
Parliament in 1654; but the work was pushed on after the dissolution of
the House with yet greater energy. Nearly a hundred ordinances showed
the industry of the Government. Police, public amusements, roads,
finances, the condition of prisons, the imprisonment of debtors, were a
few among the subjects which claimed Cromwell's attention. An ordinance
of more than fifty clauses reformed the Court of Chancery. The anarchy
which had reigned in the Church since the breakdown of Episcopacy and
the failure of the Presbyterian system to supply its place, was put an
end to by a series of wise and temperate measures for its
reorganization. Rights of patronage were left untouched; but a Board of
Triers, a fourth of whom were laymen, was appointed to examine the
fitness of ministers presented to livings; and a Church board of gentry
and clergy was set up in every county to exercise a supervision over
ecclesiastical affairs, and to detect and remove scandalous and
ineffectual ministers. Even by the confession of Cromwell's opponents
the plan worked well. It furnished the country with "able, serious
preachers," Baxter tells us, "who lived a godly life, of what tolerable
opinion soever they were"; and, as both Presbyterian and
Congregationalist ministers were presented to livings at the will of
their patrons, it solved so far as practical working was concerned the
problem of a religious union among Protestants on the base of a wide
variety of Christian opinion. From the Church which was thus reorganized
all power of interference with faiths differing from its own was
resolutely withheld. Save in his dealings with the Episcopalians, whom
he looked on as a political danger, Cromwell remained true throughout to
the cause of religious liberty. Even the Quaker, rejected by all other
Christian bodies as an anarchist and blasphemer, found sympathy and
protection in the Protector. The Jews had been excluded from England
since the reign of Edward the First; and a prayer which they now
presented for leave to return was refused by a commission of merchants
and divines to whom the Protector referred it for consideration. But the
refusal was quietly passed over, and the connivance of Cromwell in the
settlement of a few Hebrews in London and Oxford was so clearly
understood that no one ventured to interfere with them.

[Sidenote: Cromwell's foreign policy.]

No part of his policy is more characteristic of Cromwell's mind, whether
in its strength or in its weakness, than his management of foreign
affairs. While England had been absorbed in her long and obstinate
struggle for freedom the whole face of the world around her had changed.
The Thirty Years War was over. The victories of Gustavus, and of the
Swedish generals who followed him, had been seconded by the policy of
Richelieu and the intervention of France. Protestantism in Germany was
no longer in peril from the bigotry or ambition of the House of Austria;
and the Treaty of Westphalia had drawn a permanent line between the
territories belonging to the adherents of the old religion and the new.
There was little danger indeed now to Europe from the great Catholic
House which had threatened its freedom ever since Charles the Fifth. Its
Austrian branch was called away from dreams of aggression in the west to
a desperate struggle with the Turk for the possession of Hungary and the
security of Austria itself. Spain, from causes which it is no part of
our present story to detail, was falling into a state of strange
decrepitude. So far from aiming to be mistress of Europe, she was
rapidly sinking into the almost helpless prey of France. It was France
which had now become the dominant power in Christendom, though her
position was far from being as commanding as it was to become under
Lewis the Fourteenth. The peace and order which prevailed after the
cessation of the religious troubles throughout her compact and fertile
territory gave scope at last to the quick and industrious temper of the
French people; while her wealth and energy were placed by the
centralizing administration of Henry the Fourth, of Richelieu, and of
Mazarin, almost absolutely in the hands of the Crown. Under the three
great rulers who have just been named her ambition was steadily directed
to the same purpose of territorial aggrandizement, and though limited as
yet to the annexation of the Spanish and Imperial territories which
still parted her frontier from the Pyrenees, the Alps, and the Rhine, a
statesman of wise political genius would have discerned the beginning of
that great struggle for supremacy over Europe at large which was only
foiled by the genius of Marlborough and the victories of the Grand

[Sidenote: Cromwell and Spain.]

But in his view of European politics Cromwell was misled by the
conservative and unspeculative temper of his mind as well as by the
strength of his religious enthusiasm. Of the change in the world around
him he seems to have discerned nothing. He brought to the Europe of
Mazarin the hopes and ideas with which all England was thrilling in his
youth at the outbreak of the Thirty Years War. Spain was still to him
"the head of the Papal Interest," whether at home or abroad. "The
Papists in England," he said to the Parliament of 1656, "have been
accounted, ever since I was born, Spaniolized; they never regarded
France, or any other Papist state, but Spain only." The old English
hatred of Spain, the old English resentment at the shameful part which
the nation had been forced to play in the great German struggle by the
policy of James and of Charles, lived on in Cromwell, and was only
strengthened by the religious enthusiasm which the success of Puritanism
had kindled within him. "The Lord Himself," he wrote to his admirals as
they sailed to the West Indies, "hath a controversy with your enemies;
even with that Romish Babylon of which the Spaniard is the great
underpropper. In that respect we fight the Lord's battles." What Sweden
had been under Gustavus, England, Cromwell dreamed, might be now--the
head of a great Protestant League in the struggle against Catholic
aggression. "You have on your shoulders," he said to the Parliament of
1654, "the interest of all the Christian people of the world. I wish it
may be written on our hearts to be zealous for that interest." The first
step in such a struggle would necessarily be to league the Protestant
powers together, and Cromwell's earliest efforts were directed to bring
the ruinous and indecisive quarrel with Holland to an end. The
fierceness of the strife had grown with each engagement; but the hopes
of Holland fell with her admiral, Tromp, who received a mortal wound at
a moment when he had succeeded in forcing the English line; and the
skill and energy of his successor, De Ruyter, struggled in vain to
restore her waning fortunes. She was saved by the expulsion of the Long
Parliament, which had persisted in its demand for a political union of
the two countries; and the new policy of Cromwell was seen in the
conclusion of peace. The peace indeed was dearly bought. Not only did
the United Provinces recognize the supremacy of the English flag in the
British seas, and submit to the Navigation Act, but Holland pledged
itself to shut out the House of Orange from power, and thus relieved
England from the risk of seeing a Stuart restoration supported by Dutch

[Sidenote: War with Spain.]

The peace which was concluded with the Dutch in 1654 was followed by the
conclusion of like treaties with Sweden and with Denmark; and on the
arrival of a Swedish envoy with offers of a league of friendship
Cromwell endeavoured to bring the Dutch, the Brandenburgers, and the
Danes into a confederation of the Protestant powers. His efforts in this
direction however, though they never wholly ceased, remained fruitless;
but the Protector was resolute to carry out his plans single-handed. The
defeat of the Dutch had left England the chief sea-power of the world;
and in the first days of 1655, before the dissolution of the Parliament,
two fleets put to sea with secret instructions. The first, under Blake,
appeared in the Mediterranean, exacted reparation from Tuscany for
wrongs done to English commerce, bombarded Algiers, and destroyed the
fleet with which its pirates had ventured through the reign of Charles
to insult the English coast. The thunder of Blake's guns, every Puritan
believed, would be heard in the castle of St. Angelo, and Rome itself
would have to bow to the greatness of Cromwell. But though no
declaration of war had been issued against Spain, the true aim of both
expeditions was an attack on that power; and the attack proved
singularly unsuccessful. Though Blake sailed to the Spanish coast, he
failed to intercept the treasure fleet from America; and the second
expedition, which made its way to the West Indies, was foiled in a
descent on St. Domingo. It conquered Jamaica in May; but the conquest of
this lesser island, important as it really was in breaking through the
monopoly of the New World in the South which Spain had till now enjoyed,
seemed at the time but a poor result for the vast expenditure of money
and blood. The leaders of the expedition, Blake and Venables, were
committed to the Tower on their return in September; but Cromwell found
himself at war with Spain, and thrown whether he would or no into the
hands of Mazarin.

[Sidenote: Parliament of 1655.]

In October 1655 he was forced to sign a treaty of alliance with France;
while the cost of his abortive expeditions drove him again to face a
Parliament. But Cromwell no longer trusted, as in his earlier
Parliament, to freedom of election. The sixty members who were returned
under the Ordinances of union by Scotland and Ireland were simply
nominees of the Government. Its whole influence was exerted to secure
the return of the more conspicuous members of the Council of State. It
was calculated that of the members returned one-half were bound to the
Government by ties of profit or place. But Cromwell was still
unsatisfied. A certificate of the Council was required from each member
before admission to the House when it met in September 1656; and a
fourth of the whole number returned--one hundred in all, with Haselrig
at their head--were by this means excluded on grounds of disaffection or
want of religion. To these arbitrary acts of violence the House replied
only by a course of singular moderation and wisdom. From the first it
disclaimed any purpose of opposing the Government. One of its earliest
acts provided securities for Cromwell's person, which was threatened by
constant plots of assassination. It supported him in his war policy, and
voted supplies of unprecedented extent for the maintenance of the
struggle. It was this attitude of loyalty which gave force to its steady
refusal to sanction the system of tyranny which had practically placed
England under martial law. In his opening address Cromwell boldly took
his stand in support of the military despotism wielded by the
major-generals. "It hath been more effectual towards the
discountenancing of vice and settling religion than anything done these
fifty years. I will abide by it," he said, with singular vehemence,
"notwithstanding the envy and slander of foolish men. I could as soon
venture my life with it as with anything I ever undertook. If it were to
be done again, I would do it." But no sooner had a bill been introduced
into Parliament to confirm the proceedings of the major-generals than a
long debate showed the temper of the Commons. They had resolved to
acquiesce in the Protectorate, but they were equally resolved to bring
it again to a legal mode of government. This indeed was the aim of even
Cromwell's wiser adherents. "What makes me fear the passing of this
Act," one of them wrote to his son Henry, "is that thereby his Highness'
government will be more founded in force, and more removed from that
natural foundation which the people in Parliament are desirous to give
him, supposing that he will become more theirs than now he is." The bill
was rejected, and Cromwell bowed to the feeling of the nation by
withdrawing the powers of the major-generals.

[Sidenote: Offer of the Crown to Cromwell.]

But the defeat of the tyranny of the sword was only a step towards a far
bolder effort for the restoration of the power of the law. It was no
mere pedantry, still less was it vulgar flattery, which influenced the
Parliament in their offer to Cromwell of the title of king. The
experience of the last few years had taught the nation the value of the
traditional forms under which its liberties had grown up. A king was
limited by constitutional precedents. "The king's prerogative," it was
well urged, "is under the courts of justice, and is bounded as well as
any acre of land, or anything a man hath." A Protector, on the other
hand, was new in our history, and there were no traditional means of
limiting his power. "The one office being lawful in its nature," said
Glynne, "known to the nation, certain in itself, and confined and
regulated by the law, and the other not so--that was the great ground
why the Parliament did so much insist on this office and title." Under
the name of Monarchy, indeed, the question really at issue between the
party headed by the officers and the party led by the lawyers in the
Commons was that of the restoration of constitutional and legal rule. In
March 1657 the proposal was carried by an overwhelming majority, but a
month passed in endless consultations between the Parliament and the
Protector. His good sense, his knowledge of the general feeling of the
nation, his real desire to obtain a settlement which should secure the
ends for which Puritanism fought, political and religious liberty,
broke, in conference after conference, through a mist of words. But his
real concern throughout was with the temper of the army. Under whatever
spurious disguises he cloaked the true nature of his government from the
world, Cromwell knew well that it was a sheer government of the sword,
that he was without hold upon the nation, and that the discontent of
his soldiery would at once shake the fabric of his power. He vibrated to
and fro between his sense of the political advantages of such a
settlement, and his sense of its impossibility in face of the mood of
the army. His soldiers, he said, were no common swordsmen. They were
"godly men, men that will not be beaten down by a worldly and carnal
spirit while they keep their integrity"; men in whose general voice he
recognized the voice of God. "They are honest and faithful men," he
urged, "true to the great things of the Government. And though it really
is no part of their goodness to be unwilling to submit to what a
Parliament shall settle over them, yet it is my duty and conscience to
beg of you that there may be no hard things put upon them which they
cannot swallow. I cannot think God would bless an undertaking of
anything which would justly and with cause grieve them."

[Sidenote: Inauguration of the Protector.]

The temper of the army was soon shown. Its leaders, with Lambert,
Fleetwood, and Desborough at their head, placed their commands in
Cromwell's hands. A petition from the officers to Parliament demanded
the withdrawal of the proposal to restore the Monarchy, "in the name of
the old cause for which they had bled"; and on the eighth of May
Cromwell anticipated the coming debate on this petition, a debate which
might have led to an open breach between the Army and the Commons, by a
refusal of the crown. "I cannot undertake this Government," he said,
"with that title of king; and that is my answer to this great and
weighty business." Disappointed as it was, the Parliament with singular
self-restraint turned to other modes of bringing about its purpose. The
offer of the crown had been coupled with the condition of accepting a
constitution, which was a modification of the Instrument of Government
adopted by the Parliament of 1654, and this Constitution Cromwell
emphatically approved. "The things provided by this Act of Government,"
he owned, "do secure the liberties of the people of God as they never
before have had them." With a change of the title of king into that of
Protector, the Act of Government now became law: and the solemn
inauguration of the Protector by the Parliament on the twenty-sixth of
June was a practical acknowledgement on the part of Cromwell of the
illegality of his former rule. In the name of the Commons the Speaker
invested him with a mantle of State, placed the sceptre in his hand, and
girt the sword of justice by his side. By the new Act of Government
Cromwell was allowed to name his own successor, but in all after cases
the office was to be an elective one. In every other respect the forms
of the older Constitution were carefully restored. Parliament was again
to consist of two Houses, the seventy members of "the other House" being
named by the Protector. The Commons regained their old right of
exclusively deciding on the qualification of their members.
Parliamentary restrictions were imposed on the choice of members of the
Council, and Officers of State or of the army. A fixed revenue was voted
to the Protector, and it was provided that no moneys should be raised
but by assent of Parliament. Liberty of worship was secured for all but
Papists, Prelatists, Socinians, or those who denied the inspiration of
the Scriptures; and liberty of conscience was secured for all.

[Sidenote: Cromwell's triumphs.]

The adjournment of the House after his inauguration in the summer of
1657 left Cromwell at the height of his power. He seemed at last to have
placed his government on a legal and national basis. The ill-success of
his earlier operations abroad was forgotten in a blaze of glory. On the
eve of the Parliament's assembly one of Blake's captains had managed to
intercept a part of the Spanish treasure fleet. At the close of 1656 the
Protector seemed to have found the means of realizing his schemes for
rekindling the religious war throughout Europe in a quarrel between the
Duke of Savoy and his Protestant subjects in the valleys of Piedmont. A
ruthless massacre of these Vaudois by the Duke's troops roused deep
resentment throughout England, a resentment which still breathes in the
noblest of Milton's sonnets. While the poet called on God to avenge his
"slaughtered saints, whose bones lie scattered on the Alpine mountains
cold," Cromwell was already busy with the work of earthly vengeance. An
English envoy appeared at the Duke's court with haughty demands of
redress. Their refusal would have been followed by instant war, for the
Protestant Cantons of Switzerland were bribed into promising a force of
ten thousand men for an attack on Savoy. The plan was foiled by the cool
diplomacy of Mazarin, who forced the Duke to grant Cromwell's demands;
but the apparent success of the Protector raised his reputation at home
and abroad. The spring of 1657 saw the greatest as it was the last of
the triumphs of Blake. He found the Spanish Plate fleet guarded by
galleons in the strongly-armed harbour of Santa Cruz; and on the
twentieth of April he forced an entrance into the harbour and burnt or
sank every ship within it. Triumphs at sea were followed by a triumph on
land. Cromwell's demand of Dunkirk, which had long stood in the way of
any acceptance of his offers of aid, was at last conceded; and in May
1657 a detachment of the Puritan army joined the French troops who were
attacking Flanders under the command of Turenne. Their valour and
discipline were shown by the part they took in the capture of Mardyke in
the summer of that year; and still more in the June of 1658 by the
victory of the Dunes, a victory which forced the Flemish towns to open
their gates to the French, and gave Dunkirk to Cromwell.

[Sidenote: Cromwell's theory.]

Never had the fame of an English, ruler stood higher; but in the midst
of his glory the hand of death was falling on the Protector. He had long
been weary of his task. "God knows," he had burst out to the Parliament
a year before, "God knows I would have been glad to have lived under my
woodside, and to have kept a flock of sheep, rather than to have
undertaken this government." Amidst the glory of his aims, Cromwell's
heart was heavy with this sense of failure. Whatever dreams of personal
ambition had mingled with his aim, his aim had in the main been a high
and unselfish one; in the course that seems to modern eyes so strange
and complex he had seen the leading of a divine hand that drew him from
the sheepfolds to mould England into a people of God. What convinced him
that the nation was called by a divine calling was the wonder which men
felt at every step in its advance. The England which he saw around him
was not an England which Pym or Hampden had foreseen, which Vane in his
wildest dreams had imagined, or for which the boldest among the soldiers
of the New Model had fought. Step by step the nation had been drawn to
changes from which it shrank, to principles which it held in horror.
When the struggle began the temper of the men who waged it was a
strictly conservative temper; they held themselves to be withstanding
the revolutionary changes of the king, to be vindicating the existing
constitution both of Church and State. But the strife had hardly opened
when they were drawn by very need to a revolutionary platform. What men
found themselves fighting for at Edgehill and Marston Moor was the
substitution of government by the will of the nation for government by
the will of the king, and a setting aside of the religious compromise
embodied in the Church of the Tudors for a Church which was the mere
embodiment of the Puritan section of the people at large. Defeat drove
England to the New Model; and again it found itself drawn to a new
advance. No sooner was the sword in the hand of the "Godly," than the
conception of religious purity widened into that of religious liberty,
and the thought of a nation self-governed into the dream of a kingdom of
God. Dunbar and Worcester, the strife with the Houses, the final strife
with the king, turned the dream into a practical policy. Every obstacle
fell before it. Episcopal Church and Presbyterian Church alike passed
away. The loyalty of the nation, the stubborn efforts of Cromwell and
Ireton, failed to uphold the Monarchy. Lords and Commons fell in the
very moment of their victory over the king. Desperately as men clung to
the last shadow of a Parliament, the victories of Blake, the
statesmanship of Vane, failed to preserve the life of the Rump. In the
crash of every political and religious institution the Army found itself
the one power in the land, and the dream of its soldiers grew into a
will to set up on earth a Commonwealth of the Saints.

[Sidenote: The Puritan State.]

In this resolve Cromwell was at one with the New Model. Like every
soldier in his army, he held that by the victories God had given them He
had "so called them to look after the government of the land, and so
entrusted them with the welfare of all His people, that they were
responsible for it, and might not in conscience stand still while
anything was done which they thought was against the interest of the
people of God." But he never doubted that the nation would own its
calling as zealously as his soldiers did. He had no wish to change the
outer form of its political or its social life; he would maintain social
distinctions as he would maintain Parliaments. But the old institutions
must be penetrated with a new spirit. Conscience and worship must be
free. Holiness must be the law of England's life. Its rulers must be
found among "godly men," and their rule must be widened beyond the
common sphere of temporal government. The old distinctions of the
secular and the spiritual world must be done away. In public and in
private life the new government must enforce obedience to the will of
God. Socially such a theory seemed realized at last in the
administration of the major-generals. Never had Cromwell been so
satisfied. The "malignants" who had so long trodden pious men under
foot lay helpless at the feet of the godly. The "Cavalier interest,"
which was but "the badge and character of countenancing profaneness,
disorder, and wickedness in all places," was crushed and powerless.
"Christian men" reigned supreme. Cromwell recalled how "it was a shame
to be a Christian within these fifteen, sixteen, or seventeen years in
this nation. It was a shame, it was a reproach to a man; and the badge
of Puritan was put upon it!" But the shame and reproach were now rolled
away. The Puritan was master in the land. All government was in the
hands of godly men. Piety was as needful for an officer in the army, for
a magistrate, for a petty constable, as for a minister of religion. The
aim of the Protector was that England should be ruled and administered
by "the best," by men ruling and administering in the fear of God. In
Church as in State all that such men had longed to do could now be done.
Superstitious usages were driven from the churches. No minister wore a
surplice. No child was signed in baptism with a cross. The very pastimes
of the world had to conform themselves to the law of God. The theatres
were closed. Sunday sports were summarily abolished. There were no more
races, no more bull-baitings, no more cock-fighting, no more dances
under the Maypole. Christmas had to pass without its junketings, or
mummers, or mince-pies.

[Sidenote: Its failure.]

To the eyes of mere zealots the work of Puritanism seemed done. But
Cromwell was no mere zealot. Strangely mingled with the enthusiasm of
his temper was a cool, passionless faculty of seeing things as they
actually were about him; and he saw that in its very hour of triumph the
cause he loved was losing ground. From this effort to turn England into
a kingdom of God England itself stood aloof. Its traditional instincts
were outraged by the wreck of its institutions, its good sense by the
effort to enforce godliness by civil penalties, its self-respect by the
rule of the sword. Never had England shown a truer nobleness than when
it refused to be tempted from the path of freedom even by the genius of
Cromwell, never a truer wisdom than when it refused to be lured from its
tradition of practical politics by the dazzling seductions of the
Puritan ideal. And not only did the nation stand aloof from Cromwell's
work, but its opposition grew hourly stronger. The very forces which
seemed to have been annihilated by the Civil War drew a fresh life from
the national ill-will to their conquerors. Men forgot the despotism of
the Monarchy when the Monarchy and the Parliament lay wrecked in a
common ruin. They forgot the tyranny of Laud when the Church was
trampled under foot by men who trampled under foot the constitution. By
a strange turn of fortune the restoration of the Church and of the Crown
became identified with the restoration of legal government and with the
overthrow of a rule of brute force. And for such a restoration the vast
majority of the nation were longing more and more. The old enmities of
party and sect were forgotten in the common enmity of every party and
every sect to the tyranny of the sword. A new national unity was
revealing itself, as one jarring element after another came in to swell
the mass of the national opposition to the system of the Protectorate.
The moderate Royalist joined hands with the Cavalier, the steady
Presbyterian came to join the moderate Royalist, and their ranks were
swelled at last by the very founders of the Commonwealth. Nothing marked
more vividly the strength of the reaction against the Protector's system
than the union in a common enmity of Vane and Haselrig with the
partizans of the Stuart pretender.

[Sidenote: The Scientific Movement.]

It was the steady rise of this tide of opposition in which Cromwell saw
the doom of his cause. That it could permanently be upheld by the sword
he knew to be impossible. What he had hoped for was the gradual winning
of England to a sense of its worth. But every day the current of opinion
ran more strongly against it. The army stood alone in its purpose.
Papist and sceptic, mystic and ceremonialist, latitudinarian and
Presbyterian, all were hostile. The very pressure of Cromwell's system
gave birth to new forms of spiritual and intellectual revolt. Science,
rationalism, secularism, sprang for the first time into vivid life in
their protest against the forced concentration of human thought on the
single topic of religion, the effort to prison religion itself in a
system of dogma, and to narrow humanity with all its varied interests
within the sphere of the merely spiritual. Nothing is more significant,
though to Cromwell nothing would have been more unintelligible, than the
simple story which tells us how from the vexed problems, political and
religious, of the times, men turned to the peaceful study of the natural
world about them. Bacon had already called men with a trumpet-voice to
such studies; but in England at least Bacon stood before his age. The
beginnings of physical science were more slow and timid there than in
any country of Europe. Only two discoveries of any real value came from
English research before the Restoration: the first, Gilbert's discovery
of terrestrial magnetism in the close of Elizabeth's reign; the next,
the great discovery of the circulation of the blood, which was taught by
Harvey in the reign of James. Apart from these illustrious names England
took little share in the scientific movement of the Continent; and her
whole energies seemed to be whirled into the vortex of theology and
politics by the Civil War.

But the war had not reached its end when, in 1645, a little group of
students were to be seen in London, men "inquisitive," says one of them,
"into natural philosophy and other parts of human learning, and
particularly of what had been called the New Philosophy . . . which from
the times of Galileo at Florence, and Sir Francis Bacon (Lord Verulam)
in England, hath been much cultivated in Italy, France, Germany, and
other parts abroad, as well as with us in England." The strife of the
time indeed aided in directing the minds of men to natural inquiries.
"To have been always tossing about some theological question," says the
first historian of the Royal Society, Bishop Sprat, "would have been to
have made that their private diversion, the excess of which they
disliked in the public. To have been eternally musing on civil business
and the distresses of the country was too melancholy a reflection. It
was nature alone which could pleasantly entertain them in that estate."
Foremost in the group stood Doctors Wallis and Wilkins, whose removal to
Oxford, which had just been reorganized by the Puritan Visitors, divided
the little company in 1648 into two societies, one at the university,
the other remaining at the capital. The Oxford society, which was the
more important of the two, held its meetings at the lodgings of Dr.
Wilkins, who had become Warden of Wadham College; and added to the names
of its members that of the eminent mathematician Dr. Ward, and that of
the first of English economists, Sir William Petty. "Our business,"
Wallis tells us, "was (precluding matters of theology and State affairs)
to discourse and consider of philosophical enquiries and such as
related thereunto, as Physick, Anatomy, Geometry, Astronomy, Navigation,
Statics, Magnetics, Chymicks, Mechanicks, and Natural Experiments: with
the state of these studies, as then cultivated at home and abroad. We
then discoursed of the circulation of the blood, the valves in the _venæ
lacteæ_, the lymphatic vessels, the Copernican hypothesis, the nature of
comets and new stars, the satellites of Jupiter, the oval shape of
Saturn, the spots in the sun and its turning on its own axis, the
inequalities and selenography of the moon, the several phases of Venus
and Mercury, the improvement of telescopes, the grinding of glasses for
that purpose, the weight of air, the possibility or impossibility of
vacuities, and Nature's abhorrence thereof, the Torricellian experiment
in quicksilver, the descent of heavy bodies and the degree of
acceleration therein, and divers other things of like nature."

[Sidenote: The Latitudinarians.]

To what great results this protest against the Puritan concentration of
all human thought on spiritual issues was to lead none could foresee.
But results almost as great were to spring from the protest against the
Puritan dogmatism which gave birth to the Latitudinarians. Whatever
verdict history may pronounce on Falkland's political career, his name
must remain memorable in the history of religious thought. A new era in
English theology began with the speculations of the men he gathered
round him in his country house at Great Tew in the years that preceded
the meeting of the Long Parliament. Their work was above all to deny the
authority of tradition in matters of faith, as Bacon had denied it in
matters of physical research; and to assert in the one field as in the
other the supremacy of reason as a test of truth. Of the authority of
the Church, its Fathers, and its Councils, John Hales, a Canon of
Windsor, and a friend of Laud, said briefly, "It is none." He dismissed
with contempt the accepted test of universality. "Universality is such a
proof of truth as truth itself is ashamed of. The most singular and
strongest part of human authority is properly in the wisest and the most
virtuous, and these, I trow, are not the most universal." William
Chillingworth, a man of larger if not keener mind, had been taught by an
early conversion to Catholicism, and by a speedy return, the insecurity
of any basis for belief but that of private judgement. In his "Religion
of Protestants" he set aside ecclesiastical tradition or Church
authority as grounds of faith in favour of the Bible, but only of the
Bible as interpreted by the common reason of men. Jeremy Taylor, the
most brilliant of English preachers, a sufferer like Chillingworth on
the Royalist side during the troubles, and who was rewarded at the
Restoration with the bishopric of Down, limited even the authority of
the Scriptures themselves. Reason was the one means which Taylor
approved of in interpreting the Bible; but the certainty of the
conclusions which reason drew from the Bible varied, as he held, with
the conditions of reason itself. In all but the simplest truths of
natural religion "we are not sure not to be deceived." The deduction of
points of belief from the words of the Scriptures was attended with all
the uncertainty and liability to error which sprang from the infinite
variety of human understandings, the difficulties which hinder the
discovery of truth, and the influences which divert the mind from
accepting or rightly estimating it.

It was plain to a mind like Chillingworth's that this denial of
authority, this perception of the imperfection of reason in the
discovery of absolute truth, struck as directly at the root of
Protestant dogmatism as at the root of Catholic infallibility. "If
Protestants are faulty in this matter [of claiming authority] it is for
doing it too much and not too little. This presumptuous imposing of the
senses of man upon the words of God, of the special senses of man upon
the general words of God, and laying them upon men's consciences
together under the equal penalty of death and damnation, this vain
conceit that we can speak of the things of God better than in the words
of God, this deifying our own interpretations and tyrannous enforcing
them upon others, this restraining of the word of God from that latitude
and generality, and the understandings of men from that liberty wherein
Christ and His apostles left them, is and hath been the only foundation
of all the schisms of the Church, and that which makes them immortal."
In his "Liberty of Prophesying" Jeremy Taylor pleaded the cause of
toleration with a weight of argument which hardly required the triumph
of the Independents and the shock of Naseby to drive it home. But the
freedom of conscience which the Independent founded on the personal
communion of each soul with God, the Latitudinarian founded on the
weakness of authority and the imperfection of human reason. Taylor
pleads even for the Anabaptist and the Romanist. He only gives place to
the action of the civil magistrate in "those religions whose principles
destroy government," and "those religions--if there be any such--which
teach ill life." Hales openly professed that he would quit the Church
to-morrow if it required him to believe that all that dissented from it
must be damned. Chillingworth denounced persecution in words of fire.
"Take away this persecution, burning, cursing, damning of men for not
subscribing the words of men as the words of God; require of Christians
only to believe Christ and to call no man master but Him; let them leave
claiming infallibility that have no title to it, and let them that in
their own words disclaim it, disclaim it also in their actions. . . .
Protestants are inexcusable if they do offer violence to other men's

From the denunciation of intolerance the Latitudinarians passed easily
to the dream of comprehension which had haunted every nobler soul since
the "Utopia" of More. Hales based his loyalty to the Church of England
on the fact that it was the largest and the most tolerant Church in
Christendom. Chillingworth pointed out how many obstacles to
comprehension were removed by such a simplification of belief as flowed
from a rational theology, and asked, like More, for "such an ordering of
the public service of God as that all who believe the Scripture and live
according to it might without scruple or hypocrisy or protestation in
any part join in it." Taylor, like Chillingworth, rested his hope of
union on the simplification of belief. He saw a probability of error in
all the creeds and confessions adopted by Christian Churches. "Such
bodies of confessions and articles," he said, "must do much hurt." "He
is rather the schismatic who makes unnecessary and inconvenient
impositions, than he who disobeys them because he cannot do otherwise
without violating his conscience." The Apostles' Creed in its literal
meaning seemed to him the one term of Christian union which the Church
had any right to impose.

[Sidenote: Hobbes.]

The impulse which such men were giving to religious speculation was
being given to political and social inquiry by a mind of far greater
keenness and power. Bacon's favourite secretary was Thomas Hobbes. "He
was beloved by his Lordship," Aubrey tells us, "who was wont to have him
walk in his delicate groves, where he did meditate; and when a notion
darted into his mind, Mr. Hobbes was presently to write it down. And his
Lordship was wont to say that he did it better than any one else about
him; for that many times when he read their notes he scarce understood
what they writ, because they understood it not clearly themselves." The
long life of Hobbes covers a memorable space in our history. He was born
in the year of the victory over the Armada; he died in 1679 at the age
of ninety-two, only nine years before the Revolution. His ability soon
made itself felt, and in his earlier days he was the secretary of Bacon,
and the friend of Ben Jonson and Lord Herbert of Cherbury. But it was
not till the age of fifty-four, when he withdrew to France on the eve of
the great Rebellion in 1642, that his speculations were made known to
the world in his treatise "De Cive." He joined the exiled Court at
Paris, and became mathematical tutor to Charles the Second, whose love
and regard for him seem to have been real to the end. But his post was
soon forfeited by the appearance of his "Leviathan" in 1651; he was
forbidden to approach the Court, and returned to England, where he
appears to have acquiesced in the rule of Cromwell.

[Sidenote: His political speculations.]

The Restoration brought Hobbes a pension; but both his works were
condemned by Parliament, and "Hobbism" became, ere he died, a popular
synonym for irreligion and immorality. Prejudice of this kind sounded
oddly in the case of a writer who had laid down, as the two things
necessary to salvation, faith in Christ and obedience to the law. But
the prejudice sprang from a true sense of the effect which the Hobbist
philosophy must necessarily have whether on the current religion or on
the current notions of political and social morality. Hobbes was the
first great English writer who dealt with the science of government from
the ground, not of tradition, but of reason. It was in his treatment of
man in the stage of human developement which he supposed to precede that
of society that he came most roughly into conflict with the accepted
beliefs. Men, in his theory, were by nature equal, and their only
natural relation was a state of war. It was no innate virtue of man
himself which created human society out of this chaos of warring
strengths. Hobbes in fact denied the existence of the more spiritual
sides of man's nature. His hard and narrow logic dissected every human
custom and desire, and reduced even the most sacred to demonstrations of
a prudent selfishness. Friendship was simply a sense of social utility
to one another. The so-called laws of nature, such as gratitude or the
love of our neighbour, were in fact contrary to the natural passions of
man, and powerless to restrain them. Nor had religion rescued man by
the interposition of a Divine will. Nothing better illustrates the
daring with which the new scepticism was to break through the
theological traditions of the older world than the pitiless logic with
which Hobbes assailed the very theory of revelation. "To say God hath
spoken to man in a dream, is no more than to say man dreamed that God
hath spoken to him." "To say one hath seen a vision, or heard a voice,
is to say he hath dreamed between sleeping and waking." Religion, in
fact, was nothing more than "the fear of invisible powers"; and here, as
in all other branches of human science, knowledge dealt with words and
not with things.

It was man himself who for his own profit created society, by laying
down certain of his natural rights and retaining only those of
self-preservation. A covenant between man and man originally created
"that great Leviathan called the Commonwealth or State, which is but an
artificial man, though of greater stature and strength than the natural,
for whose protection and defence it was intended." The fiction of such
an "original contract" has long been dismissed from political
speculation, but its effect at the time of its first appearance was
immense. Its almost universal acceptance put an end to the religious and
patriarchal theories of society, on which kingship had till now founded
its claim of a Divine right to authority which no subject might
question. But if Hobbes destroyed the old ground of royal despotism, he
laid a new and a firmer one. To create a society at all, he held that
the whole body of the governed must have resigned all rights save that
of self-preservation into the hands of a single ruler, who was the
representative of all. Such a ruler was absolute, for to make terms with
him implied a man making terms with himself. The transfer of rights was
inalienable, and after generations were as much bound by it as the
generation which made the transfer. As the head of the whole body, the
ruler judged every question, settled the laws of civil justice or
injustice, or decided between religion and superstition. His was a
Divine Right, and the only Divine Right, because in him were absorbed
all the rights of each of his subjects. It was not in any constitutional
check that Hobbes looked for the prevention of tyranny, but in the
common education and enlightenment as to their real end and the best
mode of reaching it on the part of both subjects and Prince. And the
real end of both was the weal of the Commonwealth at large. It was in
laying boldly down this end of government, as well as in the basis of
contract on which he made government repose, that Hobbes really
influenced all later politics.

[Sidenote: Cromwell's consciousness of failure.]

That Cromwell discerned the strength of such currents of opinion as
those which we have described may fairly be doubted. But he saw that
Puritanism had missed its aim. He saw that the attempt to secure
spiritual results by material force had failed, as it always fails. It
had broken down before the indifference and resentment of the great mass
of the people, of men who were neither lawless nor enthusiasts, but who
clung to the older traditions of social order, and whose humour and good
sense revolted alike from the artificial conception of human life which
Puritanism had formed, and from its effort to force such a conception on
a people by law. It broke down too before the corruption of the Puritans
themselves. It was impossible to distinguish between the saint and the
hypocrite as soon as godliness became profitable. Ashley Cooper, a
sceptic in religion and a profligate in morals, was among "the loudest
bagpipes of the squeaking train." Even amongst the really earnest
Puritans prosperity disclosed a pride, a worldliness, a selfish hardness
which had been hidden in the hour of persecution. What was yet more
significant was the irreligious and sceptical temper of the younger
generation which had grown up amidst the storms of the Civil War. The
children even of the leading Puritans stood aloof from Puritanism. The
eldest of Cromwell's sons made small pretensions to religion. Milton's
nephews, though reared in his house, were writing satires against
Puritan hypocrisy and contributing to collections of filthy songs. The
two daughters of the great preacher, Stephen Marshall, were to figure as
actresses on the infamous stage of the Restoration. The tone of the
Protector's later speeches shows his consciousness that the ground was
slipping from under his feet. He no longer dwells on the dream of a
Puritan England, of a nation rising as a whole into a people of God. He
falls back on the phrases of his youth, and the saints become again a
"peculiar people," a remnant, a fragment among the nation at large.

[Sidenote: Dissolution of the Parliament.]

But with the consciousness of failure in realizing his ideal of
government the charm of government was gone; and now to the weariness of
power were added the weakness and feverish impatience of disease.
Vigorous and energetic as Cromwell's life had seemed, his health was by
no means as strong as his will; he had been struck down by intermittent
fever in the midst of his triumphs both in Scotland and in Ireland, and
during the past year he had suffered from repeated attacks of it. "I
have some infirmities upon me," he owned twice over in his speech at the
reopening of the Parliament in January 1658, after an adjournment of six
months; and his feverish irritability was quickened by the public
danger. No supplies had been voted, and the pay of the army was heavily
in arrear, while its temper grew more and more sullen at the appearance
of the new Constitution and the reawakening of the Royalist intrigues.
Cromwell had believed that his military successes would secure
compliance with his demands; but the temper of the Commons was even more
irritable than his own. Under the terms of the new Constitution the
members excluded in the preceding year took their places again in the
House; and it was soon clear that the Parliament reflected the general
mood of the nation. The tone of the Commons became captious and
quarrelsome. They still delayed the grant of supplies. Meanwhile a hasty
act of the Protector in giving to his nominees in "the other House," as
the new second chamber he had devised was called, the title of "Lords,"
kindled a strife between the two Houses which was busily fanned by
Haselrig and other opponents of the Government. It was contended that
the "other House" had under the new Constitution simply judicial and not
legislative powers. Such a contention struck at once at Cromwell's work
of restoring the old political forms of English life: and the
reappearance of Parliamentary strife threw him at last, says an observer
at his court, "into a rage and passion like unto madness." What gave
weight to it was the growing strength of the Royalist party, and its
hopes of a coming rising. Such a rising had in fact been carefully
prepared; and Charles with a large body of Spanish troops drew to the
coast of Flanders to take advantage of it. His hopes were above all
encouraged by the strife in the Commons, and their manifest dislike of
the system of the Protectorate. It was this that drove Cromwell to
action. Summoning his coach, by a sudden impulse, the Protector drove on
the fourth of February with a few guards to Westminster; and, setting
aside the remonstrances of Fleetwood, summoned the two Houses to his
presence. "I do dissolve this Parliament," he ended a speech of angry
rebuke, "and let God be judge between you and me."

[Sidenote: Death of Cromwell.]

Fatal as was the error, for the moment all went well. The army was
reconciled by the blow levelled at its opponents, and a few murmurers
who appeared in its ranks were weeded out by a careful remodelling. The
triumphant officers vowed to stand or fall with his Highness. The danger
of a Royalist rising vanished before a host of addresses from the
counties. Great news too came from abroad, where victory in Flanders,
and the cession of Dunkirk in June, set the seal on Cromwell's glory.
But the fever crept steadily on, and his looks told the tale of death to
the Quaker, Fox, who met him riding in Hampton Court Park. "Before I
came to him," he says, "as he rode at the head of his Life Guards, I saw
and felt a waft of death go forth against him, and when I came to him he
looked like a dead man." In the midst of his triumph Cromwell's heart
was heavy in fact with the sense of failure. He had no desire to play
the tyrant; nor had he any belief in the permanence of a mere tyranny.
He clung desperately to the hope of bringing over the country to his
side. He had hardly dissolved the Parliament before he was planning the
summons of another, and angry at the opposition which his Council
offered to the project. "I will take my own resolutions," he said
gloomily to his household; "I can no longer satisfy myself to sit still,
and make myself guilty of the loss of all the honest party and of the
nation itself." But before his plans could be realized the overtaxed
strength of the Protector suddenly gave way. Early in August 1658 his
sickness took a more serious form. He saw too clearly the chaos into
which his death would plunge England to be willing to die. "Do not think
I shall die," he burst out with feverish energy to the physicians who
gathered round him; "say not I have lost my reason! I tell you the
truth. I know it from better authority than any you can have from Galen
or Hippocrates. It is the answer of God Himself to our prayers!" Prayer
indeed rose from every side for his recovery, but death drew steadily
nearer, till even Cromwell felt that his hour was come. "I would be
willing to live," the dying man murmured, "to be further serviceable to
God and His people, but my work is done! Yet God will be with His
people!" A storm which tore roofs from houses, and levelled huge trees
in every forest, seemed a fitting prelude to the passing away of his
mighty spirit. Three days later, on the third of September, the day
which had witnessed his victories of Worcester and Dunbar, Cromwell
quietly breathed his last.

[Sidenote: Richard Cromwell, Protector.]

So absolute even in death was his sway over the minds of men, that, to
the wonder of the excited Royalists, even a doubtful nomination on his
death-bed was enough to secure the peaceful succession of his son,
Richard Cromwell. Many in fact who had rejected the authority of his
father submitted peaceably to the new Protector. Their motives were
explained by Baxter, the most eminent among the Presbyterian ministers,
in an address to Richard which announced his adhesion. "I observe," he
says, "that the nation generally rejoice in your peaceable entrance upon
the government. Many are persuaded that you have been strangely kept
from participating in any of our late bloody contentions, that God might
make you the healer of our breaches, and employ you in that Temple work
which David himself might not be honoured with, though it was in his
mind, because he shed blood abundantly and made great wars." The new
Protector was a weak and worthless man; but the bulk of the nation were
content to be ruled by one who was at any rate no soldier, no Puritan,
and no innovator. Richard was known to be lax and worldly in his
conduct, and he was believed to be conservative and even royalist in
heart. The tide of reaction was felt even in his Council. Their first
act was to throw aside one of the greatest of Cromwell's reforms, and to
fall back in the summons which they issued for a new Parliament on the
old system of election. It was felt far more keenly in the tone of the
new House of Commons when it met in January 1659. The republicans under
Vane, backed adroitly by the members who were secretly Royalist, fell
hotly on Cromwell's system. The fiercest attack of all came from Sir
Ashley Cooper, a Dorsetshire gentleman who had changed sides in the
Civil War, had fought for the King and then for the Parliament, had been
a member of Cromwell's Council, and had of late ceased to be a member of
it. His virulent invective on "his Highness of deplorable memory, who
with fraud and force deprived you of your liberty when living and
entailed slavery on you at his death," was followed by an equally
virulent invective against the army. "They have not only subdued their
enemies," said Cooper, "but the masters who raised and maintained them!
They have not only conquered Scotland and Ireland, but rebellious
England too; and there suppressed a Malignant party of magistrates and

[Sidenote: Divisions in the army.]

The army was quick with its reply. Already in the preceding November it
had shown its suspicion of the new government by demanding the
appointment of a soldier as General in the place of the new Protector,
who had assumed the command. The tone of the Council of Officers now
became so menacing that the Commons ordered the dismissal of all
officers who refused to engage "not to disturb or interrupt the free
meetings of Parliament." Richard ordered the Council of Officers to
dissolve. Their reply was a demand for the dissolution of the
Parliament; and with this demand, on the twenty-second of April, Richard
was forced to comply. The purpose of the army however was still to
secure a settled government; and setting aside the new Protector, whose
weakness was now evident, they resolved to come to a reconciliation with
the republican party, and to recall the fragment of the Commons whom
they had expelled from St. Stephen's in 1653. The arrangement was
quickly brought about; and in May, of the one hundred and sixty members
who had continued to sit after the king's death, about ninety returned
to their seats and resumed the administration of affairs. The continued
exclusion of the members who had been "purged" from the House in 1648
proved that no real intention existed of restoring a legal rule; and the
soldiers trusted that the Rump whom they had restored to power would be
bound to them by the growing danger both to republicanism and to
religious liberty. But not even their passion for these "causes" could
make men endure the rule of the sword. The House was soon at strife with
the soldiers. In spite of Vane's counsels, it proposed a reform of the
officers, and though a Royalist rising in Cheshire during August threw
the disputants for a moment together, the struggle revived as the danger
passed away. A new hope indeed filled men's minds. Not only was the
nation sick of military rule, but the army, unconquerable so long as it
held together, at last showed signs of division. In Ireland and Scotland
the troops protested against the attitude of their English comrades; and
Monk, the commander of the Scottish army, threatened to march on London
and free the Parliament from their pressure. The knowledge of these
divisions encouraged Haselrig and his coadjutors in the Commons to
demand the dismissal of Fleetwood and Lambert from their commands. They
answered in October by driving the Parliament again from Westminster,
and by marching under Lambert to the north to meet the army under Monk.

[Sidenote: Return of Charles.]

Lambert however suffered himself to be lured into inaction by
negotiations, while Monk gathered a Convention at Edinburgh, and
strengthened himself with money and recruits. His attitude was enough to
rouse England to action. Portsmouth closed its gates against the
delegates of the soldiers. The fleet declared against them. So rapidly
did the tide of feeling rise throughout the country that the army at the
close of December was driven to undo their work by recalling the Rump.
But the concession only aided the force of resistance by showing the
weakness of the tyranny which England was resolute to throw off.
Lambert's men fell from him, and finding his path clear, Monk, without
revealing his purport, advanced rapidly to Coldstream, and crossed the
Border in the first days of 1660. His action broke the spell of terror
which had weighed upon the country. The cry of "A free Parliament" ran
like fire through the country. Not only Fairfax, who appeared in arms in
Yorkshire, but the ships on the Thames and the mob which thronged the
streets of London caught up the cry. Still steadily advancing, but
lavishing protestations of loyalty to the Rump while he accepted
petitions for a "Free Parliament," Monk on the third of February entered
unopposed. From the moment of his entry the restoration of the Stuarts
became inevitable. The army, resolute as it still remained for the
maintenance of "the cause," was deceived by Monk's declarations of
loyalty to it, and rendered powerless by his adroit dispersion of the
troops over the country. At the instigation of Ashley Cooper, those who
remained of the members who had been excluded from the House of Commons
in 1648 again forced their way into Parliament, and at once resolved on
a dissolution and the election of a new House of Commons. The
dissolution in March was followed by a last struggle of the army for its
old supremacy. Lambert escaped from the Tower and called his
fellow-soldiers to arms; but he was hotly pursued, overtaken, and routed
near Daventry; and on the twenty-fifth of April the new House, which
bears the name of the Convention, assembled at Westminster. It had
hardly taken the Solemn League and Covenant which showed its
Presbyterian temper, and its leaders had only begun to draw up terms on
which the king's restoration might be assented to, when they found that
Monk was in negotiation with the exiled Court. All exaction of terms was
now impossible; a Declaration from Breda, in which Charles promised a
general pardon, religious toleration, and satisfaction to the army, was
received with a burst of national enthusiasm; and the old Constitution
was restored by a solemn vote of the Convention, "that according to the
ancient and fundamental laws of this Kingdom, the government is, and
ought to be, by King, Lords, and Commons." The king was at once invited
to hasten to his realm; and on the twenty-fifth of May Charles landed at
Dover, and made his way amidst the shouts of a great multitude to
Whitehall. "It is my own fault," laughed the new king with
characteristic irony, "that I had not come back sooner; for I find
nobody who does not tell me he has always longed for my return."

[Sidenote: Fall of Puritanism.]

In his progress to the capital Charles passed in review the soldiers
assembled on Blackheath. Betrayed by their general, abandoned by their
leaders, surrounded as they were by a nation in arms, the gloomy silence
of their ranks awed even the careless king with a sense of danger. But
none of the victories of the New Model were so glorious as the victory
which it won over itself. Quietly, and without a struggle, as men who
bowed to the inscrutable will of God, the farmers and traders who had
dashed Rupert's chivalry to pieces on Naseby field, who had scattered at
Worcester the "army of the aliens," and driven into helpless flight the
sovereign that now came "to enjoy his own again," who had renewed beyond
sea the glories of Crécy and Agincourt, had mastered the Parliament, had
brought a king to justice and the block, had given laws to England, and
held even Cromwell in awe, became farmers and traders again, and were
known among their fellow-men by no other sign than their greater
soberness and industry. And, with them, Puritanism laid down the sword.
It ceased from the long attempt to build up a kingdom of God by force
and violence, and fell back on its truer work of building up a kingdom
of righteousness in the hearts and consciences of men. It was from the
moment of its seeming fall that its real victory began. As soon as the
wild orgy of the Restoration was over, men began to see that nothing
that was really worthy in the work of Puritanism had been undone. The
revels of Whitehall, the scepticism and debauchery of courtiers, the
corruption of statesmen, left the mass of Englishmen what Puritanism had
made them, serious, earnest, sober in life and conduct, firm in their
love of Protestantism and of freedom. In the Revolution of 1688
Puritanism did the work of civil liberty which it had failed to do in
that of 1642. It wrought out through Wesley and the revival of the
eighteenth century the work of religious reform which its earlier
efforts had only thrown back for a hundred years. Slowly but steadily it
introduced its own seriousness and purity into English society, English
literature, English politics. The history of English progress since the
Restoration, on its moral and spiritual sides, has been the history of





The social change of the Restoration is illustrated by the picture of
court life in Anthony Hamilton's "Memoirs of the Count de Grammont," by
the memoirs of Reresby, Pepys, and Evelyn, and the dramatic works of
Wycherly and Etherege. For the general character of its comedy see Lord
Macaulay's "Essay on the Dramatists of the Restoration." The histories
of the Royal Society by Thompson or Wade, with Sir D. Brewster's
"Biography of Newton," preserve the earlier annals of English Science,
which are condensed by Hallam in his "Literary History" (vol. iv.).
Clarendon gives a detailed account of his own ministry in his "Life,"
which forms a continuation of his "History of the Rebellion." The
relations of the Church and the Dissenters during this period may be
seen in Neal's "History of the Puritans," Calamy's "Memoirs of the
Ejected Ministers," Mr. Dixon's "Life of Penn," Baxter's
"Autobiography," and Bunyan's account of his sufferings in his various
works. For the political story of the period as a whole our best
authorities are Bishop Kennet's "Register," and Burnet's lively "History
of my own Times." The memoirs of Sir W. Temple, with his correspondence,
are of great value up to their close in 1679. Mr. Christie's "Life of
Shaftesbury" is a defence, and in some ways a successful defence, of
that statesman's career and of the Whig policy at this time, which may
be studied also in Earl Russell's life of his ancestor, William, Lord
Russell. To these we may add the fragments of James the Second's
autobiography preserved in Macpherson's "Original Papers" (of very
various degrees of value), the "Memoirs of Great Britain and Ireland" by
Dalrymple, the first to discover the real secret of the negotiations
with France, M. Mignet's "Négociations relatives à la Succession
d'Espagne," a work indispensable for a knowledge of foreign affairs
during this period, Welwood's "Memoirs," and Luttrell's "Diary."

Throughout the whole reign of Charles the Second Hallam's
"Constitutional History" is singularly judicious and full in its
information. Lingard becomes of importance during this period from the
original materials to which he has had access, as well as from his clear
and dispassionate statement of the Catholic side of the question. Ranke
in his "History of the Seventeenth Century" has thrown great light on
the diplomatic history of the later Stuart reigns: on internal and
constitutional points he is cool and dispassionate but of less value.
The great work of Lord Macaulay, which practically ends at the Peace of
Ryswick, is continued by Lord Stanhope in his "History of England under
Queen Anne," and his "History of England from the Peace of Utrecht." For
Marlborough the main authority must be the Duke's biography by
Archdeacon Coxe with his "Despatches." The character of the Tory
opposition may be studied in Swift's Journal to Stella and his political
tracts, as well as in Bolingbroke's correspondence. The French side of
the war and negotiations has been given by M. Henri Martin ("Histoire de
France") in what is the most accurate and judicious portion of his work.
For the earlier period of the Georges Coxe's "Life of Sir Robert
Walpole," Horace Walpole's "Memoirs of the Reign of George the Second,"
and Lord Hervey's amusing "Memoirs from the Accession of George the
Second to the Death of Queen Caroline," give the main materials on the
one side; Bolingbroke's "Patriot King," his "Letter to Sir W. Wyndham,"
and his correspondence afford some insight into the other. Horace
Walpole's "Letters to Sir Horace Mann" give a minute account of his
father's fall.

For the elder Pitt we have the Chatham Correspondence, a life by
Thackeray, and two brilliant Essays by Lord Macaulay. Another of Lord
Macaulay's Essays may be used with Sir John Malcolm's biography for the
life of Lord Clive and the early history of British India, a fuller
account of which may of course be found in general histories of India,
such as that by James Mill. Carlyle's Frederick the Great contains a
picturesque recital of the Seven Years War, and of England's share in
it; while the earlier relations of England and Frederick may be studied
more coolly and thoroughly in Ranke's "Nine Books of Prussian History,"
published in an English version under the name of his "History of
Prussia." The earlier part of the "Annual Register," which begins in
1758, has been attributed to Burke. Southey's biography, or the more
elaborate life by Tyerman, gives an account of Wesley and the movement
he headed.




[Sidenote: The New England.]

The entry of Charles the Second into Whitehall marked a deep and lasting
change in the temper of the English people. With it modern England
began. The influences which had up to this time moulded our history, the
theological influence of the Reformation, the monarchical influence of
the new kingship, the feudal influence of the Middle Ages, the yet
earlier influence of tradition and custom, suddenly lost power over the
minds of men. From the moment of the Restoration we find ourselves all
at once among the great currents of thought and activity which have gone
on widening and deepening from that time to this. The England around us
becomes our own England, an England whose chief forces are industry and
science, the love of popular freedom and of law, an England which
presses steadily forward to a larger social justice and equality, and
which tends more and more to bring every custom and tradition,
religious, intellectual, and political, to the test of pure reason.

Between modern thought, on some at least of its more important sides,
and the thought of men before the Restoration there is a great gulf
fixed. A political thinker in the present day would find it equally hard
to discuss any point of statesmanship with Lord Burleigh or with Oliver
Cromwell. He would find no point of contact between their ideas of
national life or national welfare, their conception of government or the
ends of government, their mode of regarding economical and social
questions, and his own. But no gulf of this sort parts us from the men
who followed the Restoration. From that time to this, whatever
differences there may have been as to the practical conclusions drawn
from them, there has been a substantial agreement as to the grounds of
our political, our social, our intellectual, and religious life. Paley
would have found no difficulty in understanding Tillotson. Newton and
Sir Humphry Davy could have talked together without a sense of
severance. There would have been nothing to hinder a perfectly clear
discussion on government or law between John Locke and Jeremy Bentham.

[Sidenote: The Social Revolt.]

The change from the old England to the new is so startling that we are
apt to look on it as a more sudden change than it really was; and the
outer aspect of the Restoration does much to strengthen this impression
of suddenness. The whole face of England was changed in an instant. All
that was noblest and best in Puritanism was whirled away with its
pettiness and its tyranny in the current of the nation's hate. Religion
had been turned into a system of political and social oppression, and it
fell with that system's fall. Godliness became a byword of scorn;
sobriety in dress, in speech, in manners was flouted as a mark of the
detested Puritanism. Butler in his "Hudibras" poured insult on the past
with a pedantic buffoonery for which the general hatred, far more than
its humour, secured a hearing. Archbishop Sheldon listened to the mock
sermon of a Cavalier who held up the Puritan phrase and the Puritan
twang to ridicule in his hall at Lambeth. Duelling and raking became the
marks of a fine gentleman; and grave divines winked at the follies of
"honest fellows" who fought, gambled, swore, drank, and ended a day of
debauchery by a night in the gutter. Life among men of fashion vibrated
between frivolity and excess. One of the comedies of the time tells the
courtier that "he must dress well, dance well, fence well, have a talent
for love-letters, an agreeable voice, be amorous and discreet--but not
too constant." To graces such as these the rakes of the Restoration
added a shamelessness and a brutality which passes belief. Lord
Rochester was a fashionable poet, and the titles of some of his poems
are such as no pen of our day could copy. Sir Charles Sedley was a
fashionable wit, and the foulness of his words made even the porters of
Covent Garden pelt him from the balcony when he ventured to address
them. The Duke of Buckingham is a fair type of the time, and the most
characteristic event in the Duke's life was a duel in which he
consummated his seduction of Lady Shrewsbury by killing her husband,
while the Countess in disguise as a page held his horse for him and
looked on at the murder.

[Sidenote: The Comedy of the Restoration.]

Vicious as the stage was when it opened its doors again on the fall of
the Commonwealth it only reflected the general vice of the day. The
Comedy of the Restoration borrowed everything from the contemporary
Comedy of France save the poetry, the delicacy, and good taste which
there veiled its grossness. Seduction, intrigue, brutality, cynicism,
debauchery, found fitting expression on the English stage in dialogue of
a studied and deliberate foulness, which even its wit fails to redeem
from disgust. Wycherly, the popular playwright of the time, remains the
most brutal among all dramatists; and nothing gives so damning an
impression of his day as the fact that he found actors to repeat his
words and audiences to applaud them. Men such as Wycherly gave Milton
models for the Belial of his great poem, "than whom a spirit more lewd
fell not from heaven, or more gross to love vice for itself." The
dramatist piques himself on the frankness and "plain dealing" which
painted the world as he saw it, a world of brawls and assignations, of
orgies at Vauxhall and fights with the watch, of lies and
_doubles-ententes_, of knaves and dupes, of men who sold their
daughters, and women who cheated their husbands. But the cynicism of
Wycherly was no greater than that of the men about him; and in mere love
of what was vile, in contempt of virtue and disbelief in purity or
honesty, the king himself stood ahead of any of his subjects.

[Sidenote: The New Rationalism.]

It is easy however to exaggerate the extent of this reaction. So far as
we can judge from the memoirs of the time its more violent forms were
practically confined to the capital and the court. The mass of
Englishmen were satisfied with getting back their Maypoles and
mince-pies; and a large part of the people remained Puritan in life and
belief though they threw aside many of the outer characteristics of
Puritanism. Nor was the revolution in feeling as sudden as it seemed.
Even if the political strength of Puritanism had remained unbroken its
social influence must soon have ceased. The young Englishmen who grew up
in the midst of civil war knew nothing of the bitter tyranny which gave
its zeal and fire to the religion of their fathers. From the social and
religious anarchy around them, from the endless controversies and
discussions of the time, they drank in the spirit of scepticism, of
doubt, of free inquiry. If religious enthusiasm had broken the spell of
ecclesiastical tradition its own extravagance broke the spell of
religious enthusiasm; and the new generation turned in disgust to try
forms of political government and spiritual belief by the cooler and
less fallible test of reason.

It is this rationalizing tendency of the popular mind, this indifference
to the traditions and ideals of the past, this practical and
experimental temper, which found its highest expression in the sudden
popularity of the pursuit of physical science. Of the two little
companies of inquirers whom we have already noticed as gathering at the
close of the Civil War, that which remained in the capital and had at
last been broken up by the troubles of the Second Protectorate was
revived at the Restoration by the return to London of the more eminent
members of the group which had assembled at Oxford. But the little
company of philosophers had hardly begun their meetings at Gresham
College when they found themselves objects of a general interest.
Science suddenly became the fashion of the day. Charles the Second was
himself a fair chymist, and took a keen interest in the problems of
navigation. The Duke of Buckingham varied his freaks of rhyming,
drinking, and fiddling by fits of devotion to his laboratory. Poets like
Dryden and Cowley, courtiers like Sir Robert Murray and Sir Kenelm
Digby, joined the scientific company to which in token of his sympathy
with it the king gave the title of "The Royal Society." The curious
glass toys called Prince Rupert's drops recall the scientific inquiries
which amused the old age of the great cavalry-leader of the Civil War.
Wits and fops crowded to the meetings of the new Society. Statesmen like
Lord Somers felt honoured at being chosen its presidents.

[Sidenote: English Science.]

The definite establishment of the Royal Society in 1662 marks the
opening of a great age of scientific discovery in England. Almost every
year of the half-century which followed saw some step made to a wider
and truer knowledge of physical fact. Our first national observatory
rose at Greenwich, and modern astronomy began with the long series of
observations which immortalized the name of Flamsteed. His successor,
Halley, undertook the investigation of the tides, of comets, and of
terrestrial magnetism. Hooke improved the microscope and gave a fresh
impulse to microscopical research. Boyle made the air-pump a means of
advancing the science of pneumatics, and became the founder of
experimental chymistry. Wilkins pointed forward to the science of
philology in his scheme of a universal language. Sydenham introduced a
careful observation of nature and facts which changed the whole face of
medicine. The physiological researches of Willis first threw light upon
the structure of the brain. Woodward was the founder of mineralogy. In
his edition of Willoughby's "Ornithology," and in his own "History of
Fishes," John Ray was the first to raise zoology to the rank of a
science; and the first scientific classification of animals was
attempted in his "Synopsis of Quadrupeds." Modern botany began with
Ray's "History of Plants," and the researches of an Oxford professor,
Robert Morrison; while Grew divided with Malpighi the credit of founding
the study of vegetable physiology.

But great as some of these names undoubtedly are they are lost in the
lustre of Isaac Newton. Newton was born at Woolsthorpe in Lincolnshire
on Christmas Day, 1642, the memorable year which saw the outbreak of the
Civil War. In the year of the Restoration he entered Cambridge, where
the teaching of Isaac Barrow quickened his genius for mathematics, and
where the method of Descartes had superseded the older modes of study.
From the close of his Cambridge career his life became a series of great
physical discoveries. At twenty-three he facilitated the calculation of
planetary movements by his theory of Fluxions. The optical discoveries
to which he was led by his experiments with the prism, and which he
partly disclosed in the lectures which he delivered as Mathematical
Professor at Cambridge, were embodied in the theory of light which he
laid before the Royal Society on becoming a Fellow of it. His discovery
of the law of gravitation had been made as early as 1666; but the
erroneous estimate which was then generally received of the earth's
diameter prevented him from disclosing it for sixteen years; and it was
not till 1687, on the eve of the Revolution, that the "Principia"
revealed to the world his new theory of the Universe.

[Sidenote: The Latitudinarian Theology.]

It is impossible to do more than indicate in such a summary as we have
given the wonderful activity of directly scientific thought which
distinguished the age of the Restoration. But the sceptical and
experimental temper of mind which this activity disclosed was telling at
the same time upon every phase of the world around it. We see the
attempt to bring religious speculation into harmony with the conclusions
of reason and experience in the school of Latitudinarian theologians
which sprang from the group of thinkers that gathered on the eve of the
Civil War round Lord Falkland at Great Tew. With the Restoration the
Latitudinarians came at once to the front. They were soon distinguished
from both Puritans and High Churchmen by their opposition to dogma, by
their preference of reason to tradition whether of the Bible or the
Church, by their basing religion on a natural theology, by their aiming
at rightness of life rather than at correctness of opinion, by their
advocacy of toleration and comprehension as the grounds of Christian
unity. Chillingworth and Taylor found successors in the restless good
sense of Burnet, the enlightened piety of Tillotson, and the calm
philosophy of Bishop Butler. From this moment indeed the work of English
theologians turned from the bold assertion of the supremacy of revealed
truth over natural reason to a more cautious assertion of the essential
harmony of the one with the other. Boyle varied his philosophical
experiments by demonstrations of the unity of dogmatic and natural
religion. So moderate and philosophical was the temper displayed by
Cudworth in his "Intellectual System of the Universe," that the bigots
of his day charged him with the atheistic principles which he was
endeavouring to refute. But the change of tone in the theologians of the
Reformation was itself an indication of the new difficulties which
theology had to meet. The bold scepticism of Hobbes was adopted by
courtiers and politicians. Charles himself was divided between
superstition and Hobbism. Shaftesbury was a Deist. The bulk of the
leading statesmen of the time looked on religious questions in a purely
political light.

[Sidenote: Political Philosophy.]

The impulse which was carrying religious speculation into regions
hitherto strange to it told equally on political and social inquiry. The
researches of Sir Josiah Child, and still more of Sir William Petty, not
only threw light on the actual state of English trade but pointed
forward to the future science of Political Economy. For the moment
however philosophical speculation on the nature of government eclipsed
the interest of statistical research. Though the Restoration brought
Hobbes a pension his two great works were condemned by Parliament, and
Hobbism became ere he died a popular synonym for political as well as
religious immorality. But in spite of the bitter resistance offered to
it his assertion of a rational method of political inquiry superseded
more and more the older doctrines of a religious and traditional polity.
After Clarendon no English statesman really believed in any divine right
of the sovereign he served; and Charles himself probably believed it
still less than his ministers. The fiction of a contract between
governor and governed, on which Hobbes built up his theory of a state,
passed silently into general acceptance. John Locke, the foremost
political thinker of the Restoration, derived political authority like
Hobbes from the consent of the governed, and adopted the common weal as
the end of government. But the practical temper of the time moulded the
new theory into a form which contrasted strangely with that given to it
by its first inventor. The political philosophy of Locke indeed was
little more than a formal statement of the conclusions which the bulk of
Englishmen had drawn from the great struggle of the Civil War. In his
theory the people remain passively in possession of the power which they
have delegated to the Prince, and have the right to withdraw it if it
be used for purposes inconsistent with the end which society was formed
to promote. To the origin of all power in the people, and the end of all
power for the people's good--the two great doctrines of Hobbes--Locke
added the right of resistance, the responsibility of princes to their
subjects for a due execution of their trust, and the supremacy of
legislative assemblies as expressing the voice of the people itself.

It was in this modified and enlarged form that the new political
philosophy found general acceptance after the Revolution of 1688. But
powerful as was its influence in the thirty years which separated that
event from the Restoration it remained during that period an influence
which told but slowly on the people at large. It is indeed this
severance for the time between the thinking classes and the general bulk
of the nation which makes its history so difficult and perplexing. While
sceptics and divines were drifting to questions which involved the very
being of religion itself the mass of Englishmen were still without a
doubt, and dead to every religious struggle save the old struggle of
Protestantism with the Pope. While statesmen and philosophers were
smiling at Sir Robert Firmer and his "Patriarchal Theory of Government,"
the people remained blind to any notion of an original contract, and
every pulpit resounded with the doctrine of a divine right of kings. It
was only by slow steps, and above all by the practical stress of events,
that England was driven forward to religious toleration or to the
establishment of parliamentary government in the place of monarchy.

[Sidenote: The Period of Transition.]

Slowly and gradually however it was driven forward to both. Even at the
outset of the Restoration the temper of England had in fact drifted far
from the past to which it thought to return. The work of the Long
Parliament indeed seemed to be undone when Charles entered Whitehall.
Not only was the Monarchy restored but it was restored without
restriction or condition; and of the two great influences which had
hitherto served as checks on its power, the first, that of Puritanism,
had become hateful to the nation at large, while the second, the
tradition of constitutional liberty, was discredited by the issue of the
Civil War. But, wild as was the tumult of demonstrative loyalty, not one
of the great steps towards constitutional freedom which had been gained
by the patriots of 1641 was really lost. The prerogatives for which
Charles the First had struggled were quietly relinquished by his son.
The very Cavaliers who had welcomed the king to "his own again" never
dreamt of restoring the system of government which their opponents had
overthrown. Twenty years of parliamentary rule, however broken and mixed
with political and religious tyranny, had made the return to ship-money
or monopolies or the Star Chamber impossible. Men had become so
accustomed to freedom that they forgot how recent a thing its
unquestioned existence was. From the first therefore the great
"revolution of the seventeenth century," as it has been called, went
steadily on. The supreme power was gradually transferred from the Crown
to the House of Commons. Step by step Parliament drew nearer to a
solution of the political problem which had so long foiled its efforts,
the problem how to make its will the law of administrative action
without itself undertaking the task of administration. It is only by
carefully fixing our eyes on this transfer of power, and by noting the
successive steps towards its realization, that we can understand the
complex history of the Restoration and the Revolution.

[Sidenote: Charles the Second.]

Changed to the very core, yet hardly conscious of the change, drifting
indeed steadily towards a wider knowledge and a firmer freedom, but
still a mere medley of Puritan morality and social revolt, of
traditional loyalty and political scepticism, of bigotry and free
inquiry, of science and Popish plots, the England of the Restoration was
reflected in its king. What his subjects saw in Charles the Second was a
pleasant, brown-faced gentleman playing with his spaniels, or drawing
caricatures of his ministers, or flinging cakes to the water-fowl in
the park. To all outer seeming Charles was the most consummate of
idlers. "He delighted," says one of his courtiers, "in a bewitching kind
of pleasure called sauntering." The business-like Pepys discovered, as
he brought his work to the Council-board, that "the king do mind nothing
but pleasures, and hates the very sight or thoughts of business." That
Charles had great natural parts no one doubted. In his earlier days of
defeat and danger he showed a cool courage and presence of mind which
never failed him in the many perilous moments of his reign. His temper
was pleasant and social, his manners perfect, and there was a careless
freedom and courtesy in his address which won over everybody who came
into his presence. His education indeed had been so grossly neglected
that he could hardly read a plain Latin book; but his natural quickness
and intelligence showed itself in his pursuit of chymistry and anatomy,
and in the interest he showed in the scientific inquiries of the Royal
Society. Like Peter the Great his favourite study was that of naval
architecture, and he piqued himself on being a clever shipbuilder. He
had some little love too for art and poetry, and a taste for music. But
his shrewdness and vivacity showed themselves most in his endless talk.
He was fond of telling stories, and he told them with a good deal of
grace and humour. He held his own fairly with the wits of his Court, and
bandied repartees on equal terms with Sedley or Buckingham. Even
Rochester in his merciless epigram was forced to own that Charles "never
said a foolish thing." He had inherited in fact his grandfather's gift
of pithy sayings, and his habitual irony often gave an amusing turn to
them. When his brother, the most unpopular man in England, solemnly
warned him of plots against his life, Charles laughingly bade him set
all fear aside. "They will never kill me, James," he said, "to make you

But courage and wit and ability seemed to have been bestowed on Charles
in vain. He only laughed when Tom Killigrew told him frankly that badly
as things were going on there was one man whose industry could set them
right, "and this is one Charles Stuart, who now spends his time in using
his lips about the Court and hath no other employment." Charles made no
secret in fact of his hatred of business. Nor did he give to outer
observers any sign of ambition. The one thing he seemed in earnest about
was sensual pleasure, and he took his pleasure with a cynical
shamelessness which roused the disgust even of his shameless courtiers.
Mistress followed mistress, and the guilt of a troop of profligate women
was blazoned to the world by the gift of titles and estates. The royal
bastards were set amongst English nobles. The ducal house of Grafton
springs from the king's adultery with Barbara Palmer, whom he created
Duchess of Cleveland. The Dukes of St. Albans owe their origin to his
intrigue with Nell Gwynn, a player and a courtezan. Louise de
Quérouaille, a mistress sent by France to win him to its interests,
became Duchess of Portsmouth and ancestress of the house of Richmond. An
earlier mistress, Lucy Walters, declared him, it is believed falsely,
father of the boy whom he raised to the dukedom of Monmouth, and to whom
the Dukes of Buccleuch trace their line. But Charles was far from being
content with these recognized mistresses or with a single form of
self-indulgence. Gambling and drinking helped to fill up the vacant
moments when he could no longer toy with his favourites or bet at
Newmarket. No thought of remorse or of shame seems ever to have crossed
his mind. "He could not think God would make a man miserable," he said
once, "only for taking a little pleasure out of the way." From shame he
was shielded by his cynical disbelief in human virtue. Virtue indeed he
regarded simply as a trick by which clever hypocrites imposed upon
fools. Honour among men seemed to him as mere a pretence as chastity
among women. Gratitude he had none, for he looked upon self-interest as
the only motive of men's actions, and though soldiers had died and women
had risked their lives for him, "he loved others as little as he thought
they loved him." But if he felt no gratitude for benefits he felt no
resentment for wrongs. He was incapable either of love or of hate. The
only feeling he retained for his fellow-men was that of an amused

It was difficult for Englishmen to believe that any real danger to
liberty could come from an idler and a voluptuary such as Charles the
Second. But in the very difficulty of believing this lay half the king's
strength. He had in fact no taste whatever for the despotism of the
Stuarts who had gone before him. His shrewdness laughed his
grandfather's theories of Divine Right down the wind, while his
indolence made such a personal administration as that which his father
delighted in burthensome to him. He was too humorous a man to care for
the pomp and show of power, and too good-natured a man to play the
tyrant. But he believed as firmly as his father or his grandfather had
believed in his right to a full possession of the older prerogatives of
the Crown. He looked on Parliaments as they had looked on them with
suspicion and jealousy. He clung as they had clung to the dream of a
dispensing power over the execution of the laws. He regarded
ecclesiastical affairs as lying within his own personal control, and
viewed the interference of the two Houses with church matters as a sheer
usurpation. Above all he detested the notion of ministerial
responsibility to any but the king, or of a Parliamentary right to
interfere in any way with the actual administration of public affairs.
"He told Lord Essex," Burnet says, "that he did not wish to be like a
Grand Signior, with some mutes about him, and bags of bowstrings to
strangle men; but he did not think he was a king so long as a company of
fellows were looking into his actions, and examining his ministers as
well as his accounts." "A king," he thought, "who might be checked, and
have his ministers called to an account, was but a king in name."

[Sidenote: The king's Policy.]

In other words Charles had no settled plan of tyranny, but he meant to
rule as independently as he could, and from the beginning to the end of
his reign there never was a moment when he was not doing something to
carry out his aim. But he carried it out in a tentative, irregular
fashion which it was as hard to detect as to meet. Whenever there was
any strong opposition he gave way. If popular feeling demanded the
dismissal of his ministers, he dismissed them. If it protested against
his declaration of religious indulgence, he recalled it. If it cried for
victims in the frenzy of the Popish Plot, he gave it victims till the
frenzy was at an end. It was easy for Charles to yield and to wait, and
just as easy for him to take up the thread of his purpose afresh the
moment the pressure was over. There was one fixed resolve in fact which
overrode every other thought in the king's mind, and this was a resolve
"not to set out on his travels again." His father had fallen through a
quarrel with the two Houses, and Charles was determined to remain on
good terms with the Parliament till he was strong enough to pick a
quarrel to his profit. At no time has party strife raged more fiercely;
in no reign has the temper of the Parliament been more threatening to
the Crown. But the cynicism of Charles enabled him to ride out storms
which would have wrecked a better and a nobler king. He treated the
Lords with an easy familiarity which robbed opposition of its
seriousness. "Their debates amused him," he said in his indolent way;
and he stood chatting before the fire while peer after peer poured
invectives on his ministers, and laughed louder than the rest when
Shaftesbury directed his coarsest taunts at the barrenness of the queen.
Courtiers were entrusted with the secret "management" of the Commons;
obstinate country gentlemen were brought to the Royal closet to kiss the
king's hand and listen to the king's pleasant stories of his escape
after Worcester; and still more obstinate country gentlemen were bribed.
Where bribes, flattery, and management failed Charles was content to
yield and to wait till his time came again.

[Sidenote: Dissolution of the Union.]

But even while yielding and waiting he never lost sight of the aim he
had set himself. If he had no mind to play the tyrant, he was resolved
to be something more than "a king in name." If he could not get back all
that his father had had he could go on patiently gathering up what
fragments of the old royal power still survived, and availing himself
of whatever new resources offered themselves. One means of recovering
somewhat of the older authority of the Crown lay in the simple refusal
to recognize the union of the three kingdoms. If he could not undo what
the Puritans had done in England Charles could undo their work in
Scotland and in Ireland. Before the Civil War these kingdoms had served
as useful checks on English liberty, and by simply regarding the Union
which the Long Parliament and the Protector had brought about as a
nullity in law it was possible they might become checks again. In his
refusal to recognize the Union Charles was supported by public opinion
among his English subjects, partly from sheer abhorrence of changes
wrought during "the troubles," and partly from a dread that the Scotch
and Irish members would form a party in the English Parliament which
would always be at the service of the Crown. In both the lesser kingdoms
too a measure which seemed to restore somewhat of their national
independence was for the moment popular.

[Sidenote: Scotland and Ireland.]

But the results of this step were quick in developing themselves. In
Scotland the Covenant was at once abolished. The Scotch Parliament which
assembled at Edinburgh, the Drunken Parliament as it was called, outdid
the wildest loyalty of the English Cavaliers by annulling in a single
Act all the proceedings of its predecessors during the last
eight-and-twenty years. By this measure the whole existing Church system
of Scotland was deprived of legal sanction. The General Assembly had
already been prohibited from meeting by Cromwell; the kirk-sessions' and
ministers' synods were now suspended. The Scotch bishops were again
restored to their spiritual pre-eminence and to their seats in
Parliament. An iniquitous trial sent the Marquis of Argyle, the only
noble strong enough to oppose the Royal will, to the block; and the
government was entrusted to a knot of profligate statesmen till it fell
into the hands of Lauderdale, one of the ablest and most unscrupulous of
the king's ministers. Their policy was steadily directed to two
purposes, the first, that of humbling Presbyterianism--as the force
which could alone restore Scotland to freedom and enable her to lend aid
as before to English liberty in any struggle with the Crown--the second,
that of raising a royal army which might be ready in case of need to
march over the Border to the king's support. In Ireland the dissolution
of the Union brought back the bishops to their sees; but whatever wish
Charles may have had to restore the balance of Catholic and Protestant
as a source of power to the Crown was baffled by the obstinate
resistance of the Protestant settlers to any plans for redressing the
confiscations of Cromwell. Five years of bitter struggle between the
dispossessed loyalists and the new occupants left the Protestant
ascendency unimpaired; and in spite of a nominal surrender of one-third
of the confiscated estates to their old possessors hardly a sixth of the
profitable land in the island remained in Catholic holding. The claims
of the Duke of Ormond too made it necessary to leave the government in
his hands, and Ormond's loyalty was too moderate and constitutional to
lend itself to any of the schemes of absolute rule which played so great
a part in the next reign under Tyrconnell.

[Sidenote: The Royal Army.]

But the severance of the two kingdoms from England was in itself a gain
to the Royal authority; and Charles turned quietly to the building up of
a royal army at home. A standing army had become so hateful a thing to
the body of the nation, and above all to the Royalists whom the New
Model had trodden under foot, that it was impossible to propose its
establishment. But in the mind of both Charles and his brother James,
the Duke of York, their father's downfall had been owing to the want of
a disciplined force which would have trampled out the first efforts of
national resistance; and while disbanding the New Model Charles availed
himself of the alarm created by a mad rising of some Fifth-Monarchy men
in London under an old soldier called Venner to retain five thousand
horse and foot in his service under the name of his guards. A body of
"gentlemen of quality and veteran soldiers, excellently clad, mounted,
and ordered," was thus kept ready for service near the royal person;
and in spite of the scandal which it aroused the king persisted,
steadily but cautiously, in gradually increasing its numbers. Twenty
years later it had grown to a force of seven thousand foot and one
thousand seven hundred horse and dragoons at home, with a reserve of six
fine regiments abroad in the service of the United Provinces.

[Sidenote: Charles and English Politics.]

But it was rather on policy than on open force that Charles counted for
success. His position indeed was a strange and perplexing one. All the
outer pomp of the monarchy had returned with the restoration. Charles,
like his father, was served by the highest nobles on their knees. Nor
had the theory of his position in appearance changed. The principle
indeed of hereditary kingship had gained a new strength from the
troubles of the last twenty years. The fall of the monarchy had been
followed so closely by that of the other institutions, political and
religious, of the realm, its restoration coincided so exactly with their
revival, that the Crown had become the symbol of that national
tradition, that historical continuity, without which the practical sense
of Englishmen felt then, as Burke felt afterwards, that men were "but as
flies in a summer." How profound a disgust the violent interruption of
this continuous progress by the clean sweep of the Civil War had left
behind it was seen in the indifference with which measures such as the
union of the three kingdoms or the reform of parliamentary
representation were set aside as sharing in the general vice of the time
from which they sprang. It was seen as vividly at even a later time in
the instant ruin of Shaftesbury's popularity from the moment when he was
believed to be plotting the renewal of civil war. But if the Monarchy
was strengthened by its association with the tradition of constitutional
freedom it was henceforth inseparably bound to the freedom which
strengthened it. The Cavalier who had shouted for the king's return had
shouted also for the return of a free Parliament. The very Chief-Justice
who asserted at the trial of the Regicides the personal freedom of the
king from any responsibility to the nation asserted just as strongly
that doctrine of ministerial responsibility against which Charles the
First had struggled. "The law in all cases preserves the person of the
king to be authorized," said Sir Orlando Bridgeman, "but what is done by
his ministers unlawfully, there is a remedy against his ministers for
it." It was the desire of every Royalist to blot out the very memory of
the troubles in which monarchy and freedom had alike disappeared, to
take up again as if it had never been broken the thread of our political
history. But the point at which even Royalists took it up was not at the
moment of the Tyranny, but at the moment of the Long Parliament's first
triumph when that tyranny had been utterly undone. In his wish to
revive those older claims of the Crown which the Long Parliament had for
ever set aside the young king found himself alone. His closest
adherents, his warmest friends, were constitutional Royalists of the
temper of Falkland or Colepepper; partizans of an absolute monarchy, of
such a monarchy as his grandfather had dreamed of and his father for a
few years carried into practice, there now were none.

[Sidenote: Charles and English Religion.]

In his political aims therefore Charles could look for no help within
his realm. Nor did he stand less alone in his religious aims. In heart,
whether the story of his renunciation of Protestantism during his exile
be true or no, he had long ceased to be a Protestant. Whatever religious
feeling he had was on the side of Catholicism; he encouraged conversions
among his courtiers, and the last act of his life was to seek formal
admission into the Roman Church. But his feelings were rather political
than religious. The English Roman Catholics formed a far larger part of
the population then than now, and their wealth and local influence gave
them a political importance which they have long since lost. The Stuarts
had taught them to look to the Crown for protection against the
Protestant bigotry around them, and they repaid this shelter by aiding
Charles the First in his war on the Parliament, and by liberally
supplying his son with money during his exile. He had promised in return
to procure toleration for their worship, and every motive of gratitude
as well as self-interest led him to redeem his pledge. But he was
already looking, however vaguely, to something more than Catholic
toleration. He saw that despotism in the State could hardly co-exist
with free inquiry and free action in matters of the conscience; and that
government, in his own words, "was a safer and easier thing where the
authority was believed infallible, and the faith and submission of the
people were implicit." The difficulties in the way of such a religious
change probably seemed the less to him from his long residence in Roman
Catholic countries and from his own religious scepticism. Two years
indeed after his restoration he had already despatched an agent to Rome
to arrange the terms of a reconciliation between the Anglican Church and
the Papacy. But though he counted much for the success of his project of
toleration on taking advantage of the dissensions between Protestant
Churchmen and Protestant Dissenters, he soon discovered that in this or
any wider religious project he stood utterly alone. Clarendon and the
Cavaliers were as bitterly anti-Catholic as the wildest fanatic in his
realm. For any real success in his religious as in his political aims he
must look elsewhere than at home.

[Sidenote: State of Europe.]

Holland had been the first power to offer him its aid in the renewal of
the old defensive alliance which had united the two countries before the
Civil War, and it had accompanied its offer by hints of a heavy
subsidy. But offers and hints were alike withdrawn when it was found
that the new government persisted in enforcing the Navigation Act which
the Long Parliament had passed. Spain, to which Charles looked with
greater hope, demanded terms of alliance which were impossible--the
restoration of Jamaica and the cession of Dunkirk. One ally only
remained. At this moment France was the dominant power in Christendom.
The religious wars which began with the Reformation had broken the
strength of the nations around her. Spain was no longer able to fight
the battle of Catholicism. The Peace of Westphalia, by the independence
it gave to the German princes and the jealousy it kept alive between the
Protestant and Catholic powers of Germany, destroyed the strength of the
Empire. The German branch of the House of Austria, spent with the long
struggle of the Thirty Years War, had enough to do in battling hard
against the advance of the Turks from Hungary on Vienna. The victories
of Gustavus and of the generals whom he formed had been dearly purchased
by the exhaustion of Sweden. The United Provinces were as yet hardly
regarded as a great power, and were trammelled by their contest with
England for the empire of the seas.

[Sidenote: France.]

France alone profited by the general wreck. The wisdom of Henry the
Fourth in securing religious peace by a grant of toleration to the
Protestants had undone the ill effects of its religious wars. The
Huguenots were still numerous south of the Loire, but the loss of their
fortresses had turned their energies into the peaceful channels of
industry and trade. Feudal disorder was roughly put down by Richelieu;
and the policy which gathered all local power into the hands of the
Crown, though fatal in the end to the real welfare of France, gave it
for the moment an air of good government and a command over its internal
resources which no other country could boast. Its compact and fertile
territory, the natural activity and enterprise of its people, and the
rapid growth of its commerce and manufactures, were sources of natural
wealth which even its heavy taxation failed to check. In the latter half
of the seventeenth century France was looked upon as the wealthiest
power in Europe. The yearly income of the French crown was double that
of England, and even Lewis the Fourteenth trusted as much to the credit
of his treasury as to the triumphs of his arms. "After all," he said,
when the fortunes of war began to turn against him, "it is the last
louis d'or which must win!"

It was in fact this superiority in wealth which enabled France to set on
foot forces such as had never been seen in Europe since the downfall of
Rome. At the opening of the reign of Lewis the Fourteenth its army
mustered a hundred thousand men. With the war against Holland it rose
to nearly two hundred thousand. In the last struggle against the Grand
Alliance there was a time when it counted nearly half-a-million of men
in arms. Nor was France content with these enormous land forces. Since
the ruin of Spain the fleets of Holland and of England had alone
disputed the empire of the seas. Under Richelieu and Mazarin France
could hardly be looked upon as a naval power. But the early years of
Lewis saw the creation of a navy of a hundred men-of-war, and the fleets
of France soon held their own against England or the Dutch.

[Sidenote: Lewis the Fourteenth.]

Such a power would have been formidable at any time; but it was doubly
formidable when directed by statesmen who in knowledge and ability were
without rivals in Europe. No diplomatist could compare with Lionne, no
war minister with Louvois, no financier with Colbert. Their young
master, Lewis the Fourteenth, bigoted, narrow-minded, commonplace as he
was, without personal honour or personal courage, without gratitude and
without pity, insane in his pride, insatiable in his vanity, brutal in
his selfishness, had still many of the qualities of a great ruler,
industry, patience, quickness of resolve, firmness of purpose, a
capacity for discerning ability and using it, an immense self-belief and
self-confidence, and a temper utterly destitute indeed of real
greatness, but with a dramatic turn for seeming to be great. As a
politician Lewis had simply to reap the harvest which the two great
Cardinals who went before him had sown. Both had used to the profit of
France the exhaustion and dissension which the wars of religion had
brought upon Europe. Richelieu turned the scale against the House of
Austria by his alliance with Sweden, with the United Provinces, and with
the Protestant princes of Germany; and the two great treaties by which
Mazarin ended the Thirty Years War, the Treaty of Westphalia and the
Treaty of the Pyrenees, left the Empire disorganized and Spain
powerless. From that moment indeed Spain sank into a strange
decrepitude. Robbed of the chief source of her wealth by the
independence of Holland, weakened at home by the revolt of Portugal, her
infantry annihilated by Condé in his victory of Rocroi, her fleet ruined
by the Dutch, her best blood drained away to the Indies, the energies of
her people destroyed by the suppression of all liberty, civil or
religious, her intellectual life crushed by the Inquisition, her
industry crippled by the expulsion of the Moors, by financial
oppression, and by the folly of her colonial system, the kingdom which
under Philip the Second had aimed at the empire of the world lay
helpless and exhausted under Philip the Fourth.

[Sidenote: France and Spain.]

The aim of Lewis was to carry on the policy of his predecessors, and
above all to complete the ruin of Spain. The conquest of the Spanish
provinces in the Netherlands would carry his border to the Scheldt. A
more distant hope lay in the probable extinction of the Austrian line
which now sat on the throne of Spain. By securing the succession to that
throne for a French prince not only Castille and Aragon with the Spanish
dependencies in Italy and the Netherlands but the Spanish empire in the
New World would be added to the dominions of France. Nothing could save
Spain but a union of the European powers, and to prevent this union was
the work to which the French negotiators were now bending their energies
with singular success. The intervention of the Emperor was guarded
against by a renewal of the old alliances between France and the lesser
German princes. A league with the Turks gave the court of Vienna enough
to do on its eastern border. The old league with Sweden, the old
friendship with Holland, were skilfully maintained. England alone
remained as a possible foe, and at this moment the policy of Charles
bound England to the side of Lewis.

[Sidenote: England and France.]

France was the wealthiest of European powers, and her subsidies could
free Charles from his dependence on the Parliament. The French army was
the finest in the world, and French soldiers could put down, it was
thought, any resistance from English patriots. The aid of Lewis could
alone realize the aims of Charles, and Charles was willing to pay the
price, that of a silent concurrence in his Spanish projects, which
Lewis demanded for his aid. It was to France therefore, in spite of the
resentment he felt at his treatment by her in his time of exile, that
Charles turned in the earliest days of his reign. There was no trace as
yet of any formal alliance, but two marriages showed the close connexion
which was to be established between the kings. Henrietta, the sister of
Charles, was wedded to the Duke of Orleans, the brother of Lewis: and
this match served as the prelude to that of Charles himself with
Catharine of Braganza, a daughter of the king of Portugal. The English
ministers were dazzled by the dowry which the new queen brought with
her: half-a-million in money, the fortress of Tangier in the
Mediterranean, the trading port of Bombay in the Indies, and a pledge of
religious toleration for all English merchants throughout the Portuguese
colonies. The world at large saw rather the political significance of
the marriage. As the conquest of Portugal by Philip the Second had
crowned the greatness of the Spanish monarchy, so with its revolt had
begun the fall of Spain. To recover Portugal was the dream of every
Spaniard, as to aid Portugal in the preservation of its independence was
the steady policy of France. The Portuguese marriage, the Portuguese
alliance which followed it, ranged England definitely amongst the
friends of Lewis and the foes of Spain.

[Sidenote: Charles and his first Ministry.]

In England itself these indications of the king's foreign policy passed
as yet almost without notice. The attention of the nation was naturally
concentrated on the work of political and social restoration. What shape
the new England would take, what was to be its political or religious
form, was still uncertain. It was still doubtful which political or
religious party had really the upper hand. The show of power lay as yet
with the Presbyterians. It was by the Presbyterians that the chief part
in the Restoration had in fact been played; and it was the Presbyterians
who still almost exclusively possessed the magistracy and all local
authority. The first ministry which Charles ventured to form bore on it
the marks of a compromise between this powerful party and their old
opponents. Its most influential member indeed was Sir Edward Hyde, the
adviser of the king during his exile, who soon became Earl of Clarendon
and Lord Chancellor. Lord Southampton, a steady Royalist, accepted the
post of Lord Treasurer; and the devotion of Ormond was rewarded with a
dukedom and the dignity of Lord Steward. But the Presbyterian interest
was represented by Monk, who remained Lord-General of the army with the
title of Duke of Albemarle; and though the king's brother, James, Duke
of York, was made Lord Admiral, the administration of the fleet was
virtually in the hands of one of Cromwell's followers, Montagu, the new
Earl of Sandwich. An old Puritan, Lord Say and Sele, was made Lord
Privy Seal. Sir Ashley Cooper, a leading member of the same party, was
rewarded for his activity in bringing about the Restoration by a barony
and the office of Chancellor of the Exchequer. Of the two Secretaries of
State, the one, Nicholas, was a devoted Royalist; the other, Morice, was
a steady Presbyterian. Of the thirty members of the Privy Council,
twelve had borne arms against the king.

[Sidenote: The Convention.]

It was clear that such a ministry was hardly likely to lend itself to a
mere policy of reaction, and the temper of the new Government therefore
fell fairly in with the temper of the Convention when that body, after
declaring itself a Parliament, proceeded to consider the measures which
were requisite for a settlement of the nation. The Convention had been
chosen under ordinances which excluded Royalist "Malignants" from the
right of voting; and the bulk of its members were men of Presbyterian
sympathies, loyalist to the core, but as adverse to despotism as the
Long Parliament itself. In its earlier days a member who asserted that
those who had fought against the king were as guilty as those who cut
off his head was sternly rebuked from the Chair. The first measure which
was undertaken by the House, the Bill of Indemnity and Oblivion for all
offences committed during the recent troubles, showed at once the
moderate character of the Commons. In the punishment of the regicides
indeed a Presbyterian might well be as zealous as a Cavalier. In spite
of a Proclamation issued in the first days of his return, which
virtually promised mercy to all the judges of the late king who
surrendered themselves to justice, Charles pressed for revenge on those
whom he regarded as his father's murderers, and the Lords went hotly
with the king. It is to the credit of the Commons that they steadily
resisted the cry for blood. By the original provisions of the Bill of
Oblivion and Indemnity only seven of the living regicides were excluded
from pardon; and though the rise of Royalist fervour during the three
months in which the bill was under discussion forced the House in the
end to leave almost all to the course of justice, yet a clause which
made a special Act of Parliament necessary for the execution of those
who had surrendered under the Proclamation protected the lives of most
of them. Twenty-eight of the king's Judges were in the end arraigned at
the bar of a Court specially convened for their trial, but only thirteen
were executed, and only one of these, General Harrison, had played any
conspicuous part in the rebellion. Twenty others, who had been prominent
in what were now called "the troubles" of the past twenty years, were
declared incapable of holding office under the State: and by an
unjustifiable clause which was introduced into the Act before its final
adoption Sir Harry Vane and General Lambert, though they had taken no
part in the king's death, were specially exempted from the general

[Sidenote: Settlement of the Nation.]

In dealing with the questions of property which arose from the
confiscations and transfers of estates during the Civil Wars the
Convention met with greater difficulties. No opposition was made to the
resumption of all Crown-lands by the State, but the Convention desired
to protect the rights of those who had purchased Church property and of
those who were in actual possession of private estates which had been
confiscated by the Long Parliament or by the government which succeeded
it. The bills however which they prepared for this purpose were delayed
by the artifices of Hyde; and at the close of the Session the bishops
and the evicted Royalists quietly re-entered into the occupation of
their old possessions. The Royalists indeed were far from being
satisfied with this summary confiscation. Fines and sequestrations had
impoverished all the steady adherents of the royal cause, and had driven
many of them to forced sales of their estates; and a demand was made for
compensation for their losses and the cancelling of these sales. Without
such provisions, said the frenzied Cavaliers, the bill would be "a Bill
of Indemnity for the king's enemies, and of Oblivion for his friends."
But here the Convention stood firm. All transfers of property by sale
were recognized as valid, and all claims of compensation for losses by
sequestration were barred by the Act.

From the settlement of the nation the Convention passed to the
settlement of the relations between the nation and the Crown. So far was
the constitutional work of the Long Parliament from being undone that
its more important measures were silently accepted as the base of future
government. Not a voice demanded the restoration of the Star Chamber or
of monopolies or of the Court of High Commission; no one disputed the
justice of the condemnation of Ship-money or the assertion of the sole
right of Parliament to grant supplies to the Crown. The Militia indeed
was placed in the king's hands; but the army was disbanded, though
Charles was permitted to keep a few regiments for his guard. The revenue
was fixed at £1,200,000, and this sum was granted to the king for life,
a grant which might have been perilous for freedom had not the taxes
voted to supply the sum fallen constantly below this estimate, while the
current expenses of the Crown, even in time of peace, greatly exceeded
it. But even for this grant a heavy price was exacted. Though the rights
of the Crown over lands held, as the bulk of English estates were held,
in military tenure had ceased to be of any great pecuniary value, they
were indirectly a source of considerable power. The rights of wardship
and of marriage above all enabled the sovereign to exercise a galling
pressure on every landed proprietor in his social and domestic
concerns. Under Elizabeth the right of wardship had been used to secure
the education of all Catholic minors in the Protestant faith; and under
James and his successor the charge of minors had been granted to Court
favourites or sold in open market to the highest bidder. But the real
value of these rights to the Crown lay in the political pressure which
it was able to exert through them on the country gentry. A squire was
naturally eager to buy the good will of a sovereign who might soon be
the guardian of his daughter and the administrator of his estate. But
the same motives which made the Crown cling to this prerogative made the
Parliament anxious to do away with it. Its efforts to bring this about
under James the First had been foiled by the king's stubborn resistance;
but the long interruption of these rights during the troubles made their
revival almost impossible at the Restoration. One of the first acts
therefore of the Convention was to free the country gentry by abolishing
the claims of the Crown to reliefs and wardship, purveyance, and
pre-emption, and by the conversion of lands held till then in chivalry
into lands held in common socage. In lieu of his rights Charles accepted
a grant of £100,000 a year; a sum which it was originally purposed to
raise by a tax on the lands thus exempted from feudal exactions; but
which was provided for in the end with less justice by a general excise.

[Sidenote: England and the Church.]

Successful as the Convention had been in effecting a settlement of
political matters it failed in bringing about a settlement of the
Church. In his proclamation from Breda Charles had promised to respect
liberty of conscience, and to assent to any Acts of Parliament which
should be presented to him for its security. The Convention was in the
main Presbyterian; but it soon became plain that the continuance of a
purely Presbyterian system was impossible. "The generality of the
people," wrote Sharpe, a shrewd Scotch observer, from London, "are
doting after Prelacy and the Service-book." The Convention however still
hoped for some modified form of Episcopalian government which would
enable the bulk of the Puritan party to remain within the Church. A
large part of the existing clergy indeed were Independents, and for
these no compromise with Episcopacy was possible: but the greater number
were moderate Presbyterians who were ready "for fear of worse" not only
to submit to such a plan of Church government as Archbishop Usher had
proposed, a plan in which the bishop was only the president of a
diocesan board of presbyters, but to accept the Liturgy itself with a
few amendments and the omission of "superstitious practices." It was to
a compromise of this kind that the king himself leant at the beginning,
and a Royal declaration announced his approval of the Puritan demands,
limited the authority of the bishops by the counsel of their
presbyters, and promised a revision of the Book of Common Prayer. The
royal declaration was read at a conference of the two parties, and with
it a petition from the Independents praying for religious liberty. The
king proposed to grant the prayer of the petition, not for the
Independents only but for all Christians. Dexterous as the move was, it
at once spread alarm. The silence of the bishops, the protest of Baxter,
proved that on the point of tolerating the Catholics all were at one. In
itself however the declaration satisfied the Puritan party, and one of
their leaders, Dr. Reynolds, accepted a bishopric on the strength of it.
But the king's disappointment at the check given to his plans showed
itself in the new attitude of the government when a bill was introduced
into the House of Commons by Sir Matthew Hale to turn the declaration
into a law. The opposition of the Episcopalian party was secretly
encouraged by the Royalist section of the ministry, and the bill thrown
out by a small majority. A fresh conference was promised, but in the
absence of any Parliamentary action the Episcopal party boldly availed
themselves of their legal rights. The ejected clergy who still remained
alive entered again into their parsonages, the bishops returned to their
sees, and the dissolution of the Convention-Parliament destroyed the
last hope of an ecclesiastical compromise.

[Sidenote: The Constitutional Royalists.]

The tide of loyalty had in fact been rising fast during its session,
and its influence was already seen in a shameful outrage wrought under
the very orders of the Convention itself. The bodies of Cromwell,
Bradshaw, and Ireton were torn from their graves and hung on gibbets at
Tyburn, while those of Pym and Blake were cast out of Westminster Abbey
into St. Margaret's churchyard. But it was only on the dissolution of
the Convention-Parliament at the end of 1660 that the new political
temper made itself vigorously felt. For the first time during twenty
years half England found itself able to go to the poll. From the outset
of the war all who had taken part on the Royalist side had been
disfranchised as "malignants," and this disfranchisement had been
rigorously enforced even in the elections to the Convention. But
"malignity" had now ceased to be a crime, and the voters so long
deprived of all share in the suffrage, vicars, country gentlemen,
farmers, with the whole body of the Catholics, rushed again to the poll.
Their temper, as might be expected, was one of vengeance on the men who
had held them down so long. In counties and towns alike the zeal for
Church and king, the two causes for which the voters had suffered, swept
all hope of moderation or compromise before it. The ruling impulse was
to get utterly rid of the old representatives. The Presbyterians,
dominant in the Convention, sank in the Cavalier Parliament, as that of
1661 was called, to a handful of fifty members.

[Sidenote: The Parliament of 1661.]

The new House of Commons was made up for the most part of young men, of
men, that is, who had but a faint memory of the Stuart tyranny under
which their childhood had been spent, but who had a keen memory of
living from manhood beneath the tyranny of the Commonwealth. They had
seen their fathers driven from the justice-bench, driven from the
polling-booth, half-beggared and imprisoned for no other cause but their
loyalty to the king. They had seen the family oaks felled and the family
plate sent to the melting-pot to redeem their estates from the pitiless
hands of the committee at Goldsmiths' Hall. They had themselves been
brought like poachers before the justices for a horse-race or a
cock-fight. At every breath of a rising a squad of the New Model had
quartered itself in the manor-house and a warrant from the Major-general
of the district had cleared the stables. Nor was this all. The same
tyranny which pressed on their social and political life had pressed on
their religious life too. The solemn petitions of the Book of Common
Prayer, the words which had rung like sweet chimes in their ears from
their first childhood, had been banned from every village church as
accursed things. It had been only by stealth and at home that the cross
could be signed on the brow of the babe whom the squire brought to be
christened. Hardly by stealth had it been possible to bury their dead
with the words of pathetic hope which have so often brought comfort to
the ears of mourners.

[Sidenote: The Parliament and the Church.]

And now the young squires felt that their time had come. The Puritan,
the Presbyterian, the Commonwealthman, all were at their feet. Their
very bearing was that of wild revolt against the Puritan past. To a
staid observer, Roger Pepys, they seemed a following of "the most
profane, swearing fellows that ever I heard in my life." Their whole
policy appeared to be dictated by a passionate spirit of reaction. They
would drive the Presbyterians from the bench and the polling-booth as
the Presbyterians had driven them. They would make belief in a
Commonwealth as much a sign of "malignity" as their enemies had made
belief in a king. They would have no military rule: they hated indeed
the very name of a standing army. They were hot Royalists and they were
hot churchmen. The old tyranny of the bishops was forgotten, the old
jealousy of the clergy set aside in the memory of a common suffering.
The oppressors of the parson had been the oppressors of the squire. The
sequestrator who had driven the one from his parsonage had driven the
other from his manor-house. Both had been branded with the same charge
of malignity. Both had been robbed alike of the same privileges of
citizenship. Both had suffered together, and the new Parliament was
resolved that both should triumph together. For the first time since
the Reformation the English gentry were ardent not for king only but
for Church and King.

The zeal of the Parliament at its outset therefore far outran that of
Charles or his ministers. Though it confirmed the other acts of its
predecessor, the Convention, it could with difficulty be brought to
confirm the Act of Indemnity. The Commons pressed for the prosecution of
Vane. Vane was protected alike by the spirit of the law and by the
king's pledge to the Convention that, even if convicted of treason, he
would not suffer him to be sent to the block. But he was now brought to
trial on the charge of treason against a king, "kept out of his royal
authority by traitors and rebels," and his spirited defence served as an
excuse for his execution. "He is too dangerous a man to let live,"
Charles wrote with characteristic coolness, "if we can safely put him
out of the way." But the new members were yet better churchmen than
loyalists. At the opening of their session they ordered every member to
receive the communion, and the League and Covenant to be solemnly burnt
by the common hangman in Westminster Hall. The bill which excluded the
bishops from their seats in the House of Lords was repealed. The
conference at the Savoy between the Episcopalians and Presbyterians
broke up in anger, and the few alterations made in the Liturgy were made
with a view to disgust rather than to conciliate the Puritan party.

[Sidenote: Clarendon.]

In spite of these outbursts however it would be unjust to look on the
temper of the new Parliament as a mere temper of revenge. Its wish was
in the main to restore the constitutional system which the civil war had
violently interrupted. The Royalist party, as we have seen, had no sort
of sympathy with the policy of the early Stuarts. Their notions and
their aims were not those of Laud and Strafford, but of the group of
constitutional loyalists who had followed Falkland in his break with the
Long Parliament in 1642. And of that group by a singular fortune the
most active and conspicuous member now filled the chief place in the
counsels of the king. Edward Hyde had joined Charles the First before
the outbreak of the war, he had become his Chancellor of the Exchequer,
and it was to his pen that the bulk of the royal manifestoes were
attributed. He had passed with the young Prince of Wales into exile, and
had remained the counsellor of Charles the Second during the long years
which preceded his return. His faithfulness had been amply rewarded. He
was now Earl of Clarendon and Lord Chancellor; and his influence in the
royal council, which had been great from the first, became supreme when
the temper of the new Parliament shattered the hopes of his Presbyterian
opponents there. But his aim was simply to carry out the policy he had
clung to with Falkland. He was a lawyer by breeding, and his theory of
the State was a lawyer's theory. He looked on the English constitution,
not as the sum of political forces which were still in process of
developement, but as a mass of fixed and co-ordinated institutions whose
form and mutual relations had been settled in some distant past. He had
opposed the Stuart tyranny because--as he held--it had broken down this
constitution to the profit of the Crown. He worked with the men of the
Long Parliament in what he regarded as the work of restoring it; he left
them the moment that he fancied they were themselves about to break it
down to the profit of the People. Years of exile had only hardened his
ideas. He came back with the fixed resolve to hold the State together at
the exact point where the first reforms of the Long Parliament had left
it. The power and prerogative of the Crown, the authority of the Church,
were to be jealously preserved, but they were to be preserved by the
free will and conviction of the Parliament. It was on this harmonious
co-operation of these three great institutions that Clarendon's system
hung. Its importance to future times lay in his regarding Parliament and
the Church, not as mere accidents or checks in the system of English
government, but as essential parts of it, parts which were as needful
for its healthy working as the Crown itself, and through which the power
of the Crown was to be exercised. Wholly to realize such a conception
it was necessary that the Parliament should be politically, the Church
religiously, representatives of the whole nation.

[Sidenote: Test and Corporation Act.]

The first of Clarendon's assumptions was not only a fact but a far
greater fact than he imagined. Hence it came about that his assembly of
the Parliament year after year, and the steady way in which he used it
to do the Crown's work by setting its stamp on every great political
measure, became of the highest importance in our constitutional
developement. The second was a fiction, for half England had passed from
the grasp of the Church, but it was to make it a fact that Clarendon
buckled himself to a desperate struggle with Nonconformity. It was under
his guidance that the Parliament turned to the carrying out of that
principle of uniformity in Church as well as in State on which the
minister was resolved. The chief obstacle to such a policy lay in the
Presbyterians, and the strongholds of the Presbyterians were the
corporations of the boroughs. In many of the boroughs the corporation
actually returned the borough members--in all they exercised a powerful
influence on their election. To drive the Presbyterians therefore from
municipal posts was to weaken if not to destroy the Presbyterian party
in the House of Commons. It was with a view of bringing about this
object that the Cavalier Parliament passed a severe Corporation Act,
which required as a condition of entering on any municipal office a
reception of the communion according to the rites of the Anglican
Church, a renunciation of the League and Covenant, and a declaration
that it was unlawful on any grounds to take up arms against the king.
The attempt was only partially successful, and test and oath were taken
after a while by men who regarded both simply as insults to their
religious and political convictions. But if Clarendon was foiled in his
effort to secure political uniformity by excluding the Presbyterian
party from any connexion with the government of the State, he seemed for
the time more successful in his attempt to secure a religious uniformity
by their exclusion from the Church.

[Sidenote: Act of Uniformity.]

An effectual blow was dealt at the Puritans in 1662 by the renewal of
the Act of Uniformity. Not only was the use of the Prayer-Book, and the
Prayer-Book only, enforced in all public worship, but an unfeigned
consent and assent was demanded from every minister of the Church to all
which was contained in it; while for the first time since the
Reformation all orders save those conferred by the hands of bishops were
legally disallowed. To give a political stamp to the new measure the
declaration exacted from corporations, that it was unlawful in any case
to take up arms against the Crown, was exacted from the clergy, and a
pledge was required that they would seek to make no change in Church or
State. It was in vain that Ashley opposed the bill fiercely in the
Lords, that the peers pleaded for pensions to the ejected ministers and
for the exemption of schoolmasters from the necessity of subscription,
and that even Clarendon, who felt that the king's word was at stake,
pressed for the insertion of clauses enabling the Crown to grant
dispensations from its provisions. Every suggestion of compromise was
rejected by the Commons; and Charles whose aim was to procure a
toleration for the Catholics by allowing the Presbyterians to feel the
pressure of persecution at last assented to the bill.

[Sidenote: St. Bartholomew's Day.]

The bill passed in May, but its execution was deferred till August; and
in the interval the Presbyterian party in the royal Council struggled
hard to obtain from the king a suspension of its provisions by the
exercise of his prerogative. Charles had promised this, but the bishops
were resolute to enforce the law; and on St. Bartholomew's Day, August
the 24th, the last day allowed for compliance with its requirements,
nearly two thousand rectors and vicars, or about a fifth of the English
clergy, were driven from their parishes as Nonconformists. No such
sweeping alteration in the religious aspect of the Church had ever been
seen before. The ecclesiastical changes of the Reformation had been
brought about with little change in the clergy itself. Even the
severities of the High Commission under Elizabeth ended in the expulsion
of a few hundreds. If Laud had gone zealously to work in emptying
Puritan pulpits his zeal had been to a great extent foiled by the
restrictions of the law and by the growth of Puritan sentiment in the
clergy as a whole. A far wider change had been brought about in the
expulsion of Royalist clergy from their benefices during the Civil War;
but the change had been gradual, and had been at least ostensibly
wrought for the most part on political or moral rather than on religious
grounds. The parsons expelled were expelled as "malignants," or as
unfitted for their office by idleness or vice or inability to preach.
But the change wrought by St. Bartholomew's Day was a distinctly
religious change, and it was a change which in its suddenness and
completeness stood utterly alone. The rectors and vicars who were driven
out were the most learned and the most active of their order. The bulk
of the great livings throughout the country were in their hands. They
stood at the head of the London clergy, as the London clergy stood in
general repute at the head of their class throughout England. They
occupied the higher posts at the two Universities. No English divine
save Jeremy Taylor rivalled Howe as a preacher. No parson was so
renowned a controversialist or so indefatigable a parish priest as
Baxter. And behind these men stood a fifth of the whole body of the
clergy, men whose zeal and labour had diffused throughout the country a
greater appearance of piety and religion than it had ever displayed

[Sidenote: Its religious results.]

But the expulsion of these men was far more to the Church of England
than the loss of their individual services. It was the definite
expulsion of a great party which from the time of the Reformation had
played the most active and popular part in the life of the Church. It
was the close of an effort which had been going on ever since
Elizabeth's accession to bring the English Communion into closer
relations with the Reformed Communions of the Continent and into greater
harmony with the religious instincts of the nation at large. The Church
of England stood from that moment isolated and alone among all the
Churches of the Christian world. The Reformation had severed it
irretrievably from those which still clung to the obedience of the
Papacy. By its rejection of all but episcopal orders the Act of
Uniformity severed it as irretrievably from the general body of the
Protestant Churches whether Lutheran or Reformed. And while thus cut off
from all healthy religious communion with the world without it sank into
immobility within. With the expulsion of the Puritan clergy all change,
all efforts after reform, all national developement, suddenly stopped.
From that time to this the Episcopal Church has been unable to meet the
varying spiritual needs of its adherents by any modifications of its
government or its worship. It stands alone among all the religious
bodies of Western Christendom in its failure through two hundred years
to devise a single new service of prayer or of praise.

[Sidenote: Its political results.]

But if the issues of St. Bartholomew's Day have been harmful to the
spiritual life of the English Church they have been in the highest
degree advantageous to the cause of religious liberty. At the
Restoration religious freedom seemed again to have been lost. Only the
Independents and a few despised sects, such as the Quakers, upheld the
right of every man to worship God according to the bidding of his own
conscience. The bulk of the Puritan Party, with the Presbyterians at its
head, was at one with its opponents in desiring a uniformity of worship,
if not of belief, throughout the land. Had the two great parties within
the Church held together their weight would have been almost
irresistible. Fortunately the great severance of St. Bartholomew's Day
drove out the Presbyterians from the Church to which they clung, and
forced them into a general union with sects which they had hated till
then almost as bitterly as the bishops themselves. A common persecution
soon blended the Nonconformists into one. Persecution broke down before
the numbers, the wealth, and the political weight of the new sectarians;
and the Church for the first time in its history found itself confronted
with an organized body of Dissenters without its pale. The impossibility
of crushing such a body as this wrested from English statesmen the first
legal recognition of freedom of worship in the Toleration Act; their
rapid growth in later times has by degrees stripped the Church of almost
all the exclusive privileges which it enjoyed as a religious body, and
now threatens what remains of its official connexion with the State.
With these remoter consequences however we are not as yet concerned. It
is enough to note here that with the Act of Uniformity and the expulsion
of the Puritan clergy a new element in our religious and political
history, the element of Dissent, the influence of the Nonconformist
churches, comes first into play.

[Sidenote: Charles and Clarendon.]

The sudden outbreak and violence of the persecution, the breaking up of
conventicles, the imprisonment of those who were found worshipping in
them, turned the disappointment of the Presbyterians into despair. Many
were for retiring to Holland, others proposed a general flight to New
England and the American colonies. Among the Baptists and Independents
there was vague talk of an appeal to arms. So threatening indeed did the
attitude of the Sectaries become that Clarendon was anxious to provide
himself with men and money and above all with foreign aid for such a
struggle, should it come. Different indeed as were the aims of the king
and his Chancellor the course of events drew them inevitably together.
If Charles desired the friendship of France as a support in any possible
struggle with the Parliament Clarendon desired it as a support in the
possible struggle with the Nonconformists. The first step in this French
policy had been the marriage with Catharine of Braganza; the second was
the surrender of Dunkirk. The maintenance of the garrison at Dunkirk was
a heavy drag upon the royal treasury, and a proposal for its sale to
Spain, which was made by Lord Sandwich in council, was seized by Charles
and Clarendon as a means of opening a bargain with France. To France the
profit was immense. Not only was a port gained in the Channel which
served during the next hundred years as a haunt for privateers in every
war between the two powers, but the withdrawal of the English garrison
at the close of 1662 from a port which necessarily drew England into
every contest between France and Spain freed the hands of Lewis for the
stroke he was patiently planning against the Low Countries. Lewis
however proved a shrewd bargainer, and not a half of the sum originally
demanded as its price found its way into the royal treasury. But the
money was accepted as a pledge of the close connexion which was to bind
the two crowns together. Charles declared the cession to be "one of the
greatest proofs he could give of his friendship for the French king,"
and the Duke of York pressed the bargain with assurances that his
strongest desire, like that of his brother, was "to unite our interests
with those of France." Clarendon was as desirous of such a union as his
master. In his eyes the friendship of France, the money, the force
placed in his hands by the return of the garrison of Dunkirk to England,
were so many safeguards against the outbreak of rebellion which his
policy had provoked.

[Sidenote: Ashley Cooper.]

But he had reckoned without Charles, and the time was come when the king
was to show how widely his temper and aim differed from those of his
Chancellor. Charles had no taste for civil war, nor had he the slightest
wish to risk his throne in securing the supremacy of the Church. His aim
was to use the strife between the two great bodies of Protestant
religionists so as to secure toleration for the Catholics and revive at
the same time his prerogative of dispensing with the execution of laws.
At the close of 1662 therefore he suddenly broke from the policy of
Clarendon and laid his plans for toleration before the Presbyterian
party who were struggling against the Chancellor in the royal council.
Of that party Ashley Cooper, Lord Ashley, was now in influence, though
not in rank, the chief. Every step in his career had brought out the
boldness, the self-reliance, the versatility and readiness of resource
which distinguished his character. In mere boyhood he had saved his
estate from the greed of his guardians by boldly appealing in person for
protection to Noy, who was then attorney-general. As an undergraduate at
Oxford he organized a rebellion of the freshmen against the oppressive
customs which were enforced by the senior men of his college, and
succeeded in abolishing them. At eighteen he was a member of the Short
Parliament. On the outbreak of the Civil War he took part with the king;
but in the midst of the royal successes he foresaw the ruin of the royal
cause, passed to the Parliament, attached himself to the fortunes of
Cromwell, and became member of the Council of State. A temporary
disgrace during the last years of the Protectorate only quickened him to
a restless hatred which did much to bring about its fall. His bitter
invectives against the dead Protector, his intrigues with Monk, and the
active part which he took in the king's recall, were rewarded at the
Restoration with a peerage and with promotion to a foremost share in the
royal councils.

Ashley was then a man of forty, and under the Commonwealth he had been
famous in Dryden's contemptuous phrase as "the loudest bagpipe of the
squeaking train"; but he was no sooner a minister of Charles than he
flung himself into the debauchery of the Court with an ardour which
surprised even his master. "You are the wickedest dog in England!"
laughed the king at some unscrupulous jest of his counsellor's. "Of a
subject, sir, I believe I am!" was the unabashed reply. But the
debauchery of Ashley was simply a mask. He was in fact temperate by
nature and habit, and his ill-health rendered any great excess
impossible. Men soon found that the courtier who lounged in Lady
Castlemaine's boudoir, or drank and jested with Sedley and Buckingham,
was a diligent and able man of business. "He is a man," says the puzzled
Pepys, three years after the Restoration, "of great business and yet of
pleasure and dissipation too." His rivals were as envious of the ease
and mastery with which he dealt with questions of finance as of the
"nimble wit" which won the favour of the king. Even in later years his
industry earned the grudging praise of his enemies. Dryden owned that as
Chancellor he was "swift to despatch and easy of access," and wondered
at the fevered activity which "refused his age the needful hours of
rest." His activity indeed was the more wonderful that his health was
utterly broken. An accident in early days left behind it an abiding
weakness whose traces were seen in the furrows which seamed his long
pale face, in the feebleness of his health, and the nervous tremor which
shook his puny frame. The "pigmy body" was "fretted to decay" by the
"fiery soul" within it. But pain and weakness brought with them no
sourness of spirit. Ashley was attacked more unscrupulously than any
statesman save Walpole; but Burnet, who did not love him, owns that he
was never bitter or angry in speaking of his assailants. Even the wit
with which he crushed them was commonly good-humoured. "When will you
have done preaching?" a bishop murmured testily, as he was speaking in
the House of Peers. "When I am a bishop, my Lord!" was the laughing

[Sidenote: Ashley's Policy.]

As a statesman Ashley not only stood high among his contemporaries from
his wonderful readiness and industry, but he stood far above them in his
scorn of personal profit. Even Dryden, while raking together every fault
in his character, owns that his hands were clean. As a political leader
his position was to modern eyes odd enough. In religion he was at most a
Deist, with some fanciful notions "that after death our souls lived in
stars," and his life was that of a debauchee. But Deist and debauchee as
he was he remained the representative of the Presbyterian and
Nonconformist party in the Royal Council. He was the steady and vehement
advocate of toleration, but his advocacy was based on purely political
grounds. He saw that persecution would fail to bring back the Dissenters
to the Church, and that the effort to recall them only left the country
disunited. He saw too that such a disunion exposed English liberty to
invasion from the Crown, while it robbed England herself of all
influence in Europe at a time when her influence alone could effectually
check the ambition of France. The one means of uniting Churchmen and
Dissidents was by a policy of toleration, but in the temper of England
after the Restoration he saw no hope of obtaining toleration save from
the king. Wit, debauchery, rapidity in the despatch of business, were
all therefore used as a means to gain influence over the king, and to
secure him as a friend in the struggle which Ashley carried on against
the intolerance of Clarendon.

[Sidenote: The first Declaration of Indulgence.]

Charles, as we have seen, had his own game to play, and his own reasons
for protecting Ashley during his vehement struggle against the Test and
Corporation Act, the Act of Uniformity, and the persecution of the
Dissidents. But the struggle had been fruitless, and the only chance--as
it seemed to Ashley--of securing toleration was to receive it on the
king's own terms. It was with the assent therefore of the Presbyterian
party in the Council that Charles issued in December a royal
proclamation which expressed the king's resolve to exempt from the
penalties of the Acts which had been passed "those who living peaceably
do not conform themselves thereunto through scruple and tenderness of
misguided conscience, but modestly and without scandal perform their
devotions in their own way." The desire for toleration had in fact not
only overcome their dread of Catholicism, but even blinded them to the
political dangers of a revival of the dispensing power. The indulgence
applied equally to Catholics as to Protestants; it was in itself a bold
assertion of the royal prerogative of suspending the execution of the
law. The Presbyterian statesmen indeed aimed at giving the dispensing
power a legal basis. A bill introduced by Lords Ashley and Robartes in
the opening of 1663, in redemption of a pledge contained in the
declaration itself, gave Charles the power to dispense not only with the
provisions of the Act of Uniformity but with the penalties provided by
all laws which enforced religious conformity or which imposed religious
tests. But the policy of Charles as of Ashley broke instantly down
before the good sense as well as the religious passion of the people at
large. If the Presbyterian leaders in the council had stooped to accept
the aid of the declaration, the bulk of the Dissidents had no mind to
have their grievances used as a means of procuring by a side wind
toleration for Roman Catholics, or of building up again that dispensing
power which the civil wars had thrown down. The Churchmen on the other
hand with the bishops at their head were resolute in opposition. Ever
since the issue of the Declaration of Indulgence the hatred felt by the
Churchmen for the Dissidents had been embittered by suspicions of a
secret league between the Dissidents and the Catholics in which the king
was taking part. The Houses therefore struck simultaneously at both
their opponents. They forced Charles by an address to withdraw his
pledge of toleration. They then extorted from him a proclamation for the
banishment of all Catholic priests, and followed this up by a
Conventicle Act, which punished with fine, imprisonment, and
transportation on a third offence all persons who met in greater number
than five for any religious worship save that of the Common Prayer.

[Sidenote: Clarendon's triumph.]

What added to the sting of this defeat was the open opposition which
Clarendon had offered to his master's scheme in Parliament. From that
moment Charles resolved on his minister's ruin. But Clarendon's position
was too strong to be easily shaken. Hated by the Catholics and the
Dissenters, opposed in the Council itself by Ashley and the Presbyterian
leaders, opposed in the Court by the king's mistress, Lady Castlemaine,
as well as by the supple and adroit Henry Bennet, a creature of the
king's who began to play a foremost part in politics, Clarendon was
still strong in his long and intimate connexion with the king's affairs,
his alliance with the royal house through the marriage of his daughter,
Anne Hyde, with the Duke of York, in his untiring industry, his wide
capacity for business, above all in the support of the Church and the
confidence of the royalist and orthodox House of Commons. To the Commons
and the Church he was only bound the closer by the hatred of Catholics
and Nonconformists or by the futile attempts at impeachment which were
made by the Catholic Earl of Bristol in the summer of 1663. The
"Declaration" indeed had strengthened Clarendon's position. It had
identified his policy of persecution with the maintenance of
constitutional liberty, and had thrown on Ashley and his opponents the
odium of an attempt to set up again the dispensing power and of
betraying, as it was thought, the interests of Protestantism into the
hands of Rome. Never in fact had Clarendon's power seemed stronger than
in 1664; and the only result of the attempt to shake his system of
intolerance was an increase of persecution. Of the sufferings of the
expelled clergy one of their number, Richard Baxter, has given us an
account. "Many hundreds of them with their wives and children had
neither house nor bread. . . . Their congregations had enough to do,
besides a small maintenance, to help them out of prisons or to maintain
them there. Though they were as frugal as possible they could hardly
live; some lived on little more than brown bread and water, many had but
eight or ten pounds a year to maintain a family, so that a piece of
flesh has not come to one of their tables in six weeks' time; their
allowance could scarce afford them bread and cheese. One went to plow
six days and preached on the Lord's Day. Another was forced to cut
tobacco for a livelihood." But poverty was the least of their
sufferings. They were jeered at by the players. They were hooted through
the streets by the mob. "Many of the ministers being afraid to lay down
their ministry after they had been ordained to it, preached to such as
would hear them in fields and private houses, till they were apprehended
and cast into gaols, where many of them perished." They were
excommunicated in the Bishop's Court or fined for non-attendance at
church; and a crowd of informers grew up who made a trade of detecting
the meetings they held at midnight. Alleyn, the author of the well-known
"Alarm to the Unconverted," died at thirty-six from the sufferings he
endured in Taunton Gaol. Vavasour Powell, the apostle of Wales, spent
the eleven years which followed the Restoration in prisons at
Shrewsbury, Southsea, and Cardiff, till he perished in the Fleet.

[Sidenote: England and the Dutch.]

The success however of this experiment in the repression of religious
opinion rested mainly on the absence of any disturbing influences from
without; and in the midst of his triumph over his opponents at home
Clarendon was watching anxiously the growth of a quarrel which
threatened war with the Dutch. The old commercial jealousy between the
two rival merchant nations, which had been lulled in 1662 by a formal
treaty of peace, but which still lived on in petty squabbles at sea, was
embittered by the cession of Bombay--a port which gave England an entry
into the profitable trade with India--as well as by the establishment of
a West Indian Company in London which opened a traffic with the Gold
Coast of Africa, and brought back from Guinea the gold from which our
first "guineas" were struck. In both countries there was a general
irritation which vented itself in cries for war, and in the session of
1664 the English Parliament presented an address to the Crown praying
for the exaction of redress for wrongs done by the Dutch to English
merchants. But the squabble was of long standing, and there was nothing
to threaten any immediate strife. Charles himself indeed shrank from
wars which he foresaw would leave him at the mercy of his Parliament;
and Clarendon with Ormond, the bishops, and the whole Church party, were
conscious that the maintenance of peace was needful for their system of
religious repression. The quarrel therefore would have dragged on in
endless recriminations had not the restless hatred of the Chancellor's
opponents seen in it a means of bringing about the end in which they had
as yet been foiled. Bennet and the Court, Ashley and the Presbyterian
party in the Council, Bristol and the Catholics, foresaw that the
pressure of such a war, the burdens it would bring with it, and the
supplies for which he would be driven to ask, would soon ruin the
Chancellor's popularity with the Commons. Stripped of their support, it
was easy to bring about his fall and clear the stage for fresh efforts
after a religious toleration. The popular temper made their task of
forcing on a war an easy one. The king was won over, partly by playing
on his old resentment at the insults he had suffered from Holland during
his exile, partly by his hope that the suffering which war would bring
on Holland would end in the overthrow of the aristocratic republicans
who had governed the United Provinces ever since the fall of the House
of Orange, and in the restoration of his young nephew, William of
Orange, to the old influence of his family over the State. Such a
restoration would not only repay the debt of gratitude which the
Royalist cause owed to the efforts of William's father in its support,
but would remove the dread which the English government never ceased to
feel of the encouragement which the Dissidents at home derived from the
mere existence close by of a presbyterian and republican government in
Holland. Against the combined pressure of the king, the people, and his
enemies in the cabinet and the court, Clarendon was unable to contend.
Attacks on the Dutch settlements, on the Gold Coast, and the American
coast, made war inevitable; a fleet was manned; and at the close of 1664
the Parliament in a fit of unwonted enthusiasm voted two millions and a
half for the coming struggle.

[Sidenote: The Dutch War.]

The war at sea which followed was a war of giants. No such mighty fleets
have ever disputed the sovereignty of the seas, nor have any naval
battles equalled the encounters of the two nations in dogged and
obstinate fighting. In the spring of 1665 the two fleets, each a hundred
ships strong, mustered in the Channel, the Dutch under Opdam, the
English under the Duke of York. Their first battle off Lowestoft,
obstinate as all the engagements between the two nations, ended in a
victory for the English, a victory due chiefly to the superiority of
their guns and to a shot which blew up the flag-ship of the Dutch
Admiral in the midst of the engagement. But the thought of triumph was
soon forgotten in a terrible calamity which now fell on London. In six
months a hundred thousand Londoners died of the Plague which broke out
in May in the crowded streets of the capital, and which drove the
Parliament from London to assemble in October at Oxford. To the dismay
caused by the Plague was added the growing irritation at the increasing
pressure of the war and a sense of the grave dangers into which the
struggle with Holland was plunging the country both at home and abroad.
The enormous grant which had been made at the outset for three years was
already spent and a fresh supply had to be granted. But hard and costly
as the Dutch war had proved, a far graver and costlier struggle seemed
opening in its train. The war was a serious stumbling-block in the way
of the French projects. Holland on the strength of old treaties, England
on the strength of her new friendship, alike called on Lewis for aid;
but to give aid to either was to run the risk of throwing the other on
the aid of the House of Austria, and of building up the league which
could alone check France in its designs upon Spain. Only peace could
keep the European states disunited, and it was on their disunion that
Lewis counted for success in his design of seizing Flanders, a design
which was now all but ripe for execution. At the outset of the war
therefore he offered his mediation, and suggested the terms of a
compromise. But his attempt was fruitless, and the defeat off Lowestoft
forced him to more effective action. He declared himself forced to give
aid to the Dutch though he cautiously restricted his help to the promise
of a naval reinforcement. But the chief work of his negotiators was to
prevent any extension of the struggle. Sweden and Brandenburg, from both
of which powers Charles counted on support, were held in check by the
intervention of France; and the Bishop of Münster, whom an English
subsidy had roused to an attack on his Dutch neighbours, was forced by
the influence of Lewis to withdraw his troops. Sir William Temple, the
English ambassador at Brussels, strove to enlist Spain on the side of
England by promising to bring about a treaty between that country and
Portugal which would free its hands for an attack on Lewis, and so
anticipate his plans for an attack under more favourable circumstances
on herself. But Lewis knew how to play on the Catholic bigotry of Spain,
and the English offers were set aside.

[Sidenote: England and France.]

Lewis thus succeeded in isolating England and in narrowing the war
within the limits of a struggle at sea, a struggle in which the two
great sea-powers could only weaken one another to the profit of his own
powerful navy. But his intervention was far from soaring England into
peace. The old hatred of France had quickened the English people to an
early perception of the dangers which were to spring from French
ambition; and as early as 1661 the London mob backed the Spanish
ambassador in a street squabble for precedence with the ambassador of
France. "We do all naturally love the Spanish," Pepys comments on this
at the time, "and hate the French." The marriage of Catharine, the sale
of Dunkirk, were taken as signs of the growth of a French influence over
English policy, and the jealousy and suspicion they had aroused were
seen in the reception with which the Parliament met the announcement of
Lewis's hostility. No sooner had the words fallen from Charles's lips
than "there was a great noise in the Parliament," writes the French
statesman Louvois, "to show the joy of the two Houses at the prospect of
a fight with us." But even the warlike temper of the Parliament could
not blind it to the new weight which was given to the struggle by this
intervention of France. Above all it woke men to the dangers at home.
The policy of Clarendon had broken England into two nations. Whatever
might be the attitude of Monk or Ashley in the royal closet the
sympathies of the Nonconformists as a whole could not fail to be opposed
to a war with the Dutch; and as Charles was striving with some show of
success to rouse the Orange party in the States to active opposition
against the dominant republicans, so the Dutch statesmen summoned the
banished regicides to Holland, and dreamed of a landing in England which
would bring about a general rising of the Dissidents against Charles.
The less scrupulous diplomacy of Lewis availed itself of every element
of opposition, called Algernon Sidney to Paris and supplied him with
money as a possible means of rousing the English republicans, while it
corresponded with the Presbyterians in Scotland and the hardly less
bitter Catholics of Ireland.

[Sidenote: The Religious Persecution.]

The dread of internal revolt was quickened by the new attitude of
resistance taken by the Nonconformists. When the clergy fled from London
at the appearance of the Plague, their pulpits were boldly occupied in
open defiance of the law by the ministers who had been ejected from
them. The terror and hatred roused by this revival of a foe that seemed
to have been crushed was seen in the Five Mile Act, which completed in
1665 the code of persecution. By its provisions every clergyman who had
been driven out by the Act of Uniformity was called on to swear that he
held it unlawful under any pretext to take up arms against the king, and
that he would at no time "endeavour any alteration of government in
Church or State." In case of refusal he was forbidden to go within five
miles of any borough or of any place where he had been wont to
minister. As the main body of the Nonconformists belonged to the city
and trading classes, the effect of this measure was to rob them of any
religious teaching at all. But the tide of religious intolerance was now
slowly ebbing and, bigoted as the House was, a motion to impose the oath
of the Five Mile Act on every person in the nation was rejected in the
same session by a majority of six. The sufferings of the Nonconformists
indeed could hardly fail to tell on the sympathies of the people. The
thirst for revenge which had been roused by the tyranny of the
Presbyterians in their hour of triumph was satisfied by their
humiliation in their hour of defeat. The sight of pious and learned
clergymen driven from their homes and their flocks, of religious
meetings broken up by the constables, of preachers set side by side with
thieves and outcasts in the dock, of gaols crammed with honest
enthusiasts whose piety was their only crime, pleaded more eloquently
for toleration than all the reasoning in the world.

[Sidenote: Milton.]

We have a clue to the extent of the persecution from what we know to
have been its effect on a single sect. The Quakers had excited alarm by
their extravagances of manner as well as by their refusal to bear arms
or to take oaths, and a special Act was passed for their repression.
They were one of the smallest of the Nonconformist bodies, but more than
four thousand were soon in prison, and five hundred of these were
imprisoned in London alone. The king's Declaration of Indulgence twelve
years later set free twelve hundred Quakers who had found their way to
the gaols. For not only had persecution failed to kill religious
liberty, but the very Puritanism which the Cavalier Parliament believed
itself to have trodden under foot was at this moment proving the noble
life it had drawn from suffering and defeat. It was at this moment that
Milton produced the "Paradise Lost." During the Civil War he had been
engaged in strife with Presbyterians and with Royalists, pleading for
civil and religious freedom, for freedom of social life and freedom of
the press. At a later time he became Latin secretary to the Protector in
spite of a blindness which had been brought on by the intensity of his
study. The Restoration found him of all living men the most hateful to
the Royalists, for it was his "Defence of the English People" which had
justified throughout Europe the execution of the king. Parliament
ordered his book to be burnt by the common hangman; he was for a time
imprisoned; and even when released he had to live amidst threats of
assassination from fanatical Cavaliers. To the ruin of his cause were
added personal misfortunes in the bankruptcy of the scrivener who held
the bulk of his property, and in the Fire of London which deprived him
of much of what was left. As age drew on he found himself reduced to
comparative poverty and driven to sell his library for subsistence.
Even among the Sectaries who shared his political opinions Milton stood
in religious opinion alone, for he had gradually severed himself from
every accepted form of faith, had embraced Arianism, and had ceased to
attend at any place of worship.

[Sidenote: His Life.]

Nor was his home a happy one. The grace and geniality of his youth
disappeared in the drudgery of a schoolmaster's life and amongst the
invectives of controversy. In age his temper became stern and exacting.
His daughters, who were forced to read to their blind father in
languages which they could not understand, revolted against their
bondage. But solitude and misfortune only brought into bolder relief
Milton's inner greatness. There was a grand simplicity in the life of
his later years. He listened every morning to a chapter of the Hebrew
Bible, and after musing in silence for a while pursued his studies till
mid-day. Then he took exercise for an hour, played for another hour on
the organ or viol, and renewed his studies. The evening was spent in
converse with visitors and friends. For, lonely and unpopular as Milton
was, there was one thing about him which made his house in Bunhill
Fields a place of pilgrimage to the wits of the Restoration. He was the
last of the Elizabethans. He had possibly seen Shakspere, as on his
visits to London after his retirement to Stratford the playwright
passed along Bread Street to his wit combats at the Mermaid. He had been
the contemporary of Webster and Massinger, of Herrick and Crashaw. His
"Comus" and "Arcades" had rivalled the masques of Ben Jonson. It was
with a reverence drawn from thoughts like these that men looked on the
blind poet as he sate, clad in black, in his chamber hung with rusty
green tapestry, his fair brown hair falling as of old over a calm serene
face that still retained much of its youthful beauty, his cheeks
delicately coloured, his clear grey eyes showing no trace of their
blindness. But famous whether for good or ill as his prose writings had
made him, during fifteen years only a few sonnets had broken his silence
as a singer. It was now in his blindness and old age, with the cause he
loved trodden under foot by men as vile as the rabble in "Comus," that
the genius of Milton took refuge in the great poem on which through
years of silence his imagination had been brooding.

[Sidenote: The "Paradise Lost."]

On his return from his travels in Italy Milton spoke of himself as
musing on "a work not to be raised from the heat of youth or the vapours
of wine, like that which flows at waste from the pen of some vulgar
amourist or the trencher fury of a rhyming parasite, nor to be obtained
by the invocation of Dame Memory and her Siren daughters, but by devout
prayer to that Eternal Spirit who can enrich with all utterance and
knowledge, and sends out His Seraphim with the hallowed fire of His
altar to touch and purify the lips of whom He pleases." His lips were
touched at last. In the quiet retreat of his home in Bunhill Fields he
mused during these years of persecution and loneliness on the "Paradise
Lost." The poem was published in 1667, seven years after the
Restoration, and four years later appeared the "Paradise Regained" and
"Samson Agonistes," in the severe grandeur of whose verse we see the
poet himself "fallen," like Samson, "on evil days and evil tongues, with
darkness and with danger compassed round." But great as the two last
works were their greatness was eclipsed by that of their predecessor.
The whole genius of Milton expressed itself in the "Paradise Lost." The
romance, the gorgeous fancy, the daring imagination which he shared with
the Elizabethan poets, the large but ordered beauty which he had drunk
in from the literature of Greece and Rome, the sublimity of conception,
the loftiness of phrase which he owed to the Bible, blended in this
story "of man's first disobedience, and the fruit of that forbidden
tree, whose mortal taste brought death into the world and all our woe."
It is only when we review the strangely mingled elements which make up
the poem that we realize the genius which fused them into such a perfect
whole. The meagre outline of the Hebrew legend is lost in the splendour
and music of Milton's verse. The stern idealism of Geneva is clothed in
the gorgeous robes of the Renascence. If we miss something of the free
play of Spenser's fancy, and yet more of the imaginative delight in
their own creations which gives so exquisite a life to the poetry of the
early dramatists, we find in place of these the noblest example which
our literature affords of the majesty of classic form.

[Sidenote: The Epic of Puritanism.]

But it is not with the literary value of the "Paradise Lost" that we are
here concerned. Its historic importance lies in this, that it is the
Epic of Puritanism. Its scheme is the problem with which the Puritan
wrestled in hours of gloom and darkness--the problem of sin and
redemption, of the world-wide struggle of evil against good. The intense
moral concentration of the Puritan had given an almost bodily shape to
spiritual abstractions before Milton gave life and being to the forms of
Sin and Death. It was the Puritan tendency to mass into one vast "body
of sin" the various forms of human evil, and by the very force of a
passionate hatred to exaggerate their magnitude and their power, to
which we owe the conception of Milton's Satan. The greatness of the
Puritan aim in the long and wavering struggle for justice and law and a
higher good, the grandeur of character which the contest developed, the
colossal forms of good and evil which moved over its stage, the debates
and conspiracies and battles which had been men's life for twenty years,
the mighty eloquence and the mightier ambition which the war had roused
into being--all left their mark on the "Paradise Lost." Whatever was
highest and best in the Puritan temper spoke in the nobleness and
elevation of the poem, in its purity of tone, in its loftiness of
conception, in its ordered and equable realization of a great purpose.
Even in his boldest flights Milton is calm and master of himself. His
touch is always sure. Whether he passes from Heaven to Hell or from the
council hall of Satan to the sweet conference of Adam and Eve his tread
is steady and unfaltering.

[Sidenote: Its defects.]

But if the poem expresses the higher qualities of the Puritan temper it
expresses no less exactly its defects. Throughout it we feel almost
painfully a want of the finer and subtler sympathies, of a large and
genial humanity, of a sense of spiritual mystery. Dealing as Milton does
with subjects the most awful and mysterious that poet ever chose, he is
never troubled by the obstinate questionings of invisible things which
haunted the imagination of Shakspere. We look in vain for any Æschylean
background of the vast unknown. "Man's disobedience" and the scheme for
man's redemption are laid down as clearly and with just as little
mystery as in a Puritan discourse. On topics such as these, even God the
Father (to borrow Pope's sneer) "turns a school divine." As in his
earlier poems he had ordered and arranged nature, so in the "Paradise
Lost" Milton orders and arranges Heaven and Hell. His mightiest
figures, Angel or Archangel, Satan or Belial, stand out colossal but
distinct. There is just as little of the wide sympathy with all that is
human which is so lovable in Chaucer and Shakspere. On the contrary the
Puritan individuality is nowhere so overpowering as in Milton. He leaves
the stamp of himself deeply graven on all he creates. We hear his voice
in every line of his poem. The cold, severe conception of moral virtue
which reigns throughout it, the intellectual way in which he paints and
regards beauty (for the beauty of Eve is a beauty which no mortal man
may love) are Milton's own. We feel his inmost temper in the stoical
self-repression which gives its dignity to his figures. Adam utters no
cry of agony when he is driven from Paradise. Satan suffers in a defiant
silence. It is to this intense self-concentration that we must attribute
the strange deficiency of humour which the poet shared with the Puritans
generally, and which here and there breaks the sublimity of the poem
with strange slips into the grotesque. But it is above all to this
Puritan deficiency in human sympathy that we must attribute Milton's
wonderful want of dramatic genius. Of the power which creates a thousand
different characters, which endows each with its appropriate act and
word, which loses itself in its own creations, no great poet ever had

[Sidenote: The Naval War.]

While Milton was busy with his verse events were moving fast in favour
of the cause which he saw trodden under foot. Defeat had only spurred
the Dutch to fresh efforts. Their best seaman, De Ruyter, had
reorganized their fleet, and appeared off the North Foreland in May
1666, with eighty-eight vessels, stronger and better armed than those of
Opdam. The English fleet was almost as strong; but a squadron had been
detached under Prince Rupert to meet a French force reported to be at
Belleisle, and it was with but sixty ships that the new admiral, Monk,
Duke of Albemarle, fell in with De Ruyter's armament. There was no
thought however of retreat, and a fight at once began, the longest and
most stubborn that the seas have ever seen. The battle had raged for two
whole days, and Monk, left with only sixteen ships uninjured, saw
himself on the brink of ruin, when on the morning of the third he was
saved by the arrival of Rupert. Though still greatly inferior in force,
the dogged admiral renewed the fight on the fourth day as the Dutch drew
off to their own coast, but the combat again ended in De Ruyter's favour
and the English took refuge in the Thames. Their fleet was indeed
ruined; twenty ships had been taken or sunk and a far larger number
disabled; but the losses of the enemy had been hardly less. What the
Dutch had discovered, owned De Witt, was, "that English sailors might be
killed and English ships burned, but that there was no conquering
Englishmen." At the close of July in fact the two fleets, again
refitted, met anew off the North Foreland; and a second fight, as hard
fought as that which had gone before, ended in an English victory.
Twenty Dutch sail had struck or sunk, seven thousand Dutch seamen had
been slain, while the English loss was comparatively small. The
victorious fleet sailed along the rich coast of Holland, burning
merchantmen and plundering its undefended towns. But Holland was as
unconquerable as England herself. In a short time the Dutch fleet was
again refitted and at sea, and Lewis, whose aid had hitherto been only
in words, thought it time to act. The French fleet joined the Dutch, and
the English found themselves too inferior in force to venture on a fresh
battle for the command of the Channel.

[Sidenote: Parliament and the War.]

It was at this moment of national disappointment, with the fruit of
great efforts snatched away and the sea lost, that a fresh calamity at
home was added to the sufferings of the war. In the night of the second
of September a fire broke out in the heart of London which raged for
four days and reduced the city to ashes from the Tower to the Temple.
Thirteen hundred houses and ninety churches were destroyed. The loss of
merchandise and property was beyond count. Again the Parliament with
stubborn pride voted a subsidy of nearly two millions to refit the
fleet. But the money came in slowly. The treasury was so utterly
drained that it was agreed to fit out no large ships for the coming
year. The ministers indeed were already seeking to conclude a peace
through the mediation of France. It was not the public distress alone
which drove Clarendon to peace negotiations: his own fears and those of
the king had been alike fulfilled as the war went on. The country
squires were disgusted at the obstinacy and cost of the struggle, and
they visited their disgust on Clarendon as its supposed author. He had
lost the support of the Houses, and the admission of fresh opponents
into the royal council spoke of the secret enmity of the king. But
Charles too had his reasons for desiring peace. He had a sleepless
distrust of Parliaments, and his distrust was already justified. The
"Cavalier" Parliament had met in a passion of loyalty. It had pressed
for the death of the regicides. It had hardly been hindered from
throwing all England into confusion by refusing its assent to the
Amnesty Bill. It had ordered the League and Covenant, as well as the act
deposing Charles Stuart, to be burned by the common hangman. It had
declared the taking up arms against the king on any pretext to be
treason, and had turned its declaration into a test to be exacted from
every parson and every alderman. And yet this loyal Parliament had faced
and checked the Crown as boldly and pertinaciously as the Long
Parliament itself. It had carried out its own ecclesiastical policy in
the teeth of the known wishes of the king. It had humiliated him by
forcing him to cancel his public declaration in favour of the
Nonconformists. It gave counsel in foreign affairs, and met the king's
leanings towards Lewis by expressions of its will for a contest with
France. It voted large subsidies indeed, but at this juncture it
inserted into the Subsidy Bill a clause which appointed a Parliamentary
commission with powers to examine into the royal expenditure, and to
question royal officers upon oath.

[Sidenote: The Dutch in the Medway.]

To Clarendon such a demand seemed as great an usurpation on the rights
of the Crown as any measure of the Long Parliament, and he advised a
dissolution. But the advice was rejected, for there was no hope that
fresh elections could bring together a more royalist House of Commons
than that of 1661. The attitude of the Houses showed in fact that the
hottest Royalists had learned, whether they would or no, the lesson of
the Civil War. Whatever might in other ways be the temper of the Commons
who assembled at Westminster, it was certain that the great
constitutional revolution which was slowly removing the control of
affairs from the hands of the Crown into those of the Parliament would
go just as steadily on. But if Charles refused to dissolve the
Parliament he longed to free himself from its power; and the mediation
of France enabled a peace congress to assemble at Breda in May 1667. To
Holland, eager to free its hands so as to deal with the French invasion
of the Netherlands, an invasion which was now felt to be impending,
peace was yet more important than to England; and a stroke of singular
vigour placed peace within her grasp. Aware of the exhaustion of the
English treasury and of the miserable state of the English navy, the
persevering De Witt suddenly ordered the Dutch fleet, sixty vessels
strong, to sail in June to the Thames. England was taken utterly by
surprise. Neither ships nor forts were manned when the Hollanders
appeared at the Nore. Pushing their light vessels without show of
opposition up the Thames to Gravesend they forced the boom which
protected the Medway, burned three men-of-war which lay anchored in the
river, and withdrew only to sail proudly along the coast, the masters of
the Channel.

[Sidenote: Fall of Clarendon.]

The thunder of the Dutch guns in the Medway and the Thames woke England
to a bitter sense of its degradation. The dream of loyalty was roughly
broken. "Everybody nowadays," Pepys tells us, "reflect upon Oliver and
commend him, what brave things he did, and made all the neighbour
princes fear him." But Oliver's successor was coolly watching this shame
and discontent of his people with the one aim of turning it to his own
advantage. To Charles the Second the degradation of England was only a
move in the political game which he was playing, a game played with so
consummate a secrecy and skill that it not only deceived close observers
of his own day but still misleads historians in ours. The blow at once
brought about the peace he desired. Each of the combatants retained what
it had won, save that Holland gained the isle of Polaroon on the Bombay
coast, and England the settlement of New Amsterdam on the Hudson, which
was soon to be better known as her colony of New York. A result still
more to the king's taste was the ruin of Clarendon. Clarendon had had no
part in the reduction of the navy which had proved so fatal to English
renown, but the public resentment fell on him alone. The Parliament,
enraged by his counsel for its dissolution, saw in his call for forces
to defend the coast an attempt to re-establish the one thing they hated
most, a standing army. Charles could at last free himself from the
minister who had held him in check so long. In August 1667 the
Chancellor was dismissed from office, and driven by the express command
of the king to take refuge in France.




[Sidenote: The Cabal Ministry.]

The fall of Clarendon marks a new epoch in the history of the
Restoration. By the exile of the Chancellor, the death of Lord
Southampton, which had preceded, and the retirement of Ormond and
Nicholas which followed it, the constitutional loyalists who had
hitherto shaped the policy of the government disappeared from the royal
council. The union between King, Church, and Parliament, on which their
system had been based, was roughly dissolved. The House of Commons,
which had been elected in a passion of loyalty only six years before,
found itself thrown into a position of antagonism to the Crown. The
Church saw the most formidable opponent of its supremacy in the king.

For the first time since his accession Charles came boldly forward to
the front of public affairs. He had freed himself, as he believed, from
the domination of the constitutional loyalists and of the ministers who
represented them. The new ministry was mainly made up of that section of
the original ministry of 1660 which then represented the Presbyterians,
and which under Ashley's guidance had bent to purchase toleration even
at the cost of increasing the prerogatives of the Crown. Ashley himself
remained Chancellor of the Exchequer. The Duke of Buckingham, whose
marriage with the daughter of Lord Fairfax allied him with the
Presbyterians, and who carried on political relations even with the
Independents, held a leading position in the new Cabinet, though at
first without office. Sir William Coventry, a bitter opponent of
Clarendon, took his seat at the Treasury board. The direction of Scotch
affairs was left to Lord Lauderdale, a man of rough and insolent manner
but of striking ability, and whose political views coincided as yet
mainly with those of Ashley. Two great posts however were filled by men
whose elevation showed the new part which Charles himself was resolved
to take in the task of administration. Foreign affairs the king
determined to take into his own hands: and this was adroitly managed by
the nomination of Henry Bennet, now become Earl of Arlington, as
Secretary of State. Bennet was a man of sense and experience, but he was
flexible and unprincipled, he was in heart a Catholic, and ready to
serve as a creature of the royal will. Sir Thomas Clifford, the new
head of the Treasury, was a Catholic by conviction, and ready to
sacrifice English freedom if the sacrifice would bring back England to
his faith.

[Sidenote: The Cabal.]

Such was the ministry which from the accidental coincidence of the
initial letters of the names of five of its members with those which
make up the word was known as the Cabal. But the word Cabala, or Cabal,
had as yet none of the odious meaning which after events attached to it;
it meant indeed simply what we mean by "cabinet." Nor was there anything
in the temper or conduct of the new ministers which foreboded ill. To
all but the king and themselves the Catholic sympathies of Clifford and
Arlington were unknown. The ministry seemed to represent the
Presbyterians, and the Presbyterians as a party were true to the cause
of freedom for which they had fought. Nor did the earlier acts of the
"Cabal" belie its origin. Few ministries in fact have shown at their
outset greater vigour or wisdom. Its first work was the Triple Alliance.
The warlike outburst of feeling in the Parliament at the prospect of a
struggle with France had warned the French and English kings that a
strife which both desired rather to limit than to widen must be brought
to an end. The dexterous delays of Charles were seconded by the
eagerness with which Lewis pressed on the Peace of Breda between England
and the Dutch. To Lewis indeed it seemed as if the hour he had so long
waited for was come. He had secured the neutrality of the Emperor by a
secret treaty which provided for a division of the Spanish dominions
between the two monarchs in case the king of Spain died without an heir.
England, as he believed, was held in check by Charles, and like Holland
was too exhausted by the late war to meddle with a new one. On the very
day therefore on which the Treaty of Breda was signed he sent in his
formal claims on the Low Countries, and his army at once took the field.
Flanders was occupied and six great fortresses secured in two months.
Franche Comté was overrun in seventeen days.

[Sidenote: English Diplomacy.]

But the suddenness and completeness of the French success woke a general
terror before which the king's skilful diplomacy gave way. Holland,
roused to a sense of danger by the appearance of French arms on the
Rhine, protested and appealed to England for aid; and though her appeals
remained at first unanswered, even England was roused from her lethargy
by the French seizure of the coast towns of Flanders. The earlier
efforts of English diplomacy indeed were of a selfish and unscrupulous
kind. Holland, Spain, and France were tempted in turn by secret offers
of alliance. A treaty offensive and defensive against all powers for the
defence of the Spanish Netherlands was proposed to the Dutch. Spain was
offered alliance and aid in return for the concession of free trade
with her dominions in America and the Philippines. Before France was
laid the project of an offensive and defensive alliance directed
especially against Holland, and perhaps against Spain, in return for
which England stipulated for admission to a share in the eventual
partition of the Spanish dominions, and for an assignment to her in such
a case of the Spanish Empire in the New World. Each of these offers was
alike refused. Spain looked on them as insincere. France regarded the
terms of alliance as extravagant, while she was anxious to hold the
Dutch to their present friendship and inactivity rather than to stir
them to war. Holland itself, while desirous to check French ambition,
still clung to its French alliance.

[Sidenote: The Triple Alliance.]

Repulsed as they were on every side, the need of action became clearer
every hour to the English ministers. The common refusal of France and
the Dutch roused fears that these powers were secretly leagued for a
partition of the Netherlands between them. Wider views too gradually set
aside the narrow dreams of merely national aggrandizement. To Ashley and
his followers an increase of the French power seemed dangerous not only
to the European balance of power but to English Protestantism. Even
Arlington, Catholic as in heart he was, thought more of the political
interests of England and of the invariable resolve of its statesmen
since Elizabeth's day to keep the French out of Flanders than of the
interests of Catholicism. One course alone remained. To lull the
general excitement Lewis had offered peace to Spain on terms either of
the cession of Franche Comté or of the retention of his conquests in the
Netherlands. The plan of John de Witt, the Pensionary of Holland, was to
take France at its word and to force on Spain the acceptance of these
terms by the joint pressure of England and the United Provinces. It was
this plan which England suddenly adopted. In the opening of 1668 Sir
William Temple was despatched to the Hague, and an alliance was
concluded between England and Holland, in which Sweden, the third great
Protestant power, was soon included.

Few measures have won a greater popularity than this Triple Alliance.
"It is the only good public thing," says Pepys, "that hath been done
since the king came to England." Even Dryden, writing at the time as a
Tory, counted among the worst of Shaftesbury's crimes that "the Triple
Bond he broke." In form indeed the alliance simply bound Lewis to adhere
to terms of peace proposed by himself and those advantageous terms, the
possession of the southern half of Flanders and of a string of
fortresses which practically left him master of the Spanish Netherlands.
But in fact it utterly ruined his plans. His offer of peace had been
meant only as a blind. At the moment when Temple reached the Hague Lewis
was writing to his general, Turenne, "I am turning over in my head
things that are far from impossible, and go to carry them into execution
whatever they may cost." Three armies were ready to march at once on
Spain, Germany, and the Netherlands, when the intervention of the three
powers suddenly arrested these schemes of conquest and forced Lewis to
conclude peace at Aix-la-Chapelle. But the immediate gain was the least
result of the Triple Alliance. It brought about that union of the powers
of Europe against which, as Lewis felt instinctively, his ambition would
dash itself in vain. It was Arlington's aim to make the Alliance the
nucleus of a greater confederation: and he tried not only to perpetuate
it but to include within it the Swiss Cantons, the Empire, and the House
of Austria. His efforts were foiled; but the "Triple Bond" bore within
it the germs of the Grand Alliance which at last saved Europe. To
England it at once brought back the reputation which she had lost since
the death of Cromwell. It was a sign of her re-entry on the general
stage of European politics, and of her formal adoption of the balance of
power as a policy essential to the welfare not of one or another nation
but of Europe at large.

[Sidenote: Lewis and Holland.]

Lewis was maddened by the check. But it was not so much the action of
England which galled his pride as the action of Holland. That "a nation
of shopkeepers," for Lewis applied the phrase to the United Provinces
long before Napoleon applied it to England, should have foiled his
plans at the very moment of their realization "stung him," as he owned,
"to the quick." He had always disliked the Dutch as Protestants and
Republicans; he hated them now as an obstacle which must be taken out of
his way ere he could resume his projects upon Spain. If he refrained
from an instant attack on them it was to nurse a surer revenge. Four
years were spent in preparations for a decisive blow. The French army
was gradually raised to a hundred and eighty thousand men, while Colbert
created a fleet which rivalled that of Holland in number and equipment.
The steady aim of French diplomacy from the moment when Lewis was forced
to sign the Peace of Aix-la-Chapelle was to isolate the United
Provinces, to secure the neutrality of the Empire in any attack on them,
to break the Triple Alliance by detaching Sweden from it and securing
Charles, and to leave the Dutch without help save from the ineffectual
good-will of Brandenburg and Spain.

[Sidenote: Charles and the Cabal.]

In England the French designs were favoured by the political
difficulties which at once followed on the fall of Clarendon. The new
Ministry, representing as it did the Presbyterian party and a policy of
toleration, was in itself a declaration on the king's part that the
executive power was no longer necessarily to act in harmonious
co-operation with the Parliament. Its first steps in releasing
Nonconformists from prison, in suffering conventicles to reopen, and
suspending the operation of the Act of Uniformity, were in open defiance
of the known will of the two Houses. But when Charles again proposed to
his counsellors a general toleration he no longer found himself
supported by them as in 1663. Even Ashley's mood was changed. The policy
of the Council in fact was determined by the look of public affairs
abroad. The victories of Lewis, the sudden revelation of the strength of
France, roused even in the most tolerant minds a dread of Catholicism.
Men felt instinctively that the very existence of Protestantism and with
it of civil freedom was again to be at stake. Instead of toleration
therefore the ministers pressed for a union of Protestants which would
have utterly foiled the king's projects; and a scheme of Protestant
comprehension which had been approved by the moderate divines on both
sides, by Tillotson and Stillingfleet on the part of the Church as well
as by Manton and Baxter on the part of the Nonconformists, was laid
before the House of Commons in the session of 1668. Even its rejection
failed to bring back Ashley and his party to their old position. They
were still for toleration. But they were for a toleration the benefit of
which did not extend to Catholics, "in respect the laws have determined
the principles of the Romish religion to be inconsistent with the safety
of your Majesty's person and government."

[Sidenote: Parliament and the Cabal.]

Again Charles was baffled. He had overthrown Clarendon in the belief
that the Nonconformists must necessarily support him in the general
reversal of Clarendon's policy. He found not only that to obtain a
toleration for Catholics from his new ministers was as impossible as to
obtain it from Clarendon himself, but that they were resolute to bring
about that union of Protestants which Charles regarded as fatal to his
designs and which the Chancellor's policy had at any rate prevented.
Luckily for the king neither their new attitude at home nor their
success abroad could win them the confidence of the House of Commons. As
soon as it met they became the object of bitter attack. Their
Comprehension Bill was rejected. Their suspension of the penalties for
Nonconformity was denounced. "We shall remain unhappy," said one of the
leaders of the Commons, Sir Edward Seymour, "so long as his Majesty
retains his present counsellors." It was in fact only by an early
prorogation which was prolonged throughout the year that the ministers
were saved from impeachment. Such a course however gave but a temporary
respite; and Buckingham and Ashley pressed on Charles the advisability
of a dissolution. The House of Commons, they held, chosen as it had been
eight years before in a moment of reaction, no longer really represented
public opinion, and a new House would contain a larger proportion of
members inclined to a policy of Protestant union. But Charles refused
to dissolve the House. A Protestant union in fact was precisely what he
wished to avoid. The pressure of a Parliament with Presbyterian leanings
would be yet more fatal to the administrative independence he wished to
maintain than a Cavalier Parliament. Above all such a Parliament would
at once force him to take up a distinctly Protestant attitude, and to
place himself at the head of the Protestant States as the leader in a
European resistance to the supremacy of Catholicism and of France as the
representative of Catholicism. How little such an attitude was to the
king's taste we have already seen. He had been stirred to a momentary
pride by the success of the Triple Alliance, but he had never in heart
abandoned his older policy. He still looked to France and to Catholicism
as the most effective means of restoring his prerogative; and the sudden
revelation of the power of Lewis, however it might startle his ministers
into anxiety for freedom and Protestantism, only roused in the heart of
their royal master a longing to turn it to the advantage of his crown.

[Sidenote: Conversion of James.]

Tempted however as he must have been to a new turn in his policy by the
failure of his older plans at home and the display of French greatness,
the sudden and decisive turn which he actually gave it was due above all
to an event which, unknown as it as yet remained to Englishmen, was
destined to exercise a vast influence from this moment on English
politics. This was the conversion of his brother and presumptive
successor James, Duke of York, to the Catholic faith. Though finally
completed in the spring of 1672, this had for some time been imminent.
The dull, truthful temper of the Duke hindered him from listening to his
brother's remonstrances against this step; but Charles was far too
keen-witted to be blind to the difficulties in which it was certain to
involve him. That either Churchman or Presbyterian should sit still and
wait patiently the advent of a Catholic king, and above all a king whose
temper would necessarily make him a Catholic bigot, was, as he foresaw,
impossible. The step could not long be concealed; and when once it was
known a demand would arise for the exclusion of James from the
succession, or at the least for securities which would fetter the Crown.
Even if such a demand were surmounted a struggle between James and the
Parliament was in the end inevitable, and such a struggle, if it ever
arose, could end only in the establishment of Catholicism and despotism
or in the expulsion of James from the throne. To foresee these
consequences required no great keenness of sight; they were as plainly
foreseen by Ashley and the bulk of Englishmen, when once the truth was
known, as by Charles. But Charles was far from contenting himself with
foreseeing them. He resolved to anticipate the danger by hurrying on
the struggle which was certain to come. France alone could help him in
forcing despotism and Catholicism on England, and from this moment
Charles surrendered himself utterly to France. He declared to Lewis his
purpose of entering into an alliance with him, offensive and defensive.
He owned to being the only man in his kingdom who desired such a league,
but he was determined, he said, to realize his desire, whatever might be
the sentiments of his ministers.

[Sidenote: Treaty of Dover.]

His ministers indeed he meant either to bring over to his schemes or to
outwit. Two of them, Arlington and Clifford, were Catholics in heart
like the king; and in January 1669 they were summoned with the Duke of
York and two Catholic nobles, Lords Bellasys and Arundell, to a
conference in which Charles, after pledging them to secrecy, declared
himself a Catholic and asked their counsel as to the means of
establishing the Catholic religion in his realm. It was resolved to
apply to Lewis for aid in this purpose; and Charles proceeded to seek
from the king a "protection," to use the words of the French ambassador,
"of which he always hoped to feel the powerful effects in the execution
of his design of changing the present state of religion in England for a
better, and of establishing his authority so as to be able to retain his
subjects in the obedience they owe him." He was fully aware of the price
he must pay for such a protection. Lewis was bent on the ruin of
Holland and the annexation of Flanders. With the ink of the Triple
Alliance hardly dry Charles promised help in both these designs. The
Netherlands indeed could not be saved if Holland fell, and the fall of
Holland was as needful for the success of the plans of Charles as of
Lewis. It was impossible for Holland to look with indifference on the
conversion of England into a Catholic power, and in the struggle to make
it one the aid of the Dutch would be secured for the king's opponents.
Charles offered therefore to declare his religion and to join France in
an attack on Holland if Lewis would grant him a subsidy equal to a
million a year. In the event of the king of Spain's death without a son
Charles pledged himself to support France in her claims upon Flanders,
while Lewis, made wiser by the results of his previous refusal, promised
in such a case to assent to the designs of England on the Spanish
dominions in America. On this basis, after a year's negotiations, a
secret treaty was concluded in May 1670 at Dover in an interview between
Charles and his sister Henrietta, the Duchess of Orleans. It provided
that Charles should announce his conversion, and that in case of any
disturbance arising from such a step he should be supported by a French
army and a French subsidy. War was to be declared by both powers against
Holland, England furnishing only a small land force, but bearing the
chief burthen of the contest at sea on condition of an annual subsidy of
three hundred thousand pounds.

[Sidenote: The Cabal and the War.]

Nothing marks better the political profligacy of the age than that
Arlington, the author of the Triple Alliance, should have been chosen as
the confidant of Charles in his Treaty of Dover. But to all save
Arlington and Clifford the king's change of religion or his political
aims remained utterly unknown. It would have been impossible to obtain
the consent of the party in the royal council which represented the old
Presbyterians, of Ashley or Lauderdale or the Duke of Buckingham, to the
Treaty of Dover. But it was possible to trick them into approval of a
war with Holland by playing on their desire for a toleration of the
Nonconformists. The announcement of the king's Catholicism was therefore
deferred; and a series of mock negotiations, carried on through
Buckingham, ended in the conclusion of a sham treaty which was
communicated to Lauderdale and to Ashley, a treaty which suppressed all
mention of the religious changes, or of the promise of French aid in
bringing them about, and simply stipulated for a joint war against the
Dutch. In such a war there was no formal breach of the Triple Alliance,
for the Triple Alliance only guarded against an attack on the dominions
of Spain, and Ashley and his colleagues were lured into assent to it in
1671 by the promise of toleration.

[Sidenote: Ashley and the Dutch War.]

Toleration was still Ashley's first thought. He had provided for it only
a year before in the constitution which he had drawn up with the aid of
Locke for the new Colony of Carolina, which drew its name from King
Charles. He looked the more hopefully to the king that in Scotland
toleration had already been brought about by the royal authority.
Nowhere had the system of conformity been more rigidly carried out than
in the northern kingdom. Not only was the renunciation of the Covenant
exacted from every parson and official, but it was proposed to extend it
to every subject in the realm. The fall of Clarendon, however, at once
brought about a change. Lauderdale, who now took the lead in Scotch
affairs, published in 1669 a royal decree which enabled many of the
Presbyterian ministers to return to their flocks. A parliament which was
called under his influence not only recognized the royal supremacy, but
owned the king's right to order the government of the Church and to
dispense with ecclesiastical laws. The new system was just set on foot
in Scotland when Charles came forward to tempt his English ministers
with the same pledge of toleration. With characteristic audacity he
removed the one stumbling-block in the way of his project by yielding
the point to which he had hitherto clung, and promising, as Ashley
demanded, that no Catholic should be benefited by the Indulgence.
Whether the pledge of toleration was the only motive which induced the
ministers to consent to the war with Holland it is hard to tell. Ashley
had shown in bringing about the previous strife that he was no friend of
the Dutch. He regarded a close alliance with France as the one means by
which Charles could find himself strong enough to maintain religious
liberty against the pressure of the Parliament. It is possible that like
most statesmen of the time he looked on the ruin of Holland as a thing
inevitable, and was willing to gain for England whatever he could out of
the wreck. If the United Provinces were to become a part of France it
was better that a part of their territory, and that the most important
part, the Brill, Flushing, and the mouths of the Scheldt, should fall as
had been stipulated to England than that Lewis should have all.

[Sidenote: The Declaration of Indulgence.]

But whatever may have been the motives which influenced Ashley and his
colleagues the bargain was at last struck; and now that his ministers
were outwitted it only remained for Charles to outwit his Parliament. At
the close of 1670 a large subsidy was demanded for the fleet under the
pretext of upholding the Triple Alliance; and the subsidy was granted.
In the spring of 1671 the two Houses were adjourned and vigorous
preparations were made for the coming struggle. But as the rumours of
war gathered strength the country at once became restless and
dissatisfied. The power of Lewis, the renewed persecutions of the
Huguenots, had increased the national hatred of the French. Protestants'
hearts too trembled, as Baxter tells us, at the menacing armaments of
the "Catholic King." On the other hand the sense of a common interest
and a common danger had changed the old jealousy of Holland into a
growing inclination towards the Dutch. Charles and his ministers stood
almost alone in their resolve. "Nearly all the court and all the members
of Parliament that are in town," wrote the French ambassador, "make
cabals to turn the king from his designs." Prince Rupert and the Duke of
Ormond, the heads of the old Royalist and constitutional party,
supported the Dutch embassy which was sent to meet the offers of
mediation made by Spain. So great was the pressure that Charles was only
able to escape from it by plunging hastily into hostilities. In March
1672 a captain in the king's service attacked a Dutch convoy in the
Channel. The attack was at once followed by a declaration of war, and
fresh supplies were obtained for the coming struggle by closing the
Exchequer and suspending, under Clifford's advice, the payment of either
principal or interest on loans advanced to the public Treasury. The
suspension spread bankruptcy among half the goldsmiths of London; but
with the opening of the war Ashley and his colleagues gained the
toleration they had bought so dear. By virtue of his ecclesiastical
powers the king ordered "that all manner of penal laws on matters
ecclesiastical against whatever sort of Nonconformists or recusants
should be from that day suspended," and gave liberty of public worship
to all dissidents save Catholics who were allowed to say mass only in
private houses.

[Sidenote: Bunyan.]

The effect of the Declaration of Indulgence went far to justify Ashley
and his colleagues (if anything could justify their course) in the
bargain by which they purchased toleration. Ministers returned after
years of banishment to their homes and flocks. Chapels were reopened.
The gaols were emptied. Hundreds of Quakers who had been the special
objects of persecution were set free to worship God after their own
fashion. John Bunyan left the prison which had for twelve years been his
home. We have seen the atmosphere of excited feeling in which the youth
of Bunyan had been spent. From his childhood he heard heavenly voices
and saw visions of heaven; from his childhood too he had been wrestling
with an overpowering sense of sin which sickness and repeated escapes
from death did much as he grew up to deepen. But in spite of his
self-reproaches his life was a religious one; and the purity and
sobriety of his youth were shown by his admission at seventeen into the
ranks of the "New Model." Two years later the war was over, and Bunyan,
though hardly twenty, found himself married in 1645 to a "godly" wife
as young and penniless as himself. So poor were the young couple that
they could scarce muster a spoon and a plate between them; and the
poverty of their home deepened perhaps the gloom of the young tinker's
restlessness and religious depression. His wife did what she could to
comfort him, teaching him again to read and write for he had forgotten
his school-learning, and reading with him in two little "godly" books
which formed his library. But darkness only gathered the thicker round
his imaginative soul. "I walked," he tells us of this time, "to a
neighbouring town; and sate down upon a settle in the street, and fell
into a very deep pause about the most fearful state my sin had brought
me to; and after long musing I lifted up my head; but methought I saw as
if the sun that shineth in the heavens did grudge to give me light and
as if the very stones in the street and tiles upon the houses did band
themselves against me. Methought that they all combined together to
banish me out of the world. I was abhorred of them, and wept to dwell
among them, because I had sinned against the Saviour. Oh, how happy now
was every creature over I; for they stood fast and kept their station.
But I was gone and lost."

[Sidenote: Bunyan in prison.]

At last in 1653 after more than two years of this struggle the darkness
broke. Bunyan felt himself "converted" and freed from the burthen of
his sin. He joined a Baptist church at Bedford, and a few years later he
became famous as a preacher. As he held no formal post of minister in
the congregation, his preaching even under the Protectorate was illegal
and "gave great offence," he tells us, "to the doctors and priests of
that county." He persisted, however, with little real molestation until
the Restoration, but only six months had passed after the king's return
when he was committed to Bedford Gaol on a charge of preaching in
unlicensed conventicles. His refusal to promise to abstain from
preaching kept him there eleven years. The gaol was crowded with
prisoners like himself, and amongst them he continued his ministry,
supporting himself by making tagged thread laces, and finding some
comfort in the Bible, the "Book of Martyrs," and the writing materials
which he was suffered to have with him in his prison. But he was in the
prime of life; his age was thirty-two when he was imprisoned; and the
inactivity and severance from his wife and little children were hard to
bear. "The parting with my wife and poor children," he says in words of
simple pathos, "hath often been to me in this place as the pulling of
the flesh from the bones, and that not only because I am somewhat too
fond of those great mercies, but also because I should have often
brought to my mind the many hardships, miseries, and wants that my poor
family was like to meet with should I be taken from them, especially my
poor blind child who lay nearer to my heart than all besides. Oh, the
thoughts of the hardships I thought my poor blind one might go under
would break my heart to pieces. 'Poor child,' thought I, 'what sorrow
art thou like to have for thy portion in this world! Thou must be
beaten, must beg, suffer hunger, cold, nakedness, and a thousand
calamities, though I cannot now endure the wind should blow upon thee.'"
But suffering could not break his purpose, and Bunyan found compensation
for the narrow bounds of his prison in the wonderful activity of his
pen. Tracts, controversial treatises, poems, meditations, his "Grace
Abounding," and his "Holy City," followed each other in quick
succession. It was in his gaol that he wrote the first and greatest part
of his "Pilgrim's Progress."

[Sidenote: The "Pilgrim's Progress."]

The book had only just been completed when the Indulgence set Bunyan
free. Its publication was the earliest result indeed of his deliverance,
and the popularity which it enjoyed from the first proves that the
religious sympathies of the English people were still mainly Puritan.
Before Bunyan's death in 1688 ten editions of the "Pilgrim's Progress"
had already been sold; and though even Cowper hardly dared to quote it a
century later for fear of moving a smile in the polite world about him,
its favour among the middle classes and the poor has grown steadily
from its author's day to our own. It is now the most popular and the
most widely known of all English books. In none do we see more clearly
the new imaginative force which had been given to the common life of
Englishmen by their study of the Bible. Its English is the simplest and
homeliest English which has ever been used by any great English writer;
but it is the English of the Bible. The images of the "Pilgrim's
Progress" are the images of prophet and evangelist; it borrows for its
tenderer outbursts the very verse of the Song of Songs and pictures the
Heavenly City in the words of the Apocalypse. But so completely has the
Bible become Bunyan's life that one feels its phrases as the natural
expression of his thoughts. He has lived in the Bible till its words
have become his own. He has lived among its visions and voices of heaven
till all sense of possible unreality has died away. He tells his tale
with such a perfect naturalness that allegories become living things,
that the Slough of Despond and Doubting Castle are as real to us as
places we see every day, that we know Mr. Legality and Mr. Worldly
Wiseman as if we had met them in the street. It is in this amazing
reality of impersonation that Bunyan's imaginative genius specially
displays itself. But this is far from being his only excellence. In its
range, in its directness, in its simple grace, in the ease with which it
changes from lively dialogue to dramatic action, from simple pathos to
passionate earnestness, in the subtle and delicate fancy which often
suffuses its childlike words, in its playful humour, its bold
character-painting, in the even and balanced power which passes without
effort from the Valley of the Shadow of Death to the land "where the
Shining Ones commonly walked because it was on the borders of heaven,"
in its sunny kindliness unbroken by one bitter word, the "Pilgrim's
Progress" is among the noblest of English poems. For if Puritanism had
first discovered the poetry which contact with the spiritual world
awakes in the meanest souls, Bunyan was the first of the Puritans who
revealed this poetry to the outer world. The journey of Christian from
the City of Destruction to the Heavenly City is simply a record of the
life of such a Puritan as Bunyan himself, seen through an imaginative
haze of spiritual idealism in which its commonest incidents are
heightened and glorified. He is himself the pilgrim who flies from the
City of Destruction, who climbs the hill Difficulty, who faces Apollyon,
who sees his loved ones cross the river of Death towards the Heavenly
City, and how, because "the Hill on which the City was framed was higher
than the clouds, they therefore went up through the region of the air,
sweetly talking as they went."

[Sidenote: The attack on Holland.]

Great, however, as was the relief of the Indulgence to men like Bunyan,
it was difficult to wring from the bulk of the Nonconformists any
expression of gratitude or satisfaction. Dear as toleration was to them,
the general interests of religion were dearer, and not only these but
national freedom was now at stake. Holland, the bulwark of Protestantism
abroad, seemed to crumble into ruin at the first blow of France. Lewis
passed the Rhine on the twelfth of June, and overran three of the States
without opposition. It was only by skill and desperate courage that the
Dutch ships under De Ruyter held the English fleet under the Duke of
York at bay in an obstinate battle off the coast of Suffolk. Till almost
the eve of the struggle, in fact, the Dutch had been wrapt in a false
security. The French alliance had been their traditional policy since
the days of Henry the Fourth, and it was especially dear to the great
merchant class which had mounted to power on the fall of the House of
Orange. John de Witt, the leader of this party, though he had been
forced to conclude the Triple Alliance by the previous advance of Lewis
to the Rhine, had expressly refused to join England in an attack on
France, and still clung blindly to her friendship. His trust only broke
down when the glare of the French watch-fires was seen from the walls of

[Sidenote: The Prince of Orange.]

For the moment Holland lay crushed at the feet of Lewis, but the
arrogant demands of the conqueror roused again the stubborn courage
which had wrested victory from Alva and worn out the pride of Philip
the Second. De Witt was murdered in a popular tumult, and his fall
called William, the Prince of Orange, to the head of the Republic. The
new Stadtholder had hardly reached manhood; but he had no sooner taken
the lead in public affairs than his great qualities made themselves
felt. His earlier life had schooled him in a wonderful self-control. He
had been left fatherless and all but friendless in childhood; he had
been bred among men who regarded his very existence as a danger to the
State; his words had been watched, his looks noted, his friends
jealously withdrawn. In such an atmosphere the boy grew up silent, wary,
self-contained, grave in temper, cold in demeanour, blunt and even
repulsive in address. He was weak and sickly from his cradle, and
manhood brought with it an asthma and consumption which shook his frame
with a constant cough; his face was sullen and bloodless, and scored
with deep lines which told of ceaseless pain. But beneath this cold and
sickly presence lay a fiery and commanding temper, an immovable courage,
and a political ability of the highest order. William was a born
statesman. Neglected as his education had been in other ways, for he
knew nothing of letters or of art, he had been carefully trained in
politics by John de Witt; and the wide knowledge with which in his first
address to the States-General the young Stadtholder reviewed the
general state of Europe, the sagacity with which he calculated the
chances of the struggle, at once won him the trust of his countrymen.

[Sidenote: William and the French Invasion.]

Their trust was soon rewarded. The plot of the two courts hung for its
success on the chances of a rapid surprise, and with the approach of
winter, a season in which military operations were then suspended, all
chance of a surprise was over. William rapidly turned the respite to
good account. Young as he was, he displayed from the first the cool
courage and dogged tenacity of his race. "Do you not see your country is
lost?" asked the Duke of Buckingham when he was sent to negotiate at the
Hague. "There is a sure way never to see it lost," replied William, "and
that is to die in the last ditch." With the spring of 1673 the tide
began to turn. Holland was saved, and province after province won back
from the arms of France by William's dauntless resolve. Like his great
ancestor, William the Silent, he was a luckless commander, and no
general had to bear more frequent defeats. But he profited by defeat as
other men profit by victory. His bravery indeed was of that nobler cast
which rises to its height in moments of ruin and dismay. The coolness
with which, boy-general as he was, he rallied his broken squadrons
amidst the rout of Seneff and wrested from Condé at the last the fruits
of his victory moved his veteran opponent to a generous admiration. It
was at such moments indeed that the real temper of the man broke through
the veil of his usual reserve. A strange light flashed from his eyes as
soon as he was under fire; and in the terror and confusion of defeat his
cold and repulsive manner was thrown aside for an ease and gaiety which
charmed every soldier around him.

[Sidenote: Parliament and the War.]

The gallant struggle of the prince was hardly needed to win the
sympathies of Englishmen to the cause of the Dutch. In the exultation of
the first moment of triumph Charles had lavished honours on the leaders
of both the parties in his cabinet. Clifford became Lord Treasurer,
Ashley was made Chancellor and raised to the earldom of Shaftesbury. But
the dream of triumph soon passed away. The Duke of York had owned at the
outset of the war that recourse could only be had to Parliament when
success had put Charles in a position "to obtain by force what he could
not get by pleasanter ways." But the delay of winter exhausted the
supplies which had been procured so unscrupulously, while the closing of
the Treasury had shaken credit and rendered it impossible to raise a
loan. It was necessary therefore in 1673, though the success Charles had
counted on was still delayed, to appeal to the Commons. But the Commons
met in a mood of angry distrust. The war, unpopular as it was, they left
alone. What overpowered all other feelings was a vague sense, which we
know now to have been justified by the facts, that liberty and religion
were being unscrupulously betrayed. There was a suspicion that the whole
armed force of the nation was in Catholic hands. The Duke of York was
suspected of being in heart a Catholic, and he was in command of the
fleet. Catholics had been placed as officers in the land force which was
being raised for a descent upon Holland. Lady Castlemaine, the king's
mistress, paraded her change of faith; and doubts were fast gathering
over the Protestantism of the king. There was a general dread that a
plot was on foot for the establishment of Catholicism and despotism, and
that the war and the Indulgence were parts of the plot.

[Sidenote: The Test Act.]

The change of temper in the Commons was marked by the appearance of what
was from that time called the Country party with Lord Russell, Lord
Cavendish, and Sir William Coventry at its head, a party which
sympathized with the desire of the Nonconformists for religious
toleration, but looked on it as its first duty to guard against the
political and religious designs of the Court. The House listened unmoved
to the fiery address of the new Lord Chancellor in favour of the war, an
address which ended with the phrase, "Delenda est Carthago," so often
quoted against him afterwards, as they listened unmoved to the king's
declaration of his steady adherence to the Indulgence. "I shall take it
very ill," said Charles, with unusual haughtiness, "to receive
contradiction in what I have done; and, I will deal plainly with you, I
am resolved to stick to my declaration." As to the Declaration of
Indulgence, however, all parties in the House were at one. The Commons
resolved "that penal statutes in matters ecclesiastical cannot be
suspended but by consent of Parliament," and refused supplies till the
Declaration was recalled. The king yielded after long hesitation, for
the grant of supplies was still before the House and France counselled
compliance. But the Declaration was no sooner recalled than the
Parliament passed from considerations of the past to provisions for the
future. A Test Act was passed through both Houses without opposition,
which required that every one in the civil and military employment of
the State should take the oaths of allegiance and supremacy, subscribe a
declaration against transubstantiation, and receive the sacrament
according to the rites of the Church of England. It was known that the
dissidents were prepared to waive all objection either to oath or
sacrament, and the result of the Bill therefore was to bring
Protestants, if not to union, yet a step nearer to one another.
Catholics, on the other hand, were wholly excluded from all share in the
government of the State. The Act was fatal to the king's schemes, and
Clifford at once counselled resistance while Buckingham talked
flightily about bringing the army to London. But the grant of a subsidy
was still held in suspense till the Test was accepted: and Arlington,
who saw that all hope of carrying the "great plan" through was at an end
and looked to the Test as a means of freeing himself from Clifford's
rivalry in the cabinet, pressed Charles to yield. A dissolution in fact
was the king's only resource, but in the temper of the nation a new
Parliament would have been yet more violent than the present one.
Charles therefore sullenly gave his assent to the Bill.

[Sidenote: Shaftesbury.]

Few measures have ever brought about more startling results than the
Test Act. It was no sooner passed than the Duke of York owned himself a
Catholic and resigned his office as Lord High Admiral. Throngs of
excited people gathered round the Lord Treasurer's house at the news
that Clifford too had owned to being a Catholic and had laid down his
staff of office. Their resignation was followed by that of hundreds of
others in the army and the civil service of the Crown. On public opinion
the effect of these discoveries was wonderful. "I dare not write all the
strange talk of the town," says Evelyn. The resignations were held to
have proved the existence of the dangers which the Test had been framed
to meet. From this moment all trust in Charles was at an end. "The
king," Shaftesbury said bitterly, "who if he had been so happy as to
have been born a private gentleman had certainly passed for a man of
good parts, excellent breeding, and well natured, hath now, being a
Prince, brought his affairs to that pass that there is not a person in
the world, man or woman, that dares rely upon him or put any confidence
in his word or friendship." The one man in England indeed on whom the
discovery of the king's perfidy fell with the most crushing effect was
Shaftesbury himself. Ashley Cooper had piqued himself on a penetration
which read the characters of men around him and on a political instinct
which discerned every coming change. He had bought, as he believed, the
Declaration of Indulgence, the release of the imprisoned Nonconformists,
and freedom of worship for all dissidents, at the price of a consent to
the second attack on Holland; and he was looked on by the public at
large as the minister most responsible both for the measures he advised
and the measures he had nothing to do with. But while facing the
gathering storm of unpopularity, Ashley learnt in a moment of drunken
confidence the secret of the king's religion. He owned to a friend "his
trouble at the black cloud which was gathering over England"; but
troubled as he was he still believed himself strong enough to use
Charles for his own purposes. His acceptance of the Chancellorship and
of the earldom of Shaftesbury, as well as his violent defence of the war
on opening the Parliament, identified him yet more with the royal
policy. It was after the opening of the Parliament, if we credit the
statement of the French Ambassador, a statement which squares with the
sudden change in his course, that he learnt from Arlington, who desired
to secure his help in driving Clifford from the royal councils, the
secret of the Treaty of Dover.

[Sidenote: Shaftesbury's change of Policy.]

Whether this was so, or whether suspicion as in the people at large
deepened into certainty, Shaftesbury saw he had been duped. To the
bitterness of such a discovery was added the bitterness of having aided
in schemes which he abhorred. His change of policy was rapid and
complete. He pressed in the royal council for the withdrawal of the
Declaration of Indulgence. In Parliament he supported the Test Act with
extraordinary vehemence. But he was far from any thought of resigning
his post. He clung to it in fact more tenaciously than ever, for the
displacement of James and Clifford by the test left him, as he thought,
dominant in the royal council, and gave him hopes of revenging the
deceit which had been practised on him by forcing his policy on the
king. He was resolved to end the war. He had dreams of meeting the
danger of a Catholic successor by a dissolution of the king's marriage
with Catharine and by a fresh match with a Protestant princess. For the
moment indeed Charles was helpless. He found himself, as he had told
Lewis long before, alone in his realm. The Test Act had been passed
unanimously by both Houses. Even the Nonconformists deserted him and
preferred persecution to the support of his plans. The dismissal of the
Catholic officers made the employment of force, if he ever contemplated
it, impossible, while the ill success of the Dutch war robbed him of all
hope of aid from France. The firmness of the Prince of Orange had roused
the stubborn energy of his countrymen; the French conquests on land were
slowly won back; and at sea the fleet of the allies was still held in
check by the fine seamanship of De Ruyter. Nor was William less
successful in diplomacy than in war. The House of Austria was at last
stirred to action by the danger which threatened Europe; and its union
with the United Provinces laid the foundation of the Grand Alliance.

[Sidenote: Shaftesbury's dismissal.]

Charles indeed was still firm to continue the war. He had gathered an
army on the coast for a descent upon Holland, and he again sent his
fleet to sea under Prince Rupert to clear the way for its landing. But
the gallantry and seamanship of Tromp forced Rupert to withdraw after an
indecisive engagement, and the descent on the Dutch coast had become
impossible when the Parliament again met in October. The House was
resolved upon peace, and Shaftesbury was as determined to end the war as
the House itself. It was for this purpose that he threw himself into
hearty alliance with the Country party in the Commons and welcomed the
Duke of Ormond and Prince Rupert, who were looked upon as "great
Parliament men," back to the royal council. It was to Shaftesbury's
influence that Charles attributed the dislike which the Commons
displayed to the war and their refusal of a grant of supplies for it
until fresh religious securities were devised. It was at his instigation
that an address was presented by both Houses at the end of 1673 against
the plan of marrying James to a Catholic princess, Mary of Modena, a
plan which as James was still without a male heir promised to secure the
succession, should a son be the result of the marriage, in a Catholic
line. But Charles was not yet inclined to play the part of a mere puppet
in other men's hands, and the projects of Shaftesbury were suddenly
interrupted by an unexpected act of vigour on the part of the king. The
Houses were prorogued in November, and the Chancellor was ordered to
deliver up the Seals.

[Sidenote: The Public Panic.]

"It is only laying down my gown and buckling on my sword," Shaftesbury
is said to have replied to the royal bidding; and though the words were
innocent enough, for the sword was part of the usual dress of a
gentleman which he must necessarily resume when he laid aside the gown
of the Chancellor, they were taken as conveying a covert threat. He was
still determined to force on the king a peace with the States. But he
looked forward to the dangers of the future with even greater anxiety
than to those of the present. The Duke of York, the successor to the
throne, had owned himself a Catholic; and almost every one agreed that
securities for the national religion would be necessary in the case of
his accession. But Shaftesbury saw, and it is his especial merit that he
did see, that with a king like James, convinced of his Divine Right and
bigoted in his religious fervour, securities were valueless. From the
first he determined to force on Charles his brother's exclusion from the
throne, and his resolve was justified by the Revolution, which finally
did the work he proposed to do. Unhappily he was equally determined to
fight Charles with weapons as vile as his own. The result of Clifford's
resignation, of James's acknowledgement of his conversion, had been to
destroy all belief in the honesty of public men. A panic of distrust had
begun. The fatal truth was whispered that Charles himself was a
Catholic. In spite of the Test Act it was suspected that men Catholics
in heart still held high office in the State, and we know that in
Arlington's case the suspicion was just. Shaftesbury seized on this
public alarm, stirred above all by a sense of inability to meet the
secret dangers which day after day was disclosing, as the means of
carrying out his plans. He began fanning the panic by tales of a Papist
rising in London and of a coming Irish revolt with a French army to back
it. He retired to his house in the City to find security against a
conspiracy which had been formed, he said, to cut his throat. Meanwhile
he rapidly organized the Country party in the Parliament and placed
himself openly at its head. An address for the removal of ministers
"popishly affected or otherwise obnoxious or dangerous" was presented on
the reassembling of the Houses in 1674. The Lower House called on the
king to dismiss Lauderdale, Buckingham, and Arlington, and to disband
the troops he had raised since 1664. A bill was brought in to prevent
all Catholics from approaching the Court, in other words for removing
James from the king's Councils. A far more important bill was that of
the Protestant Securities which was pressed by Shaftesbury, Halifax, and
Carlisle, the leaders of the new Opposition in the House of Lords, a
bill which enacted that any prince of the blood should forfeit his right
to the Crown on his marriage with a Catholic.

[Sidenote: Peace with Holland.]

The bill, which was the first sketch of the later Exclusion Bill, failed
to pass, but its failure left the Houses excited and alarmed.
Shaftesbury intrigued busily in the City, corresponded with William of
Orange, and pressed for a war with France which Charles could only avert
by an appeal to Lewis, a subsidy from whom enabled him to prorogue the
Parliament. But Charles saw that the time had come to give way. Spain
was now joining Holland, and a war with Spain would have deprived
English merchants of their most lucrative branch of commerce. The
refusal of supplies by the Commons hastened the king's resolve. "Things
have turned out ill," he said to Temple with a burst of unusual
petulance, "but had I been well served I might have made a good business
of it." His concessions however were as usual complete. He dismissed
Buckingham and Arlington from office. He made peace with the Dutch. But
Charles was never more formidable than in the moment of defeat, and he
had already determined on a new policy by which the efforts of
Shaftesbury and the Country party might be held at bay. Ever since the
opening of his reign he had clung to a system of balance, had pitted
Churchman against Nonconformist and Ashley against Clarendon, partly to
preserve his own independence and partly with a view of winning some
advantage to the Catholics from the political strife. The temper of the
Commons had enabled Clarendon to baffle the king's attempts; and on his
fall Charles felt strong enough to abandon the attempt to preserve a
political balance and had sought to carry out his designs with the
single support of the Nonconformists. But the new policy had broken down
like the old. The Nonconformists refused to betray the cause of
Protestantism, and Shaftesbury, their leader, was pressing on measures
which would rob Catholicism of the hopes it had gained from the
conversion of James. In straits like these Charles resolved to win back
the Commons by boldly adopting the policy on which the House was set.

[Sidenote: Danby.]

The majority of its members were still a mass of Cavalier Churchmen, who
regarded Sir Thomas Osborne, a dependant of Arlington's, as their
representative in the royal councils. The king had already created
Osborne Earl of Danby and raised him to the post of Lord Treasurer in
Clifford's room. In 1674 he frankly adopted the policy of Danby and of
his party in the Parliament. The policy of Danby was in the main that of
Clarendon. He had all Clarendon's love of the Church, his equal hatred
of Popery and Dissent, his high notions of the prerogative tempered by a
faith in Parliament and the law. His policy rested like Clarendon's on a
union between the king and the two Houses. He was a staunch Protestant,
and his English pride revolted against any schemes which involved
dependence on France. But he was a staunch Royalist. He wished for a
French war, but he would not force the king to fight France against his
will. His terror of Popery failed to win him over to any plans for a
change in the succession. The first efforts indeed of the king and his
minister were directed to strengthen James's position by measures which
would allay the popular panic. Mary, the Duke's eldest child and after
him the presumptive heir to the Crown, was confirmed by the royal order
as a Protestant. It was through Mary indeed that Charles aimed at
securing the Prince of Orange. The popularity of William throughout the
Protestant world was great; and in England, as the terror of a Popish
king increased, men remembered that were James and his house excluded
from the throne William as the king's nephew, the son of his sister Mary
and the grandson of Charles the First, stood next in succession to the
Crown. The Prince was drawn by his desire to detach England from the
French alliance into close connexion with Shaftesbury and the leaders of
the Country party, and already pledges from this quarter had reached him
that he should be declared heir to the throne. It was to meet this
danger that Charles resolved to offer William the hand of the Duke's
daughter, Mary. Such a marriage secured James against the one formidable
rival to his claims, while it opened to William a far safer chance of
mounting the throne at his father-in-law's death in right of his wife.
The prospect too of such a Protestant succession might well allay much
of the panic which was spreading through the country as men looked
forward to the accession of a Catholic king.

[Sidenote: Danby and the Commons.]

The secret negotiations for this marriage which began at the close of
1674 were accompanied by conferences between Danby and the bishops which
restored the union between the Church and the Crown. The first fruits of
this agreement were seen in the rigorous enforcement of the law against
conventicles and the exclusion of all Catholics from Court; while the
Parliament which reassembled in 1675 was assured that the Test Act
should be rigorously enforced. The change in the royal policy came not a
moment too soon. As it was the aid of the Cavalier party which rallied
round Danby hardly saved the king from the humiliation of being forced
to recall the troops he still maintained in the French service. To gain
a majority on this point Danby was forced to avail himself of a resource
which from this time played for nearly a hundred years an important part
in English politics. Every hour showed more clearly how fatal to its
healthy working was the abandonment of the reforms which the Long
Parliament and Cromwell had introduced into the composition of the House
of Commons. The influence of that House was growing greater and greater
on public affairs. In spite of the king's vigorous resistance it was
reviewing expenditure, dictating its own policy in Church and State,
checking the royal action even in foreign affairs, denouncing ministers
and driving them from office, meddling now even with the succession to
the Crown. It did this as representing the people, and yet the people
could hardly be said to be represented. The counties alone really
returned their own members, and in the counties the franchise was
limited to freeholders. In all but the larger towns the nomination of
members lay in the hands of close corporations. A large number of
so-called boroughs had ceased to have any real existence at all. Their
representatives were simply nominees of the Crown or of neighbouring

[Sidenote: Policy of corruption and persecution.]

On great questions so imperfect a composition of the representative body
mattered indeed little, for whatever were their origin the members
shared in the general national feeling and expressed fairly the national
sentiment. But in the common business of Parliament and in questions of
detail it told fatally on the temper of the House. The members were
conscious of their power, but they were checked by little sense of
responsibility for its exercise. They were open therefore to the meanest
and most selfish influences. Charles had done much by "closeting" them.
Danby, bolder and less ingenious, trusted to coarser means. With him
began the system of direct bribery which was to culminate in the
Parliamentary corruption of the Pelhams. He was more successful in
winning back the majority of the Commons from their alliance with the
Country party by reviving the old spirit of religious persecution. With
the view of breaking up the growing union between the Churchmen and the
Nonconformists as well as of driving from Parliament the Presbyterian
members who formed the strength of the Country party, and whose numbers
increased as time brought fresh elections, he proposed that the test
which had been imposed by Clarendon on municipal officers should be
extended to all functionaries of the State, that every member of either
House, every magistrate and public officer, should swear never to take
arms against the king or to "endeavour any alteration of the Protestant
religion now established by law in the Church of England, or any
alteration in the Government in Church and State as it is by law
established." The Bill was forced through the Lords by the bishops and
the Cavalier party, and its passage through the Commons was only averted
by a quarrel on privilege between the two Houses which Shaftesbury
dexterously fanned into flame.

[Sidenote: Charles turns to France.]

On the other hand the Country party remained strong enough to hamper
their grant of supplies with conditions which rendered it unacceptable
to the king. Eager as they were for the war with France which Danby
promised, the Commons could not trust the king; and Danby was soon to
discover how wise their distrust had been. For the Houses were no sooner
prorogued in November 1675 than Charles revealed to him the negotiations
he had been all the while carrying on with Lewis. To France, hard
pressed as she was by the allies, the entry of England into the war
would have been ruinous; and Lewis was eager to avert this danger by
promising Charles a subsidy should the Parliament strive to force on him
a war policy by refusing or limiting supplies. Charles, who still looked
to France for aid in his plans and who believed war would deliver him
helplessly into the power of the Parliament, was as ready to accept the
money as Lewis to give it. At this juncture therefore he called on Danby
to sign a treaty by which, on consideration of a yearly pension
guaranteed on the part of France, the two sovereigns bound themselves to
enter into no engagements with other powers, and to lend each other aid
in case of rebellion in their dominions. Such a treaty not only bound
England to dependence on France, but freed the king from all
Parliamentary control. But his minister pleaded in vain for delay and
for the advice of the Council. Charles answered his entreaties by
signing the treaty with his own hand.

[Sidenote: Danby's measures.]

Danby found himself duped by the king as Shaftesbury had found himself
duped; but his bold temper was only spurred to fresh plans for rescuing
the king from his bondage to Lewis. To do this the first step was fully
to reconcile the king and the Parliament, which met again in February
1677 after a prorogation of fifteen months. The Country party stood in
the way of such a reconciliation, but Danby resolved to break its
strength by measures of unscrupulous vigour for which a blunder of
Shaftesbury's gave an opportunity. Shaftesbury despaired of bringing the
House of Commons, elected as it had been fifteen years before in a
moment of religious and political reaction, to any steady opposition to
the Crown. He had already moved an address for its dissolution; and he
now urged that as a statute of Edward the Third ordained that
Parliaments should be held "once a year or oftener if need be" the
Parliament by the recent prorogation of a year and a half had ceased
legally to exist. The Triennial Act deprived such an argument of any
force, and its only effect was to place the Country party in an
injudicious position of general hostility to the existing Parliament.
But Danby represented it as a contempt of the House, and the Lords at
his bidding committed its supporters, Shaftesbury, Buckingham,
Salisbury, and Wharton, to the Tower. While the Opposition cowered under
the blow Danby pushed on a measure which was designed to win back
alarmed Churchmen to confidence in the Crown. The terror of a Catholic
successor grew steadily throughout the country, and it was to meet this
terror that Danby devised his Bill for the security of the Church. By
this Bill it was provided that on the succession of any king who was not
a member of the Established Church the appointment of bishops should be
vested in the existing body of prelates, and that the king's children
should be placed in the guardianship of the Archbishop of Canterbury.

[Sidenote: The cry for War.]

The bill however failed in the Commons; and a grant of supply unchecked
by the appropriation of the money to special services, a limitation
which Charles steadily opposed, was only obtained by Danby's profuse
bribery. The progress of the war abroad indeed was rousing panic in
England faster than Danby could allay it. New successes of the French
arms in Flanders and a defeat of the Prince of Orange at Cassel stirred
the whole country to a cry for war. The two Houses united in an address
to the Crown which prayed that England might enter into the Great
Alliance that William had built up, but Charles parried the blow by
demanding a supply before the war was declared and by a new prorogation
of the House on a new refusal. Fresh and larger subsidies from France
enabled him to continue this prorogation for seven months. But the
silence of the Parliament did little to silence the country; and Danby
took advantage of the popular cry for war to press an energetic course
of action on the king. In its will to check French aggression the
Cavalier party was as earnest as the Puritan, and Danby aimed at
redeeming his failure at home by uniting the Parliament through a
vigorous policy abroad.

[Sidenote: Marriage of William and Mary.]

As usual Charles appeared to give way. He was himself for the moment
uneasy at the appearance of the French on the Flemish coast, and he
owned that "he could never live at ease with his subjects" if Flanders
were abandoned. He allowed Danby therefore to press on both parties the
necessity for mutual concessions, and to define the new attitude of
England by reviving the project for a match between Mary and William of
Orange. William's distrust of Arlington, by whom the proposal of it had
been made to him, had led the Prince at first to set aside the scheme.
But he had never lost sight of it, and the counsels of Sir William
Temple had brought him in 1677 to make overtures for its realization.
Charles and Danby had still the same reasons for desiring it, and the
marriage took place on William's visit to England in September. As the
king was childless and James had no son Mary was presumptive heiress of
the Crown. The marriage therefore promised a close political union in
the future with Holland, and a corresponding opposition to the ambition
of France. With the country it was popular as a Protestant match and as
ensuring a Protestant successor to James. But Lewis was bitterly
angered; he rejected the English propositions of peace and again sent
his army into the field. Danby was ready to accept the challenge. The
withdrawal of the English ambassador from Paris was followed in 1678 by
an assembly of the Parliament; a warlike speech from the throne was
answered by a warlike address from the House, large supplies were voted
and an army raised.

[Sidenote: Peace of Nimeguen.]

But the actual declaration of war still failed to appear; indeed Charles
was in heart as disinclined for war as ever. While Danby threatened
France the king was busy turning the threat to his own profit, and
gaining time by prorogations for a series of base negotiations. At one
stage he demanded from Lewis a fresh pension for the next three years
as the price of his good offices with the allies. Danby stooped to write
the demand, and Charles added "This letter is written by my order, C.
R." A force of three thousand English soldiers was landed at Ostend; but
the allies were already broken by their suspicions of the king's real
policy, and Charles soon agreed for a fresh pension to recall the
brigade. The bargain was hardly struck when Lewis withdrew the terms of
peace he had himself offered and on the faith of which England had
ostensibly retired from the scene. Once more Danby offered aid to the
allies. But all faith in England had now disappeared. One hostile power
after another gave assent to the new conditions laid down by France, and
though Holland, the original cause of the war, was saved, the Peace of
Nimeguen in July 1678 made Lewis the arbiter of Europe.

[Illustration: EUROPE From 1648 to 1700 from Spruner.]

[Sidenote: The Catholic hopes.]

Disgraceful as the peace was to England, it left Charles the master of a
force of twenty thousand men levied for a war he had refused to declare.
It left him too with nearly a million of French money in his pocket. His
course had roused into fresh life the old suspicions of his perfidy and
of a secret plot with Lewis for the ruin of English freedom and of
English religion. That there was such a plot we know; and from the
moment of the Treaty of Dover the hopes of the Catholic party had
mounted even faster than the panic of the Protestants. But they had
been bitterly disappointed by the king's sudden withdrawal from the
prosecution of his schemes after his four years' ineffectual struggle,
and roused to wild anger by his seeming return to the policy of
Clarendon. Their anger and disappointment were revealed in the letters
from English Jesuits which were afterwards to play so fatal a part in
begetting a belief in the plot, and in the correspondence of Coleman.
Coleman was secretary of the Duchess of York and a busy intriguer, who
had gained sufficient knowledge of the real plans of the king and of his
brother to warrant him in begging money from Lewis for the work of
saving Catholic interests from Danby's hostility by intrigues in the
Parliament. A passage from one of his letters gives us a glimpse of the
wild dreams which were stirring among the hotter Catholics of the time.
"They had a mighty work on their hands," he wrote, "no less than the
conversion of three kingdoms, and by that perhaps the utter subduing of
a pestilent heresy which had so long domineered over a great part of the
northern world. Success would give the greatest blow to the Protestant
religion that it had received since its birth." But while the despair of
the Catholic party was unknown their previous attitude of confidence had
stirred suspicions in the public mind which mounted into alarm when the
Peace of Nimeguen suddenly left Charles master--as it seemed--of the
position, and it was of this general panic that one of the vile
impostors who are always thrown to the surface at times of great public
agitation was ready to take advantage by the invention of a Popish plot.

[Sidenote: Titus Oates.]

Titus Oates, a Baptist minister before the Restoration, a curate and
navy chaplain after it, but left penniless by his infamous repute, had
sought bread in a conversion to Catholicism, and had been received into
Jesuit houses at Valladolid and St. Omer. While he remained there he
learnt the fact of a secret meeting of the Jesuits in London which was
probably nothing but the usual congregation of the order, and on his
expulsion for misconduct this single fact widened in his fertile brain
into a plot for the subversion of Protestantism and the death of the
king. His story was laid before Charles in the August of 1678 and
received, as was natural enough, with the cool incredulity of one who
knew what plot there really had been; but Oates made affidavit of its
truth before a London magistrate, Sir Edmondsbury Godfrey, and at last
managed to appear before the Council. He declared that he had been
trusted with letters which disclosed the Jesuit plans. They were
stirring rebellion in Ireland; in Scotland they disguised themselves as
Cameronians; in England their aim was to assassinate the king and to
leave the throne open to the Papist Duke of York. The extracts from
Jesuit letters, however, which he produced, though they showed the
bitter disappointment and anger of their writers at the king's
withdrawal from his schemes, threw no light on the monstrous charges of
a plot for his assassination. Oates would have been dismissed indeed
with contempt but for the seizure of Coleman's correspondence. The
letters of this intriguer, believed as he was to be in the confidence of
the Duke of York, gave a new colour to the plot. Danby himself,
conscious of the truth that there really were designs which Charles
dared not avow, was shaken in his rejection of the disclosures and
inclined to use them as weapons to check the king in his Catholic
policy. But a more dexterous hand had already seized on the growing
panic. Lord Shaftesbury, released after a long imprisonment from the
Tower, ready since his discovery of the Treaty of Dover to believe in
any conspiracy between the Catholics and the king, and hopeless of
foiling the king's policy in any other way, threw himself into the plot.
"Let the Treasurer cry as loud as he pleases against Popery," he
laughed, "I will cry a note louder." But no cry was needed to heighten
the popular frenzy from the moment when Sir Edmondsbury Godfrey, the
magistrate before whom Oates had laid his information, was found in a
field near London with his sword run through his heart. His death was
assumed to be murder, and the murder to be an attempt of the Jesuits to
"stifle the plot." A solemn funeral added to the public agitation; and
the two Houses named committees to investigate the charges made by

[Sidenote: Shaftesbury and the Plot.]

In this investigation Shaftesbury took the lead. Whatever his personal
ambition may have been, his public aims in all that followed were wise
and far-sighted. He aimed at forcing Charles to dissolve the Parliament
and appeal again to the nation. He aimed at driving Danby out of office
and at forcing on Charles a ministry which should break his dependence
on France and give a constitutional turn to his policy. He saw that no
security would really avail to meet the danger of a Catholic sovereign,
and he aimed at excluding James from the throne. But in pursuing these
aims he threw himself from that moment wholly on the plot. He fanned the
popular panic by accepting without question some fresh depositions in
which Oates charged five Catholic peers with part in the Jesuit
conspiracy. Two of these five, Lords Arundell and Bellasys, had in fact
taken part in the preliminary conference which led to the Treaty of
Dover. Of this nothing was known, but the five were sent to the Tower
and two thousand suspected persons were hurried to prison. A
proclamation ordered every Catholic to leave London. The train-bands
were called to arms, and patrols paraded through the streets to guard
against the Catholic rising which Oates declared to be at hand.
Meanwhile Shaftesbury turned the panic to political account. He
fiercely demanded in the House of Lords the exclusion of the Duke of
York from the king's Council, and his demand was repeated in an address
of the Commons. Charles met the attack with consummate skill.
Anticipating the future Exclusion Bill, he declared himself ready to
sanction any measures which secured the Protestant religion so long as
they left untouched the right of hereditary succession and the just
power of the Crown. Shaftesbury retorted by forcing through Parliament
at the end of 1678 a bill which excluded Catholics from a seat in either
House. The exclusion remained in force for a century and a half; but it
had really been aimed against the Duke of York, and Shaftesbury was
defeated by a proviso which exempted James from the operation of the

[Sidenote: Lewis and the Plot.]

The plot, which had been supported for four months by the sole evidence
of Oates, began to hang fire at the opening of 1679; but a promise of
reward brought forward a villain named Bedloe with tales beside which
those of Oates seemed tame. The two informers were pressed forward by an
infamous rivalry to stranger and stranger revelations. Bedloe swore to
the existence of a plot for the landing of a Catholic army and a general
massacre of the Protestants. Oates capped the revelations of Bedloe by
charging the queen herself at the bar of the Lords with knowledge of the
plot to murder her husband. Monstrous as such charges were they revived
the waning frenzy of the people and of the two Houses. The peers under
arrest were ordered to be impeached. A new proclamation enjoined the
arrest of every Catholic in the realm. A series of judicial murders
began with the trial and execution of Coleman which even now can only be
remembered with horror. But the alarm must soon have worn out had it
only been supported by perjury. What gave force to the false plot was
the existence of a true one. Coleman's letters had won credit for the
perjuries of Oates, and a fresh discovery now won credit for the
perjuries of Bedloe.

[Sidenote: Dissolution of the Parliament.]

From the moment when the pressure of the Commons and of Danby had forced
Charles into a position of seeming antagonism to France Lewis had
resolved to bring about the dissolution of the Parliament, the fall of
the minister, and the disbanding of the army which Danby still looked on
as a weapon against him. The aims of the Country party were the same as
those of the French king, and even before the Peace of Nimeguen the
French ambassador, Barillon, had succeeded in opening a correspondence
on these points with its leaders, with Shaftesbury, Halifax, and Lord
Russell. A closer connexion was negotiated in 1678 through the mediation
of Algernon Sidney; and money was entrusted to Russell and other
prominent members of the Country party by Barillon to be used in the
bribery which, disgraceful as it was, was now almost necessary to
counteract the bribery of Danby. The confederates soon brought a more
effective weapon into play. The English ambassador at Paris, Ralph
Montagu, returned home on a quarrel with Danby, obtained a seat in the
House of Commons, and in spite of the seizure of his papers laid on the
table of the House the despatch which had been forwarded to Lewis,
demanding payment for the king's services to France during the late
negotiations. The Commons were thunderstruck; for strong as had been the
general suspicion the fact of the dependence of England on a foreign
power had never before been proved. Danby's name was signed to the
despatch, and he was at once impeached on a charge of high treason. But
Shaftesbury was more eager to secure the election of a new Parliament
than to punish his rival, and Charles was resolved to prevent at any
price a trial which could not fail to reveal the disgraceful secret of
his foreign policy. Charles was in fact at Shaftesbury's mercy, and the
end for which Shaftesbury had been playing was at last secured. In
January 1679 the Parliament of 1661, after the longest unbroken life in
our Parliamentary annals, was at last dissolved.

[Sidenote: The New Ministry.]

A new Parliament was at once summoned and its election took place in a
tumult of national excitement. The process of Parliamentary corruption
now took a further step. Danby had begun the bribery of members. With
the election of 1679 began on a large and systematic scale the bribery
or "treating" of constituents. If members had come to realize the money
value of the seats they held, the voters for these members were quick to
realize the money value of the seats they bestowed. "I am told," writes
the Venetian ambassador, Sarotti, "that in the more conspicuous and
populous places their election will cost some of the candidates five
thousand scudi (about a thousand pounds) each." The new members were
still for the most part Churchmen and country gentlemen, but they shared
the alarm of the country, and even before their assembly in March their
temper had told on the king's policy. James was sent to Brussels.
Charles began to disband the army and promised that Danby should soon
withdraw from office. In his speech from the throne he asked for
supplies to maintain the Protestant attitude of his Government in
foreign affairs. But it was impossible to avert Danby's fall. The
Commons insisted on carrying his impeachment to the bar of the Lords. It
was necessary to dismiss him from his post of Treasurer and to construct
a new ministry. In the existing temper of the Houses such a ministry
could only be found in the men who had brought about Danby's fall.
Shaftesbury became President of the Council. The chiefs of the Country
party, Lord Russell and Lord Cavendish, took their seats at the board
with Lords Holles and Robartes, the older representatives of the
Presbyterian party which had merged in the general Opposition. Savile,
Lord Halifax, as yet known only as a keen and ingenious speaker, entered
the ministry in the train of Shaftesbury with whom his family was
connected. Lord Sunderland, a man adroit and unscrupulous but as yet
ranked in the Opposition, was admitted to the Council; while Lord Essex
and Sir H. Capel, two of the most popular among the Country leaders,
went to the Treasury and Admiralty. The recall of Sir William Temple,
the negotiator of the Triple Alliance, from his embassy at the Hague to
fill the post of Secretary of State promised a foreign policy which
would again place England high among the European powers.

[Sidenote: Temple and his Council.]

Temple returned with a plan of administration which, fruitless as it
directly proved, is of great importance as marking the silent change
which was passing over the English Constitution. Like many men of his
time he was equally alarmed at the power both of the Crown and of the
Parliament. In moments of national excitement the power of the Houses
seemed irresistible. They had overthrown Clarendon. They had overthrown
Clifford and the Cabal. They had just overthrown Danby. But though they
were strong enough in the end to punish ill government they showed no
power of securing good government or of permanently influencing the
policy of the Crown. For nineteen years in fact with a Parliament
always sitting Charles had had it pretty much his own way. He had made
war against the will of the nation and he had refused to make war when
the nation demanded it. While every Englishman hated France he had made
England a mere dependency of the French king. The remedy for this state
of things, as it was afterwards found, was a very simple one. By a
change which we shall have to trace the ministry has now become a
Committee of State-officers named by the majority of the House of
Commons from amongst the more prominent of its representatives in either
House, whose object in accepting office is to do the will of that
majority. So long as the majority of the House of Commons itself
represents the more powerful current of public opinion it is clear that
such an arrangement makes government an accurate reflection of the
national will. But obvious as such a plan may seem to us, it had as yet
occurred to no English statesman. To Temple the one remedy seemed to lie
in the restoration of the royal Council to its older powers.

[Sidenote: The Cabinet.]

This body, composed as it was of the great officers of the Court, the
royal Treasurer and Secretaries, and a few nobles specially summoned to
it by the sovereign, formed up to the close of Elizabeth's reign a sort
of deliberative assembly to which the graver matters of public
administration were commonly submitted by the Crown. A practice,
however, of previously submitting such measures to a smaller body of the
more important councillors must always have existed; and under James
this secret committee, which was then known as the Cabala or Cabal,
began almost wholly to supersede the Council itself. In the large and
balanced Council which was formed after the Restoration all real power
rested with the "Cabala" of Clarendon, Southampton, Ormond, Monk, and
the two Secretaries; and on Clarendon's fall these were succeeded by
Clifford, Arlington, Buckingham, Ashley, and Lauderdale. It was by a
mere coincidence that the initials of the latter names formed the word
"Cabal," which has ever since retained the sinister meaning their
unpopularity gave to it. The effect of these smaller committees had
undoubtedly been to remove the check which the larger numbers and the
more popular composition of the royal Council laid upon the Crown. The
unscrupulous projects which made the Cabal of Clifford and his fellows a
byword among Englishmen could never have been laid before a Council of
great peers and hereditary officers of State. To Temple therefore the
organization of the Council seemed to furnish a check on mere personal
government which Parliament was unable to supply. For this purpose he
proposed that the Cabala or Cabinet, as it was now becoming the fashion
to term the confidential committee of the Council, should be abolished.
The Council itself was restricted to thirty members, and their joint
income was not to fall below £300,000, a sum little less than what was
estimated as the income of the whole House of Commons. A body of great
nobles and proprietors, not too numerous for secret deliberation and
wealthy enough to counterbalance either the Commons or the Crown, would
form, Temple hoped, a barrier against the violence and aggression of the
one power and a check on the mere despotism of the other.

[Sidenote: The Habeas Corpus Act.]

Whatever might be the fate of these schemes the new Council and the new
ministry gave fair hope of a wise and patriotic government. But the
difficulties were still great. The nation was frenzied with suspicion
and panic. The elections to the new Parliament had taken place amidst a
whirl of excitement which left no place for candidates of the Court. The
appointment of the new ministry indeed was welcomed with a general burst
of joy, and its policy and that of the two Houses showed at once that a
more liberal spirit had entered into public affairs. In two remarkable
acts of the new Parliament English freedom made an advance even on the
work of 1641. From the moment when printing began to tell on public
opinion it had been gagged by a system of licenses. The regulations
framed under Henry the Eighth subjected the press to the control of the
Star Chamber, and the Martin Marprelate libels brought about a yet more
stringent control under Elizabeth. Even the Long Parliament laid a
heavy hand on the press, and the great remonstrance of Milton in his
"Areopagitica" fell dead on the ears of his Puritan associates. But the
statute for the regulation of printing which was passed immediately
after the Restoration expired finally in 1679 and the temper of the
present Parliament at once put an end to any attempt at re-establishing
the censorship. To the new freedom of the press the Habeas Corpus Act
added new security for the personal freedom of every Englishman. Against
arbitrary imprisonment provision had been made in the earliest ages by a
famous clause in the Great Charter. No free man could be held in prison
save on charge or conviction of crime or for debt; and every prisoner on
a criminal charge could demand as a right from the court of King's Bench
the issue of a writ of "habeas corpus," which bound his gaoler to
produce both the prisoner and the warrant on which he was imprisoned
that the court might judge whether he was imprisoned according to law.
In cases, however, of imprisonment on a warrant of the royal Council it
had been sometimes held by judges that the writ could not be issued, and
under Clarendon's administration instances had in this way occurred of
imprisonment without legal remedy. But his fall was quickly followed by
the introduction of a bill to secure this right of the subject, and
after a long struggle the Act which is known as the Habeas Corpus Act
passed finally in the Parliament of 1679. By this great statute the old
practice of the law was freed from all difficulties and exceptions.
Every prisoner committed for any crime save treason or felony was
declared entitled to his writ even in the vacations of the courts, and
heavy penalties were enforced on judges or gaolers who refused him this
right. Every person committed for felony or treason was entitled to be
released on bail unless indicted at the next session of gaol-delivery
after his commitment, and to be discharged if not indicted at the
sessions which followed. It was forbidden under the heaviest penalties
to evade this operation of the writ as it had been evaded under
Clarendon by sending a prisoner to any places or fortresses beyond the

[Sidenote: The Bill of Securities.]

Great as was the value of the Habeas Corpus Act it passed almost
unnoticed amidst the political storm which the ministry had to face. The
question of the Succession threw all others into the shade. At the
bottom of the national panic lay the dread of a Catholic king, a dread
which the after history of James fully justified. Unluckily on the
question of the succession the new ministers were themselves divided.
Shaftesbury was earnest for the exclusion of James and he was followed
in his plan of exclusion by Lord Russell. Against a change in the order
of hereditary succession however Charles was firm; and he was supported
in his resistance by a majority of the Council with Temple and Lord
Essex, Lord Halifax, and Lord Sunderland at its head. It was with the
assent of this party that Charles brought forward a plan for preserving
the rights of the Duke of York while restraining his powers as
sovereign. By this project the presentation to Church livings was to be
taken out of his hands on his accession. The last Parliament of the
preceding reign was to continue to sit; and the appointment of all
Councillors, Judges, Lord-Lieutenants, and officers in the fleet, was
vested in the two Houses so long as a Catholic sovereign was on the
throne. The extent of these provisions showed the pressure which Charles
felt, but Shaftesbury was undoubtedly right in setting the plan aside as
at once insufficient and impracticable. The one real security for
English freedom lay in a thorough understanding between King and
Parliament; and the scheme of Charles set them against one another as
rival powers in the realm. It was impossible in fact that such a harmony
could exist between a Protestant Parliament and a Catholic sovereign.

[Sidenote: The Exclusion Bill.]

Shaftesbury therefore continued to advocate the Exclusion in the royal
Council; and a bill for depriving James of his right to the Crown and
for devolving it on the next Protestant in the line of succession was
introduced into the Commons by his adherents. In spite of a powerful
opposition from patriots like Lord Cavendish and Sir William Coventry
who still shrank from a change in the succession the bill passed the
House by a large majority. It was known that Charles would use his
influence with the Peers for its rejection, and the Earl therefore fell
back on the tactics of Pym. A bold Remonstrance was prepared in the
Commons. The City of London, in which Shaftesbury's popularity had now
risen to its greatest height, was ready with an address to the two
Houses in favour of the bill. All Charles could do was to gain time by a
sudden prorogation of the Parliament and by its dissolution at the end
of May. But delay would have been useless had the Country party remained
at one. The temper of the nation and of the House of Commons was so
hotly pronounced in favour of the Exclusion of the Duke that but for the
disunion among the ministers it must in the end have been secured.
England would then have been spared the necessity for the Revolution of
1688. Though the disunion grew greater and hotter indeed the wiser
leaders of the Country party were already leaning to the very change
which the Revolution brought about. If James were passed over his
daughter Mary, the wife of the Prince of Orange, stood next in the order
of succession; and the plan devised by Temple, Lord Essex, and Lord
Halifax after the failure of their Bill of Securities was to bring the
Prince over to England during the prorogation, to introduce him into
the Council, and to pave his way to the throne.

[Sidenote: Shaftesbury and Monmouth.]

Unhappily Shaftesbury was contemplating a very different course. Ever
since William had set aside his proposals in 1674, and above all since
his marriage with the Duke's daughter, Shaftesbury had looked on the
Prince of Orange as a mere adherent of the royal house and a supporter
of the royal plans. He saw, too, that firm as was William's
Protestantism he was as jealous as Charles himself of any weakening of
the royal power or invasion of the royal prerogative. Shaftesbury's keen
wit was already looking forward to the changes which a few years were to
bring about; and his motive for setting aside William's claims is
probably to be found in the maxim ascribed to him, that "a bad title
makes a good king." Whatever were his motives however he had resolved
not only to set aside the claims of the Duke and the Duke's children,
Mary and Anne, as well as William's own claim as grandson of Charles I.,
but to place the Duke of Monmouth on the throne. Monmouth, reputed to be
the eldest of the king's bastards, a weak and worthless profligate in
temper, was popular through his personal beauty and his reputation for
bravery. The tale was set about of a secret marriage between the king
and his mother which would have made him lawful heir to the throne, and
Shaftesbury brought him into public notice by inducing the king to put
him at the head of the troops sent to repress a rising of the extreme
Covenanters which broke out at this moment in the western counties of
Scotland. Monmouth showed courage in routing the insurgents at Bothwell
Brig on the Clyde as well as judgement in the mercy he extended to them
after their defeat; and on his return Shaftesbury pressed the king to
give him the command of the Guards, which would have put the only
military force possessed by the Crown in Monmouth's hands.

[Sidenote: Shaftesbury's Second Dismissal.]

Sunderland, Halifax, and Essex, on the other hand--for Temple took less
and less part in public affairs--were not only steadily opposed to
Shaftesbury's project, but saw themselves marked out for ruin in the
event of its success. They had advised the dissolution of the last
Parliament; and the Earl's anger had vented itself in threats that the
advisers of the dissolution should pay for it with their heads. The
danger came home to them when a sudden illness of the king and the
absence of James made Monmouth's accession a possible contingency. The
three ministers at once induced Charles to recall the Duke of York; and
though he withdrew to Scotland on the king's recovery Charles deprived
Monmouth of his charge as Captain-General of the Forces and ordered him
like James to leave the realm. Left alone in his cause by the opposition
of his colleagues, Shaftesbury threw himself more and more on the
support of the Plot. The prosecution of its victims was pushed
recklessly on. Three Catholics were hanged in London. Eight priests were
put to death in the country. Pursuivants and informers spread terror
through every Catholic household. He counted on the reassembling of the
Parliament to bring all this terror to bear upon the king. But Charles
had already marked the breach which the Earl's policy had made in the
ranks of the Country party. He saw that Shaftesbury was unsupported by
any of his colleagues save Russell. To Temple, Essex, or Halifax, it
seemed possible to bring about the succession of Mary without any
violent revolution; but to set aside the rights not only of James but of
his Protestant children and even of the Prince of Orange was to ensure a
civil war. It was with their full support therefore that Charles in
October 1679 deprived Shaftesbury of his post of Lord President of the

[Sidenote: Shaftesbury's struggle.]

The dismissal was the signal for a struggle to whose danger Charles was
far from blinding himself. What had saved him till now was his cynical
courage. In the midst of the terror and panic of the Plot men "wondered
to see him quite cheerful amidst such an intricacy of troubles," says
the courtly Reresby, "but it was not in his nature to think or perplex
himself much about anything." Even in the heat of the tumult which
followed on Shaftesbury's dismissal Charles was seen fishing and
sauntering as usual in Windsor Park. But closer observers than Reresby
saw beneath this veil of indolent unconcern a consciousness of new
danger. "From this time," says Burnet, "his temper was observed to
change very visibly." He became in fact "sullen and thoughtful; he saw
that he had to do with a strange sort of people, that could neither be
managed nor frightened." But he faced the danger with his old
unscrupulous coolness. He reopened secret negotiations with France.
Lewis was as alarmed as Charles himself at the warlike temper of the
nation, and as anxious to prevent the calling of a Parliament; but the
terms on which he offered a subsidy were too humiliating even for the
king's acceptance. The failure forced him to summon a new Parliament;
and the panic which Shaftesbury was busily feeding with new tales of
massacre and invasion returned members even more violent than the
members of the House he had just dismissed. The project of Monmouth's
succession was pressed with more daring than ever. Pamphlets appeared in
open support of his claim. The young Duke himself suddenly quitted
Holland and reappeared at Court; and though Charles forced him after a
time to leave London he refused to leave England altogether. Shaftesbury
counted on the new Parliament to back the Duke's claim, and a host of
petitions called on the king to suffer it to meet at the opening of
1680. Even the Council shrank from the king's proposal to prorogue its
assembly to the coming November. But Charles prorogued it in the teeth
of his counsellors. Alone as he stood he was firm in his resolve to gain
time, for time, as he saw, was working in his favour. The tide of public
sympathy was beginning to turn. The perjury of Oates was proving too
much at last for the credulity of juries; and the acquittal of four of
his victims showed that the panic was beginning to ebb. A far stronger
proof of this was seen in the immense efforts which Shaftesbury made to
maintain a belief in the plot. Fresh informers were brought forward to
swear to a conspiracy for the assassination of the Earl himself, and to
the share of the Duke of York in the designs of his fellow-religionists.
A paper found in a meal-tub was produced as evidence of the new danger.
Gigantic torchlight processions paraded the streets of London, and the
effigy of the Pope was burnt amidst the wild outcry of a vast multitude.

[Sidenote: The Reaction begins.]

Acts of yet greater daring showed the lengths to which Shaftesbury was
ready to go. He had grown up amidst the tumults of civil war, and,
greyheaded as he was, the fire and vehemence of his early days seemed to
wake again in the recklessness with which he drove on the nation to a
struggle in arms. Early in 1680 he formed a committee for promoting
agitation throughout the country; and the petitions which it drew up for
the assembly of the Parliament were sent to every town and grand jury
and sent back again with thousands of signatures. Monmouth, in spite of
the king's orders, returned at Shaftesbury's call to London; and a
daring pamphlet pointed him out as the nation's leader in the coming
struggle "against Popery and tyranny." So great was the alarm of the
Council that the garrison in every fortress was held in readiness for
instant war. But the danger was really less than it seemed. The tide of
opinion had fairly turned. Acquittal followed acquittal. A reaction of
horror and remorse at the cruelty which had hurried victim after victim
to the gallows succeeded to the pitiless frenzy which Shaftesbury had
fanned into a flame. Anxious as the nation was for a Protestant
sovereign its sense of justice revolted against the wrong threatened to
James's Protestant children; and every gentleman in the realm felt
insulted at the project of setting Mary aside to put the crown of
England on the head of a royal bastard.

[Sidenote: Petitioners and Abhorrers.]

The memory too of the Civil War was still fresh and keen, and the rumour
of an outbreak of revolt rallied men more and more round the king. The
host of petitions which Shaftesbury procured from the counties was
answered by a counter-host of addresses from thousands who declared
their "abhorrence" of the plans against the Crown; and the country saw
itself divided into two great factions of "petitioners" and "abhorrers,"
the germs of the two great parties which have played so prominent a
part in our political history from the time of the Exclusion Bill. It
was now indeed that these parties began to receive the names of Whig and
Tory by which they were destined to be known. Each was originally a term
of reproach. "Whig" was the name given to the extreme Covenanters of the
west of Scotland, and in applying it to the members of the Country party
the "abhorrer" meant to stigmatize them as rebels and fanatics. "Tory"
was at this time the name for a native Irish outlaw or "bogtrotter," and
in fastening it on the loyalist adherents of James's cause the
"petitioner" meant to brand the Duke and his party as the friends of
Catholic rebels.

Charles at once took advantage of this turn of affairs. He recalled the
Duke of York to the Court. He received the resignation of Lord Russell
as well as those of Lord Cavendish and the Earl of Essex who had at last
gone over to Shaftesbury's projects "with all his heart." Temple had all
but withdrawn from the Council; and public affairs were now left in the
hands of Lord Sunderland and Lord Halifax, of Godolphin, a laborious
financier, and of Laurence Hyde, a younger son of Lord Clarendon.
Shaftesbury met the king's defiance with as bold a defiance of his own.
Followed by a crowd of his adherents he attended before the Grand Jury
of Middlesex to indict the Duke of York as a Catholic recusant and the
king's mistress, the Duchess of Portsmouth, as a national nuisance,
while Monmouth made a progress through the country and gained favour
everywhere by his winning demeanour. Above all Shaftesbury relied on the
temper of the Commons, elected as they had been in the very heat of the
panic and irritated by the long delay in calling the Houses together.

[Sidenote: France and Europe.]

At this moment, however, a new and formidable opponent to Shaftesbury's
plans presented himself in the Prince of Orange. The position of William
had for some time been one of singular difficulty. He had been forced,
and chiefly through the treacherous diplomacy of Charles the Second, to
consent to the Treaty of Nimeguen which left France matchless in arms
and dominant over Europe as she had never been before. Holland indeed
was saved from the revenge of Lewis, but fresh spoils had been wrested
from Spain, and Franche-Comté which had been restored at the close of
the former war was retained at the end of this. Above all, France
overawed Europe by the daring and success with which she had faced
single-handed the wide coalition against her. From the moment when the
war came to an end her king's arrogance became unbounded. Lorraine was
turned into a subject-state. Genoa was bombarded and its Doge forced to
seek pardon in the ante-chambers of Versailles. The Pope was humiliated
by the march of an army upon Rome to avenge a slight offered to the
French ambassador. The Empire was outraged by a shameless seizure of
Imperial fiefs in Elsass and elsewhere which provoked remonstrances
even from Charles. The whole Protestant world was defied by the
increasing persecution of the Huguenots, a persecution which was to
culminate in the revocation of the Edict of Nantes.

[Sidenote: William and England.]

In the mind of Lewis peace meant a series of outrages on the powers
around him; but every outrage helped the cool and silent adversary who
was looking on from the Hague in his task of building up that Great
Alliance of all Europe from which alone he looked for any effectual
check to the ambition of France. The experience of the last war had
taught William that of such an alliance England must form a part, and
the efforts of the Prince ever since the peace had been directed to
secure her co-operation. A reconciliation of the king with his
Parliament was an indispensable step towards freeing Charles from his
dependence on France, and it was such a reconciliation that William at
first strove to bring about; but he was for a long time foiled by the
steadiness with which Charles clung to the power whose aid was needful
to carry out the schemes which he was contemplating. The change of
policy, however, which followed on the fall of the Cabal and the entry
of Danby into power raised new hopes in William's mind, and his marriage
with Mary dealt Lewis what proved to be a fatal blow. James was without
a son, and the marriage with Mary would at any rate ensure William the
aid of England in his great enterprise on his father-in-law's death. But
it was impossible to wait for that event, and though the Prince used his
new position to bring Charles round to a decided policy his efforts
remained fruitless. The storm of the Popish Plot complicated his
position. In the earlier stages of the Exclusion Bill, when the
Parliament seemed resolved simply to pass over James and to seat Mary at
once on the throne after her uncle's death, William stood apart from the
struggle, doubtful of its issue though prepared to accept the good luck
if it came to him. But the fatal error of Shaftesbury in advancing the
claims of Monmouth forced him into action. To preserve his wife's right
of succession with all the great issues which were to come of it, as
well as to secure his own, no other course was left than to adopt the
cause of the Duke of York. Charles too seemed at last willing to
purchase the support of the Prince in England by a frank adhesion to his
policy abroad. He protested against the encroachments which Lewis was
making in Germany. He promised aid to Holland in case of attack. He
listened with favour to William's proposal of a general alliance of the
European powers, and opened negotiations for that purpose with
Brandenburg and Spain. William indeed believed that the one step now
needed to bring England to his side in the coming struggle with Lewis
was a reconciliation between Charles and the Parliament grounded on the
plan for providing Protestant securities which Charles was ready again
to bring forward.

[Sidenote: William and the Exclusion.]

But he still remained in an attitude of reserve when the Parliament at
last met in October. The temper of the Commons was as bitter as
Shaftesbury had hoped. It was in vain that Charles informed them of his
negotiations for an European alliance and called on them to support him
by reason and moderation. The House was too full of the sense of danger
at home to heed dangers abroad. Its first act was to vote that its care
should be "to suppress Popery and prevent a Popish successor." Rumours
of a Catholic plot in Ireland were hardly needed to set aside all
schemes of Protestant securities, and to push the Exclusion Bill through
the Commons without a division. So strong had Monmouth's party become
that a proposal to affirm the rights of Mary and William by name in the
Bill was evaded and put aside. From this moment the course of the Prince
became clear. So resolute was the temper of the Lower House that even
Temple and Essex now gave their adhesion to the Exclusion Bill as a
necessity, and Sunderland himself wavered towards accepting it. But
Halifax, whose ability and eloquence had now brought him fairly to the
front, opposed it resolutely and successfully in the Lords; and Halifax
was but the mouthpiece of William. "My Lord Halifax is entirely in the
interest of the Prince of Orange," the French ambassador, Barillon,
wrote to his master, "and what he seems to be doing for the Duke of York
is really in order to make an opening for a compromise by which the
Prince of Orange may benefit." The Exclusion Bill once rejected, Halifax
followed up the blow by bringing forward a plan of Protestant securities
which would have taken from James on his accession the right of veto on
any bill passed by the two Houses, the right of negotiating with foreign
states, or of appointing either civil or military officers save with the
consent of Parliament. This plan, like his opposition to the Exclusion,
was no doubt prompted by the Prince of Orange; and the States of Holland
supported it by pressing Charles to come to an accommodation with his
subjects which would enable them to check the perpetual aggressions
which France was making on her neighbours.

[Sidenote: Trial of Lord Stafford.]

But if the Lords would have no Exclusion Bill the Commons with as good
reason would have no Securities Bill. They felt--as one of the members
for London fairly put it--that such securities would break down at the
very moment they were needed. A Catholic king, should he ever come to
the throne, would have other forces besides those in England to back
him. "The Duke rules over Scotland; the Irish and the English Papists
will follow him; he will be obeyed by the officials of high and low rank
whom the king has appointed; he will be just such a king as he thinks
good." Shaftesbury, however, was far from resting in a merely negative
position. He made a despairing effort to do the work of exclusion by a
Bill of Divorce, which would have enabled Charles to put away his queen
on the ground of barrenness and by a fresh marriage to give a Protestant
heir to the throne. The Earl's course shows that he felt the weakness of
Monmouth's cause; and perhaps that he was already sensible of a change
in public feeling. This, however, Shaftesbury resolved to check and turn
by a great public impeachment which would revive and establish the
general belief in the Plot. Lord Stafford, who from his age and rank was
looked on as the leader of the Catholic party, had lain a prisoner in
the Tower since the first outburst of popular frenzy. He was now
solemnly impeached; and his trial in December 1680 mustered the whole
staff of informers to prove the truth of a Catholic conspiracy against
the king and the realm. The evidence was worthless; but the trial
revived, as Shaftesbury had hoped, much of the old panic, and the
condemnation of the prisoner by a majority of his peers was followed by
his death on the scaffold. The blow produced its effect on all but
Charles. Sunderland again pressed the king to give way. But deserted as
he was by his ministers and even by his mistress, for the Duchess of
Portsmouth had been cowed into supporting the Exclusion by the threats
of Shaftesbury, Charles was determined to resist. On the coupling of a
grant of supplies with demands for a voice in the appointment of
officers of the royal garrisons he prorogued the Parliament.

[Sidenote: Charles turns again to France.]

William's policy had failed to bring the Commons round to the king's
plans and Charles sullenly turned again to France. All dreams of heading
Europe in her strife against Lewis were set aside. Charles became deaf
to the projects of the Prince of Orange, and listened to the
remonstrances which James addressed to him through his favourite
Churchill in favour of an alliance with the Catholic king. With
characteristic subtlety, however, he dissolved the existing Parliament
and called a new one to meet in March 1681. The act was a mere blind.
The king's aim was to frighten the country into reaction by the dread of
civil strife; and his summons of the Parliament to Oxford was an appeal
to the country against the disloyalty of the capital, and an adroit
means of reviving the memories of the Civil War. With the same end he
ordered his guards to accompany him on the pretext of anticipated
disorder; and Shaftesbury, himself terrified at the projects of the
Court, aided the king's designs by appearing with his followers in arms
on the plea of self-protection. The violence of the Earl's party only
strengthened the resolution of the king. Monmouth renewed his progresses
through the country, and was met by deputations and addresses in every
town he visited. London was so restless that riots broke out in its
streets. Revolt seemed at hand, and Charles hastened to conclude his
secret negotiations with France. Lewis was as ready for an agreement as
Charles. The one king verbally pledged himself to a policy of peace, in
other words to withdrawal from any share in the Grand Alliance which
William was building up. The other promised a small subsidy which with
the natural growth of the Royal revenue sufficed to render Charles, if
he remained at peace, independent of Parliamentary aids.

[Sidenote: The Parliament at Oxford.]

It was with this arrangement already concluded that Charles met his
Parliament at Oxford. The members of the House of Commons were the same
as those who had been returned to the Parliaments he had just dissolved,
and their temper was naturally embittered by the two dissolutions. But
their violence simply played into the king's hands. William's party
still had hopes of bringing about a compromise; but the rejection of a
new Limitation Bill brought forward by Halifax, which while conceding to
James the title of king would have vested the actual functions of
government in the Prince and Princess of Orange during his reign,
alienated the more moderate and sensible of the Country party. They were
alienated still more by a bold appeal of Shaftesbury to Charles himself
to recognize Monmouth as his successor. The attempt of the Lower House
to revive the panic by impeaching an informer named Fitzharris before
the House of Lords, in defiance of the constitutional rule which
entitled him as a commoner to a trial by his peers in the course of
common law, did still more to throw public opinion on the side of the
Crown. Shaftesbury's course, in fact, went wholly on a belief that the
penury of the Treasury left Charles at his mercy, and that a refusal of
supplies must wring from the king his assent to the Exclusion. But the
gold of France had freed the king from his thraldom. He had used the
Parliament simply to exhibit himself as a sovereign whose patience and
conciliatory temper were rewarded with insult and violence; and now that
his end was accomplished he no sooner saw the Exclusion Bill
reintroduced into the Commons than he suddenly dissolved the Houses
after but a month's sitting and appealed in a royal declaration to the
justice of the nation at large.

[Sidenote: Dryden.]

The appeal was met by an almost universal burst of loyalty. The Church
rallied to the king; his declaration was read from every pulpit; and the
Universities solemnly decided that "no religion, no law, no fault, no
forfeiture" could avail to bar the sacred right of hereditary
succession. The arrest of Shaftesbury on a charge of suborning false
witnesses to the Plot marked the new strength of the Crown. The answer
of the nation at large was uttered in the first great poem of John
Dryden. Born in 1631 of a good Northamptonshire family, Dryden had grown
up amidst the tumult of the civil wars in a Puritan household. His
grandfather, Sir Erasmus Dryden, had gone to prison at seventy rather
than contribute to a forced loan. His father had been a committee-man
and sequestrator under the Commonwealth. He entered life under the
protection of a cousin, Sir Gilbert Pickering, who sate as one of the
judges at the king's trial. Much of this early training lived in Dryden
to the last. He never freed himself from the Puritan sense of religion,
from the Puritan love for theological discussion and ecclesiastical
controversy. Two of his greatest poems, the "Religio Laici," and the
"Hind and Panther," are simply theological treatises in verse. Nor did
the Commonwealth's man ever die in him. "All good subjects," he could
say boldly in an hour of royal triumph, "abhor arbitrary power whether
in one or in many"; and no writer has embodied in more pregnant words
the highest claim of a people's right, that

                               "right supreme
     To make their kings, for kings are made for them."

Dryden grew up too amidst the last echoes of the Elizabethan verse.
Jonson and Massinger, Webster and Shirley, were still living men in his
childhood. The lyrics of Herrick, the sweet fancies of George Herbert,
were fresh in men's ears as he grew to manhood. Even when he entered
into the new world of the Restoration some veterans of this nobler
school, like Denham and Waller, were still lingering on the stage. The
fulness and imaginative freedom of Elizabethan prose lived on till 1677
in Jeremy Taylor, while Clarendon preserved to yet later years the
grandeur and stateliness of its march. Above all Milton still sate
musing on the "Paradise Lost" in the tapestried chamber of his house in
Bunhill Fields.

[Sidenote: Dryden and the Critical Poets.]

Throughout his life something of the spirit of the age which he was the
last to touch lived on in Dryden. He loved and studied Chaucer and
Spenser even while he was copying Molière and Corneille. His noblest
panegyric was pronounced over Shakspere. At the time when Rymer, the
accepted critic of the Restoration, declared "our poetry of the last age
as rude as our architecture," and sneered at "that Paradise Lost of
Milton's which some are pleased to call a poem," Dryden saw in it "one
of the greatest, most noble and sublime poems which either this age or
nation hath produced." But whether in mind or in life Dryden was as
unlike the Elizabethans as he was in his earlier years unlike the men of
the poetic school which followed him. Of that school, the critical
school as it has been called of English poetry, he was indeed the
founder. He is the first of our great poets in whom "fancy is but the
feather of the pen." Whether he would or no Dryden's temper was always
intellectual. He was a poet, for if dead to the subtler and more
delicate forms of imaginative delight he loved grandeur, and his
amazing natural force enabled him to realize in great part the grandeur
which he loved. But beneath all his poetry lay a solid bottom of reason.
His wildest outbursts of passion are broken by long passages of cool
argument. His heroes talk to his heroines in a serried dialectic. Every
problem of morals, of religion, of politics, forces itself into his
verse, and is treated there in the same spirit of critical inquiry.

[Sidenote: His Tragedies.]

In other words Dryden was the poet of his day. But he was the poet of a
time of transition, and his temper is transitional. It was only by slow
and uncertain steps that he advanced to the full rationalism of the
Critical school. His first little poem, some verses written in 1659 on
the death of Lord Hastings, is a mass of grotesque extravagances in the
worst style of Donne. The dramas of his early work after the Restoration
are crowded with the bombastic images, the affected conceits, the
far-fetched metaphors which it is the merit of the critical school to
have got rid of. In his tragedies indeed the tradition of a freer and
larger time jarred against the unities and the critical rules with which
he strove to bind himself. If he imitated the foreign stage he could not
be blind to the fact that the Elizabethan playwrights possessed "a more
masculine fancy and a greater spirit in the writing than there is in any
of the French." He followed Corneille but he was haunted by memories of
"the divine Shakspere." His failure indeed sprang from the very truth
of his poetic ideal. He could not be imaginative in the highest dramatic
sense, but the need of imaginativeness pressed on him while it was
ceasing to press on his brother playwrights. He could not reach the
sublime, but neither could he content himself as they did with the
prosaic; he rants, fumes, and talks wild bombast in the vain effort
after sublimity.

[Sidenote: His Comedies.]

Dryden failed in Comedy as he failed in Tragedy, but here the failure
sprang from the very force and vigour of his mind. He flung himself like
the men of his day into the reaction against Puritanism. His life was
that of a libertine; and his marriage with a woman of fashion who was
yet more dissolute than himself only gave a new spur to his
debaucheries. Large as was his income from the stage, and it equalled
for many years the income of a country squire, he was always in debt and
forced to squeeze gifts from patrons by fulsome adulation. Like the rest
of the fine gentlemen about him he aired his Hobbism in sneers at the
follies of religion and the squabbles of creeds. The grossness of his
comedies rivalled that of Wycherley himself. But it is the very
extravagance of his coarseness which shows how alien it was to the real
temper of the man. A keen French critic has contrasted the libertinism
of England under the Restoration with the libertinism of France, and has
ruthlessly pointed out how the gaiety, the grace, the naturalness of
the one disappears in the forced, hard, brutal brilliancy of the other.
The contrast is a just one. The vice of the English libertine was hard
and unnatural just because his real nature took little share in it. In
sheer revolt against the past he was playing a part which was not his
own and which he played badly, which he forced and exaggerated, just
because it was not his own. Dryden scoffs at priests and creeds, but his
greater poetry is coloured throughout with religion. He plays the rake,
but the two pictures which he has painted with all his heart are the
pictures of the honest country squire and the poor country parson. He
passes his rivals in the grossness of his comedies, he flings himself
recklessly into the evil about him because it is the fashion and because
it pays. But he cannot sport lightly and gaily with what is foul. He is
driven if he is coarse at all to be brutally coarse. His freedom of
tone, to borrow Scott's fine remark, is like the forced impudence of a
timid man.

[Sidenote: The New Criticism.]

Slowly but ceaselessly, however, the critical taste of his time told on
Dryden. The poetry of good sense, as it proudly called itself, triumphed
in Boileau, and the rules of taste and form which Boileau laid down were
accepted as the law of letters on the one side of the Channel as well as
on the other. Andrew Marvell, in whom the older imaginative beauty still
found a worshipper, stood alone in his laughter at the degradation of
poetry into prose. Fancy was set aside for reason, "that substantial
useful part which gains the head, while Fancy wins the heart." It was
the head and not the heart that poetry now cared to gain. But with all
its prose the new criticism did a healthy work in insisting on
clearness, simplicity, and good sense. In his "Rehearsal" Buckingham
quizzed fairly enough the fume and bombast of Dryden's tragedies. But
Dryden was already echoing his critics' prayer for a year "of prose and
sense." He was tired of being "the Sisyphus of the stage, to roll up a
stone with endless labour, which is perpetually falling down again." "To
the stage," he owned, "my genius never much inclined me," and he had
long had dreams, stirred no doubt by his admiration for Milton, of
undertaking some epic story. But need held him to the boards and years
passed by, and Dryden still stood in the second rank of English poetry,
outdone in comedy by men like Etherege and rivalled in tragedy by men
like Settle. Only in a single poem, that of the "Annus Mirabilis," in
1671, had he given any true indications of his surpassing powers.

[Sidenote: Dryden and the Plot.]

It was in this mood of failure and disappointment that the Popish Plot
found him. Of its reality he made no question; "a plot," he says
emphatically, "there was." But his cool good sense saw how the truth had
been "dashed and brewed with lies." What stirred him more was, as he
believed, the return of anarchy. Puritan as his training had been he had
grown up like the bulk of the men about him with a horror of the social
and religious disorders which the civil war had brought in its train. He
clung to authority as a security against revolution. It was this that
drove him from the Puritanism of his youth to the Anglican dogmatism of
the "Religio Laici," and from thence to the tempered Catholicism of the
"Hind and Panther." It was this which made him sing by turns the praises
of Cromwell and the praises of the king whom Cromwell had hunted from
one refuge to another. No man denounced the opponents of the Crown with
more ruthless invective. No man humbled himself before the throne with
more fulsome adulation. Some of this no doubt was mere flattery, but not
all of it. Dryden like his age was conscious that new currents of
feeling and opinion were sweeping him from the old moorings of mankind.
But he shrank in terror from the wide ocean over whose waters he
drifted. In religion he was a rationalist, a sceptic, whether he would
or no; but he recoiled from the maze of "anxious thoughts" which spread
before him, of thoughts "that in endless circles roll without a centre
where to fix the soul," and clung to the Church that would give him, if
not peace, at least quiet. In politics he was as much a rationalist as
in religion, but he turned horrorstruck from the sight of a "state
drawn to the dregs of a democracy," and in the crisis of the Popish Plot
he struck blindly for the Crown.

[Sidenote: "Absalom and Achitophel."]

Dryden like the Royalists generally believed that the arrest of
Shaftesbury had alone saved England from civil war, and from that worst
of civil wars where a son fights against his father's throne. In his
"Absalom and Achitophel" the poet told the story of the threatened
strife under the thin veil of the revolt against David. Charles was the
Hebrew king, Monmouth was Absalom, Shaftesbury was the wily Achitophel
who drew him into revolt. The "Absalom" was a satire, and it was the
first great English satire, for the satires of Marston and Hall were
already forgotten. It is in ages indeed like the Restoration that satire
naturally comes to the front. In the reaction after a time of high
ideals and lofty efforts the sense of contrast between the aims and the
powers of man, between his hopes and their fulfilment, takes form
whether in the kindly pitifulness of humour or in the bitter revulsion
of satire. And mingled with this in Dryden was an honest indignation at
the hypocrisy around him. The men he attacks are not real men but
actors. Buckingham and Shaftesbury, the infidel leader of the
Independents and the deistical leader of the Presbyterians, were alike
playing a part. But the largeness and fairness of his temper saved
Dryden's satire from the vicious malignity of that of Pope. He has an
artistic love of picturesque contrast, he has a great writer's pride in
the consciousness of power. But he has no love of giving pain for the
mere pain's sake, and he has a hatred of unfairness. Even in his
contempt for the man he is just to Buckingham, and his anger does not
blind him to the great qualities of Shaftesbury.

[Sidenote: Progress of the Reaction.]

The even and effortless force of the poem, the disappearance of
inequalities and faults of taste, showed that Dryden was at last master
of his powers. But it was not this nervous strength alone which suddenly
brought him to the forefront of English letters. It was the general
sense that his "Absalom" was the opening of a new literary developement.
Its verse, free from the old poetic merits as from the old poetic
faults, clear, nervous, condensed, argumentative, proclaimed the final
triumph of the "poetry of good sense." Its series of portraits showed
the new interest in human character which had been stirred by the Civil
War, and which was deepening with the growing indifference to larger
thoughts of nature and the growing concentration of man's thoughts on
man. They led the way to that delight in the analysis of character in
its lowest as in its highest forms which produced the essayists and the
novel. Above all the "Absalom" was the first work in which literature
became a great political power. In it Dryden showed himself the
precursor of Swift and of Bolingbroke, of Burke and of Cobbett. The
poem was bought eagerly, and it undoubtedly helped to bring about that
triumph of the king with the prophecy of which it closed. But prisoner
as Shaftesbury was, the struggle with him was not yet over. London was
still true to him; only a few days after the appearance of the "Absalom
and Achitophel" the Middlesex Grand Jury ignored the bill of his
indictment, and his discharge from the Tower was welcomed in every
street with bonfires and ringing of bells. But a fresh impulse was given
to the loyal enthusiasm of the country at large by the publication of a
plan said to have been found among his papers, the plan of a secret
association for the furtherance of the Exclusion whose members bound
themselves to obey the orders of Parliament even after its prorogation
or dissolution by the Crown. So general was the reaction that Halifax,
who had now become the most conspicuous member of the royal Council,
though scared by the Whig threats of impeachment, advised the calling of
a new Parliament in the belief that it would be a loyal one. William of
Orange too visited England to take advantage of the turn of affairs to
pin Charles to the policy of the Alliance.

[Sidenote: Shaftesbury's Death.]

The king met both counsels with evasion. He kept his own secret. Hyde
was the only one of his ministers whom he had trusted with the knowledge
of his French negotiations, and they remained as unknown to William as
to Halifax. But their effect was seen in the new vigour which Lewis
gave to his policy at home and abroad. He was resolved to bring about
national unity by crushing the French Protestants, to gain a strong
frontier to the East, and to be ready to seize the Spanish heritage on
the death of Charles the Fourth. The agreement was no sooner made with
Charles than persecution fell heavy on the Huguenots; and the seizure of
Strassburg and Casale, the keys of Germany and Italy, with that of
Luxemburg, the key of the United Provinces, brought Europe to the verge
of war. Charles, indeed, was anxious to avoid war and he was as anxious
to avoid Parliaments whose assembly war would certainly force upon him
as Lewis himself. The tide of loyal reaction was mounting in fact higher
every day. The king secured the adhesion of the Church by a renewed
persecution of the Nonconformists, which drove Penn from England and
thus brought about the settlement of Pennsylvania as a refuge for his
fellow-Quakers. He was soon strong enough to call back James to Court
and to arrest Monmouth, who had resumed his almost royal progresses as a
means of again stirring opinion in his favour. London alone remained
firm for the Whigs; but the friendship of a Tory mayor secured the
nomination of Tory sheriffs in the summer of 1682, and the juries they
packed left the life of every Exclusionist at the mercy of the Crown.
Shaftesbury saw himself threatened with ruin. It was in vain that he
offered to waive his plans of exclusion and to fall in with the king's
older proposals of a limited monarchy in the case of James's accession.
The loss of London left him without a shelter, and drove him to wild
conspiracies with a handful of adventurers who were as desperate as
himself. He hid himself in the City where he boasted that ten thousand
"brisk boys" were ready to appear at his call. From his hiding-place he
urged his friends to rise in arms. But their delays drove him to flight;
and in January 1683, two months after his arrival in Holland, the soul
of the great leader, great from his immense energy and the wonderful
versatility of his genius, but whose genius and energy had ended in
wrecking for the time the fortunes of English freedom and in associating
the noblest of causes with the vilest of crimes, found its first quiet
in death.

[Sidenote: The Rye-House Plot.]

The flight of Shaftesbury proclaimed the triumph of the king. His
marvellous sagacity had told him when the struggle was over and further
resistance useless. But the country leaders who had delayed to answer
the Earl's call still believed opposition possible, and looked for
support to the discontent of the Nonconformists at the revival of the
penal laws. Monmouth, with Lord Essex, Lord Howard of Escrick, Lord
Russell, Hampden, and Algernon Sidney, held meetings with the view of
founding an association whose agitation should force on the king the
assembly of a Parliament. The more desperate spirits who had clustered
round Shaftesbury as he lay hidden in the City took refuge in plots of
assassination, and in a plan for murdering Charles and his brother as
they passed the Rye-House on the road from London to Newmarket. Both
projects were betrayed, and though they were wholly distinct from one
another the cruel ingenuity of the Crown lawyers blended them into one.
Lord Essex saved himself from a traitor's death by suicide in the Tower.
Lord Russell, convicted on a charge of sharing in the Rye-House plot,
was beheaded on the 21st of July 1683, in front of his father the Earl
of Bedford's house in Lincoln's Inn Fields. The same fate awaited
Algernon Sidney. Monmouth fled in terror over sea, and his flight was
followed by a series of prosecutions for sedition directed against his


     *     *     *     *     *     *

Transcriber's Notes:

   The following words appear with and without hyphens. They have
   been left as in the original.

        Franche-Comté     Franche Comté
        good-will         goodwill

   Ellipses match the original.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "History of the English People, Volume VI (of 8) - Puritan England, 1642-1660; The Revolution, 1660-1683" ***

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