Thursday, October 20, 2005

A New Mistress and two Royal Deaths

On 30 June, shortly after her return to France, Madame died of peritonitis. But she had left one of her ladies-in-waiting behind in England, the Breton Louise de Kéroualle (1649-1734). In July Barbara Villiers, now duchess of Cleveland, was more or less pensioned off - for years she and Charles had been tiring of each other, and she had taken up with John Churchill. By September 1671 Colbert de Croissy reported that her influence had completely gone. It seemed for a while as if her position would be usurped by Nell Gwynn (who first met the king in 1668), or by Mary Davis, who also became Charles's mistress, but both mistresses were soon to be eclipsed by Louise. Pressurised by Louis XIV she agreed to become Charles’s mistress, which she did at a houseparty at Arlington’s mansion at Euston, Suffolk in October 1671. ‘Thus two monarchs, an ambassador and a great minister had combined to push an unwilling virgin into the royal bed’ (Ronald Hutton, Charles II, 280-1). (But how unwilling was she?) Exactly nine months later, she produced a son. In 1673 she was created duchess of Portsmouth.

In the spring of 1671, before Louise had become Charles's mistress, the duchess of York died, probably from breast cancer. On the morning of her death, she asked the duke to tell the Anglican bishops of her conversion to Catholicism. The bishop of Oxford, dean of the Chapel Royal, went in to see her and said he hoped she still continued in the truth; she then asked 'What is truth?' Her last words were 'Duke, duke, death is very terrible'. She died in agony without the rites of her new faith and was quickly buried. Neither Charles nor James attended the funeral. See Frances Harris, Transformations of Love (Oxford, 2003, 125-6). She left two surviving children, Mary aged 9 and her sister Anne, aged 6. As he was without a male heir, it was inevitable that the duke would marry again.

The Secret Treaty of Dover

The War of Devolution was ended in 1668 by the treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle. Louis surrendered most of his conquests but retained the frontier towns of Lille, Douai and Charleroi. Following the treaty Louis and his chief minister Jean-Baptiste Colbert believed he had surrendered too much and began to plan a further war against the Dutch. But he needed allies.

In August 1668 Colbert’s brother, Charles Colbert de Croissy came to London as ambassador with instructions to propose an alliance with England. Secret negotiations began, and included Charles’s correspondence with his sister, Henriette (Madame), duchess of Orleans. Humiliated by her husband’s homosexuality, Henriette consoled herself by acting as unofficial envoy to her adored brother, and, playing on Louis’ fondness for her, became a very effective mediator. She and Charles corresponded in cipher.

The French alliance has another powerful advocate in the crypto-Catholic duke of York. Arlington was also won over as was Lady Castlemaine, who had been a Catholic since 1663..

On 16 May 1670, Henriette arrived in England, ostensibly just to visit her brother. On 22 May Arlington, Clifford and de Croissy signed the secret Treaty of Dover (now in the Clifford Papers in the British Library). Both kings agreed that their joint resolution was ‘to humble the pride of the States General’;

(i) Louis was to pay Charles £225,000 p. a. during the ensuing war against the Dutch;
(ii) Following the war, parts of the Dutch Republic were to be ceded to England and France, while the remainder would become the hereditary principality of the Prince of Orange;
(iii) The penal laws against Catholic were to be suspended;
(iv) Charles declared that ‘being convinced of the truth of the Roman Catholic religion [he] is resolved to declare it and to reconcile himself with the Church of Rome as soon as his country’s affairs permit’;
(v) In order to cope with the expected opposition, Louis agreed to pay Charles £150,000 and to provide and pay 6,000 troops ‘for the execution of his design’. But the timing of the announcement of his conversion was left to Charles.
The other three members of the Cabal were ignorant of the treaty, and outside a very close circle, only the duke of York knew of its contents. With typical perfidy, Charles appointed Buckingham and Ashley to negotiate a second treaty, the traité simulé (eventually ratified in December) which did not contain religious clauses.

The very secrecy of the treaty has made it difficult for historians to assess Charles’s motives and intentions. The subsidies (which totalled £375,000) were certainly not sufficient to solve his financial problems. Probably two other factors were important: admiration for Louis; an intense dislike of the Dutch and a desire for revenge for the Medway disaster. Perhaps Charles should not be blamed for failing to foresee the threat posed by French hegemony. Cromwell had made the same mistake.
The real problem lies in the Catholic clause. What were Charles’s motives? There was also an ambiguity in the treaty - what was to come first - war or conversion? The treaty does not necessarily demonstrate that Charles was a closet Catholic.

The Cabal

After the downfall of Clarendon, two distinct courses of action were open to Charles II historians have labelled these ‘Cavalier’ and ‘Catholic’.
(a) Cavalier: a recognition that the king’s power base lay in the Church of England; therefore unqualified support for the restored Church and the suppression of nonconformity by the enforcement of the Clarendon Code; a ‘Protestant’ foreign policy.
(b) Catholic: toleration for Catholics and Protestant nonconformists; a French alliance.
Charles’s own inclinations supported (b) but he was hampered by parliamentary opinion. He was a prisoner of his parliaments and increasingly resenting this fact.

The situation was further complicated by the fact that from the late 1660s James and his wife, Anne Hyde, were moving towards conversion to Rome. As Charles had no legitimate heir, this fact was hugely significant.

The Cabal
After the fall of Clarendon, Charles made his own policy. He never again allowed himself to be controlled by a chief minister but shuffled his ministers as if they were part of a pack of cards. However a group of influential men around him were important in policy-making. Five of them have been (exaggeratedly) seen as key and because of their initials the period 1667-1674 has been known as the Cabal.
• Henry Bennet, earl of Arlington from 1672 (Secretary of State); ‘serious and industrious’ he was probably the most influential of the five. For this reason, some historians call this period the ‘Arlington ministry’.
• Thomas, Baron Clifford (Lord Treasurer from 1672)
• George Villiers, 2nd duke of Buckingham, Master of the Horse; ‘a debauched maverick of sparkling conversation and slender abilities’ (Smith, 1998, 225).
• Anthony Ashley Cooper (Lord Chancellor from 1672)
• John Maitland, duke of Lauderdale (Lord High Commissioner from 1669).

It is mistaken to see them as a group that acted together. Apart from a dislike of Clarendon’s legacy, especially the narrow intolerance of the restored Church of England, they had little in common and vied with each other for power.
• Clifford was a secret Catholic, with pro-French sympathies, and Arlington a Catholic sympathizer, with pro-Spanish, pro-Dutch sympathies.
• Ashley and Buckingham were both associated with freethinkers.
• Lauderdale was preoccupied with Scotland.
• Arlington and Buckingham detested each other.
• Buckingham had the king’s favour because they shared the common tragedy of murdered fathers and because he encouraged him to indulge his love of pleasure. He favoured a divorce from Catherine of Braganza, but in this he was opposed by Lady Castlemaine (created duchess of Cleveland, 1670) who believed Catherine was less of a rival than another queen would be. Arlington ‘inherited Clarendon’s role as royal workhorse’.
• Ashley (created earl of Shaftesbury in 1672) had a Cromwellian background and was wary of any extension of the king’s power.
The differences within the Cabal left Charles with plenty of scope to divide and rule.

The Triple Alliance
Immediately after the fall of Clarendon, the conduct of Louis XIV meant that there could be no immediate sign of ‘Catholic’ policies. Anxieties about France focused on the fact that early in 1667 Louis had put in a claim to the Spanish Netherlands by the so-called right of ‘devolution’ which he claimed was vested in his Spanish-born wife. In May 1667 in the first stage of the ‘War of Devolution’, Turenne over-ran the Spanish Netherlands ‘with ominous ease’ and posed a direct threat to the United Provinces. Many Englishmen now believed that Louis, like Philip II of Spain, aimed at universal empire. They had come to recognize the most significant fact of seventeenth-century geopolitics: that France had replaced Spain as the great expansionist European power.

In January 1668 England joined the United Provinces (Holland) and Sweden in a formal anti-French treaty, in which each promised to help the other if attacked, though Charles still hankered after an alliance with France. But the alliance was popular in England, where anti-French sentiment was growing.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

The Fall of Clarendon

A scapegoat had to be found for the Medway disaster and Clarendon was the obvious candidate even though he had opposed the war. There had to be a scapegoat for the disaster. On 14 June Pepys recorded (Diary, viii, p. 269)
'Mr Hater tells me at noon that some rude people have been as he hears, at my Lord Chancellor's, where they have cut down the trees before his house and broke his windows; and a Gibbet either set up before or painted upon his gate, and these words writ - "Three sights to be seen; Dunkirke, Tanger and a barren Queen".
In July Parliament was hastily recalled in order to pay for the army hastily mobilised after this disaster. This session gave Clarendon’s enemies at court the chance to move against him. He was now isolated at court and within Parliament. Lady Castlemaine, his bitter enemy, had declared that she hoped to see his head on a plate.

On 30 August Charles asked for his resignation. Clarendon complied but refused to act on hints that he should leave the country.

On 10 October the seventh session of the Cavalier Parliament met. The mood was one of bitterness and disillusionment. Behind all the fears and resentments ‘was a sense that the core of the government was rotten - an unconcerned king in a corrupt and vicious court’. As a peace offering the king agreed to dismiss his chancellor and he privately pressed for an impeachment. Articles were hastily collected, many of which were hearsay. ‘The promoters of the impeachment showed a cynical disregard for natural justice and the rules of evidence’. Most hoped to profit from his disgrace. But though the Commons wished to commit him to custody, the Lords, strongly influenced his by son-in-law the Duke of York, refused to allow this.
On 30 November Clarendon resolved this increasingly bitter dispute between Lords and Commons. Protesting his innocence, he withdrew from England. The two Houses condemned him to lifelong banishment. He fled to France, initially to Rouen and then to Montpellier. In the summer of 1674 he was given permission to move back to Rouen, to be nearer to England, but he died there on 9 December. His body was returned to England for burial. During his exile he wrote his History of the Great Rebellion. He never knew that he would be the grandfather of two queens.

The first phase of the reign of Charles II was over.

The Dutch in the Medway

In the autumn of 1666, before and after the fire, both Rupert and Albermarle, the former General Monck, launched complaints about their fleets being inadequately supplied. When Parliament met in September 1666 it was in a highly critical mood, blaming the navy for maladministration and the government for corruption. On 26 September the Commons ordered the officers of the navy, ordnance and stores to bring in their accounts for inspection. However, the diaries of both Pepys and John Evelyn for October 1666 reveal the king’s apparent indifference to the warnings he was receiving.

By this time public opinion had turned against the war, and in January 1667 Charles began to negotiate a peace. In March the Dutch agreed to begin peace discussions at Breda. As a result, a large part of the English fleet was paid off and anchored in the Medway near Chatham, and economies made in repairing ships and shore defences.

On 7 June 1667 the Dutch admiral, de Ruyter, sailed into the approaches of the Thames. On 10 June they captured Sheerness. On 12 June the Dutch attacked the naval base at Chatham, bombarded a stationary fleet, - kept in the dock for lack of funds- set fire to three large warships, and towed away the Royal Charles. It was a stunning national humiliation.
‘Had the old Protector had a grave, he would surely have been spinning in it.’ (Kishlansky, 1996, p. 239).
Pepys: ‘I … fear… that the whole kingdom is undone.’ (Diary, Vol viiii, 1667, ed. Robert Latham (London: G. Bell and Sons, 1974), p. 262. He sent his wife into the country, and a few days later he made his will. On 12 July Pepys wrote
‘It is strange how ... everybody doth doth nowadays reflect upon Oliver and commend him, so brave things he did and made all neighbour princes fear him; while here a prince, come in with all the love and prayers and good liking of his people ... hath lost all so soon, that it is a miracle what way a man could devise to lose so much in so little time’. (Diary, Vol. viii, p. 332.
Pepys, of course, wrote in code and this reflection wasn't for public consumption! The editors of the Diary note (p. 332, n. 2) that such opinions were common in the coffee houses. No wonder the government was alarmed at the proliferation of these places.

The Treaty of Breda concluded peace with the Dutch. Because they were threatened by Louis XIV's France, the Dutch were eager for a treaty even if it was disadvantageous to them. England therefore gained territory though the gains were seen at the time as minimal: the acquisition of New York and New Jersey.

Plague and Fire

Amidst this gathering crisis two natural disasters seriously weakened crown finances and seriously dented national self-confidence: bubonic plague and the Great Fire.

The effects of the plague, which reached its height in the summer and early autumn of 1665, can perhaps be exaggerated. The mortality was high (70,000 deaths) but plague was a common phenomenon and it probably had more effect on the poor than on the trading and governing classes (Pepys’s life was not disrupted).

The effects of the Fire (3-6 September) were more serious. Contemporaries estimated that it gutted most of the City and destroyed 13,200 houses, 89 churches and goods valued at £3.5m. London’s commerce was brought to a standstill for six months. Pepys gives the classic account.

The Second Dutch War

Throughout the early 1660s relations with Holland steadily declined. The fundamental causes of the war were economic, but the war also sprang from Cavalier Anglican dislike of the Calvinist republic. While Charles II admired France, he snobbishly viewed the Dutch as a society of low-born merchants. He also wanted to promote the interests of his nephew William, Prince of Orange, against the States-General.

The war can be seen as inevitable:
(a) The expansion of overseas trade in the second half of the 17th century automatically intensified competition for the carrying trade to and from West Africa, the West Indies, North America, and the East Indies. The Dutch carried the products of other nations more efficiently and cheaply than anyone else.

(b) In 1660 the Convention Parliament had produced a Navigation Act, along the lines of Cromwell’s in 1651. It listed certain commodities that could only be imported in English ships and targeted the bulk cargoes that were the preserve of the Dutch carrying trade. Furthermore, all imports from the developing colonies in West Africa, Asia and the West Indies had to be conveyed in English ships. In 1663 the Staple Act required the colonists to import European goods only from England and only in English ships. The Navigation Acts were in accordance with the mercantilist philosophy of the age, and undoubtedly gave England a commercial advantage.

(c) The East India Company was clamouring for war against the Dutch, whom it saw as its main rivals in the East Indies. (The Dutch East India Company had been set up in 1602.)

(d) The English were laying claim to Dutch North American territories. In March 1664 Charles granted New Amsterdam at the mouth of the Hudson river to his brother James, duke of York.

(e) Possibly the deciding factor was the prospect of huge profits from the capture of Dutch merchant ships.

War began unofficially in the summer of 1664 with a series of conflicts between Dutch and English traders. In the summer of 1664 Charles borrowed £200,000 from the City of London, and by February 1667 Parliament had provided more than £5m for the war. The only person with grave misgivings about the war was Clarendon, who did not believe the nation could afford it.
War was officially declared on 22 February 1665. At first the war seemed to go well, with a naval victory off Lowestoft on 3 June 1665, a victory which enabled the king to regain the popularity he had lost since the Restoration. But this victory was not followed up. Early in 1666 France and Denmark joined the war against England. 1-4 June 1666 Prince Rupert and the duke of Albermarle fought the Four Days’ Battle in the Channel. Two English admirals were killed, as well as 8,000 men, and twenty ships were destroyed.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

The Clarendon Code

The Code was associated with Charles's chief minister, and Lord Chancellor, the earl of Clarendon, but he was not its originator and it did not reflect his policy. It was a series of statutes designed to impose severe penalties on religious nonconformists (Dissenters), and it was the policy of an enthusiastic Restoration Church. The archbishop of Canterbury was William Juxton, who had stood by Charles on the scaffold, but the real power lay with the bishop of London, Gilbert Sheldon. Sheldon was a ‘tough-minded, practical man’ who became Archbishop of Canterbury in 1663 (Kishlansky, 233). The restored Church of England erected Charles I into the status of martyr, and, in the words of a sermon by Dr Robert South, declared the Church to be ‘the truest friend of kings and kingly government’ (Coward, 295). Many Anglican clergy in their sermons preached the divine right of kings, a position enthusiastically adopted by the Vicar of Bray!

In good King Charles's golden days,
When Loyalty no harm meant;
A Furious High-Church man I was,
And so I gain'd Preferment.
Unto my Flock I daily Preach'd,
Kings are by God appointed,
And Damn'd are those who dare resist,
Or touch the Lord's Anointed.
And this is law, I will maintain
Unto my Dying Day, Sir.
That whatsoever King may reign,
I will be the Vicar of Bray, Sir!

(a) The Corporation Act (1661) (remained on the statute book until 1824): set up commissions empowered to evict all the municipal officials who did not swear oaths of allegiance and non-resistance, declare the Solemn League and Covenant invalid and take the Anglican sacrament.

(b) The Act of Uniformity (1662): restricted all positions in the Church, schools and universities to Anglicans; all teachers and holders of ecclesiastical posts who did not make the necessary oaths and declarations by St Bartholomew’s Day (24 August) were to be ejected. Nearly 1,000 clergy, schoolmasters and university teachers were ejected.

(c) The Conventicle Act (1664): prohibited all assemblies not held in accordance with the Prayer Book and attended by five or more adults who were not members of the household in which the service was conducted. Offenders were subject successively to fines, imprisonment and transportation as an indentured labourer. For the purposes of the act ‘moderate’ Presbyterians were treated on the same level as ‘extreme’ Quakers.

(d) The Five Mile Act (1665): forbade all preachers and teachers who lived within five miles of any town or city and all ejected clergy from travelling within five miles of the parish where they had been incumbents.

This most ‘loyal’ of parliaments had imposed a religious policy contrary to the wishes of the king and his chief minister. Acquiescence was the price Charles II had to pay for his grants of parliamentary supplies.

The First Declaration of Indulgence
Despite the evidence of the Parliament’s fervent Anglicanism, Charles on 26 December 1662 issued a declaration announcing that he intended to adhere to his Breda promise of ‘liberty to tender consciences’ and requested that Parliament prepare a bill which would allow him to suspend enforcement of the act on an individual basis. This was in response to his own desire for inclusivity, to pressure from his mother and to petitions from Presbyterians and Independents. However, his Declaration caused a parliamentary storm which could have been foreseen. When the new parliamentary session met in February 1663 the bishops began co co-ordinate opposition. The Commons refused to discuss a bill granting freedom of worship and at the beginning of April Charles was forced to withdraw it and issue a new proclamation against priests and Jesuits.

This highlights a major problem in assessing Charles II’s policy.
(a) It was clear that his power base lay in the Church of England and the royalist Anglican squires.
(b) Charles in effect rebuffed this power base by introducing his Declaration of Indulgence.
(c) He was unable to stand firm by his policy of toleration and forced to back track. He was in a classic no-win situation.

It is possible that, resentful of his dependence on the Church of England he toyed with a policy of building up another power base of Dissenters and Roman Catholics.

The triumph of Anglicanism
The anachronistic term ‘Anglican’ is not helpful in the period up to 1640 because of the legal fiction that everybody was a member of the Church of England. However, after 1660 it was one church among others, though it was the only one with full legal recognition. The experience of the Interregnum, when the Church was banned, showed that it had become deeply rooted in popular culture, and that many people felt a great attachment to their parish church and to the prayer book (Coward, 458-9). During the Interregnum a minority of ministers were ejected from their livings and often found refuge in the houses of sympathetic landowners. The Church did not die. Though reduced to ruins in the early 1640s it emerged triumphant in the early 1660s, restored on a tidal wave of Anglican loyalism, which, as has been shown, neither Charles II nor Clarendon could resist.. Its lands and revenues were restored, its courts again active. So too were the problems, especially lay impropriation of tithes and clerical poverty.

From 1660 to 1688 there was a remarkable degree of loyalty among the ecclesiastical hierarchy led by Sheldon and William Sancroft, his successor from 1677 to 1690. With the support of the parish clergy they defined the nature of Restoration Anglicanism:
(a) The restored Church of England should play a major political role. They offered support to the Crown against its rivals by proclaiming the ideology of non-resistance from its pulpits.
(b) Many Anglicans believed the Church should be narrowly defined and that no concessions should be made to those Protestants who could not accept the Anglican sacraments and Prayer Book.
(c) The restored Church was ‘high church’ - a term that came into use in the period. It followed the Laudian tradition of distancing the Church from continental Protestantism and stressing its continuity with the early Church. It was reinforced by patristic scholarship.

This was not the only type of Anglicanism on offer, but it was the dominant type in the reign of Charles II.

The survival of Dissent
However, Anglicanism was no longer the only product on the market. For all its harshness, the Clarendon Code gave legal recognition to Protestant dissent, which flourished despite efforts to eradicate it.

The term ‘Dissent’ can be misleading if it is given a spurious unity. In fact it encompassed groups and individuals of varying beliefs. The pre-1640 dominance of Calvinism had gone: for example the Particular and the General Baptists were split over predestination and free will.

The Civil War sects (Quakers, Baptists, Independents) survived. Presbyterians remained important. They even had the patronage of some powerful laymen, as the Conventicle Act of 1670 (enacting penalties against those who turned a blind eye to the activities of dissenters).

The localism of English government meant that central government could only work with gentry co-operation - and not all gentry were bigoted Anglicans.

In 1676 the government ordered a religious census of the adult population to be carried out by Henry Compton, bishop of London. It calculated
2,477, 254 conformists (Anglicans)
108,676 nonconformists (5%)
13, 656 papists
It also calculated that nonconformists were stronger in the south and east than the north and west. But the census was a serious underestimate as in the main it enumerated only those who had separated completely from the Church of England, such as Baptists and Quakers.

Puritanism had survived in the guise of Protestant dissent (Coward, 297; Harris, 28-9, 55). It was able to make use of the weakness of church provision in some areas and to establish meeting houses in areas where there were few churches, such as Halifax (Coward, 464). Some areas had particularly heavy concentrations; between 25 and 40% of the inhabitants of Coventry were nonconformists as were over 33% of the inhabitants of Lewes. There were significant numbers of Dissenters in Norwich and Bristol and among the rural clothworkers of Wiltshire.

But this should not underestimate the sufferings of Dissenters, of whom John Bunyan is the best known. Quakers and Baptists suffered especially because of their refusal to take the oath of allegiance. Quakers were also vulnerable because of their refusal to give ‘hat honour’, to say ‘you’ to superiors and to pay tithes. It has been estimated that more than 15,000 were fined, imprisoned or transported between 1660 and 1685. In 1664 Margaret Fell was imprisoned for refusing to tender the oath of allegiance before the local judges at Lancaster; this oath-trial became regarded as a show-trial for nonconformity. In 1666 she wrote to Charles rebuking him for his broken promises to sectarians. A typical incident involving Margaret Fell took place in 1667 at the Cheshire home of William Gandy when she was distrained of £20 for worshipping against the principles of the Conventicle Act.

The Clarendon Code was an attempt to impose an Anglican monopoly. Neither the king nor his chief minister wanted it but they were unable to stand against a fiercely royalist parliament. But far from outlawing Dissent, the Code was an acknowledgement of its existence. The Elizabethan vision of a united Protestant Church was no longer a reflection of reality. The Church-Chapel divide was entrenched in English life.

The Cavalier Parliament

The Cavalier Parliament and the restored monarchy

On 29 December 1660 the Convention was dissolved, and on 8 May 1661 the Cavalier Parliament met. The elections reflected the growing tide of pro-royalist feeling in the country. One hundred of the new MPs had sat in the Long Parliament and had a legacy of experience that would ensure that they would not be a rubber stamp for royal authority.

However the parliament made no attempt to challenge the king’s right to appoint privy councillors and state officials or fill Church and local government posts. By the Militia Acts of 1661 and 1662 it conceded that the Crown not Parliament controlled the militia - this had been the great area of dispute between Charles I and the Long Parliament.

The Triennial Act of 1664 repealed that of 1641 and replaced it with an emasculated version: parliament ought to be held every three years.

But in the early 1660s two things prevented Charles from exercising the same powers as Louis XIV: lack of ability and financial resources (Coward, 290-1). He was reluctant to get down to the tedious business of government. Perhaps his greatest failing as a ruler was his financial extravagance and dissolute living which made it hard for ministers to persuade MPs to grant him more money. Even a less extravagant monarch would have had problems. The Cavalier Parliament recognised that the Convention Parliament had not given the king enough money. They added the hearth tax (May 1662) but this was insufficient.
Nevertheless, the restored monarchy had considerable potential powers and if could sort out its finances it would be in a very strong position.

The Cavalier Parliament and religion
The Parliament had been elected in an atmosphere of royalist reaction and was composed of Anglican Cavaliers bent on revenge. The anti-Puritan reaction was proceeding apace. The revived theatre produced plays with titles like The Lecherous Anabaptist or the Dipper Dipped; Ben Johnson’s Bartholomew Fair was revived and Samuel Butler began his anti-Presbyterian Hudibras. After the Restoration Baptist meeting houses in London were attacked by the mob. John Bunyan was arrested by a local magistrate for preaching in the fields in November 1660. He refused to give an undertaking not to preach and was imprisoned off and on for the next twelve years.

The association of religious nonconformity with political sedition was further confirmed by Thomas Veneer’s (Fifth Monarchist) Rising in January 1661. Though his active followers were few, the harm had been done. In an effort to dissociate themselves from sedition, the Quakers presented a statement abjuring war to the king.

Regardless of official pronouncements, the Anglican Church was being restored. During the winter of 1660-1 Anglican ministers who had been ejected in 1640 returned to their livings under the patronage of Anglican gentry - and these same gentry were elected to Parliament.

Within ten days of its first sitting the Cavalier Parliament restored bishops to the Lords. The Commons voted 228/103 that the Solemn League and Covenant should be burned by the public hangman and that all MPs were to take the sacrament according to the Church of England. In April 1662 Parliament accepted the revised Prayer Book prepared by the restored Convocation.

From 5 April to 23 July, 1661, a final attempt was made to include Presbyterians within the Church of England. The Savoy Conference was held at the Bishop of Lincoln’s lodgings in the Strand but this broke down amid bitter wranglings over revisions to the Prayer Book. The failure of the Conference was made inevitable when Richard Baxter turned down a bishopric and refused to accept anything less than a completely rewritten liturgy. This alienated moderate conservatives like Gilbert Sheldon, bishop of London. Charles and Clarendon’s wish for a more inclusive Church was thwarted.

The Braganza Marriage

Until 1667 the king’s chief minister was his Lord Chancellor, Edward Hyde, created earl of Clarendon in 1661. In the reign of Charles I he was seen as the face of constitutional royalism. From the mid 1640s he became the future Charles II’s guardian - a position Charles came increasingly to resent. He saw his former tutor as stuffy and self-righteous and resented his attempts to influence his policies. Criticisms of Clarendon soon mounted.
(a) His reputation for integrity was shaken when his daughter secretly married the Duke of York on 3 September 1660. However, he had certainly not manipulated the situation. Anne Hyde was already pregnant when she and James returned to England and he was not informed of the marriage.
(b) As Chancellor he soon became the focus of criticism: from the bishops for supporting toleration and from Dissenters for not supporting it strongly enough.
(c) When Dunkirk, one of Cromwell’s most valued acquisitions from his war with Spain, was sold to France in October1662, he was blamed for lack of patriotism. His house in course of erection in Piccadilly was nicknamed Dunkirk House.

In 1662 Clarendon secured the marriage of Charles II to Catherine of Braganza. He regarded this as a great diplomatic coup.
Since 1640 Portugal had been engaged in a struggle with the crumbling Spanish Empire for her independence. This enabled her to assume a position of triangular importance in European diplomacy. France subsidized her to maintain her struggle with Spain and she had succeeded in preserving the friendship both of the Cromwellian government and of the exiled Stuarts. Because of her overseas possessions she was able to pay for assistance with imported bullion or with the transfer of some of her territories. Involvement with Portugal held out the possibility of a share in her disintegrating empire.
In England financial and diplomatic considerations favoured Charles’s marriage to the king of Portugal’s daughter. Negotiations began in earnest in late 1660. The dowry offered was Tangier (which would give England a Mediterranean base), Bombay (which would secure the trade of the Indies) and 2 m. cruzados (c.£300,000). This marriage was encouraged by France, which offered £50,000.
On 23 June 1661 the marriage treaty was signed, and it was ratified in August. Its main significance was that it significantly extended England’s overseas possessions. In 1668 Spain recognized Portuguese independence partly as a result of pressure from England.
In May 1662 the 23 year old Catherine of Braganza (1638-1705) reached Portsmouth and she and Charles were married in two ceremonies, one Roman Catholic (and secret) and the other Anglican (conducted by Sheldon). [For Catherine, see Frances Harris, Transformations of Love, 93-4.) On the morning of his wedding Charles wrote to Clarendon: ‘as good a woman as ever was born ... You would wonder to see how well we are acquainted already’. But Clarendon knew that the uncrowned queen, the maîtresse en titre, Charles’s mistress Barbara Palmer, Lady Castlemaine, had been appointed lady of the bedchamber. When he protested against this Charles wrote: ‘whosoever I find to be My Lady Castlemaine’s enemy in this matter, I do promise on my word to be his enemy as long as I live’. Lady Castlemaine bore him a child every year between 1661 and 1665. Between 1663 and her marriage in 1667 the king’s other mistress was Frances Stewart, the most beautiful of the queen’s maids of honour. Catherine had come to a court ‘which must have seemed like a cross between a brothel and a bear-garden’.
The marriage failed in its primary purpose because it failed to produce children. Catherine miscarried in 1666, 1668 and probably in 1669. The most promising pregnancy, that of 1669, ended when a pet fox jumped on her bed. Thereafter the king seems to have given up hope of a child by her. As early as 1667 there was speculation that he would divorce her. (In 1670 the king took a great interest in Lord Roos’s divorce.)
The failure of this marriage to produce children rebounded on Clarendon. It was implausibly argued that he knew Catherine was barren and had arranged the marriage so that his own grandchildren would inherit the throne. There was also speculation that Charles would legitimate the Duke of Monmouth.
The most substantial achievement of the marriage was the acquisition of Bombay. In 1668 the Crown ceded Bombay to the East India Company. Compared with Calcutta and Madras it was not at first a great asset to the Company but it helped give it a toe-hold on India’s west coast. Tangier at first had much greater importance. The garrison comprised 4,000 soldiers, many of them New Model Army veterans; but it was abandoned in 1684.