Cromwell's reign, as virtual King of England, under the name of Protector, was short ; he died on the anniversaries of the battles of Worcester and Dunbar, the former eight, and the latter seven years before. Richard, his son, an amiable man, of ordinary capacity, was appointed to the Protectorate, but soon resigned its cares, conscious of his inability for the office, and unambitious of its dignity. Englanıl, preferring actual, to feigned royalty (for Cromwell's government had been virtually despotic), gladly made use of the agency of General Monk (afterwards known as the Duke of Albemarle), to restore the Stuart dynasty, and Charles II. was recalled from Ilolland to ascend the throne.

Charles II., soon after his birth, was declared Prince of Wales and Earl of Chester. lIis father's troubles were familiar to him from early life. It the age of fourteen (1674) le parted, for the last time, with Charles I., then a prisoner at Osford. The success and power of the enemies of the Stuarts in England, rendered foreign nations cantious in respect to harboring the scattered members of the outcast royal family. The Dutch, or “States Government," and the French court, lad feared that the residence among them, of the exileil heir to the English crown, would involve them in dilliculties with England. The Scots, disliking the English Independents, and appalled at their regicidal act, proclaimed the son of Charles I. king, and invited him to Scotland. Before he was allowed to land, he was compelleil to sign the Covenant. A severe course of fasting, and other religious duties, were required of him, as a means of purifying him from all Romish taint and youthful follies. According to Burnet, hic was obliged to hear from six to nine sermons in a day. His parents were denounced in his presence, “the one as a bloody tyrant, the other as an infamous idolatress. It would seem that Charles, at this period, actually put more restraint upon his volatile and pleasure-loving temperament, than at any other period of his life, since the rigidl Scotch clergy actually spoke of him as chill of grace ;" and, after the defeat of the royalist force at Dunbar, one of the ministers, according to history, in his sermon at Stirling, said : “If his Majesty's heart were as upright as David's, God would no more pardon the sins of his father's house for his sako, than he did the sins of the house of Judah for the goodness of holy Josiah."

At the battle of Worcester, Charles and Cromwell commanded

the respective armies of the royalists (malignants, as they were termed by their opponents) and the parliament force. The king fought bravely, having two lorses shot under him ; but the Scottish highlanders, unsupported by their lowland allics, were forced to give way, and Charles reluctantly fled from the field of battle. In Woodstock, Scott has taken for the period of his story, that which succeeded the defeat of Charles at Worcester. Woodstock, now a small village, was once a kingly fortress, abounding in secret subterraneous passages and labrynths, one of which was " Fair Rosannond's Bower.“

The ample materials for the history of England in the seventeenth century are greatly enriched by the Memoirs of Jolm Eve. lyn and Samuel Pepys; we find in them living pictures of the period in which they lived. We can do little more than refer our readers to them as interesting and authentic sources of history. Evelyn, though of noblo lineage, attaclied to monarchy and to the doctrines and worship of the Episcopal church, in which he was educated, was averse to the absolutism of kings, and religious intolerance. He is one whose acquaintance we like, and we follow his private memoirs and journal in the belief that we are in good company. We conside in what lic tells us, and in his candor have a pledge that our judgment, in respect to persons and events, will · not be blinded by his prepossessious or prejudices. As a man of 'science and literature in the screnteenth century, John Evelyn holds a respectable rank. IIorace Walpole says of lim : “ His life, which was extended to cighly six years, was a course of inquiry, study, curiosity, instruction, and benevolence. The works of the Creator, and the minute labors of the crcature, were all objects of his pursuit. He wrote, in defence of active life, against Sir George Mackenzie's 'Essay on Solitude. IIc knew that rctirement in his own hands was industry and benefit to mankind; but in those of othcrs, laziness and inutility." Evelyn was, carly life, a companion of Charles II. and James II., when they were exiles in Paris ; liapi'y would it liave been for England, if those princes had resembled him in character. “At the age of seventeen, or in 1637,” lie says: “I first received the blessed Sacrament of the Lord's Supper in the college chapel; and at this term was the church of England in her greatest splendor, all thing's decent and becoming the peace, and the persons that govcrncd.” few months after this, as Evelyn records, “was the



fatal year wherein the rebellious Scots opposed the king in respect to some new ceremonies and the book of Common Prayer, and madly began our confusions, and their own destruction, too, as it proved in the client." Thinslor's the faithful cronicler interweare, with his own privain history, 11. Mitt pobilie events of his day.

Popys, who kept his journal in a cypher, the key to which, for many years, was uniscoverci, espressed himself freely in respect to all the affairs of court, with which, for many years, he was intimately connected by his oflice is clerk, afterwards Secretary of the Admiralty. Both writers rejoice at the restoration of the Stuarts in the person of Charles II., after the mysterious morements of lieneral louk liail culminated in the coup dlctat of inducing parliament to invite 11:cir frercilitary sovereign from foreign parts to ascend his litlir's thrones lle was received with enthusiastic acclamations : Hver was king surrounded with greater encouragements to art wisely and virmously, never dil one more sadly disappoint pullie hope and expectation. llis past poverty and humiliations, it was supposel, woulil have prepared him to reign with sobriety and mouleration. But his licentious career renders the history of liis court ottensive alike to purity and principle. I second Buckingham had succeeded as his favorite, with greater vices and lower virtues than his father, but 10 less attractive and fascinating lle had shared the misfortunes of Charles ; in Scotland. they had together, hypocritically, listened to the prayers and preaching call the minisiers of the Covenant," while in private lie and the prince ridicule and reviled the vigils, fastings, and worship, injudicionsly, imeal, imposed upon them. Charles II. gave himself up 10 pleasure, under the most olijectionable and clebasing forms. llis wit, fascinating manners, and amiable disposition, are light in the balance when weighed against the gross vices that lisgraced him in the eyes of liis court and nation. To a man of purity, principle, and refinement, like John Evelyn, loyal as he was at heart, the court of Charles II. aflorded little to attract, but much that was repulsive and excited his honest indignation. Pepys, at man of far different stamp, oridently shows, in the progress of his chiary, that he was becoming lenient to the vices le saw practised by the great, that the power of evil examples and influence in ligh places wrought, in a degree, against his better principles. But he was too humble to be needed by Charles as a panderer to his vices; as an assistant to

the Duke of York, Lord of the Admiralty Court, Pepys labored in his vocation of clerk. IIe made himself necessary to the Duke, and was taken into his especial confidence. The artful character of James II. appears in his dealings with his clerk, who prepares papers for him, which he produces as his own labors, professing to have detected frauds upon the government, in affairs under his jurisdiction, which his no less cunning clerk had pointed out to him, and thus obtaining unmerited credit for application to business and shrewdness of observation. At the death of Charles II., the Duke of York, under the title of Jaines II., was proclaimed king. IIis short and unhappy reign was marked by attempts to establish Popery in England, and by inroads upon the constitution.

He appears to have been infatuated with the idea that he could force his subjects to comply with his measures. The fate of his father seemed to have no influence in warning him against attempts similar to those which had resulted in the downfall of Charles I.

We find history giving contradictory accounts of actions, according to the light in which the writers may regard them. Hume, Macaulay and others, are severe in their strictures upon the conduct and character of James II. The following cpitome of his reign is quoted from a Roman Catholic writer :-“James II., by granting universal liberty of conscience in his kingdom, and endeavoring, in particular, to do justice to the hitherto oppressed Catholics, whose religion he had embraced, incurred the aversion of his other subjects. Seeing himself betrayed, and almost universally abandoned, while his son-in-law, the famous William of Orange, advanced to dethrone him, he fled and sought refuge in France."*

One of the important events of the reign of James II., was the insurrection headed by the Duke of Monmouth, an illegitimate son of Charles II., and a favorite of his father and of the nation. But Charles, to satisfy the murmurings of his brotlıer, then Duke of York, had declared the illegitimacy of this son, who for a scason seemed to have no pretensions to the throne ; but after the accession of James II., the discontents of his subjects being spread abroad, Monmouth, seconded, by the exiled English in foreign

* Modern History. By Peter Fredet. Professor of History in St. Mary's College. Baltimore. 1843. VOL. II. —NO. III.


courts, especially by Irchibald, ninth Earl of Argyle, (head of the great clan of the Campbells, and known among Highlanders by tire formiilable name of VacCallum More,) attempted a revolution, and were defeated ly the forces of the King. This was the last butile on English ground which history records ; Monmouth, fleeing for the sea-coast, that he might leave the kingdom, was taken prisoner, anii condeinned to death. Again, a Stuart's head is laiil upon the executioner's block, and by order of a near relative—the grandson of that James who had so readily forgiven Queen Elizabeth for her cruelty to liis mother.

The king said to one of Monmouth's adherents, when vainly urging him to make disclosures of the secrets of the party, “Do you not know that I have power tv parion you ?" "Yes, but it is not in your nature," was the fearless answer. The notorious Judge Jeffries, a man of low origin, raised by James II. to the rank of peer, and afterwards Lord Chancellor, appears as a dark blot upon the page of liistory. There are contradictory accounts as to the king's approval of the unjust and bloody acts of this bad man, who, when dying, declared to his attendant clergyman, “that his barbarities had been enacted by express orders of the king, and furthermore," said Jeffries, “I was not half bloody enough for him that sent me hither."

On the birth of a son, called James, declared Prince of Wales, (known in history as the Chevalier St. George) James II. braved public sentiment at home, in requesting the Pope to become sponsor, by proxy, at the baptism of the child, which was done with great pomp, amid all the cereinonials of the Church of Rome. We would not censure James for adhering to the religious faith in which he had been trained, though unhappily with a mystery and duplicity which, with religion, perctrated into his soul and rendered him insincere and hypocritical—but he owed something to the prejudices, if we may so say, of the people he governed.

The English, becoming wholly alienated from their king, parliament secretly corresponded with William, Prince of Orange, and Mary, his wife, the daughter of James II., and invited them to invade the kingdom with an armed force, assuring them of the co-operation of the government and army to place them upon the throne. The cowardice of James proved equal to his tyranny and cruelty, and after some attempts at defence, and causing mass for some days to be carried in procession, he fled the kingdom,

« VorigeDoorgaan »