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Updated Notes 2015 Restoration Notes

History Notes > British History IV (1500-1700) Notes

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Did the Restoration settle anything?
Notes - Late Stuarts Previous Questions: o

Did the Restoration settle anything?


To what extent was the Church of England 'restored' in 1660?


Was ideological division the enduring consequence of the conflict of 1640-1660?


'The Restoration crisis was a crisis about reformation' (G. DE KREY). Discuss.
? Rephrase - a lack of it?


How far do we need to examine events before 1685 in order to understand why James VII and II lost his thrones?

How far did the Restoration settlement seek to conciliate the crown's enemies rather than reward its friends?

Can the Restoration Settlement be described as a success?
Overall considerations: To what extent was there a Restoration, and did it settle any of the long-standing grievances that had blighted previous Stuarts and reduced the nation to civil war? Did strife and instability continue to be a problem, and if so, was it because the same problems continued to rear their head?
Structural considerations (Settlement needed to be based on lasting constitutional and religious gains. The former deals with where power is vested, the latter on how best a comprehensive Church should operate and whether or not toleration should be extended.) o Also: (Foreign policy, finance, Exclusion crisis, etc. How does this fit into the overall failure to produce a lasting settlement that satisfied a sufficiently broad swathe of the population?)
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Andrew Marvell - 'There has now for divers Years, a design been carried on, to change the Lawful Government of England into an Absolute Tyranny, and to convert the established Protestant Religion into down-right Popery'. GeneralThe Stuart century was one of unresolved tensions.There is a duality of perspective throughout the Restoration. Few wanted to revisit the years of regicide and republicanism, but were nonetheless apprehensive about the future. o A society characterised by paranoia. Correspondence was conducted in invisible ink, contemporary plays explored dissimulation and equivocation.

oAn age also, of labelling. 'Two culture' society between church and chapel, quickly mapped onto urban and rural, which in turn was mapped onto Whig and Tory. A division of politics, religion and temperament in English society that continued well into the 19th century.

Tensions developed a long two major axes - the constitutional, which centred on the balance of power between Crown and Parliament and the religious, which focused on the issue of the Church and Dissenters. These two axes interacted with one another and shaped the formation of political parties that would go on to define the political aspects of the late Stuart period. o Political stability could never become realisable so long as religion continued to remain such a vital and divisive part of life. o A question of reform? A shift in where power should lie, in the nature of Church authority and the military involvement of the sovereign?


On 29th May 1660, on his thirtieth birthday, Charles II rode into London on horseback and was restored to the thrones of England and Wales, of Scotland and of Ireland. o A 'golden age' descended on a people that had been ravaged by civil war, religious division, Cromwellian tyranny and puritanical laws: suddenly the theatres were re-opened, Christmas was celebrated once again, all Orangesellers were beautiful and peace and prosperity reigned across the land. o But can an era is suffused in Plague and in Fire, deceit and equivocation, and culminated in the deposition of the King have truly been anything like a final settlement of the problems of the seventeenth century?

General argument: Failure to eradicate the twin and inextricably linked fears of popery and arbitrary government. So long as they continued to predominate the fears of the public mind, the divided society of the Civil War could not hope to enjoy a comprehensive settlement. o No one group felt that they had achieved security in the Restoration Settlement. Despite Charles's own willingness to embrace contradiction, the country could not endure the bitter divisions that were the enduring legacy of the conflicts of the 1640s.What was restored?
o The chief political architect of the Restoration, Clarendon, hoped that what was restored was the situation immediately after the Long Parliament - when the royal prerogative right and the instruments of Stuart tyranny were constricted. The Elizabethan conception of the 'king in parliament' was to be reinstated. o A hereditary monarchy, a hereditary House of Lords and the Church of England were all restored. It is remarkable that these institutions remain therefore, the Civil War could be seen as an incredible failure; a temporary aberration. o There was nonetheless a different between the early and later Restoration. There was little appetite for revenge in 1660. But later?
o Charles II was not only king of England and Wales, but Ireland and Scotland. This heralded a revival of the multiple-monarchy system that had existed previously.

oIt also became evident that the religious freedoms and political aspirations enjoyed by the nation in the 1640s and 50s could not be erased as easily from the public hearts and minds as it could from the statute books.

VITAL - Short-term, nothing settled. But long-term, was the restoration primarily of law - of government by law established that had been threatened by a king (Charles I) and destroyed by a Republic. o Clarendon - 'What greater instance of a sick and languishing Commonwealth...when the judges themselves have been delinquents! Tis no marvel that an irregular arbitrary power...hath broke in upon us, when our banks and bulwarks, the Laws, were in the custody of such persons.' o When it was threatened again = Glorious Rev, product of collapse of domestic support.

---------------------------------------Politics (arbitrary gov)The Restoration represented a new dawn for the English monarchy, but must be understood in the context of past events. o The constitutional crisis of 1640 had arisen as a result of the functional breakdown between the Crown and the political nation. o Principally, this breakdown was facilitated by a loss of confidence in the purposes of royal government, favouring popery and arbitrary power. o It was intended to restore the situation to what it had been in 1641, after the reforming statues of the Long Parliament, with the addition of freedom of worship.Constitutionally, the Restoration returned the Crown to the status it held in 1641, during the early days of the Long Parliament. Unchecked innovation was prevented by legal constraints and the fiscal expedients of the personal rule remained abolished. o Restoration can be interpreted as triumph for those who sought to confine the role of the Crown within its constitutional and parliamentary framework. o Could also interpret the settlement as a victory for the monarchy; none of the more radical legislation produced in the Civil War and the years that followed it was kept. o Issues arose over defining the precise position of the king within the polity, and how it was constrained within a legal framework. Though the king's legitimacy was based on his role within the law: what should be done if Charles II was to rule in an illegal and arbitrary manner?What had really been restored, then, was everything that did not appear to smack of the arbitrariness of the Caroline rule. o Though the settlement encouraged a pardoning of past crimes and a bout of collective amnesia, the fact that the actions of the Restoration government actively exempted a number of individuals from the Act of Indemnity suggested that tensions were far from resolved. o The execution of the 13 men who had signed Charles I's death warrant was brutal
- one contemporary described how he 'met their quarters mangld & cutt &
reaking as they were brought from the Gallows in baskets on the hurdle.' (10) The past inevitably impacted on the present, no better typified than by the fact that Cromwell's exhumed and severed head continued to gaze over London for twenty years from 1661 onwards.

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