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LIVES OF EMINENT
BORN A. D. 1630.-DIED A, D. 1685.
CHARLES II., son of Charles I. and Henrietta Maria of France, was born at Whitehall, on the 29th of May, 1630. He was living at the Hague, under the protection of his brother-in-law, the prince of Orange, when his father was beheaded. On the announcement of that event, he assumed the royal title, and began to concert measures for the recovery of the crown of England. The Scots proclaimed him their king, at the cross of Edinburgh, on the 5th of February, 1649 ; but to this proclamation they appended the provision, that before the new prince should enter on the exercise of royal authority, he should give in his adhesion to the solemn league and covenant. The Scottish parliament also sent commissioners to Holland for the purpose of making a formal offer of allegiance to Charles ; but the conditions with which they coupled it were of so embarrassing a kind, at this very critical juncture, that Charles hesitated to pledge himself to them, and at last dismissed the commission with an unsatisfactory answer. An invitation from Ormond to land in Ireland, where the royal cause was now predominant, presented more inviting prospects, and was accepted ; but the charms of a mistress detained him, while on his route to Ireland, at St Germain, until the success of Cromwell's arms had annihilated the hopes of the royalists in that quarter. While at St Germain, he gave Montrose a commission to raise the royal standard in the Highlands of Scotland. On the signal failure of that attempt, with characteristic perfidy, he addressed a letter to the Scottish parliament, in which he protested that he had expressly forbidden Montrose to proceed on his expedition, and affected to rejoice in his failure. In the same despatch he declared his willingness to take the solemn league and covenant,—to put down the catholic religion throughout his dominions, and to govern in civil matters by advice of the parliament, in religion, by that of the kirk. These provisions satisfied the Scots, and, in
Thurloe, vol. i. p. 147.
June, 1649, he landed in Scotland, and was received with royal hon
On the first day of January, 1651, Charles was crowned at Scone, after having sworn to abolish all false religions, and to establish the presbyterial government in Scotland and in his own family. The advance of Cromwell, and his repeated victories over the Scottish forces, soon placed Charles in a position of considerable embarrassment ; but he escaped the pressing danger of the moment by executing a rapid march into England, from Stirling, in the direction of Carlisle. The protector followed him hard, however; and the battle of Worcester, fought on the 3d of September, 1651, annihilated the dawning hopes of the royalists, and compelled Charles once more to seek safety in flight to a foreign country. His adventures after his escape from the fatal field of Worcester, until he got embarked for France, were of the most romantic description ; but are too well known to need detail here. Suffice it to say, that the hardships which he encountered on this occasion did him no small service, by enlisting the sympathies of those to whom they were related, and investing his character-hitherto of little estimation in the public eye—with somewhat of the qualities of a hero and a monarch.
Paris was the place which Charles first fixed upon as a residence during this, his second exile, but his licentious character soon stripped him of the respect of the French court, and, in a moment of spleen, he retired to Cologne, where he continued to relieve the tediousness of exile in no very dignified manner. In a letter to his aunt, the queen of Bohemia, written during the time which he passed at this latter city, we find him complaining of the want of good fiddlers, and of some one capable of teaching himself and his court the new dances ! ”
We have already related, in our notice of General Monk, the manner in which that officer effected the restoration of Charles. It is difficult, however, to account for the very general satisfaction with which the prince was received back to the throne of his ancestors, upon the strength of no other provisions than those contained in the celebrated declaration of Breda. That document granted, Ist, A free and general pardon to all subjects of his majesty, excepting such as might afterwards be excepted by parliament. 20, It declared a full toleration on the subject of religion. 3d, It left the settlement of all differences arising out of occurrences during the revolution, to the wisdom of parliament. And lastly, it promised to liquidate the arrears due to the army. Let us see how these stipulations were observed. A few days after his landing in England, Charles issued a proclamation, in which he commanded his father's judges to surrender themselves within fourteen days, on pain of forfeiture of life and estate. A new act of uniformity was, ere long, promulgated, by which every beneficed minister, every fellow of a college, and every schoolmaster, was required to declare his unfeigned assent to all and every thing contained in the book of common prayer; and every minister was required publicly to declare, that it is not lawful, on any pretence whatever, to take arms against the king. In less than two years from the time of the passing of the act of uniformity, the conventicle act was passed, for the purpose of putting down all non-conformist
Ellis's Original Letters, 2nd series.
worship. These penal se verities were followed up by the Oxford act, which enacted, that all non-conforining ministers who should refuse to swear not to endeavour, at any time, any alteration of government in church or state," should be excluded from inhabiting incorporations, and should not be suffered to come within five miles of any city or place where they had preached. The kind of respect which he bore for the power and authority of parliament was evinced in his speech at the opening of the session of 1664, in which he vehemently urged the repeal of the triennial act, and spoke of his never suffering a parliament to come together by the means prescribed by that bill.
Charles's council was of an exceedingly heterogeneous character. It consisted of the royal brothers, James and Henry, Hyde the chancellor, Ormond the lord-steward, Lord Culpepper master of the rolls, and Secretary Nicholas. Then came Monk, and his friend, Morrice, and all the surviving counsellors of the First Charles, some of whom had maintained the cause of the parliament against the crown. Of all these, Hyde was the presiding and master-spirit
, however, and the counsels given by him Charles implicitly adopted. The trial of the regicides, and the conferences at the Savoy, the trial and death of Argyle, and the re-establishment of episcopacy in Scotland, were among the earliest events of Charles's reign.
In 1662, Charles married the infanta of Portugal. Bishop Burnet says that the king met Katherine at Winchester, in the summer of that year; that the archbishop of Canterbury went thither to perform the ceremony, but that the queen was bigotted to such a degree that she would not pronounce the words of the service, nor bear the sight of the archbishop; and that the king alone repeated the words hastily, whereupon the archbishop pronounced them married persons. He adds, “Upon this, some thought afterwards to have dissolved the marriage, as a marriage only de facto, in which no consent had been given; but the duke of York told me they were married by the lord Aubigny, according to the Roman ritual, and that he himself was one of the witnesses ; and he added, that, a few days before he told me this, the queen had said to him that she heard some intended to call her marriage in question, and that if that was the case, she must call on him as one of the witnesses to prove it.” Such is the bishop's statement. Lady Fanshawe, however, in her very interesting Memoirs,' informs us, that “
as the king had notice of the queen's landing, he immediately sent my husband that night to welcome her majesty on shore, and followed himself the next day; and, upon the 21st of May, the king married the queen at Portsmouth, in the presence-chamber of his majesty's house. There was a rail across the upper part of the room," Lady Fanshawe continues, “ in which entered only the king and queen, the bishop of London, the marquess Desande, the Portuguese ambassador, and my husband; in the other part of the room there were many of the nobility and servants to their majesties. The bishop of London declared them married in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost ; and then they caused the ribbons her majesty wore to be cut in little pieces, and, as far as they would go, every one had some.” This account agrees pretty nearly with that of Bishop Kennet. The licentious monarch now boasted of the pattern of conjugal fidelity that he would