Charles the Second, King of England, Scotland, and Ireland

By Ronald Hutton | Go to book overview

5 A King in Search of Quarters, 1651-1656

THE European scene to which Charles returned in October 1651 was even less favourable to his cause than that which he had left seventeen months before. France appeared to be in the process of disintegration, for upon the earlier disturbances by peasants and Parisians had been imposed a quarrel between the Queen Regent and the nearest princes of the blood, produced by the latters' jealousy of Mazarin and desire for control of the government. When Charles reached Paris, he was welcomed not by the King and his mother, but by Gaston, Duke of Orléans, uncle to Louis and father of 'Mademoiselle'. Louis, now thirteen and formally a reigning monarch, was in the provinces with his mother, Mazarin, and an army, facing an alliance between Orléans, the other rebel princes, several nobles, and the Parliament of Paris. The other great west European power, Spain, had recognized the Commonwealth in the hope of gaining its aid against France. Charles's greatest continental ally, the Prince of Orange, had died suddenly of smallpox a year before. He left his tides to an infant son, named Wilhelm after his father. This blow to his party had been compounded by a needless struggle over the guardianship of the baby, between his widow, Charles's sister Mary, and his mother, the Dowager Princess. To compound their folly, both women bid for the support of the great traditional rivals of the House of Orange, the city oligarchs of Holland. The latter seâzed seized the opportunity to become the dominant power in the whole republic, with a vested interest in keeping the Orangist party subservient and hence in ignoring the claims of the related House of Stuart. Charles had no alternative to moving in with his own mother, in the Louvre, in the hope that France's troubles would at worst postpone the question of his deportation.

The period immediately after his escape from the British Isles saw the total end of active royalism there. Conspiracy by his supporters in England disappeared completely and in the autumn of 1651 republican naval expeditions reduced the isle of Man, the castle on Guernsey, and (at last) Charles's former refuge of Jersey. After the royal army and Cromwell's left Scotland, George Monck made short work of resistance there. By the end

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Charles the Second, King of England, Scotland, and Ireland
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface vii
  • Acknowledgements xi
  • Contents xiii
  • Illustrations xiv
  • I - Boyhood 1
  • 2 - The Exiled Prince of Wales 15
  • 3 - A King in Search of a Realm, 1649-1650 34
  • 5 - A King in Search of Quarters, 1651-1656 71
  • 6 - The Pensioner of Spain, 1656-1660 100
  • 7 - The Year of Restoration, 1660-1661 133
  • 8 - The Fight for the Settlements, 1661-1664 166
  • 10 - The Ministry of Arlington, 1688-1672 254
  • 11 - Charles's Second Dutch War, 1672-1674 287
  • 12 - The End of King Louis's War, 1674-1678 320
  • 13 - Collapse of a System, 1678-1679 357
  • 14 - The Quest for Men and Measures, 1679-1681 381
  • 15 - Towards a New Way of Ruling, 1681-1685 404
  • 16 - Conclusion: Monarch in a Masquerade 446
  • References 459
  • Notes 461
  • Index 543
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