The History of England: From the Restoration to the Death of William III. (1660-1702)

The History of England: From the Restoration to the Death of William III. (1660-1702)

The History of England: From the Restoration to the Death of William III. (1660-1702)

The History of England: From the Restoration to the Death of William III. (1660-1702)

Excerpt

EVER since the death of Oliver Cromwell, and more obviously since the abdication of Richard Cromwell, the restoration of the house of Stewart to the throne had been inevitable. By no other apparent means could the people of England regain orderly government in Church and State. The Commonwealth had been hopelessly discredited by ecclesiastical anarchy and by the unpopularity of a military despotism. The revival of the monarchical constitution seemed the only way to undo the lamentable results of a revolution which had disappointed its principal promoters. But the manner in which the restoration was effected, after the frequent disappointment of royalist hopes, seemed to many observers almost miraculous. There was no civil strife or bloodshed, though until the last moment the resolute republicanism of the army appeared to offer insuperable obstacles to a peaceful return. No interference was attempted by foreign states, though Charles II. had long been a mendicant at the court first of France and then of Spain, and only a few months before had attended the negotiations of the treaty of the Pyrenees in the hope that the two powers might be induced to signalise their reconciliation by combining to suppress an inconvenient republic in England. And finally the king was restored without any binding restriction on his prerogative and without any adequate security for those constitutional and ecclesiastical claims which had been asserted with such vigour against his father.

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