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appointed by the officers assumed the control of national affairs under the title of a Committee of Safety.14
The army in Edinburgh was not well pleased with the political authority which was being exercised by their comrades in London, and Monk declared that he would come to London and restore the Rump. A Council of State, which had been appointed by Parliament before the sudden and violent interruption of its sittings, sent him a Commission making him Commander-in-Chief of the armies of England, Scotland, and Ireland. John Owen wrote him a letter in the name of the Congregational Churches. The letter was carried to him by Caryl and Barker, two Congregational ministers, who, as representatives of the Churches, entreated him to use his power for the cause of liberty and godliness.15 Lambert attempted to stop his march southward, but failed.
All over the country rose cries for a free Parliament, and the officers, who found that they could not rely on their own men, recalled the Rump on December 26. Now that the House was at Westminster again, it would have been glad to send Monk back to Scotland ; but he continued to move towards London, and also continued to be very silent about his own ultimate views, though he was willing to take any number of oaths. He was in favour of a free Parliament; and he was ready to swear that he abjured Charles Stuart, that he would be faithful to the Commonwealth, would resist the appointment of “ a single person ” and the restoration of the House of Lords.
On February 6, 1659-60, Monk addressed the House of Commons, and said that he had received many addresses praying that the present Parliament might soon be dissolved and a new Parliament called, with freedom to make a national settlement. He told them that no Parliament admitted new
14 Whitelock (Oct. 26, 1659), 685.
15 Baker, Chronicle (continued by Phillips), 587-588, describes the commissioners as commissioners of the Independent Churches, mentioning Caryl. But Caryl and Barker, with Whaley and Goffe, were sent officially by the Committee of Safety, and carried letters from that body to Monk. Whitelock (Nov. 1, 1559), 686. That they should have taken a letter from Owen as well, suggests the importance of his political position. But Monk was supposed to be an Independent in religion. See Orme, Memoir of Owen (Works), i. 217–218; and Neal, iv. 216–218, for Monk's reply, addressed to Owen, Greenhill, and Hook, and by them to be communicated to the Churches.
members without taking some oath or engagement from them, but that in his judgment the fewer the oaths and engagements imposed the sooner a settlement would be attained, although he hoped that neither the Cavaliers nor the Fanatics would have a share as yet in the civil or military power.16
It was determined that the members of the new Parliament should take a solemn pledge to be true and faithful to the Commonwealth of England, and to the government thereof in the way of Commonwealth and Free State, without a King, Single Person, or House of Lords.17
The members who had been excluded in 1648 now began to return to their seats, but without taking the “ engagement to be faithful to the Commonwealth, which was to be imposed only on the members of the new Parliament. They were Presbyterians, and their presence completely changed the character and constitution of the House. The change was made more decisive by the retirement of many of the members who had been active in the proceedings of the Rump but now saw that their power had gone. In a few weeks the Presbyterians were supreme. On March 2 the Westminster Assembly's Confession—with the exception of the chapters (30, 31) on Church Censures, and Synods and Councils, which were postponed-was adopted as the national Confession of Faith.18 Three days later, it was ordered “That the Solemn League and Covenant be printed and published, and set up and forthwith read in every church, and also read once a year according to former Order of Parliament, and that the said Solemn League and Covenant be also set up in this House.” 19 This was followed by a Bill for reorganising the Church on the Presbyterian model. Owen was removed from the Deanery of Christ Church, Oxford, in favour of Reynolds, a distinguished Presbyterian. Owen and Goodwin had already been excluded from the pulpit of St. Mary's.20
The Rump Parliament had become the Parliament of the secluded members.” On March 13, the Engagement to be taken by the members of the next Parliament to be faithful to the Commonwealth without “a Single Person,"
16 Whitelock, 695. 17 Idem (Feb. 13, 1659-60), 696. 18 Idem, 697
19 C. J. (March 5, 1659-60), vi. 862. 20 Kennet, 76, 78, 81; and Woodrow, History of the Church of Scotland, i. Introd., 10, 12.
King, or House of Lords, was repealed. The way was now clear for the restoration of the old constitution and the return of Charles. “The secluded members ” had done their work, and on March 16 they dissolved. The new Parliament was to meet in April.
The affairs of the nation were now in the hands of a Council of State consisting of thirty-one persons, the majority of whom were favourable to the Presbyterian interest. Indeed, at this time the Presbyterian party was in possession of the whole power of the kingdom. In the army and navy a considerable number of the inferior officers were Independents and Baptists, but the military leaders of the Independents had been removed from the chief commands. Presbyterians were governors of all the garrison towns; they held the principal offices in the universities; and the authority of Parliament had just been given to the Solemn League and Covenant.
The Independents were alarmed. They feared that Monk was either plotting to secure supreme power for himself by a close alliance with the Presbyterians, or plotting to bring back Charles. In either case their religious freedom was in imminent danger. Owen and Philip Nye are said to have held frequent consultations with Whitelock and St. John about raising an Independent army.22 There was a rumour of a fresh offer from the Congregational Churches to raise troops and money--four regiments and £100,000. But it was too late. Monk commanded the army, and Monk was in correspondence with Charles. Presbyterians and Independents were to be overtaken by a common calamity.
21 Whitelock, 698.
22 Neal, iv. 220.
THE FALL OF THE COMMONWEALTH
MONR AND CHARLES II.-DECLARATION OF BREDA—THE RESTORATION
PRESBYTERIANS AND THE KING—THE STATE OF POPULAR FEELING—THE RESTORATION DUE TO THE WEAKNESS OF RICHARD, AND THE UNWISDOM OF THE INDEPENDENTS AND THE PRESBYTERIANS-PRESBYTERIANS AND THE RESTORATION.
F public declarations often repeated, if solemn oaths,
for Monk to restore the King. Under Cromwell he had sworn to resist the return of the Stuarts; he had sworn it again after Cromwell's death; and yet he had permitted Charles to tamper with him before he left Scotland ; and on March 19, 1659–60, three days after the dissolution of Parliament, when he privately received Sir John Grenvil, who brought him a letter from Charles, he said, “ I hope the King will forgive what is past, both in my words and actions ; . . . for my heart was ever faithful to him, but I was never in a condition to do him service till this present; and you shall assure his Majesty, that I am not only ready to obey his commands, but to sacrifice my life and fortune in his service.” 1
The new Parliament met on April 25, 1660. All who had been in arms against the Long Parliament were legally disqualified for election, but the House was full of the King's friends. On May 1 Sir John Grenvil delivered to both Houses of Parliament a Letter and Declaration from Charles,
1 This is Price's account, given in his Mystery and Method of His Majesty's Happy Restoration, 133. The book was dedicated to Grenvil, then Earl of Bath ; and, as Kennet points out, Price probably got the facts from Grenvil, and would certainly say nothing without his approval. Clarendon (History, vi. 216–219) says nothing of any letter from the King to Monk at this stage.
written at Breda, and dated April 14; he had come to Breda that he might be ready, on the shortest notice, to cross to England.
In the Declaration there is a memorable passage. Charles says:
“Because the passion and uncharitableness of the times have produced several opinions in religion, by which men are engaged in parties and animosities against each other ; which, when they shall hereafter unite in a freedom of conversation, will be composed, or better understood; we do declare a liberty to tender consciences; and that no man shall be disquieted, or called in question, for differences of opinion in matters of religion which do not disturb the peace of the kingdom ; and that we shall be ready to consent to such an act of parliament, as, upon mature deliberation, shall be offered to us, for the full granting that indulgence.”
The Houses listened with rapture to the declaration of Charles, and at once, on the same day, resolved to recall him. They reasserted and confirmed the instruments and usages which constitute the principal guarantees of the ancient constitution of England—the Great Charter, the Petition of Right, and the Privileges of Parliament; but the new securities for civil freedom and the moderate provisions for the extension of religious liberty to which the late King had been willing to consent, and which the exiled prince, longing for a throne, would have accepted at a word, were sacrificed without an attempt to secure them. Monk insisted that there was peril in delay, and that if Charles were not invited back at once there might be an outbreak of the old troubles. All that had been won by the agonies of the civil war was flung into the sea, except the memory of the three great events—the execution of Strafford, of Laud, and of the King. These could never be forgotten; and they remained as perpetual warnings to succeeding Kings and statesmen that the submission of the English nation to the tyranny of the Crown and of the Church had its limits, and that if these limits were exceeded the nation might inflict a terrible vengeance on its oppressors.
2 Clarendon, History, vi. 233.
3 Burnet, i. 161-162. For such discussion as took place on conditions, see Clarendon, History, vi. 245; and Cobbett, Parl. Hist., iv. 54-57 foli.