Page images


Engli/h affairs and reflexions en revolutionResloratiott of Charles thesecondViolent dijfensionsDeclaration of settlementRestoration of episcopacyDiscontents

A parliament Debates in London on Irish affairs

Acl of settlement—"Discontents from the execution

of the acl of settlement Conspiracies Defeat of

the conspiracies Bill of explanation Concessions

of diff erent partiesDetection of abuses—Defalcation from the claims of adventurers and soldiersNominee1 Discontents of the catholics—Passing as the acl of explanationDifficulties attending it,

England had for near eighteen years experienc- Cha>. ed the effects of popular revolution. As the end of XXVIIL government is to curb the violence and injustice of English the people, the laws are -wifely silent with respect to affa,r!,• the right of resistance against undue or tyrannical stretches of power by established authority. Speculative reasoners ought in public disquisitions to observe the same caution, or to inculcate only the doctrine of obedience, since, when a case of exception to this doctrine occurs, it must be so forcibly felt as to leave no ambiguity. The occurrence of such a case is a great misfortune,* as the means of reparation are attended with certain calamity, and their success


doubtful. The great body of the people can seldon} gain by even a successful revolution, since to maintain a new establishment, a greater expence, and a more jealous and. severe administration, is required, than was necessary for the old. Charles the sirst had so far stretched the regal prerogative as to have threatened the total annihilation of the liberties and privileges of his subjects. This was prevented by the resistance of the presbyterians, who, by the profession of uncommon sanctity, and other arts, raised a successful war against the king and his adherents, In the moment when this party had acquired the supreme power, it was wrested from their hands by the independents, who, under the appearance of still greater sanctity, gained the command of the army. These, in their turn, when arrived at their object of dominion, were subverted by their own servants, the military officers, and reduced to subjection. Unfortunately by whatever grievances the people are excited to rife against government, the progress of this unwieldy machine cannot be stopped by the redress of these? but is driven by new impulses, if not obstructed by force or art, far beyond the bounds intended by its original movers. Subjects, whq had by open war most grievously offended a sovereign^ pn whose most solemn engagements they placed no reliance, thought themselves unsafe, until they should have him divested, not only of all power, but of all chance of ever again recovering any. The presbyterians would have been satissied with such deprivation of. his prerogative as would completely secure them against hi§ resentment; but the military

officers. officers, who had usurped an uncontroled domini- Chap. on, could be satissied only by the derivation of his XXN lirlife.

All government quite military, which had become the cafe in England, fluctuates perpetually, as is well observed by a philosophic historian, between a despotic monarchy, and a despotic aristocracy, according as the authority of the chief commander prevails, or that of the officers next him in dignity. Oliver Cromwel, who was as clear, prompt, and decisive in action, as embarrassed and obscure in speech, avail, ed himself of circumstances to seize the monarchal despotism, a step seemingly expedient for the pre* servation of the public peace. The British ilands had never been so completely in subjection to any legitimate monarch as to this usurper; for Scotland had been totally subdued, and Charles the second, who had hoped by the forces of that kingdom to recover the English throne, had with difficulty escaped in disguise to France. Richard Cromwel, eldest son of Oliver, who succeeded to his father's title of protector in 1658, was in less than eight months obliged to resign by a cabal of officers, who held their meetings at Wallingford house, the mansion of Fleetwood, and who afterwards attempted to govern the nation in the name of a council of twenty-one persous, whom they elected, and styled a committee of safety. Harrassed by convulsions, disorders, and oppressions, men wished ardently in general for the restoration of quiet under their ancient government, a legitimate monarchy: "tod George Monk, who , commanded

Chap. commanded the English troops in Scotland, coinciding in this sentiment, marched to London in the be, ginning of the year 1660, and declared for a free parliament. A council of state was constituted, and the Long Parliament was re-assembled, which, pronouncing its' own dissolution, issued writs for the election of a new parliamentary convention. The press))'terians, disgusted with revolution,' coalesced with the royalists in the returning of members favourable to the restoration of monarchy j so that by the unanimous voice of this assembly Charles the second took possession of the throne on the twentyninth of May.

ch"i«the In Ireland, after the reduction of Sir Hardress


low. Waller in the castle of Dublin, no farther obstacle remained to the king's restoration, except the unavailing opposition of a few fanatics, and of some of the old Irish with the Romish primate; but the ardour of Coote outran that of Broghill for a speedy and unconditional reinstatement of royalty. Charles was proclaimed in all the great towns as soon as the declaration made by him at Breda in the Netherlands was received, by which, among other articles, he ossered a general amnesty to all without any other exception than such as might be afterwards made by parliament; and assured the soldiers of all their arrears, and the fame pay in future which they then enjoyed. The convention of estates voted a present of twenty thousand pounds to the king, four thousand to the duke of York, and two thousand to his younger brother the duke of Gloucester. Great were the agitations, on this event, of anxiety, hope,

fear, fear, and jealousy, of different parties with clashing Chap. interests and embittered animosities, catholics inno- *" * pent or guilty of rebellion, soldiers, adventurers, and various factions religious or political, impatient to regain their ancient possessions, to be consirmed in their new, • to be pardoned for misdeeds, rewarded fur services, or to receive indulgence or exclusive privileges in modes of worship. '''

The most impatient, and, as usual, the most un- VWeirt wise, were the old Irish catholics. Some of those, dissensions. who, notwithstanding their having been declared innocent by Cromwel, had been deprived of their lands, and obliged to accept inferior portions in Conpaught, repossessed their patrimonies by force, even before the king was proclaimed, and thus raised commotions pernicious to their party. These lawless proceedings, represented in England as overtures to a new rebellion, were subservient to the views of ?he new English colonists, who thereby prevailed, before the landing of the king in the English territories, to have the act of indemnity so prepared, as to ex* elude all thole who had any concern in the plotting or abetting of. the rebellion of Ireland, which amounted to the exclusion of the whole Romish party: and when a clause was inserted, forbidding the restitution of any estates, of which a disposal had already been made by authority of any parliament or convention, an exception was not without disficulty admitted in favour of " the marquis of Ormond and other the protestants of Ireland." Some other clauses, which were at sirst suspended, and afterwards defeated, by the influence of the marquis,


« PreviousContinue »