Page 4 - History 2020
P. 4

by his Puritans (radical Protestants) and Major Generals (local military governors)

            alienated both parliament and public. On Cromwell’s death (1659) his son Richard
            declined to continue and the dead King Charles’ son was invited back from exile in
            Holland to reign as King Charles II. Normality and a kind of stability were restored
            after decades of turmoil and political experimentation.

            However the Restoration of the monarchy in 1660 did not resolve the great question
            of the relative power of king and parliament. The politics of Charles II’s reign (1660-
            1685) reflected this; only his affable personality and the widespread fear of a return

            to Civil War chaos held things together. The political battles between the various
            factions were referred to as “the rage of party”. This was the background to the
            Glorious Revolution of 1688.

            What happened in 1688?
            When Charles II died in 1685 with no legitimate heir, his brother succeeded as King
            James II (1685). James had converted to Catholicism in 1669. However it was

            assumed that his Protestant daughter Mary Stuart would succeed him. But in June
            1685 James and his wife Mary of Modena had a baby son. He would succeed as king.

            The birth of his baby son changed everything for James; a line of Catholic Stuart kings
            beckoned for England. Even before this there had been attempts to have James
            excluded from succeeding. More dramatically there was an attempted rebellion to
            overthrow him – the Monmouth Rebellion (May - July 1685). The Duke of Monmouth
            was the illegitimate son of Charles II, so James II’s nephew. Brought up as a

            Protestant, he raised an army of craftsmen and farmers and tried to raise the West
            Country in open rebellion which he calculated would expand into a national rising to
            overthrow James II. James’ government was shaken, but unlike Monmouth, James’
            forces held their nerve, defeated Monmouth’s rather ramshackle force at the Battle
            of Sedgemoor, then rounded up and executed as many rebels as they could chase
            down. Even poor old Alice Lisle of Moyles Court, Ringwood, was tried and beheaded

            for harboring two Monmouth rebellion fugitives (see the Epilogue below, “Alice Lisle
            and Judge Jeffreys”).

            Nonetheless after the Monmouth Rising, the English rallied behind James, not out of
            affection, but because he was without question the legitimate King. In 1685 the
            English recoiled from such violence; it brought back disturbing memories of the Civil

            But during James’ short reign (1685 - 1688) his promotion of English Catholics

            combined with the birth of his son turned opinion against him. Rather than accept
   1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9