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348' • c H A p This age affords great materials for history; but LXII. 'did not produce any accomplished historian. Cla1660. rendon, however, will always be esteemed an entertaining writer, even independent of our curiosity to know the facts which he relates. His style is prolix and redundant, and suffocates us by the length of its periods: But it discovers imagination and sentiment, and pleases us at the same time that we disapprove of it. He is more partial in appearance than in reality: For he seems perpetually anxious to apologise for the king; but his apologies are often well grounded. He is less partial in his relation of facts, than in his account of characters: He was too honest a man to falsify the former; his affections were easily capable, unknown to himself, of disguising the latter. An air of probity and goodness runs through the whole work; as these qualities did in reality embellish the whole life of the author. He died in 1674, aged 66.
These are the chief performances which engage the attention of posterity. Those numberless productions, with which the press then abounded; the cant of the pulpit, the declamations of party, the subtilties of theology, all these have long ago sunk in silence and oblivion. Even a writer, such as Selden, whose learning was his chief excellency; or Chillingworth, an acute disputant against the papists, will scarcely be ranked among the classics of our language or country.
New ministry—Act of indemnity—Settlement of the revenue—Trial and execution of the regicides— Dissolution of the convention—Parliament—Prelacy restored—Insurrection of the millenarians— Affairs of Scotland—Conference at the Savoy— Arguments for and against a comprehension—A , nety parliament—Bishops' seats restored—Corporation act—Act of uniformity—Kings marriage— Trial of Vane—and execution—Presbyterian clergy ejected—Dunkirk sold to the French—Declaration of indulgence—Decline of Clarendon's credit.
CHARLES II. when he ascended the throne of c Hap. his ancestors, was thirty years of age. He ^J^^/ possessed a vigorous constitution, a fine shape, a 1660. manly figure, a graceful air; and though his features were harsh, yet was his countenance in the main lively and engaging. He was in that period of life, when there remains enough of youth to render the person amiable, without preventing that authority and regard which attend the years of experience and maturity. Tenderness was excited by the memory of his recent adversities. His present prosperity was the object rather of admiration than of envy. And as the sudden and surprising revolution, which restored him to his regal rights, had
Chap- also restored the nation to peace, law, order, and v^^, liberty; no prince ever obtained a crown in more 1660. favourable circumstances, or was more blest with the cordial affection and attachment of his subjects.
This popularity the king, by his whole demeanor and behaviour, was well qualified to support and to increase. To a lively wit and quick comprehension, he united a just understanding, and a general observation both of men and things. The easiest manners, the most unaffected politeness, the most engaging gaiety, accompanied his conversation and address. Accustomed, during his exile, to live among his courtiers rather like a companion than a monarch, he retained, even while on the throne, that open affability which was capable of reconciling the most determined republicans to his royal dignity. Totally devoid of resentment, as well from the natural lenity as carelessness of his temper, he insured pardon to the most guilty of his enemies, and left hopes of favour to his most violent opponents. From the whole tenour of his actions and discourse, he seemed desirous of losing the memory of past animosities, and of uniting every party in an affection for their prince and their native country. New mi- INTo his council were admitted the most eminent nistry- men of the nation, without regard to former distinctions: The presbyterians, equally with the royalists, shared this honour. Annesley was also created earl of Anglesey; Ashley Cooper, lord Ashley; Denzil Hollis, lord Hollis. The earl of Manchester was appointed lord chamberlain, and lord Say, privy-seal. Galamy and Baxter, presbyterian clergymen, were even made chaplains to the king.
Admiral Montague, created earl of Sandwich, was entitled, from his recent services, to great favour; and he obtained it. Monk, created duke of Albemarle, had performed such signal services,
that, thai, according to a vulgar and malignant observa- c tion, he ought rather to have expected hatred and ingratitude: Yet was he ever treated by the king with great marks of distinction. Charles's disposition, free from jealousy; and the prudent behaviour of the general, who never over-rated his merits; prevented all those disgusts which naturally arise in so delicate a situation. The capacity too of Albemarle was not extensive, and his parts were more solid than shining. Though he had distinguished himself in inferior stations, he was imagined, upon familiar acquaintance, not to be wholly equal to those great achievements, which fortune, united to prudence, had enabled him to perform; and he appeared unfit for the court, a scene of life to which he had never been accustomed. Morrice, his friend, was created secretary of state, and was supported more by his patron's credit than by his own abilities or experience.
But the choice which the king at first made of his principal ministers and favourites, was the circumstance which chiefly gave contentment to the nation, and prognosticated future happiness and tranquillity. Sir Edward Hyde, created earl of Clarendon, was chancellor and prime minister: The marquis, created duke of Ormond, was steward of the household: The earl of Southampton, high treasurer: Sir Edward Nicholas, secretary of state. These men, united together in friendship, and combined in the same laudable inclinations, supported each other's credit, and pursued the interests of the public.
Agreeable to the present prosperity of public affairs, was the universal joy and festivity diffused throughout the nation. The melancholy austerity of the fanatics fell into discredit, together with their principles. The royalists, who had ever affected a contrary disposition, found in their recent success new motives for mirth and gaiety; and it now belonged
Chap- longed to them to give repute and fashion to then* manners. From past experience it had sufficiently i660. appeared, that gravity was very distinct from wisdom, formality from virtue, and hypocrisy from religion. The king himself, who bore a strong propensity to pleasure, served, by his powerful and engaging example, to banish those sour and malignant humours, which had hitherto engendered such confusion. And though the just bounds were undoubtedly passed, when men returned from their former extreme; yet was the public happy in exchanging vices, pernicious to society, for disorders, hurtful chiefly to the individuals themselves who were guilty of them.
It required some time before the several parts of the state, disfigured by war and faction, could recover their former arrangement: But the parliament immediately fell into good correspondence with the king, and they treated him with the same dutiful regard which had usually been paid to his predecessors. Being summoned without the king's consent, they received, at first, only the title of a convention; and it was not till he passed an act for that purpose, that they were called by the appellation of parliament. Al l judicial proceedings, transacted in the name of the commonwealth or protector, were ratified by a new law. And both houses, acknowledging the guilt of the former rebellion, gratefully received, in their own name, and in that of all the subjects, his majesy's gracious pardon and indemnity.
Act of in-. The king, before his restoration, being afraid of demwty. reducing any of his enemies to despair, and at the same time unwilling that such enormous crimes as had been committed, should receive a total impunity, had expressed himself very cautiously in his declaration of Breda, and had promised an indemnity to all criminals but such as should be excepted by parliament. He now issued a proclamation, declaring