Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Restoration

In Search of the Republic--16

After Oliver Cromwell's death, his son Richard assumed the position of Lord Protector. Unlike his father the soldier and country gentleman, Richard could not hold together the uneasy alliance of the army and the republican gentry that established the republic.

When his first Parliament met in1659, the majority desire to continued the Protectorate. They attempted, however, to assume control over the army. When it enacted legislation forbidding any general meetings of the army during sessions of Parliament, Cromwell's brother-in-law and military commander Charles Fleetwood demanded the dissolution of Parliament. Cromwell complied, effectively ending the Protectorate.

Without any government in place, The Council of Officers called for the convening of the  the so-called Rump Parliament that functioned under the original republic. It, too, sought to reassert Parliamentary control over the army. It revoked the commission of Lambert and several other officers. Instead, forces under the command of John Lambert surrounded Westminster and dispersed the Parliament.

By then, however, the army found itself divided. General George Monk in Scotland cross the border with his army to confront Lambert, whose forces dispersed. The rump Parliament reassembled and named Monk commander. Monk called upon the rump Parliament to readmit the excluded Presbyterians and royalists and called for elections of a new free Parliament. The new Long Parliament subsequently called for free election of a new Parliament and dissolved itself.

A new  Parliament met in April 1660. In the election, many of the republicans and army officers had been swept from power. Advocates of  the restoration of monarchy dominated the Parliament.

Meanwhile Charles II, in exile since the execution of his father, issued the Declaration of Breda stating his terms for restoration. The document had been drafted with the help of George Monk and the king's closest advisers. The Declaration was submitted to Parliament and on May 1, 1660, both houses unanimously voted for the restoration of England's monarchy.

George Monk

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