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Monty Lal

“Monarchy returned mot because of its own strengths but because of the
weaknesses of the regimes it replaced.”
Assess the validity of this view with reference to the years 1658 to 1660

Following the death of Oliver Cromwell England needed a ruler that could gain
support of the army, who, since the execution of Charles I in 1649 had been the most
influential groups in the country. The successor of Oliver was his son, Richard who
seemingly did not possess the characteristics of his late father. The key to control of
the country and the regimes following those of Oliver lay in whether a leader had the
military prowess similar to that of Oliver. Furthermore the issue of whether monarchy
came to power as a result of its own powers or due to the failures of various regimes
that preceded it is only answered by taking into consideration the weaknesses of the
regimes and the strengths of the monarchy.

Following the death of Oliver Cromwell, Richard Cromwell became Lord Protector
under the terms of the Humble Petition and Advice. Unlike his father Richard found it
difficult to keep a balance with the remands of the army, religious radicals and
traditionalists. Due to the amount of power held by the army, the power of the
Protector was dependent upon the army. The lower ranks of the army resented the fact
that Richard was not a soldier; on the other hand the higher ranks supported such a
leader mainly because they could easily manipulate him and use him to voice their
views. It is therefore obvious that Richard was not as able as his father to control the
army; this eventually led to the army demanding that Richard give up his position as
Commander in- chief, which Richard refused. Furthermore factors such as arrears of
pay and debt also got the better of the protector; such failures led Richard calling the
Third Protectorate Parliament in 1659 to help raise finances. The parliament that met
in 1659 was also a failure. Despite a Pro- Protectorate majority the Republicans were
more active and vociferous. The republicans were able to muster support of the army,
this eventually led to Richard limiting the army’s power, e.g. by only allowing them
to sit with the permission of the parliament. Following this the republicans also
demanded that Richard dissolve parliament. All in all the Parliament was a failure due
to the excessive influence of the republicans and power of the army, coupled with the
fact that Richard did not possess the leadership qualities of his father.

Disputes between the army and (the Rump) parliament continued to be an issue even
when the rump was recalled in 1660. George Booth was royalist in belief but did not
want to see the return of Charles II, he rather wanted a free parliament. George Booth
is an example of the lack of royalism support and also the general resentment towards
the Rump. Booths uprising were unsuccessful due to the failure of his expectations of
help from Spanish troops. The failing of the uprisings were a result of John Lambert
military success, the success also saw Lambert’s emergence into the limelight.
Lambert supported the army in a petition to limit Parliaments power with the creation
of a second chamber, the Senate. Opposition came for Sir Arthur Haselrig who was a
leading civilian Republican. Haselrig demanded that Lambert and followers be
imprisoned. This was an example of how difficult it was at the times to reach
compromise and also a reminder of the seriousness of the situation. Haselrig also
believed he had enough troops loyal to parliament to prevent a coup, he was wrong.
In October regiments loyal to Lambert occupied London and dissolved the Rump.
This further emphasizes the lack unity and can be seen as a stepping stone towards the
desire for a monarchy. Army rule was strongly disliked by General George Monk a

1279 words.
Monty Lal

Scottish Commander. Monk marched his troops south, at which point he was
intercepted by Lamberts forces, which he defeated with ease. Monk desired a return
of a more stable government rather than the existing Committee of Safety. This point
clearly shows the unpopularity of army rule. Monks actions eventually led to the
recalling of the Rump in December 1659.

Once restored the rump failed to pay due respect to their “savior”, Monk. The Rump
attempted to limit Monk political input by enforcing him to overlook the policing of
London. Monk remained quiet in the back drop and did not make his desire for
restoration known. Furthermore he also demanded that secluded MPs from Prides
Purge retake their seats. This shifted the balances and acted as a check on Haselrig’s
republican faction. Furthermore he also made sure parliament kept their promise and
made him Commander in Chief, this considerably increased his power. The push for
restoration was further heightened when Edward Montague was recalled to be
Commander of the Fleet. Montague was a former Cromwellian and also a Royalist
sympathizer. It now seemed that two leading figures on both sea and land were now in
favor of a restoration of the monarchy. Although Monk and Charles had a cordial
correspondence, Charles at no time demanded or requested Monk to restore his
position as king. In this context I believe Monk’s actions can be seen as a successful
regime that helped the restoration of the monarchy, not a weak regime such as those
that preceded it, nor can it be seen as a strength of the monarchy.

The last stand for a republican cause was crushed by Monk in 1642. Monk had now
overcome the republicans and this was mirrored in the results of the elections in
which 60 members with strong royalist beliefs took seats. This emphasized that
genuinely free elections encouraged those with royalist sympathies to participate. The
Convention Parliament met on April 25th, with the addition of a House of Lords.
Parliament now discussed the restoration of Charles as discussed in the Declaration of
Breda. The Declaration of Breda seems to be one of the most influential factors that
led to the restoration of the monarchy. Drafted by Clarendon the Declaration
promised; a general pardon, religious toleration and arrears of pay, three of the most
controversial issues of the time. Both houses accepted the document as the
constitutional basis for the restoration of the monarchy. Seemingly Charles II had
struck at the perfect time, amidst all the problems Charles seems to have hit the nail
on the head and tackle all the controversial issues in a single document. This, together
with Charles ability to stay out of political affairs towards the beginning of the
republic period seemed to be a vital reason as of to why the monarchy was restored.

To conclude, the restoration of the monarchy is difficult to pigeonhole into whether it


was due to the weakness of the regimes that replaced it or whether it was due to the
monarchy’s own success. Influential figures like Monk only came into the picture as a
result of weaknesses in the regime such as the military rule. If such weaknesses in the
regime did not exist, it is viable to say that figures such as Monk may not have
become so active in English politics. Therefore I believe it is safe to say that the
Monarchy was restored as a result of both the strengths of the monarchy, such as the
Declaration of Breda and the weaknesses of the regimes such as the Republic and
Army rule. Therefore I believe the source is valid to an extent, but it is untrue in its
description that the restoration was not due to the Monarchy’s own success.

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