Peter Davidson (ed.), Poetry and Revolution: An Anthology of British and Irish Verse 1625–1660
pg 611APPENDIX 4 CHRONOLOGY 1625–1660
1625 Charles I acceded, aged 25, and married the Catholic Henrietta Maria of France. Conflict between Charles and his ministers began almost immediately, since Parliament was hostile to the continental projects suggested to Charles by George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham (1592–1628), now Charles's favourite, and formerly his father's. Following Buckingham's advice, he engaged in war with Spain (Catholic) and an alliance with Holland and Denmark (Protestant): both decisions had a religious dimension, and also involved family loyalties: the husband of his sister Elizabeth ('the Winter Queen', no. 167) had lost his Palatinate to Spain in 1621. Charles's desire to play a significant role in European politics made him anxious to assure himself of adequate financial resources.
1626 Charles's Second Parliament impeached Buckingham, declared the taxes of tonnage and poundage (a form of Customs tax, which represented a substantial portion of the King's revenue) illegal, and was dissolved by the King. Charles then tried to assure himself of income by other means, and resumed non-parliamentary levies.
1627 Both parliament and country resisted Charles's attempts to raise money by levying forced loans to the Crown. Two high-church clergymen, Sibthorpe and Manwaring, preached 'Apostolic Obedience' to the King's wishes, which helped to confirm Puritan opposition to the established church, as opposition to apostolic authority was identified with opposition to unpopular taxes. George Abbot, Archbishop of Canterbury, was sequestered for refusing to license Sibthorpe's sermon for the press. Expedition to the Ile de Rhé: an abortive gesture towards an attack on France.
1628 Third Parliament. The Petition of Right (which gave the judiciary ultimate power even over Parliament) became law. The King's pressing need for money was met to some extent by subsidies voted him by Parliament. William Laud (1573–1645), who enjoyed the King's favour, and promoted an extremely unpopular policy of the imposition of religious uniformity, became bishop of London, while Archbishop Abbot was restored to favour. The Duke of Buckingham was assassinated (no. 241), leaving Charles without a mentor. His relations with his Queen had been cold and distant up to this point, but the royal couple suddenly began to show a mutual devotion which continued without interruption for the rest of their lives. A second expedition to La Rochelle, where the Huguenot (Protestant) subjects of the French King, Louis XIII, continued to endure a prolonged siege, was a total failure. Aiding the Huguenots was a matter of personal honour to Charles, who had guaranteed an earlier treaty subsequently broken by the French king, and had been strongly supported by Buckingham, who had led the first expedition. Thomas Wentworth (1593–1641), later the Earl of Strafford, became President of the Council of the North (the King's deputy north of the Humber).
1629 Parliament passed resolutions against Popery and the high-church doctrine of Arminianism, voicing a widely felt suspicion that the King, now devoted to his Catholic wife, was gradually transforming the Church of England into an imitation of the Church of Rome. It also renewed opposition to tonnage and poundage, and to the King's claim that he had the right to levy duties without the consent of Parliament. It was again dissolved by the King. Some leading parliamentarians were imprisoned. The King went ahead with exacting the impositions pg 612he required. Bishop Laud rallied to his royal master with his attempts to control the press and to place restrictions on religious lecturers. Peace was made with France.
1630 Birth of the future Charles II. Peace was made with Spain, further fuelling English fears that Charles was siding with Europe's Catholic monarchs. Charles's creditors became increasingly pressing, and so he revived an obsolete but technically legal source of revenue: all subjects who owned estates worth more than £40 a year were summoned to receive knighthoods and pay for the privilege. Knighthood fines and impositions were levied (no. 205). Bishop Laud became Chancellor of Oxford, where he proceeded to enforce religious conformity. Large-scale Puritan emigration to Massachusetts began, including John Winthrop and other religious dissidents. Plague broke out in London, and an extraordinary drought brought disastrous harvests and presaged widespread famine.
1631 A commission for poor relief was set up, and measures to control the price of corn were instituted. Charles was considering intervention in the conflict between Spain and the Protestant kings of northern Europe. His policies were dictated largely by his desire to restore his sister Elizabeth to her throne in Bohemia, and thus vacillated between supporting Spain and the Protestant King of Sweden, Gustavus Adolphus, who later rejected his offers. Birth of Princess Mary (mother of William II). John Donne died.
1632 Futile and contradictory negotiations with Holland, Spain, and France continued. Gustavus Adolphus and the Elector Palatine both died, leaving Elizabeth struggling to regain the Palatinate on behalf of her eldest son. Meanwhile Charles continued to struggle with poverty and debt, though the settlement of Anthony Van Dyck in England inaugurated a period of introverted splendour in the arts at court which gives a wholly different impression. Life at court became increasingly enclosed and sophisticated. Henrietta Maria gave offence to many Protestant Londoners by supporting the theatre, dancing in public, and acting in masques and plays. William Prynne (1600–69), a Puritan pamphleteer, published Histriomastix: A Scourge of Stage Players, and was sentenced to lose his ears in the pillory. George Herbert died.
1633 Birth of the future James VII and II. Laud became Archbishop of Canterbury: Lady Eleanor Davies published a book of prophecies against him, declaring him to be the Beast in the Book of Revelation, and was imprisoned. Charles was formally crowned as King of Scotland in Edinburgh, in an atmosphere of mutual religious, and political mistrust. The Declaration of Sports, which allowed the English people to play games and otherwise entertain themselves on Sundays, was reissued by Charles: this was obnoxious to the Puritans, strict observers of the Sabbath. Wentworth began his administration as Lord Deputy of Ireland, which, although efficient, and in many ways beneficial, was high-handed and aimed at improving the prosperity not of the Irish people but of the English exchequer. His policies were directed towards the raising of revenue, and alienated both recent Protestant settlers, and the old Catholic élite. He supported the plantation of Scots and English settlers in various parts of the country.
1634 Laud enforced religious conformity throughout the realm. New canons were forced upon the Protestant Church in Ireland. Witch-trials were held in Lancashire. The King began negotiating secretly with Spain for a naval alliance against the Dutch, the principal maritime competitors against the English. He thus wished to raise the cash for equipping a fleet without summoning Parliament to vote him a subsidy, which would make his intentions public. Reviving a medieval statute requiring all port towns to man and equip ships for the defence of the realm, he instituted a new and very unpopular tax, ship money. The City of London raised a petition in protest, which was ignored. Charles also attempted to raise money by revoking the boundaries of English forests which had been fixed for three hundred years (forests belonged pg 613directly to the Crown), and claiming the much greater territory which had been under Forest Law in the thirteenth century as his rightful property. This would place seventeen towns and their inhabitants under the direct dominance of the King, with no protection from law or Parliament.
1635 The second writ of ship money was issued: this time the tax was extended to inland counties and approved by the judges. The first signs of serious resistance to the tax appeared. Charles alienated many merchants by his distribution of trade monopolies. This caused widespread public indignation, especially since many of the monopolists were known to be Catholics. Diplomatic relations were entered into with the Papacy, encouraged by the Queen, and the conditions for the reunification of the English Church with Rome discussed with a Papal envoy, Gregorio Panzani. Charles made further efforts to secure the position of his sister and nephew by negotiating with Spain for the return of the Palatinate. Another daughter (Elizabeth) was born to Charles I, and Henrietta Maria. Wentworth's government in Ireland began to seem increasingly arbitrary to his subjects, especially when he set aside the representations of native Irish lords and claimed that the whole of Ireland belonged entirely to the King.
1636 The judges affirmed the King's superiority to the law, and a third writ of ship money was issued. Charles became increasingly anxious to claim and enforce English sovereignty over the North Sea and Channel, against the rights assumed by the Dutch and other maritime nations. The King and Archbishop Laud visited Oxford with great ceremony, and Laudian statutes were promulgated for the University, alienating many of its members.
1637 The judges reaffirmed the King's right to levy ship money at discretion, and the future parliamentary leader John Hampden was brought to trial for resisting this. The verdict went narrowly against him. Further attempts were made to tighten control of the press. The Scots fiercely resisted the imposition of the new Anglican service books and canons. Ben Jonson died.
1638 There was general resentment in England over the King's continued exactions, and over Laud's policy of religious conformity, which permitted no freedom of worship to the country's many dissenters. In Scotland the reaction against Laud's episcopalian church was even stronger. The National Covenant, binding its signatories to defend their (Presbyterian) religion to the death, was signed widely and enthusiastically (no. 231). The Marquess of Montrose was one of the first signatories.
1639 Charles mounted an invasion of Scotland known as the first Bishops' War in an attempt to discipline the Scots. After some successes on both sides (Montrose distinguishing himself as one of the ablest generals among the Covenanters) it ended with the Pacification of Berwick. When it became increasingly clear that Charles was unlikely to honour the concessions he had made in the Treaty, trouble began anew (no. 231). Wentworth returned from Ireland to support and advise the King. Birth of Prince Henry.
1640 The first parliamentary elections for twelve years were held. Charles asked the new parliament for massive financial support to renew his campaign against the Scots. John Pym and John Hampden led the Commons in defending their right to resist royal exactions. The parliament was promptly dissolved (15 May) thus becoming known as the Short Parliament, while the King turned to non- parliamentary ways of raising money. The second Bishops' War was initiated, against the wishes of the Commons, and ended in English defeat, the loss of Newcastle upon Tyne to the Covenanters, and in the Treaty of Ripon (26 October). A new parliament was convened (3 November), known as the Long Parliament. One of its first actions was to impeach Wentworth (now Earl of Strafford) for treason, on a variety of heads which pg 614amounted to encouraging, and facilitating the arbitrary government of his royal master. The parliament also imprisoned Archbishop Laud. Charles was forced to consent to a bill which laid down that the parliament could not be dissolved except by its own consent. This done, it went on to ban ship money and other non- parliamentary taxes, and to make Laud's canons, which had imposed a forced unity on the English Church, illegal (no. 251). The London Root and Branch petition for the abolition of bishops in the English Church was introduced by Puritan parliamentarians.
1641 The Princess Royal, aged 10, married William of Orange, thus creating ties of mutual obligation between England and the Netherlands. The Earl of Strafford was executed on 12 May. Charles had promised him protection, but the level of the public demonstrations against him eventually persuaded the King to sign his death-warrant (no. 275). Parliament continued to pass sweeping reforms (no. 228). The King went to Scotland in August to negotiate with his rebellious subjects. Once Charles had made concessions to Presbyterianism, Montrose, among others, resumed his loyalty to him. The Scottish army withdrew from England. A widespread and successful rebellion broke out in Ireland (23 October), causing Charles to cut short his stay in Edinburgh. The army became a visible force in the political life of the country. Returning to London, the King was confronted by the Grand Remonstrance (1 December), a summary of the woes of England since the 1620s, setting forth all Charles's misdemeanours and implying that the country would be better governed by Parliament, which was steered through the Commons by their leader John Pym, and passed by a narrow majority. The theatres were closed, and remained closed until the Restoration (nos. 232, 233) Suckling, Hobbes, and many other writers left the country, some temporarily, some for longer periods of exile.
1642 The King reacted to the Grand Remonstrance by impeaching five members of the Commons (including Pym and Hampden) for High Treason, but failed in his attempt to arrest them by force on 4 January (no. 281). He was forced to leave London on 10 January. When he attempted to enter Hull on 23 April, the governor refused to admit him (no. 280). War became inevitable, and the King's standard was set up at Nottingham on 22 August and his headquarters for the next four years established at Oxford following the indecisive Royalist victory at Edgehill on 23 October (no. 276). Many writers and intellectuals were drawn into the war (Falkland, Denham, Fanshawe, Cleveland, Davenant, Cowley, Wither); Lovelace was imprisoned; Marvell travelled abroad.
1643 The war continued, with several royalist victories, before Oliver Cromwell, operating in the eastern counties, gained the first parliamentary victory at Winceby on 11 October (nos. 299, 331). The Westminster Assembly of Divines proposed Presbyterian church government for England (nos. 240, 306, 309). By taking the Solemn League and Covenant on 25 September, both the Assembly and Parliament undertook to impose this on England in return for Scottish military aid against the King.
1644 The Scots army having entered England on 19 January, Parliament set up the Committee of Both Kingdoms, to maintain communications with its field commanders, and won its first decisive victory at Marston Moor (no. 230). In Cornwall its army, under Essex, was forced to surrender; and in Scotland, the former Covenanter James Graham, Marquis of Montrose, leading a mainly Highland force, won the first of many victories at Tippermuir. On 14 July, after the birth of her youngest child, the Queen left England for France (no. 257). Waller was imprisoned.
1645 Archbishop Laud was executed on 10 January and the Prayer Book abolished. The New Model Army Ordinance (17 February), creating a single field army under a unified command, pg 615and the Self-Denying Ordinance (3 April), making it impossible for a member of either House of Parliament (except Cromwell, and a few others) to hold any military command, paved the way for a series of parliamentary victories, including that at Naseby on 14 June, under the new Captain-General, Sir Thomas Fairfax (nos. 237, 303, 304). Even Montrose passed from victory at Kilsyth to defeat at Philiphaugh, and the King's attempts to obtain Irish and foreign troops met with little success (nos. 277, 284).
1646 The King's military cause, virtually hopeless since Naseby, was lost with his flight to the Scots army at Newark on 5 May and the subsequent surrender of Oxford on 13 July (no. 301). The Newcastle Propositions of 14 July (inevitably more stringent than those put forward at Oxford in 1642–3, and at Uxbridge in 1645) were put to the King, who considered them for nearly a year. The Prince of Wales went to Jersey, on his way to exile in France. Episcopacy was abolished on 9 October.
1647 The Scots army withdrew from England, handing the King over to the Parliamentarians (30 January), from whom he was later taken by an army detachment, the army having further emerged as a powerful political force in its own right, with its own Heads of Proposals (23 July) for the settlement of the country. On 11 November, the King, having treated both with Parliament and with the army, escaped from Hampton Court to the Isle of Wight, rejected the fuller set of demands known as the Four Bills, and entered into a secret 'Engagement' with the Scots on 26 December. Herrick was ejected from his church, and living.
1648 Parliament resolved (3 January) that in future 'No Addresses' should be made to the King; but after the escape to France of James, Duke of York, and the failure of the royalist cause in the five-months-long second Civil War (culminating in Cromwell's defeating the Scots army under the 'Engager' Hamilton at Preston) negotiations began again at Newport, Isle of Wight (nos. 307, 308, 327). The prospect of a treaty was nullified by the action of the army in having Colonel Thomas Pride and his men 'purge' the House of Commons (first elected eight years before) of some three-fifths of its members on 6 December, leaving a majority of those prepared to support the trial of the King before a specially constituted 'High Court of Justice' on capital charges of treason and levying war against his people (no. 319).
1649 The trial began on 20 January. Charles I was found guilty as charged and executed on 30 January (nos. 244–47, 271). Charles II was provisionally proclaimed in Scotland on 5 February. England was declared a free Commonwealth on 19 May (no. 248), kingship and the House of Lords were abolished (17 and 19 March), and the sale of Crown lands began. Gerrard Winstanley's Diggers came together and settled in Surrey, to the horror of the inhabitants. In Ireland, a powerful coalition between Irish Catholics, Protestants, and royalists came together at the beginning of that year, intending to take over the whole country, and then attack England in the name of Charles II (no. 321). Parliament was left holding only Dublin and Londonderry. Cromwell landed in Ireland on a mission of reconquest, and sacked Drogheda and Wexford (11 September, 11 October) in an attempt to terrify the rest of Ireland into submission. His campaign was brutally effective, and left the island under English control. Richard Crashaw died at Loretto (no. 149).
1650 Montrose landed in Scotland to lead a forlorn hope for Charles II, but was defeated and executed on 21 May (nos. 274, 322, 332). The emergence of extremist religious groups, including those sometimes identified as 'Ranters' (no. 146), inspired moral panic among less extreme Protestants. Cromwell left Ireland (no. 313), succeeded Fairfax as Lord-General, and invaded Scotland. He achieved one outstanding victory at Dunbar (3 September), and went on to exploit divisions among the royalists to great effect. Davenant was imprisoned for two years.
pg 6161651 Charles II, having reluctantly taken the Covenant, was crowned in Scotland on 1 January, even though Cromwell held the relatively rich and prosperous south of the country. Moving south with a mixed Royalist, and Covenanting army, he was followed by Cromwell and defeated at Worcester on 3 September, whence he escaped in disguise to France (no. 311, 328, 329). Cromwell continued south, leaving George Monck to keep up parliamentarian pressure on Scotland. The Rump Parliament resolved not to extend its existence beyond November 1654.
1652 At home, the parliament passed acts of 'Pardon and Oblivion', and of settlement with Ireland, and offered the Scots an incorporating union. Abroad, it involved the Commonwealth in an expensive and indecisive naval war with the United Provinces of the northern Netherlands, indirectly caused by the Dutch-Spanish peace treaty of 1648, which allowed the Dutch merchant fleets free access to all trading spheres (the East Indies, the Mediterranean, the West Indies), and cut into English interests. The Friends, or Quakers, began to organise collectively and to mobilize themselves for evangelisation.
1653 Cromwell, losing patience with the parliament, dissolved it by force; it was succeeded by an assembly chiefly composed of those nominated by army leaders, known as the nominated or Little Parliament (or simply as 'the Barebones', after one of its members). This lasted for only five months and was succeeded immediately by the adoption of a new constitution, 'The Instrument of Government', based on a tripartite structure of Lord Protector, Council of State, and Parliament, each limiting the others' powers, and the installation of Cromwell as Lord Protector (no. 314). The war with the Dutch turned in England's favour. Irish resistance continued, and Piaras Feiritéar (no. 23) was publicly hanged in Killarney.
1654 The war with the Dutch ended in a treaty in England's favour; but a war (not formally declared until October 1655) was begun against Spain in the Caribbean, and this 'Western Design' with its extension into European waters dragged expensively on until after the Restoration. The first Protectorate parliament, lasting less than five months, added not a single act to the Statute Book. In Ireland, all Catholics east of the Shannon were evicted that winter and driven into Connacht, and Clare: hundreds died on the road (no. 325). Cowley returned to England after three years abroad.
1655 Various plans, and plots, both royalist and republican, were directed against Cromwell and the government without success. To counter these attempts at subversion, the country was divided into some twelve districts, each under the rule of a Major-General, and this efficient but unpopular system lasted for a little over a year. Cromwell, after representations from the small colony of Jews in London (Jews had officially been expelled from England in the thirteenth century), offered them some assurances concerning their status. In Scotland, power was transferred from General Monck to a new Council for Scotland, a move towards the return of local power to the Scots themselves. In the Caribbean, the navy succeeded in taking Jamaica. Cleveland and Cowley were both imprisoned.
1656 Within three months of the announcement of elections in June, the second Protectorate parliament met, losing almost a quarter of its members immediately through disqualification (later overturned by the Humble Petition), and doing very little business for some months, even though the government was eager to have extra taxes voted for the Spanish war in which Admiral Blake had begun to achieve naval successes.
1657 After the defeat in parliament of the military party's 'decimation' tax (to legalise the financing of a select militia) interest centred on the 'Remonstrance' later revised as the 'Humble Petition, and Advice' with a further 'Additional Petition.' This offered Cromwell the crown, which he declined, and set out a new and more parliamentary constitution, with a restored pg 617Second House, which he accepted. He was installed for a second time as Lord Protector (no. 314). Admiral Blake died; an alliance was entered into with France, which was also at war with Spain. Anna Trapnel prophesied in Whitehall: a symptom of the disunity of the religious radicals, and of the feeling amongst the most extreme that their cause had been betrayed (nos. 159–61).
1658 A new session of parliament was called, after six months' adjournment, presumably in the hope of raising more money; but Cromwell, fearing an opposition alliance between radical political elements, and disgruntled army officers, dissolved it after only two weeks. After a summer which saw Anglo-French victories in the war (including the occupation of Dunkirk), the execution of the last three royalists, and the death of Cromwell's favourite daughter, Cromwell himself fell ill and died on 3 September, his son Richard being proclaimed Lord Protector in his place (no. 334).
1659 The parliament was called (again to provide money) by Richard Cromwell, and his council was dissolved, under threat of military action, after only three months, during which time mistrust grew between Richard Cromwell, and the army leaders. Thereafter the generals restored the Rump Parliament (from 1653), and Richard resigned and retired to the country, the Protectorate being replaced by a restored Commonwealth. Friction began again between Parliament, and the army, which dissolved the Rump after some five months, leaving the country with no legal civil government. This provided a decisive spur to General George Monck, commander-in-chief in Scotland, who, by the time the Rump reassembled in late December (with support from the fleet and the Irish army) for its final sitting, was at Coldstream with his remodelled army, ready to cross into England.
1660 Entering England on 1 January, and London a month later, Monck obliged the sitting members of the Rump to readmit those excluded since Pride's Purge (no. 338). A new Council of State was elected with a monarchist majority; Monck became Captain-General of all the land forces of the Commonwealth, and co-Admiral of the Fleet with Edward Montague; and acts were passed for a new parliament, and new elections, which were held in April, the Long Parliament having at last reached its end in mid-March. On 4 April the text of Charles II's Declaration of Breda (putting the onus of the settlement on to the new parliament) became known;, and the Convention Parliament, opening at the end of the month, voted, on 5 May, that the government of the country should be vested in King, Lords, and Commons, and on 11 May that Parliament should send a representative to the King, who entered London on 29 May amid widespread rejoicing (nos. 138, 336–342). George Wither was arrested. The theatres reopened, Davenant being granted a patent as licensee of one of the theatres royal.pg 618