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In the climactic part of his three-book series exploring the importance of public image in the Tudor and Stuart monarchies, Kevin Sharpe employs a remarkable interdisciplinary approach that draws on literary studies and art history as well as political, cultural, and social history to show how this preoccupation with public representation met the challenge of dealing with the aftermath of Cromwell's interregnum and Charles II's restoration, and how the irrevocably changed cultural landscape was navigated by the sometimes astute yet equally fallible Stuart monarchs and their successors.
|Publisher:||Yale University Press|
|Product dimensions:||6.70(w) x 9.30(h) x 2.80(d)|
About the Author
The late Kevin Sharpe was Leverhulme Research Professor of Renaissance Studies at Queen Mary College, University of London. He was the author of The Personal Rule of Charles 1, Reading Revolutions, Selling the Tudor Monarchy, and Image Wars.
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THE RESTORATION AND REVOLUTION MONARCHY, 16601714
By KEVIN SHARPE
Yale UNIVERSITY PRESSCopyright © 2013 Estate of Kevin Sharpe
All rights reserved.
In 'A Panegyric Upon His Sacred Majesty's Most Happy Return', the poet Thomas Forde wrote in praise of the king:
You Conquered without Arms, your Words Win hearts, better than others Swords.
Flattering Charles's own sense that he had scripted his own restoration, Forde depicted the royal word as the victor over violence. In his dedication of his The Original and Growth of Printing to Charles in 1664, Richard Atkyns appropriated the scriptural text to make the same point: 'where the word of a king is there is power'. Talking and writing, however, had had no simple relationship to authority. After the noisy debates of his father's reign, Charles I had preferred a silence from which only the necessities of civil war had drawn him. After the Babel of civil war, Charles II may have been inclined to his father's preference: he referred to his own reluctance to write at length, and it may be that the translation of A Philosophical Discourse Concerning Speech in 1668 had the English as well as French king in mind when the translator referred to 'the prudence you have to be silent'. Charles II did not choose to repeat himself at length or at large in speech. But recognizing, with Hobbes, that the force of 'the word of a king' (as the Declaration of Breda put it) was an essential attribute of sovereign authority, Charles regularly spoke to his parliaments and to his people, and his speeches, throughout his reign, many of them printed, were directed at the maintenance as well as representation of that authority. Because those speeches were central both to Charles's self-presentation and to how others saw him, I shall analyze them across the reign, paying attention to how the king adjusted his words to shifting circumstances.
Charles's first major speech to his parliament, to the House of Lords on 27 July 1660, concerned a matter of vital import to him and was delivered at a critical moment. Royalist and Presbyterian MPs, eager for revenge against their enemies, proved reluctant to pass the Act of Indemnity which Charles regarded as essential to his honour (the upholding of his word given at Breda) and to the stability of a peaceful settlement. After royal promptings eventually pushed the bill through the Commons, Charles addressed the Lords in a speech published to the nation, with a large royal arms on the title page. It was to the nation as much as the house that Charles reaffirmed, lest any began to fear the contrary, that 'I have the same intentions and resolutions now I am here with you which I had at Breda.' Thanking the Lords diplomatically for their persecution of regicides, Charles explained, lest any had read Breda as mere rhetoric, that 'I never thought of excepting any other'; and he proceeded to justify indemnity as the best interest of the nation. 'This mercy and indulgence,' he began in the language of virtuous princes, 'is the best way to bring them to a true repentance.' But widening the argument beyond his own concerns, he continued: 'it will make them good subjects to me and good friends and neighbours to you and we have then all our end ... the surest expedient to prevent future mischief'. The clever use of the first-person plural pronouns, the invocation of peace and unity, but also the reminder of the risk of renewed conflict were carefully combined to construct the platform of Restoration: restored regal government over all subjects, former Parliamentarians as well as Royalists. Giving his consent to the Act he had secured on 29 August, Charles took the occasion of a speech to both houses to assert his severity now against any who refused his clemency, and his love for all others. 'Never king,' he told them, in strains that not for the last time echo Queen Elizabeth's speeches, 'valued himself more upon the affections of his people than I do; nor do I know a better way to make myself sure of your affections than by being just and kind to you all.' In turn, the king felt, he told his auditors, 'so confident of your affections that I will not move you in anything that ... relates to myself' – though references to debts, the expenses, disbandment money and the Poll Bill meant that he did not pass entirely over his own needs. Even here, however, in a delightful and masterly close, Charles bemoaned not his own wants: 'that which troubles me most,' he told them, 'is to see many of you come to me to Whitehall and to think that you must go somewhere else to seek your dinner'. It is hardly surprising that the disarming reference, a reminder of the fitting bounty of a king but with all the familiarity of friends invited to supper, prompted a vote of supplies which, for all that it did not fall out so in practice, was reckoned to provide a handsome revenue for the crown.
Interestingly, as the foundation of settlement began to be laid, Charles began a different pattern of address to his parliaments: a brief personal speech followed by a longer, explanatory gloss by either his Lord Chancellor (and long time penman) Edward Hyde or subsequent Lord Keepers. Addressing both houses on 13 September, Charles, who even in adversity had taken pains over such gestures of gratitude, expressed his thanks for all the parliament had done for the king and kingdom, not least in a grant of supply of which, again with a flourish reminiscent of Elizabeth, he promised 'I will not apply one penny of that money to my own particular occasions ... till it is evident to me that the public will not stand in need of it'. Expressing a due concern that they now give attention to restoring parliament to its 'ancient rules and order', Charles handed over to Clarendon to speak in his name. Ventriloquizing and reinforcing royal injunctions to peace and unity, in church as well as state, Clarendon urged his audience to follow the king's example and 'learn this excellent art of forgetfulness' so as not to reanimate divisions. In an astonishingly hedged clause, he noted 'You know kings are in some sense called Gods' and, like God, the king extended his heart to all. Then, moving to a rather different rhetoric, the Chancellor, underpinning the king's commitment to the 'public good', announced the royal intentions to establish a Council of Trade and another for the Plantations, very much in the spirit of Protectorial initiatives. His speech closed with an adage of the king's 'own prescribing': 'continue all the ways imaginable for our own happiness and you will make him the best pleased and the most happy prince in the world'. As the last words before a recess, one can hardly better them for instilling the 'feel good factor' on which Charles knew the stability of his throne yet depended.
Three months later, in December 1660, Charles was to address his first parliament – strictly speaking a Convention rather than a parliament – for the last time as, having resettled crown and kingdom, it had done its immediate work and the realm could await a normal assembly duly summoned by royal writ. The king's tone was fittingly personal and his speech full of first- person pronouns. And as well as a valedictory thanks to one assembly, it was spoken to future MPs and to the political nation. 'All I have to say,' Charles told both houses, promising brevity, 'is to give you thanks'; but, once more like Elizabeth denying any oratorical skills, the king regretted his deficiency in expressing the thanks he felt: 'ordinary thanks for ordinary civilities are easily given. But when the heart is as full as mine is', he opened himself to his auditors, 'it cannot be easy for me to express the sense I have of it.' The king had met them 'with an extraordinary affection and esteem for parliament', but they had enhanced it. To those who might be concerned about a Convention that some might not remember as a true parliament, Charles promised them a place in history: 'let us all resolve that this be for ever called "the Healing and Blessed Parliament"'. Announcing that he would soon meet many of them again, Charles assured them that they would, even in absence, remain his counsel and guide. 'What', he would ask himself at every decision, he assured them, 'is a parliament like to think of this action or this council?' Even, briefly without parliament, Charles II announced himself as always a king with parliament.
True to his word, Charles did not waste much time summoning his second parliament. But as he addressed it on 8 May 1661, the king opened with a half- apology that was also a clever reminder to newly elected MPs of the miracle of Restoration that had taken place exactly a year ago. Acknowledging that the assembly might have met a week earlier, Charles relished the fact that parliament had been delayed until the anniversary of his proclamation as king and noted 'the great affection of the whole kingdom' manifest on that day. 'I dare swear,' he half admonished, half flattered the MPs, 'you are full of the same spirit.' Personalizing the formality of the occasion and adding intimacy to the rhetoric of unity, Charles noted: 'I think there are not many of you who are not particularly known to me' and few, he added, about whom he had not heard such good testimony as to be confident of all their good endeavours for 'the peace, plenty and prosperity of the nation'. Turning to business, Charles presented them with two bills for their confirmation from (the possessive pronoun implicates them fully in the deeds of the last session) 'our last meeting'. Above all he again pressed the Act of Indemnity as the 'principal cornerstone' of 'our joint and common security' and made it a test of personal loyalty that they enforce it. The king then closed by confiding in them with news, indeed admitting his parliament to the most personal of state affairs: his deliberations over marriage and his choice of Catherine of Portugal as a bride. This, he made clear, had been no single personal decision; the king would not without advice, he observed, 'resolve anything of public importance'. Privy Council concurrence he took as 'some instance of the approbation of God himself'. Then, having advertised himself as a king of counsel, Charles sat down to leave his Chancellor to gloss his remarks.
Clarendon, taking up the theme of advice, reminded the houses that Charles had from Breda referred all to parliament, and the Convention ('called by God himself') had honoured the trust, as it was for their successors to do. To the new members, 'the great Physicians of the kingdom', the Chancellor commended the Act of Indemnity and measures to settle the public debts and the king's revenues. Warning them of seditious preachers who still vented their poisonous doctrines and of the late rebellion (by Thomas Venner and the Fifth Monarchists) in the city, Clarendon urged them to act to secure the preservation of a nation and a king who, as his marriage deliberations had demonstrated, 'took so great care for the good ... of his people'. Emphasizing the considerations of trade that weighed, along with the advancement of the Protestant religion, on the king's mind, the Chancellor again stressed the lengths Charles had gone to heed advice and closed reiterating how the king 'hath deserved all your thanks' for the matter and the manner: the choice of bride and the process of choosing. The royal marriage (even to a Catholic bride) manifested the king's love for his people and his concern for the interests of the nation.
So commenced a long relationship with a parliament that was not to be dissolved for eighteen years – a relationship shaped in large part by the king's words and responses to them. Though the parliament began as a staunchly loyal body, the elections had resulted in an aggressively Cavalier Commons that was more inclined to pursue vendettas than to follow Charles's preference for moderate courses in church and state. In his speeches Charles then skilfully had to woo and win the house (which early on set about pursuing more regicides), to persuade MPs to drop proceedings, and to pass a new Act of Oblivion; and, when he met with them, he judged well the occasion for thanks and reassurance. 'Let us,' he urged them in rhetoric very familiar to our jaded modern ears, 'look forward, and not backward.' Only unity and affection for each other would secure the public peace against the disaffected and advance the nation abroad. Presenting settlement and oblivion as the way to future greatness, the king obtained his bills before the summer adjournment at which he assured members returning to their counties that 'you cannot but be very welcome for the services you have performed here', and adjourned them until November, when 'we shall come happily together again'.
When the houses reconvened in November 1661, Charles was faced with the pressing need to plead his own case, while not appearing to pursue his self-interest. His opening congratulations to a parliament, now fully constituted of Lords spiritual as well as temporal and Commons, set the mood. Then adeptly Charles denied any necessity to ask anything for himself when he knew that, left to themselves, members would do all for his good. No, he insisted, it was not his particular need that brought him before them with a plea, but 'as I am concerned in the public'. The revenue of the crown, he told them, was 'for the interest, honour and security of the nation' – for the fleet and its provisions. Subtly alluding perhaps to earlier quarrels that had beset his father's levy of ship money, as well as acknowledging a new world in which even divine kingship was open to scrutiny and suspicion, Charles invited the house to 'thoroughly examine whether these necessities be real or imaginary', or whether the consequence of private royal profligacy rather than public need. In an extraordinary gesture, he offered a 'full inspection into my revenue' that, he claimed, would dispel any false rumours of extravagance. For all the traditional rhetoric of the unity of king, parliament and nation, Charles II's speech early on in his own first parliament suggests – and helped to construct – a new openness, a new pragmatism, a different style of monarchy that was to emerge alongside the old discourses and symbols of state. In parliament, while rhetorically denying the need to do so, Charles understood that, more than his predecessors, he must argue and justify his case.
The address set the tone for subsequent speeches to the house: expressions of mutual affection, a recognition of their care, and pleas for supply and expedition, 'to advance the public service', when the Commons got bogged down with private bills. As weeks and months passed, on 10 January 1662 Charles reminded new MPs of the 'miserable effects' caused by the necessities of the crown in the recent past, and warned them of a still-present republican threat that only a strong monarchy could quell. Turning to their own concerns and discontents, Charles diplomatically thanked them for their solicitude with regard to the church, and – though he sensibly did not name it – his preferred policy of toleration. In a newly familiar vein, the king light-heartedly indulged a personal reference: 'I have the worst luck in the world,' he quipped, 'if after all the reproaches of being a papist whilst I was abroad, I am suspected of being a Presbyterian now I am come home'. Charles asserted his devotion to the Book of Common Prayer and to uniformity which he had commended to the Lords; what he yet favoured, he told them by way of qualification, was 'prudence and discretion and the absence of all passion'. Despatching the MPs, Charles closed with a reminder of the impending arrival of his betrothed and the major business of the spring, his marriage.
Excerpted from REBRANDING RULE by KEVIN SHARPE. Copyright © 2013 by Estate of Kevin Sharpe. Excerpted by permission of Yale UNIVERSITY PRESS.
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Table of Contents
List of Illustrations vii
Preface and Acknowledgements xvi
Introduction: Representing Restored Monarchy 1
I Re-presenting and Reconstituting Kingship 9
1 Rewriting Royalty 11
2 Redrawing Regality 94
3 Rituals of Restored Majesty 148
4 A Changed Culture, Divided Kingdom and Contested Kingship 194
II Confessional Kingship? Representations of James II 223
Prologue: A King Represented and Misrepresented 225
5 A King of Many Words 227
6 A Popish Face? Images of James II 265
7 Staging Catholic Kingship 287
8 Countering 'Catholic Kingship' and Contesting Revolution 308
III Representing Revolution 341
Prologue: An Image Revolution? 343
9 Scripting the Revolution 353
10 Figuring Revolution 409
11 A King off the Stage 449
12 Rival Representations 481
IV Representing Stuart Queenship 507
Prologue: Semper Eadem? Queen Anne 509
13 A Stuart's Words: Queen Anne and the Scripts of Post-Revolution Monarchy 515
14 Re-Depicting Female Rule: The Image of the Queen 578
15 Stuart Rituals: Queen Anne and the Performance of Monarchy 616
16 Party Contest and the Queen 646