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  • 1916
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communication. The great canal of Languedoc, joining the Mediterranean with the Garonne River and thence with the Atlantic, was planned and constructed under his patronage. As far as possible, the duties on the passage of agricultural produce from province to province were equalized.

[Sidenote: Colbert and French Merchantilism]

In forwarding what he believed to be his own class interests, Colbert was especially zealous. Manufactures and commerce were fostered in every way he could devise. New industries were established, inventors protected, workmen invited from foreign countries, native workmen prohibited to leave France. A heavy tariff was placed upon foreign imports in order to protect “infant industries” and increase the gain of French manufacturers and traders. Liberal bounties were allowed to French ships engaged in commerce, and foreign ships were compelled to pay heavy tonnage duties for using French ports. And along with the protective tariff and subsidizing of the merchant marine, went other pet policies of mercantilism, [Footnote: See above, pp. 63 f.] such as measures to prevent the exportation of precious metals from France, to encourage corporations and monopolies, and to extend minute governmental supervision over the manufacture, quality, quantity, and sale of all commodities. What advantages accrued from Colbert’s efforts in this direction were more than offset by the unfortunate fact that the mercantile class was unduly enriched at the expense of other and numerically larger classes in the community, and that the centralized monarchy, in which the people had no part, proved itself unfit, in the long run, to oversee the details of business with wisdom or honesty.

[Sidenote: Colbert’s “World Policy”]

Stimulation of industry and commerce has usually necessitated the creation of a protecting navy. Colbert appreciated the requirement and hastened to fulfill it. He reconstructed the docks and arsenal of Toulon and established great ship-yards at Rochefort, Calais, Brest, and Havre. He fitted out a large royal navy that could compare favorably with that of England or Spain or Holland. To supply it with recruits he drafted seamen from the maritime provinces and resorted to the use of criminals, who were often chained to the galleys like so many slaves of the new industry.

Likewise, the adoption of the mercantile policy seemed to demand the acquisition of a colonial empire, in which the mother-country should enjoy a trade monopoly. So Colbert became a vigorous colonial minister. He purchased Martinique and Guadeloupe in the West Indies, encouraged settlements in San Domingo, in Canada, and in Louisiana, and set up important posts in India, in Senegal, and in Madagascar. France, under Colbert, became a serious colonial competitor with her older European rivals.

Colbert was essentially a financier and economist. But to the arts of peace, which adorned the reign of Louis XIV, he was a potent contributor. He strengthened the French Academy, which had been founded by Richelieu, and himself established the Academy of Sciences, now called the Institute of France, and the great astronomical observatory at Paris. He pensioned many writers, and attracted foreign artists and scientists to France. Many buildings and triumphal arches were erected under his patronage.

[Sidenote: Louvois and French Militarism under Louis XIV]

In the arts of war, Louis XIV possessed an equally able and hard- working assistant. Louvois (1641-1691) was one of the greatest war ministers that the world has ever seen. He recruited and supported the largest and finest standing army of his day. He introduced severe regulations and discipline. He prescribed, for the first time in history, a distinctive military uniform and introduced the custom of marching in step. Under his supervision, camp life was placed upon a sanitary basis. And under his influence, promotion in the service no longer depended primarily on social position but upon merit as well. In Vauban (1633-1707), Louvois had the greatest military engineer in history–for it was Vauban who built those rows of superb fortifications on the northern and eastern frontiers of France. In Condé and Turenne, moreover, Louvois had first-class generals who could give immediate effect to his reforms and policies.

[Sidenote: Deceptive Character of the Glamour of the Age of Louis XIV]

Thus was the Grand Monarch well and faithfully served. Yet the outward show and glamour of his reign were very deceptive of the true internal conditions. Colbert tried to do too many things, with the result that his plans repeatedly miscarried. The nobles became more indolent, wasteful, and pleasure-loving, and the middle class more selfish and more devoted to their own class interests, while the lot of the peasantry,–the bulk of the nation,–despite the spasmodic efforts of the paternal government, steadily grew worse under the unrelieved burden of taxation. Then, too, the king was extravagant in maintaining his mistresses, his court, and his favorites. His excessive vanity had to be appeased by expensive entertainment and show. He preferred the spectacular but woeful feats of arms to the less pretentious but more solid triumphs of peace. Indeed, in course of time, Colbert found his influence with the king waning before that of Louvois, and when he died it was with the bitter thought that his financial retrenchment had been in vain, that his husbanded resources were being rapidly dissipated in foreign war. It was Louis’s wars that deprived his reign of true grandeur and paved the way for future disaster.

[Sidenote: Revocation of the Edict of Nantes, 1685]

Before turning our attention to the foreign wars of Louis XIV, mention must be made of another blot on his reign. It was Louis XIV who renewed the persecution of the Protestants. He was moved alike by the absolutist’s desire to secure complete uniformity throughout France and by the penitent’s religious fervor to make amends for earlier scandals of his private life. For a time he contented himself with so-called dragonnades–quartering licentious soldiers upon the Huguenots–but at length in 1685 he formally revoked the Edict of Nantes. France, which for almost a century had led Europe in the principle and practice of religious toleration, was henceforth reactionary. Huguenots were still granted liberty of conscience, but were denied freedom of worship and deprived of all civil rights in the kingdom. The immediate effect of this arbitrary and mistaken action was the emigration of large numbers of industrious and valuable citizens, who added materially to the political and economic life of England, Holland, and Prussia, the chief Protestant foes of France.


Louis XIV was not a soldier himself. He never appeared in military uniform or rode at the head of his troops. What he lacked, however, in personal genius as a great military commander, he compensated for in a genuine fondness for war and in remarkable personal gifts of diplomacy. He was one of the greatest diplomats of his age, and, as we have seen, he possessed large loyal armies and able generals that he could employ in prosecuting the traditional foreign policy of France.

[Sidenote: Traditional Foreign Policy of France]

This foreign policy, which had been pursued by Francis I, Henry II, Henry IV, Richelieu, and Mazarin, had for its goal the humiliation of the powerful Habsburgs, whether of Austria or of Spain. Although France had gained materially at their expense in the treaties of Westphalia and of the Pyrenees, much remained to be done by Louis XIV. When the Grand Monarch assumed direct control of affairs in 1661, the Spanish Habsburgs still ruled not only the peninsular kingdom south of France, but the Belgian Netherlands to the north, Franche Comte to the east, and Milan in northern Italy, while their kinsmen of Austria maintained shadowy imperial government over the rich Rhenish provinces on the northeastern boundary of France. France was still almost completely encircled by Habsburg holdings.

[Sidebar: Doctrine of “Natural Boundaries”]

To justify his subsequent aggressions, Louis XIV propounded the doctrine of “natural boundaries.” Every country, he maintained, should secure such frontiers as nature had obviously provided–mountains, lakes, or rivers; and France was naturally provided with the frontiers of ancient Gaul–the Pyrenees, the Alps, the Rhine River, and the Ocean. Any foreign monarch or state that claimed power within such frontiers was an interloper and should be expelled.

[Sidenote: The Wars of Louis XIV]

For many years, and in three great wars, Louis XIV endeavored, with some success, to reach the Rhine. These three wars–the War of Devolution, the Dutch War, and the War of the League of Augsburg–we shall now discuss. A fourth great war, directed toward the acquisition of the Spanish throne by the Bourbon family, will be treated separately on account of the wide and varied interests involved.

[Sidenote: The “War of Devolution”]

The War of Devolution was an attempt of Louis to gain the Spanish or Belgian Netherlands. It will be remembered that in accordance with the peace of the Pyrenees, Louis had married Maria Theresa, the eldest daughter of Philip IV of Spain. Now by a subsequent marriage Philip IV had had a son, a weak-bodied, half-witted prince, who came to the throne in 1665 as Charles II. Louis XIV at once took advantage of this turn of affairs to assert in behalf of his wife a claim to a portion of the Spanish inheritance. The claim was based on a curious custom which had prevailed in the inheritance of private property in the Netherlands, to the effect that children of a first marriage should inherit to the exclusion of those of a subsequent marriage. Louis insisted that this custom, called “devolution,” should be applied not only to private property but also to sovereignty and that his wife should be recognized, therefore, as sovereign of the Belgian Netherlands. In reality the claim was a pure invention, but the French king thought it would be a sufficient apology for the robbery of a weak brother-in-law.

Before opening hostilities, Louis XIV made use of his diplomatic wiles in order to guard himself against assistance which other states might render to Spain. In the first place, he obtained promises of friendly neutrality from Holland, Sweden, and the Protestant states of Germany which had been allied with France during the Thirty Years’ War. In the second place, he threatened to stir up another civil war in the Holy Roman Empire if the Austrian Habsburgs should help their Spanish kinsman. Finally, he had no fear of England because that country was in the midst of a peculiarly bitter trade war with the Dutch. [Footnote: It was on the eve of this second trade war between England and Holland (1665-1667) that the English took New Amsterdam from the Dutch (1664) and rechristened it New York, and during this struggle that the remarkable Dutch admiral, De Ruyter, burned the English fleet and shipping on the Thames (June, 1667).]

[Sidenote: The “Balance of Power”]

The War of Devolution lasted from 1667 to 1668. The well-disciplined and splendidly generaled armies of Louis XIV had no difficulty in occupying the border fortresses in the Spanish Netherlands. The whole territory would undoubtedly have fallen to France, had not a change unexpectedly occurred in international affairs. The trade war between England and Holland came to a speedy end, and the two former rivals now joined with Sweden in forming the Triple Alliance to arrest the war and to put a stop to the French advance. The “balance of power” demanded, said the allies, that the other European states should combine in order to prevent any one state from becoming too powerful. This plea for the “balance of power” was the reply to the French king’s plea for “natural boundaries.”

[Sidenote: Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle, 1668]

The threats of the Triple Alliance caused Louis XIV to negotiate the treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle, by which Spain surrendered to France an important section of territory in Flanders, including the fortified cities of Charleroi, Tournai, and Lille, but still retained the greater part of the Belgian Netherlands. The taste of the Grand Monarch was thereby whetted, but his appetite hardly appeased.

[Sidenote: Franco-Dutch Rivalry]

Louis blamed the Dutch for his rebuff. He was thoroughly alive to the fact that Holland would never take kindly to having powerful France as a near neighbor, and that French acquisition of the Belgian Netherlands, therefore, would always be opposed by the Dutch. Nor were wounded vanity and political considerations the only motives for the Grand Monarch’s second war, that against the Dutch. France, as well as England, was now becoming a commercial and colonial rival of Holland, and it seemed both to Louis XIV and to Colbert that the French middle class would be greatly benefited by breaking the trade monopolies of the Dutch. Louis’s second war was quite as much a trade war as a political conflict.

[Sidenote: Civil Strife in Holland]

First, Louis bent his energies to breaking up the Triple Alliance and isolating Holland. He took advantage of the political situation in England to arrange (1670) the secret treaty of Dover with Charles II, the king of that country: in return for a large pension, which should free him from reliance upon Parliament, the English king undertook to declare himself a Roman Catholic and to withdraw from the Triple Alliance. Liberal pensions likewise bought off the Swedish government. It seemed now as if Holland, alone and friendless, would have to endure a war with her powerful enemy. Nor was Holland in shape for a successful resistance. Ever since she had gained formal recognition of her independence (1648), she had been torn by civil strife. On one side, the head of the Orange family, who bore the title of stadholder, supported by the country districts, the nobles, the Calvinistic clergy, and the peasantry, hoped to consolidate the state and to establish an hereditary monarchy. On the other side, the aristocratic burghers and religious liberals, the townsfolk generally, found an able leader in the celebrated Grand Pensionary, John DeWitt (1625-1672), who sought to preserve the republic and the rights of the several provinces. For over twenty years, the latter party was in power, but as the young prince of Orange, William III, grew to maturity, signs were not lacking of a reaction in favor of his party.

[Sidenote: The Dutch War]

Under these circumstances, Louis XIV declared war against Holland in 1672. French troops at once occupied Lorraine on the pretext that its duke was plotting with the Dutch, and thence, proceeding down the Rhine, past Cologne, invaded Holland and threatened the prosperous city of Amsterdam. The Dutch people, in a frenzy of despair, murdered John DeWitt, whom they unjustly blamed for their reverses; and, at the order of the young William III, who now assumed supreme command, they cut the dykes and flooded a large part of northern Holland. The same expedient which had enabled them to expel the Spaniards in the War of Independence now stayed the victorious advance of the French.

The refusal of Louis XIV to accept the advantageous terms of peace offered by the Dutch aroused general apprehension throughout Europe. The Emperor Leopold and the Great Elector of Brandenburg made an offensive alliance with Holland, which subsequently was joined by Spain and several German states. The general struggle, thus precipitated, continued indeed with success for France. Turenne, by a brilliant victory, compelled the Great Elector to make peace. The emperor was defeated. The war was carried into the Spanish Netherlands and Franche Comté.

[Sidenote: Treaty of Nijmwegen, 1678]

But when at length the English Parliament compelled Charles II to adhere to the general anti-French alliance, Louis XIV thought it was time to make peace. As events proved, it was not Holland but Spain that had to pay the penalties of Louis’s second war. By the treaty of Nijmwegen, the former lost nothing, while the latter ceded to France the long-coveted province of Franche Comté and several strong fortresses in the Belgian Netherlands. France, moreover, continued to occupy the duchy of Lorraine.

[Sidenote: Effects of the Dutch War on France]

Thus, if Louis XIV had failed to punish the insolence of the Dutch, he had at least succeeded in extending the French frontiers one stage nearer the Rhine. He had become the greatest and most-feared monarch in Europe. Yet for these gains France paid heavily. The border provinces had been wasted by war. The treasury was empty, and the necessity of negotiating loans and increasing taxes put Colbert in despair. Turenne, the best general, had been killed late in the contest, and Condé, on account of ill health, was obliged to withdraw from active service.

Yet at the darker side of the picture, the Grand Monarch refused to look. He was puffed up with pride by his successes in war and diplomacy. Like many another vain, ambitious ruler, he felt that what economic grievances or social discontent might exist within his country could readily be forgotten or obscured in a blaze of foreign glory–in the splendor of ambassadors, the glint and din of arms, the grim shedding of human blood. Having picked the sanguinary path, and at first found pleasure therein, the Grand Monarch pursued it to an end bitter for his family and tragic for his people.

[Sidenote: The “Chambers of Reunion” and Further French Annexations]

No sooner was the Dutch War concluded than Louis XIV set out by a policy of trickery and diplomacy further to augment the French territories. The cessions, which the treaties of Westphalia and Nijmwegen guaranteed to France, had been made “with their dependencies.” It now occurred to Louis that doubtless in the old feudal days of the middle ages or early modern times some, if not all, of his new acquisitions had possessed feudal suzerainty over other towns or territories not yet incorporated into France. Although in most cases such ancient feudal ties had practically lapsed by the close of the seventeenth century, nevertheless the French king decided to reinvoke them in order, if possible, to add to his holdings. He accordingly constituted special courts, called “Chambers of Reunion,” composed of his own obedient judges, who were to decide what districts by right of ancient feudal usage should be annexed. So painstaking and minute were the investigations of these Chambers of Reunion that they adjudged to their own country, France, no less than twenty important towns of the Holy Roman Empire, including Luxemburg and Strassburg. Nothing seemed to prevent the prompt execution of these judgments by the French king. He had kept his army on a war footing. The king of England was again in his pay and his alliance. The emperor was hard pressed by an invasion of the Ottoman Turks. Armed imperial resistance at Strassburg was quickly overcome (1681), and Vauban, the great engineer, proceeded to make that city the chief French fortress upon the Rhine. A weak effort of the Spanish monarch to protect Luxemburg from French aggression was doomed to dismal failure (1684).

[Sidenote: War of the League of Augsburg or of the Palatinate]

Alarmed by the steady advance of French power, the Emperor Leopold in 1686 succeeded in forming the League of Augsburg with Spain, Sweden, and several German princes, in order to preserve the territorial integrity of the Holy Roman Empire. Nor was it long before the League of Augsburg was called upon to resist further encroachments of the French king. In 1688 Louis dispatched a large army into the Rhenish Palatinate to enforce a preposterous claim which he had advanced to that valuable district. The war which resulted was Louis’s third struggle, and has been variously styled the War of the League of Augsburg or the War of the Palatinate. In America, where it was to be paralleled by an opening conflict between French and English colonists, it has been known as King William’s War.

[Sidenote: William III, Stadholder of Holland and King of England]

In his first two wars, Louis XIV could count upon the neutrality, if not the friendly aid, of the English. Their king was dependent upon him for financial support in maintaining an absolutist government. Their influential commercial and trading classes, who still suffered more from Dutch than from French rivalry, displayed no anxiety to mix unduly in the dynastic conflicts on the Continent. Louis had an idea that he could count upon the continuation of the same English policy; he was certainly on good terms with the English king, James II (1685-1688). But the deciding factor in England and in the war was destined to be not the subservient James II but the implacable William III. This William III, [Footnote: William III (1650-1702), Dutch stadholder in 1672 and British king in 1689.] as stadholder of Holland, had long been a stubborn opponent of Louis XIV on the Continent; he had repeatedly displayed his ability as a warrior and as a cool, crafty schemer. Through his marriage with the princess Mary, elder daughter of James II, he now managed adroitly to ingratiate himself with the Protestant, parliamentary, and commercial parties in England that were opposing the Catholic, absolutist, and tyrannical policies of James.

We shall presently see that the English Revolution of 1688, which drove James II into exile, was a decisive step in the establishment of constitutional government in England. It was likewise of supreme importance in its effects upon the foreign policy of Louis XIV, for it called to the English throne the son-in-law of James, William III, the stadholder of Holland and arch enemy of the French king.

[Sidenote: Beginning of a new Hundred Years’ War between France and England]

England, under the guidance of her new sovereign, promptly joined the League of Augsburg, and declared war against France. Trade rivalries between Holland and England were in large part composed, and the colonial empires of the two states, now united under a joint ruler, naturally came into conflict with the colonial empire of France. Thus, in addition to the difficulties which the Bourbons encountered in promoting their dynastic interests on the continent of Europe, they were henceforth confronted by a vast colonial and commercial struggle with England. It was the beginning of a Hundred Years’ War that was to be fought for the mastery of India and America.

Louis XIV never seemed to appreciate the importance of the colonial side of the contest. He was too much engrossed in his ambition of stretching French boundaries to the Rhine. So in discussing the War of the League of Augsburg as well as the subsequent War of the Spanish Succession, we shall devote our attention in this chapter primarily to the European and dynastic elements, reserving the account of the parallel colonial struggle to a later chapter on the “World Conflict of France and Great Britain.”

The War of the League of Augsburg, Louis’ third war, lasted from 1689 to 1697. Notwithstanding the loss of Turenne and Condé, the splendidly organized French armies were able to hold the allies at bay and to save their country from invasion. They even won several victories on the frontier. But on the sea, the struggle was less successful for Louis, and a French expedition to Ireland in favor of James II proved disastrous. After many years of strife, ruinous to all the combatants, the Grand Monarch sued for peace.

[Sidenote: The Treaty of Ryswick, 1697]

By the treaty of Ryswick, which concluded the War of the League of Augsburg, Louis XIV (1) surrendered nearly all the places adjudged to him by the Chambers of Reunion, except Strassburg; (2) allowed the Dutch to garrison the chief fortresses in the Spanish Netherlands as a “barrier” against French aggression; (3) granted the Dutch a favorable commercial treaty; (4) restored Lorraine to its duke; (5) abandoned his claim to the Palatinate; (6) acknowledged William III as king of England and promised to support no attempt against his throne. Thus, the French king lost no territory,–in fact, he obtained full recognition of his ownership of the whole province of Alsace,–but his reputation and vanity had been uncomfortably wounded.


One of the main reasons that prompted Louis XIV to sue for peace and to abandon his claims on Lorraine and the Palatinate was the rapid physical decline of the inglorious Spanish monarch, Charles II, of whose enormous possessions the French king hoped by diplomacy and intrigue to secure valuable portions.

[Sidenote: The Spanish Inheritance]

Spain was still a great power. Under its crown were gathered not only the ancient kingdoms of Castile, Aragon, and Navarre in the Spanish peninsula, but the greater part of the Belgian Netherlands, and in Italy the kingdom of the Two Sicilies, the duchy of Milan, and the control of Tuscany, as well as the huge colonial empire in America and the Philippines. At the time when kings were absolute rulers and reckoned their territories as personal possessions, much depended upon the royal succession.

[Sidenote: The Spanish Succession]

Now it happened that the Spanish Habsburgs were dying out in the male line. Charles II was himself without children or brothers. Of his sisters, the elder was the wife of Louis XIV and the younger was married to the Emperor Leopold, the heir of the Austrian Habsburgs. Louis XIV had renounced by the peace of the Pyrenees (1659) all claims to the Spanish throne on condition that a large dowry be paid him, but the impoverished state of the Spanish exchequer had prevented the payment of the dowry. Louis, therefore, might lay claim to the whole inheritance of Charles II and entertain the hope of seeing the Bourbons supplant the Habsburgs in some of the fairest lands of Christendom. In opposition to the French contention, the emperor was properly moved by family pride to put forth the claim of his wife and that of himself as the nearest male relative of the Spanish king. If the contention of Leopold were sustained, a single Habsburg ruler might once more unite an empire as vast as that which the Emperor Charles V had once ruled. On the other side, if the ambition of Louis XIV were realized, a new and formidable Bourbon empire would be erected. In either case the European “balance of power” would be destroyed.

[Sidenote: Commercial and Colonial Complications]

Bound up with the political problem in Europe were grave commercial and colonial questions. According to the mercantilist theories that flourished throughout the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, every country which possessed colonies should reserve trade privileges with them exclusively to its own citizens. So long as France and Spain were separate and each was only moderately powerful, their commercial rivals, notably England and Holland, might hope to gain special trade- concessions from time to time in French or Spanish colonies. But once the colonial empires of France and Spain were united under a joint ruler, such a vast monopoly would be created as would effectually prevent the expansion of English or Dutch commerce while it heightened the economic prosperity of the Bourbon subjects.

[Sidenote: Attempts to Partition the Spanish Inheritance]

It was natural, therefore, that William III, as stadholder of Holland and king of England, should hold the balance of power between the Austrian Habsburgs and the French Bourbons. Both the claimants appreciated this fact and understood that neither would be allowed peacefully to appropriate the entire Spanish inheritance. In fact, several “partition treaties” were patched up between Louis and William III, with a view to maintaining the balance of power and preventing either France or Austria from unduly increasing its power. But flaws were repeatedly found in the treaties, and, as time went on, the problem grew more vexatious. After the conclusion of the peace of Ryswick, Louis XIV was absorbed in the game of dividing the property of the dying Spanish king. One of the very greatest triumphs of Louis’ diplomatic art was the way in which he ingratiated himself in Spanish favor. It must be remembered that it was Spain which the Grand Monarch had attacked and despoiled in his earlier wars of aggrandizement, and neither the Spanish court nor the Spanish people could have many patriotic motives for loving him. Yet such was his tact and his finesse that within three years after the treaty of Ryswick he had secured the respect of the feeble Charles II and the gratitude of the Spanish people.

[Sidenote: Will of Charles II of Spain in Favor of the French Bourbons]

A month before his pitiful death (1700), Charles II, the last of the Spanish Habsburgs, summoned all his strength and dictated a will that awarded his whole inheritance to Philip of Anjou, the grandson of Louis XIV, with the resolute proviso that under no circumstances should the Spanish possessions be dismembered. When the news reached Versailles, the Grand Monarch hesitated. He knew that acceptance meant war at least with Austria, probably with England. Perhaps he thought of the wretched condition into which his other wars had plunged his people.

[Sidenote: Acceptance of the Will by Louis XIV]

Hesitation was but an interlude. Ambition triumphed over fear, and the glory of the royal family over the welfare of France. In the great hall of mirrors at Versailles, the Grand Monarch heralded his grandson as Philip V, the first Bourbon king of Spain. And when Philip, left for Madrid, his now aged grandfather kissed him, and the Spanish ambassador exultantly declared that “the Pyrenees no longer exist.”

Anticipating the inevitable outbreak of hostilities, Louis proceeded to violate the treaty of Ryswick by seizing the “barrier” fortresses from the Dutch and by recognizing the son of James II as king of England. He then made hasty alliances with Bavaria and Savoy, and called out the combined armies of France and Spain.

[Sidenote: The Grand Alliance against the Bourbons]

Meanwhile, William III and the Emperor Leopold formed the Grand Alliance, to which at first England, Holland, Austria, and the German electors of Brandenburg-Prussia, Hanover, and the Palatinate adhered. Subsequently, Portugal, by means of a favorable commercial treaty with England,[Footnote: The “Methuen Treaty” (1703).] was induced to join the alliance, and the duke of Savoy abandoned France in favor of Austria with the understanding that his country should be recognized as a kingdom. The allies demanded that the Spanish crown should pass to the Archduke Charles, the grandson of the emperor, that Spanish trade monopolies should be broken, and that the power of the French king should be curtailed.

[Sidenote: The War of the Spanish Succession]

The War of the Spanish Succession–the fourth and final war of Louis XIV–lasted from 1702 to 1713. Although William III died at its very commencement, he was certain that it would be vigorously pushed by the English government of his sister-in-law, Queen Anne (1702-1714). The bitter struggle on the high seas and in the colonies, where it was known as Queen Anne’s War, will be treated in another place. [Footnote: See below, p. 308.] The military campaigns in Europe were on a larger scale than had hitherto been known. Fighting was carried on in the Netherlands, in the southern Germanies, in Italy, and in Spain.

The tide of war turned steadily for several years against the Bourbons. The allies possessed the ablest generals of the time in the duke of Marlborough (1650-1722), the conscientious self-possessed English commander, and in the skillful and daring Prince Eugene of Savoy (1663- 1736). The great battle of Blenheim (1704) drove the French from the Holy Roman Empire, and the capture of Gibraltar (1704) gave England a foothold in Spain and a naval base for the Mediterranean. Prince Eugene crowded the French out of Italy (1706); and by the victories of Ramillies (1706), Oudenarde (1708), and Malplaquet (1709), Marlborough cleared the Netherlands. On land and sea one reverse followed another. The allies at length were advancing on French soil. It appeared inevitable that they would settle peace at Paris on their own terms.

Then it was that Louis XIV displayed an energy and devotion worthy of a better cause. He appealed straight to the patriotism of his people. He set an example of untiring application to toil. Nor was he disappointed in his expectations. New recruits hurried to the front; rich and poor poured in their contributions; a supreme effort was made to stay the advancing enemy.

The fact that Louis XIV was not worse punished was due to this remarkable uprising of the French and Spanish nations and likewise to dissensions among the allies. A change of ministry in England led to the disgrace and retirement of the duke of Marlborough and made that country lukewarm in prosecuting the war. Then, too, the unexpected accession of the Archduke Charles to the imperial and Austrian thrones (1711) now rendered the claims of the allies’ candidate for the Spanish throne as menacing to the European balance of power as would be the recognition of the French claimant, Philip of Bourbon.

These circumstances made possible the conclusion of the peace of Utrecht, with the following major provisions:

[Sidenote: The Peace of Utrecht 1713-1714]

(1) Philip V, grandson of Louis XIV, was acknowledged king of Spain and the Indies, on condition that the crowns of France and Spain should never be united. (2) The Austrian Habsburgs were indemnified by securing Naples, Sardinia, [Footnote: By the treaty of London (1720), Austria exchanged Sardinia for Sicily.] Milan, and the Belgian Netherlands. The last-named, which had been called the Spanish Netherlands since the days of Philip II, were henceforth for a century styled the Austrian Netherlands.

(3) England received the lion’s share of the spoils. She obtained Newfoundland, Acadia (Nova Scotia), and Hudson Bay from France, and Gibraltar and Minorca from Spain. She also secured a preferential tariff for her imports into the great port of Cadiz, the monopoly of the slave trade, and the right of sending one ship of merchandise a year to the Spanish colonies. France promised not to assist the Stuarts in their attempts to regain the English throne.

(4) The Dutch recovered the “barrier” fortresses and for garrisoning them were promised financial aid by Austria. The Dutch were also allowed to establish a trade monopoly on the River Scheldt.

(5) The elector of Brandenburg was acknowledged king of Prussia, an important step In the fortunes of the Hohenzollern family which at the present time reigns in Germany.

(6) The duchy of Savoy was recognized similarly as a kingdom and was given the island of Sicily. [Footnote: The title of king was recognized by the emperor only in 1720, when Savoy exchanged Sicily for Sardinia. Henceforth the kingdom of Savoy was usually referred to as the kingdom of Sardinia.] From the house of Savoy has descended the reigning sovereign of present-day Italy.

[Sidenote: Significance of the Settlement of Utrecht]

The peace of Utrecht marked the cessation of a long conflict between Spanish Habsburgs and French Bourbons. For nearly a century thereafter both France and Spain pursued similar foreign policies for the common interests of the Bourbon family. Bourbon sovereigns have continued, with few interruptions, to reign in Spain to the present moment.

The Habsburg influence, however, remained paramount in Austria, in the Holy Roman Empire, in Italy, and in the Belgian Netherlands. It was against this predominance that the Bourbons were to direct their dynastic policies throughout the greater part of the eighteenth century.

The peace of Utrecht likewise marked the rise of English power upon the seas and the gradual elimination of France as a successful competitor in the race for colonial mastery. Two states also came into prominence upon the continent of Europe–Prussia and Savoy–about which the new German Empire and the unified Italian Kingdom were respectively to be builded.

[Sidenote: Last Years of the Grand Monarch]

While France was shorn of none of her European conquests, nevertheless the War of the Spanish Succession was exceedingly disastrous for that country. In its wake came famine and pestilence, excessive imposts and taxes, official debasement of the currency, and bankruptcy–a long line of social and economic disorders. Louis XIV survived the treaty of Utrecht but two years, and to such depths had his prestige and glory fallen among his own people, that his corpse, as it passed along the royal road to the stately tombs of the French kings at St. Denis, “was saluted by the curses of a noisy crowd sitting in the wine-rooms, celebrating his death by drinking more than their fill as a compensation for having suffered too much from hunger during his lifetime. Such was the coarse but true epitaph which popular opinion accorded to the Grand Monarch.”

[Sidenote: Misgovernment of France during Minority of Louis XV]

Nor had the immediate future much better things in store for exhausted France. The successor upon the absolutist throne was Louis XV, great- grandson of Louis XIV and a boy of five years of age, who did not undertake to exercise personal power until near the middle of the eighteenth century. In the meantime the country was governed for about eight years by the king’s uncle, the duke of Orleans, and then for twenty years by Cardinal Fleury.

[Sidenote: John Law]

Orleans loved pleasure and gave himself to a life of debauchery; he cared little for the boy-king, whose education and training he grievously neglected. His foreign policy was weak and vacillating, and his several efforts to reform abuses in the political and economic institutions of Louis XIV invariably ended in failure. It was while experimenting with the disorganized finances that he was duped by a Scotch adventurer and promoter, a certain John Law (1671-1729). Law had an idea that a gigantic corporation might be formed for French colonial trade, [Footnote: Law’s corporation was actually important in the development of Louisiana.] shares might be widely sold throughout the country, and the proceeds therefrom utilized to wipe out the public debt. Orleans accepted the scheme and for a while the country went mad with the fever of speculation. In due time, however, the stock was discovered to be worthless, the bubble burst, and a terrible panic ensued. The net result was increased misery for the nation.

[Sidenote: Fleury and the War of the Polish Election]

The little sense which Orleans possessed was sufficient to keep him out of foreign war [Footnote: France was at peace throughout his regency, except for a brief time (1719-1720) when Orleans joined the British government in preventing his Spanish cousin, Philip V, from upsetting the treaty of Utrecht.] but even that was lacking to his successor, Cardinal Fleury. Fleury was dragged into a war (1733-1738) with Austria and Russia over the election of a Polish king. The allies supported the elector of Saxony; France supported a Pole, the father-in-law of Louis XV, Stanislaus Leszczinski. France was defeated and Louis XV had to content himself with securing the duchy of Lorraine for his father-in- law. Thus, family ambition merely added to the economic distress of the French people.

It was during the War of the Polish Election, however, that the Bourbon king of Spain, perceiving his rivals engaged elsewhere, seized the kingdom of the Two Sicilies from Austria and put a member of his own family on its throne. Thus, in the eighteenth century, the Bourbons dominated France, Spain, and southern Italy.




GENERAL. Brief accounts: J. H. Robinson and C. A. Beard, _The Development of Modern Europe_, Vol. I (1907), ch. i-iii; H. O. Wakeman, _The Ascendancy of France, 1598-1715_ (1894), ch. ix-xi, xiv, xv; A. H. Johnson, _The Age of the Enlightened Despot, 1660-1789_ (1910), ch i- iii, vi; J. H. Sacret, _Bourbon and Vasa, 1610-1715_ (1914), ch. viii- xii; Arthur Hassall, _Louis XIV and the Zenith of the French Monarchy_ (1897) in the “Heroes of the Nations” Series; H. T. Dyer, _A History of Modern Europe from the Fall of Constantinople_, 3d ed. rev. by Arthur Hassall (1901), ch. xxxvii, xxxix-xl, xlii-xliv; A. J. Grant, _The French Monarchy, 1483-1789_, Vol. II (1900), ch. x-xvi; G. W. Kitchin, _A History of France_, Vol. III (1899), Books V and VI, ch. i, ii; Victor Duruy, _History of Modern Times_, trans. and rev. by E. A. Grosvenor (1894), ch. xxi-xxiii. More detailed treatments: _Cambridge Modern History_, Vol. V (1908), ch. i-iii, vii-ix, xiii, xiv, Vol. VI (1909), ch. iv-vi; _Histoire générale_, Vol. VI, ch. iii-v, vii-ix, xii-xvi, xx, Vol. VII, ch. i-iii; _Histoire de France_, ed. by Ernest Lavisse, Vols. VII and VIII (1906-1909); _History of All Nations_, Vol. XIII, _The Age of Louis XIV_, by Martin Philippson.

DOMESTIC AFFAIRS OF FRANCE. Cécile Hugon, _Social France in the Seventeenth Century_ (1911), popular, suggestive, and well- illustrated. On Colbert: A. J. Sargent, _Economic Policy of Colbert_ (1899); S. L. Mims, _Colbert’s West India Policy_ (1912); Émile Levasseur, _Histoire des classes ouvrières et de l’industrie en France avant 1789_, Vol. II (1901), Book VI; Pierre Clément (editor), _Lettres, Instructions et Mémoires de Colbert_, 7 vols. in 9 (1861- 1873). H. M. Baird, _The Huguenots and the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes_, 2 vols. (1895), a detailed study by a warm partisan of the French Protestants. Among the numerous important sources for the reign of Louis XIV should be mentioned especially F. A. Isambert (editor), _Recueil général des anciennes lois_, Vols. XVIII-XX, containing significant statutes of the reign; G. B. Depping (editor), _Correspondance administrative sous le règne de Louis XIV_, 4 vols. (1850-1855), for the system of government; Arthur de Boislisle (editor), _Correspondance des contrôleurs généraux_, 2 vols., for the fiscal system. Voltaire’s brilliant _Age of Louis the Fourteenth_ has been translated into English; an authoritative history of French literature in the Age of Louis XIV is Louis Petit de Julleville (editor), _Histoire de la langue et de la littérature française_, Vol. V (1898). The best account of the minority of Louis XV is that of J. B. Perkins, _France under the Regency_ (1892); a brief summary is Arthur Hassall, _The Balance of Power, 1715-1789_ (1896), ch. i-iv.

FOREIGN WARS OF LOUIS XIV. On Louis XIV’s relations with the Dutch: P. J. Blok, _History of the People of the Netherlands_, Part IV, _Frederick Henry, John DeWitt, William III_, abridged Eng. trans. by O. A. Bierstadt (1907). On his relations with the empire: Ruth Putnam, _Alsace and Lorraine from Cæsar to Kaiser, 58 B.C.-1871 A.D._ (1914), a popular narrative; Franz Krones, _Handbuch der Geschichte Oesterreichs_, Vol. III, Book XVI, Vol. IV, Book XVII (1878), a standard German work. On his relations with Spain: M. A. S. Hume, _Spain, its Greatness and Decay, 1479-1788_ (1898), ch. ix- xiii. On Louis XIV’s relations with England: Osmund Airy, _The English Restoration and Louis XIV_ (1895), in the “Epochs of Modern History” Series; Sir J. R. Seeley, _The Growth of British Policy_, 2 vols. (1895), especially Vol. II, Parts IV and V; Earl Stanhope, _History of England, Comprising the Reign of Queen Anne until the Peace of Utrecht_ (1870), a rather dry account of the War of the Spanish Succession; G. J. (Viscount) Wolseley, _Life of John Churchill, Duke of Marlborough, to the Accession of Queen Anne_, 4th ed., 2 vols. (1894), an apology for Marlborough; J. S. Corbett, _England in the Mediterranean, 1603-1713_, Vol. II (1904), for English naval operations; J. W. Gerard, _The Peace of Utrecht_ (1885). On the diplomacy of the whole period: D. T. Hill, _History of Diplomacy in the International Development of Europe,_ Vol. III (1914), ch. i-iv, a clear outline; Emile Bourgeois, _Manuel historique de politique étrangère_, 4th ed., Vol. I (1906), ch. iii, iv, vii, ix, xiv; Arsène Legrelle, _La diplomatie française et la succession d’Espagne, 1659-1725_, 4 vols. (1888-1892), a minute study of an important phase of Louis XIV’s diplomacy; the text of the principal diplomatic documents is in course of publication at Paris (20 vols., 1884-1913) as the _Recueil des instructions données aux ambassadeurs et ministres de France depuis les traités de Westphalie jusqu’à la révolution française_.

MEMOIRS OF THE AGE OF LOUIS XIV. Among the multitudinous memoirs of the period, the most significant, from the standpoint of the general historian, are: Marquise de Sévigné, _Lettres_, delightful epistles relating mainly to the years 1670-1696, edited in fullest form for “Les grands écrivains de la France” by Monmerqué, 14 vols. (1862- 1868), selections of which have been translated into English by C. Syms (1898); Duc de Saint-Simon, _Mémoires_, the most celebrated of memoirs, dealing with many events of the years 1692-1723, gossipy and racily written but occasionally inaccurate and frequently partisan, edited many times–most recently and best for “Les grands écrivains de la France” by Arthur de Boislisle, 30 vols. (1879-1916), of which a much-abridged translation has been published in English, 4 vols.; Marquis de Dangeau, _Journal_, 19 vols. (1854-1882), written day by day, throughout the years 1684-1720, by a conscientious and well- informed member of the royal entourage; _Life and Letters of Charlotte Elizabeth_ (1889), select letters, trans. into English, of a German princess who married Louis XIV’s brother, of which the most complete French edition is that of Jaeglé, 3 vols. (1890). See also Comtesse de Puliga, _Madame de Sévigné, her Correspondents and Contemporaries_, 2 vols. (1873), and, for important collections of miscellaneous memoirs of the period, J. F. Michaud and J. J. F. Poujoulat, _Nouvelle collection des mémoires relatifs à l’histoire de France depuis le 13e siècle jusqu’à la fin du 18e siècle_, 34 vols. (1854), and Louis Lafaist and L. F. Danjou, _Archives curieuses de l’histoire de France_, 27 vols. (1834-1840).




Through all the wars of dynastic rivalry which have been traced in the two preceding chapters, we have noticed the increasing prestige of the powerful French monarchy, culminating in the reign of Louis XIV. We now turn to a nation which played but a minor rôle in the international rivalries of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Later, from 1689 to 1763, England was to engage in a tremendous colonial struggle with France. But from 1560 to 1689 England for the most part held herself aloof from the continental rivalries of Bourbons and Habsburgs, and never fought in earnest except against Philip II of Spain, who threatened England’s economic and political independence, and against the Dutch, who were England’s commercial rivals. While the continental states were engaged in dynastic quarrels, England was absorbed in a conflict between rival principles of domestic government–between constitutional parliamentary government and unlimited royal power. To the triumph of the parliamentary principle in England we owe many of our modern ideas and practices of constitutional government.

[Sidenote: Absolutism of the Tudors, 1485-1603]

Absolutism had reached its high-water mark in England long before the power and prestige of the French monarchy had culminated in the person of Louis XIV. In the sixteenth century–the very century in which the French sovereigns faced constant foreign war and chronic civil commotion–the Tudor rulers of England were gradually freeing themselves from reliance upon Parliament and were commanding the united support of the English nation. From the accession of Henry VII in 1485 to the death of his grand-daughter Elizabeth in 1603, the practice of absolutism, though not the theory of divine-right monarchy, seemed ever to be gaining ground.

How Tudor despotism was established and maintained is explained in part by reference to the personality of Henry VII and to the circumstances that brought him to the throne. [Footnote: For the character and main achievements of Henry VII (1485-1500), see above, pp. 4 ff.] It is also explicable by reference to historical developments in England throughout the sixteenth century. [Footnote: For the reigns of Henry VIII, Edward VI, Mary, and Elizabeth, see above, pp. 86, 97 ff., 150 ff.] As Henry VII humbled the nobility, so Henry VIII and Elizabeth subordinated the Church to the crown. And all the Tudors asserted their supremacy in the sphere of industry and commerce. By a law of 1503, the craft gilds had been obliged to obtain the approval of royal officers for whatever new ordinances the gilds might wish to make. In the first year of the reign of Edward VI the gilds were crippled by the loss of part of their property, which was confiscated under the pretext of religious reform. Elizabeth’s reign was notable for laws regulating apprenticeship, prescribing the terms of employment of laborers, providing that wages should be fixed by justices of the peace, and ordering vagabonds to be set to work. In the case of commerce, the royal power was exerted encouragingly, as when Henry VII negotiated the _Intercursus Magnus_ with the duke of Burgundy to gain admittance for English goods into the Netherlands, or chartered the “Merchant Adventurers” to carry on trade in English woolen cloth, or sent John Cabot to seek an Atlantic route to Asia; or as when Elizabeth countenanced and abetted explorers and privateers and smugglers and slave-traders in extending her country’s maritime power at the expense of Spain. All this meant that the strong hand of the English monarch had been laid upon commerce and industry as well as upon justice, finance, and religion.

The power of the Tudors had rested largely upon their popularity with the growing influential middle class. They had subdued sedition, had repelled the Armada, had fostered prosperity, and had been willing at times to cater to the whims of their subjects. They had faithfully personified national patriotism; and the English nation, in turn, had extolled them.

Yet despite this absolutist tradition of more than a century’s duration, England was destined in the seventeenth century to witness a long bitter struggle between royal and parliamentary factions, the beheading of one king and the exiling of another, and in the end the irrevocable rejection of the theory and practice of absolutist divine- right monarchy, and this at the very time when Louis XIV was holding majestic court at Versailles and all the lesser princes on the Continent were zealously patterning their proud words and boastful deeds after the model of the Grand Monarch. In that day a mere parliament was to become dominant in England.

[Sidenote: Accession of the Stuarts: James I, 1603-1625]

The death of Elizabeth, the last of the Tudors, and the accession (1603) of her cousin James, the first of the Stuarts, marked the real beginning of the struggle. When he was but a year old, this James had acquired through the deposition of his unfortunate mother, Mary Stuart, the crown of Scotland (1567), and had been proclaimed James VI in that disorderly and distracted country. The boy who was whipped by his tutor and kidnapped by his barons and browbeaten by Presbyterian divines learned to rule Scotland with a rod of iron and incidentally acquired such astonishing erudition, especially in theology, that the clever King Henry IV of France called him “the wisest fool in Christendom.” At the age of thirty-seven, this Scotchman succeeded to the throne of England as James I. “He was indeed,” says Macaulay, “made up of two men–a witty, well-read scholar who wrote, disputed, and harangued, and a nervous, driveling idiot who acted.”

[Sidenote: The Stuart Theory of Absolutist Divine-right Monarchy]

James was not content, like his Tudor predecessors, merely to be an absolute ruler in practice; he insisted also upon the theory of divine- right monarchy. Such a theory was carefully worked out by the pedantic Stuart king eighty years before Bishop Bossuet wrote his classic treatise on divine-right monarchy for the guidance of the young son of Louis XIV. To James it seemed quite clear that God had divinely ordained kings to rule, for had not Saul been anointed by Jehovah’s prophet, had not Peter and Paul urged Christians to obey their masters, and had not Christ Himself said, “Render unto Cæsar that which is Cæsar’s”? As the father corrects his children, so should the king correct his subjects. As the head directs the hands and feet, so must the king control the members of the body politic. Royal power was thus the most natural and the most effective instrument for suppressing anarchy and rebellion. James I summarized his idea of government in the famous Latin epigram, “_a deo rex, a rege lex_, “–“the king is from God, and law from the king.”

[Sidenote: Stuart Theory Opposed to Medieval English Tradition]

It has been remarked already [Footnote: See above, pp. 4-7] that in one important respect the past governmental evolution of England differed from that of France. While both countries in the sixteenth century followed absolutist tendencies, in France the medieval tradition of constitutional limitations upon the power of the king was far weaker than in England, with the result that in the seventeenth century the French accepted and consecrated absolutism while the English gave new force and life to their medieval tradition and practice of constitutional government.

[Sidenote: Restrictions on Royal Power in England: Magna Carta]

The tradition of English restrictions upon royal power centered in the old document of _Magna Carta_ and in an ancient institution called Parliament. _Magna Carta_ dated back, almost four centuries before King James, to the year 1215 when King John had been compelled by his rebellious barons to sign a long list of promises; that list was the “long charter” or _Magna Carta_, [Footnote: _Magna Carta_ was many times reissued after 1215.] and it was important in three respects. (1) It served as a constant reminder that “the people” of England had once risen in arms to defend their “rights” against a despotic king, although as a matter of fact _Magna Carta_ was more concerned with the rights of the feudal nobles (the barons) and of the clergy than with the rights of the common people. (2) Its most important provisions, by which the king could not levy extraordinary taxes on the nobles without the consent of the Great Council, furnished something of a basis for the idea of self-taxation. (3) Clauses such as “To no man will we sell, or deny, or delay, right or justice,” although never effectively enforced, established the idea that justice should not be sold, denied, or delayed.

[Sidenote: Parliament]

Parliament was a more or less representative assembly of clergy, nobility, and commoners, claiming to have powers of taxation and legislation. The beginnings of Parliament are traced back centuries before James I. There had been an advisory body of prelates and lords even before the Norman conquest (1066). After the conquest a somewhat similar assembly of the king’s chief feudal vassals–lay and ecclesiastical–had been called the Great Council, and its right to resist unjust taxation had been recognized by _Magna Carta_. Henceforth it had steadily acquired power. The “Provisions of Oxford” (1258) had provided, in addition, for “twelve honest men” to represent the “commonalty” and to “treat of the wants of the king; and the commonalty shall hold as established that which these men shall do.”

[Sidenote: House of Lords and House of Commons]

For the beginnings of the House of Commons we may go back to the thirteenth century. In 1254 the king summoned to Parliament not only the bishops, abbots, earls, and barons, but also two knights from every shire. Then, in an irregular Parliament, convened in 1265 by Simon de Montfort, a great baronial leader against the king, two burgesses from each of twenty-one towns for the first time sat with the others and helped to decide how their liberties were to be protected. These knights and burgesses were the elements from which the House of Commons was subsequently to be formed. Similar bodies met repeatedly in the next thirty years, and in 1295 Edward I called a “model Parliament” of archbishops, bishops, abbots, representative clergy, earls, and barons, two knights from every shire, and two citizens from each privileged city or borough,–more than four hundred in all. For some time after 1295 the clergy, nobility, and commoners [Footnote: _I.e._, the knights of the shires and the burgesses from the towns.] may have deliberated separately much as did the three “estates” in France. At any rate, early in the fourteenth century the lesser clergy dropped out, the greater prelates and nobles were fused into one body–the House of “Lords spiritual and temporal,”–and the knights joined the burgesses to form the House of Commons. Parliament was henceforth a bicameral body, consisting of a House of Commons and a House of Lords.

[Sidenote: Powers of Parliament: Taxation]

The primary function of Parliament was to give information to the king and to hear and grant his requests for new “subsidies” or direct taxes. The right to refuse grants was gradually assumed and legally recognized. As taxes on the middle class soon exceeded those on the clergy and nobility, it became customary in the fifteenth century for money bills to be introduced in the Commons, approved by the Lords, and signed by the king.

[Sidenote: Legislation]

The right to make laws had always been a royal prerogative, in theory at least. Parliament, however, soon utilized its financial control in order to obtain initiative in legislation. A threat of withholding subsidies had been an effective way of forcing Henry III to confirm _Magna Carta_ in 1225; it proved no less effective in securing royal enactment of later “petitions” for laws. In the fifteenth century legislation by “petition” was supplanted by legislation by “bill,” that is, introducing in either House of Parliament measures which, in form and language, were complete statutes and which became such by the united assent of Commons, Lords, and king. To this day English laws have continued to be made formally “by the King’s most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same.”

[Sidenote: Influence on Administration]

The right to demand an account of expenditures, to cause the removal of royal officers, to request the king to abandon unpopular policies, or otherwise to control administrative affairs, had occasionally been asserted by Parliament, but not consistently maintained.

[Sidenote: Parliament under the Tudors]

From what has been said, it will now be clear that the fulcrum of parliamentary power was control of finance. What had enabled the Tudors to incline toward absolutism was the fact that for more than a hundred years they had made themselves fairly independent of Parliament in matters of finance; and this they had done by means of economy, by careful collection of taxes, by irregular expedients, by confiscation of religious property, and by tampering with the currency. Parliament still met, however, but irregularly, and during Elizabeth’s reign it was in session on the average only three or four weeks of the year. Parliament still transacted business, but rarely differed with the monarch on matters of importance.

[Sidenote: James I and Parliament]

At the end of the Tudor period, then, we have an ancient tradition of constitutional, parliamentary government on the one hand, and a strong, practical, royal power on the other. The conflict between Parliament and king, which had been avoided by the tactful Tudors, soon began in earnest when James I ascended the throne in 1603, with his exaggerated notion of his own authority. James I was an extravagant monarch, and needed parliamentary subsidies, yet his own pedantic principles prevented him from humoring Parliament in any dream of power. The inevitable result was a conflict for political supremacy between Parliament and king. When Parliament refused him money, James resorted to the imposition of customs duties, grants of monopolies, sale of peerages, and the solicitation of “benevolences” (forced loans). Parliament promptly protested against such practices, as well as against his foreign and religious policies and against his absolute control of the appointment and operation of the judiciary. Parliament’s protests only increased the wrath of the king. The noisiest parliamentarians were imprisoned or sent home with royal scoldings. In 1621 the Commoners entered in their journal a “Great Protestation” against the king’s interference with their free right to discuss the affairs of the realm. This so angered the king that he tore the Protestation out of the journal and presently dissolved the intractable Parliament; but the quarrel continued, and James’s last Parliament had the audacity to impeach his lord treasurer.

[Sidenote: Political Dispute Complicated by Religious Difference] [Sidenote: Calvinists in England]
[Sidenote: The “Puritans”]

The political dispute was made more bitter by the co-existence of a religious conflict. James, educated as a devout Anglican, was naturally inclined to continue to uphold the compromise by which the Tudors had severed the English Church from the Roman Catholic hierarchy, yet had retained many forms of the Catholic Church and the episcopal organization by means of which the sovereign was able to control the Church. During Elizabeth’s reign, however, a large part of the middle class–the townsmen especially–and many of the lower clergy had come under the influence of Calvinistic teaching. [Footnote: On the doctrines of Calvinism, see above, pp. 139 ff., 156, 164 ff.] The movement was marked (1) by a virulent hatred for even the most trivial forms reminiscent of “popery,” as the Roman Catholic religion was called; and (2) by a tendency to place emphasis upon the spirit of the Old Testament as well as upon the precepts of the New. Along with austerity of manner, speech, dress, and fast-day observance, they revived much of the mercilessness with which the Israelites had conquered Canaan. The same men who held it a deadly sin to dance round a may-pole or to hang out holly on Christmas were later to experience a fierce and exalted pleasure in conquering New England from the heathen Indians. They knew neither self-indulgence nor compassion. Little wonder that Elizabeth feared men of such mold and used the episcopal administration of the Anglican Church to restrain them. Many of these so-called Puritans remained members of the Anglican Church and sought to reform it from within. But restraint only caused the more radical to condemn altogether the fabric of bishops and archbishops, and to advocate a presbyterian church. Others went still further and wished to separate from the Established Anglican Church into independent religious groups, and were therefore called Independents or Separatists.

[Sidenote: Hostility of James I to the Puritans]

These religious radicals, often grouped together as “Puritans,” were continually working against Elizabeth’s strict enforcement of Anglican orthodoxy. The accession of James was seized by them as an occasion for the presentation of a great petition for a modification of church government and ritual. The petition bore no fruit, however, and in a religious debate at Hampton Court in 1604 James made a brusque declaration that bishops like kings were set over the multitude by the hand of God, and, as for these Puritans who would do away with bishops, he would make them conform or “harry them out of the land.” From this time forth he insisted on conformity, and deprived many clergymen of their offices for refusing to subscribe to the regulations framed in 1604.

[Sidenote: Hatred of the Puritans for James I]

The hard rule of this monarch who claimed to govern by the will of God was rendered even more abhorrent to the stern Puritan moralists by reports of “drunken orgies” and horrible vices which made the royal court appear to be a veritable den of Satan. But worst of all was his suspected leaning towards “popery.” The Puritans had a passionate hatred for anything that even remotely suggested Roman Catholicism. Consequently it was not with extreme pleasure that they welcomed a king whose mother had been a Catholic, whose wife was suspected of harboring a priest, a ruler who at times openly exerted himself to obtain greater toleration for Roman Catholics and to maintain the Anglican ritual against Puritan modification. With growing alarm and resentment they learned that Catholic conspirators had plotted to blow up the houses of Parliament, and that in his foreign policy James was decidedly friendly to Catholic princes.

The cardinal points of James’s foreign policy,–union with Scotland, peace, and a Spanish alliance,–were all calculated to arouse antagonism. The English, having for centuries nourished enmity for their northern neighbors and perceiving no apparent advantage in close union, defeated the project of amalgamating the two kingdoms of England and Scotland. James’s policy of non-intervention in the Thirty Years’ War evoked bitter criticism; he was accused of favoring the Catholics and of deserting his son-in-law, the Protestant elector of the Palatinate. The most hotly contested point was, however, the Spanish policy. Time and time again, Parliament protested, but James pursued his plans, making peace with Spain, and negotiating for a marriage between his son Charles and the Infanta of Spain, and Prince Charles actually went to Spain to court the daughter of Philip III.

[Sidenote: Interconnection of Puritanism, Commercialism, and Parliamentarianism]

It was essentially the Puritan middle classes who were antagonized by the king. The strength of the Puritans rested in the middle class of merchants, seamen, and squires. It was this class which had profited by the war with Spain in the days of “good Queen Bess” when many a Spanish prize, laden with silver and dye woods, had been towed into Plymouth harbor. Their dreams of erecting an English colonial and commercial empire on the ruins of Spain’s were rudely shattered by James. It was to this Puritan middle class that papist and Spaniard were bywords for assassin and enemy. By his Spanish policy, as well as by his irregular methods of taxation, James had touched the Puritans in their pocketbooks. The Puritans, too, were grieved to see so sinful a man sit on the throne of England, and so wasteful a man squander their money. They were even hindered in the exercise of their religious convictions. Every fiber in them rebelled.

Puritans throughout the country looked to the large Puritan majority in the House of Commons to redress their grievances. The parliamentary struggle became then not only a defense of abstract ideals of democracy but also a bitter battle in defense of class interests. Parliamentary traditions were weapons against an oppressive monarch; religious scruples gave divine sanction to an attack on royalist bishops; consciousness of being God’s elect gave confidence in assailing the aristocracy of land and birth. For the present, the class interests of the Puritans were to be defended best by the constitutional limitation of royal power, and in their struggle with James’s son and successor, Charles I (1625-1649), they represent by chance the forces of democracy.

[Sidenote: Charles I, 1625-1649]
[Sidenote: A True Stuart in Devotion to Absolutism]

For a time it appeared as if the second Stuart king would be very popular. Unlike his father, Charles seemed thoroughly English; and his athletic frame, his dignified manners, and his purity of life contrasted most favorably with James’s deformities in character and physique. Two years before his father’s death Charles had been jilted by his Spanish fiancée and had returned to England amid wild rejoicing to aid Parliament in demanding war with Spain. He had again rejoiced the bulk of the English nation by solemnly assuring Parliament on the occasion of his marriage contract with Henrietta Maria, sister of Louis XIII of France, that he would grant no concessions to Roman Catholics in England. As a matter of fact, Charles simultaneously but secretly assured the French government not only that he would allow the queen the free exercise of her religion but that he would make general concessions to Roman Catholics in England. This duplicity on the part of the young king, which augured ill for the harmony of future relations between himself and Parliament, throws a flood of light upon his character and policies. Though Charles was sincerely religious and well-intentioned, he was as devoted to the theory of divine-right monarchy as his father had been; and as to the means which he might employ in order to establish absolutism upon a firm foundation he honestly believed himself responsible only to God and to his own conscience, certainly not to Parliament. This fact, together with a certain inherent aptitude for shirking the settlement of difficulties, explains in large part the faults which historians have usually ascribed to him–his meanness and ingratitude toward his most devoted followers, his chronic obstinacy which only feigned compliance, and his incurable untruthfulness.

Just before Charles came to the throne, Parliament granted subsidies in expectation of a war against Spain, but, when he had used up the war- money without showing any serious inclination to open hostilities with Spain, and had then demanded additional grants, Parliament gave evidence of its growing distrust by limiting a levy of customs duties to one year, instead of granting them as usual for the whole reign. In view of the increasingly obstinate temper manifested by the House of Commons in withholding subsidies and in assailing his worthless favorite, the Duke of Buckingham, Charles angrily dissolved his first Parliament.

[Sidenote: Continued Conflict between King and Parliament] [Sidenote: The Petition of Right, 1628]

The difficulties of the administration were augmented not only by this arbitrary treatment of Parliament but also by the miserable failure of an English fleet sent against Cadiz, and by the humiliating result of an attempt to relieve the French Huguenots. Meanwhile, a second Parliament, more intractable even than its predecessor, had been dissolved for its insistence on the impeachment of Buckingham. Attempts to raise money by forced loans in place of taxes failed to remove the financial distress into which Charles had fallen, and consequently, in 1628, he consented to summon a third Parliament. In return for grants of subsidies, he signed the _Petition of Right_ (1628), prepared by the two houses. By it he promised not to levy taxes without consent of Parliament, not to quarter soldiers in private houses, not to establish martial law in time of peace, not to order arbitrary imprisonment.

Even these concessions were not enough. Parliament again demanded the removal of Buckingham, and only the assassination of the unpopular minister obviated prolonged dispute on that matter. The Commoners next attempted to check the unauthorized collection of customs duties, which produced as much as one-fourth of the total royal revenue, and to prevent the introduction of “popish” innovations in religion, but for this trouble they were sent home.

[Sidenote: “Personal” Rule of Charles I, 1629-1640]

Charles was now so thoroughly disgusted with the members of Parliament that he determined to rule without them, and for eleven years (1629- 1640) he successfully carried on a “personal” as distinct from a parliamentary government, in spite of financial and religious difficulties.

Without the consent of Parliament, Charles was bound not to levy direct taxes. During the period of his personal rule, therefore, he was compelled to adopt all sorts of expedients to replenish his treasury. He revived old feudal laws and collected fines for their infraction. A sum of one hundred thousand pounds was gained by fines on suburban householders who had disobeyed a proclamation of James I forbidding the extension of London. The courts levied enormous fines merely for the sake of revenue. Monopolies of wine, salt, soap, and other articles were sold to companies for large sums of money; but the high prices charged by the companies caused much popular discontent.

[Sidenote: “Personal” Rule of Charles I, 1629-1640] [Sidenote: “Ship money”]

The most obnoxious of all devices for raising money were the levies of “ship-money.” Claiming that it had always been the duty of seaboard towns to equip ships for the defense of the country, Charles demanded that since they no longer built ships, the towns should contribute money for the maintenance of the navy. In 1634, therefore, each town was ordered to pay a specified amount of “ship-money” into the royal treasury, and the next year the tax was extended to inland towns and counties. [Footnote: The first writ of ship-money yielded £100,000 (Cunningham).] To test the legality of this exaction, a certain John Hampden refused to pay his twenty shillings ship-money, and took the matter to court, claiming that ship-money was illegal taxation. The majority of the judges, who held office during the king’s pleasure and were therefore strictly under royal influence, upheld the legality of ship-money and even went so far as to assert that in times of emergency the king’s prerogative was unlimited, but the country rang with protests and Hampden was hailed as a hero.

[Sidenote: Devotion of Charles I to the Anglican Church: Archbishop Laud]
[Sidenote: Puritan Opposition]

Opposition to financial exactions went hand in hand with bitter religious disputes. Charles had intrusted the control of religious affairs to William Laud, whom he named archbishop of Canterbury, and showed favor to other clergymen of marked Catholic leanings. The laws against Roman Catholics were relaxed, and the restrictions on Puritans increased. It seemed as if Charles and his bishops were bent upon goading the Puritans to fury, at the very time when one by one the practices, the vestments, and even the dogmas of the Catholic Church were being reintroduced into the Anglican Church, when the tyrannical King James was declared to have been divinely inspired, and when Puritan divines were forced to read from their pulpits a royal declaration permitting the “sinful” practices of dancing on the green or shooting at the butts (targets) on the Sabbath. [Footnote: It is an interesting if not a significant fact that the Puritans with their austere views about observance of the Sabbath not only decreased the number of holidays for workingmen, but interfered with innocent recreation on the remaining day of rest. One aspect of the resulting monotonous life of the laborer was, according to Cunningham, the remarkable increase of drunkenness at this period.] So hard was the lot of the extreme Protestants in England that thousands fled the country and established themselves in America. [Footnote: In the decade 1630- 1640 some 20,000 Englishmen sailed for the colonies. Many of these, however, emigrated by reason of strictly economic distress.]

[Sidenote: The Scotch Covenant, and Beginnings of Armed Opposition to the King]
[Sidenote: Convocation of the Long Parliament, 1640]

In his Scotch policy Charles overreached himself. With the zealous coöperation of Archbishop Laud, imprudently attempted to strengthen the episcopacy (system of bishops) in the northern kingdom, and likewise to introduce an un-Calvinistic order of public worship. Thereupon the angry Scotch Presbyterians signed a great Covenant, swearing to defend their religion (1638); they deposed the bishops set over them by the king and rose in revolt. Failing in a first effort to crush the Scotch rebellion, the king summoned a Parliament in order to secure financial support for an adequate royal army. This Parliament–the so-called Short Parliament–was dissolved, however, after some three weeks of bootless wrangling. Now unable to check the advance of the rebellious Scotch forces into northern England, Charles in desperation convoked (1640) a new Parliament, which, by reason of its extended duration (1640-1660), has been commonly called the Long Parliament. In England and Scotland divine-right monarchy had failed.


[Sidenote: Reforms of the Long Parliament]

Confident that Charles could neither fight nor buy off the Scotch without parliamentary subsidies, the Long Parliament showed a decidedly stubborn spirit. Its leader, John Pym, a country gentleman already famous for speeches against despotism, openly maintained that in the House of Commons resided supreme authority to disregard ill-advised acts of the Upper House or of the king. Hardly less radical were the views of John Hampden and of Oliver Cromwell, the future dictator of England.

The right of the Commons to impeach ministers of state, asserted under James I, was now used to send to the Tower both Archbishop Laud and Thomas Wentworth, earl of Strafford, who, since 1629, had been the king’s most valued and enthusiastically loyal minister. [Footnote: Strafford was accused of treason, but was executed in 1641 in accordance with a special “bill of attainder” enacted by Parliament. Laud was put to death in 1645.] The special tribunals–the Court of High Commission, the Court of Star Chamber, and others–which had served to convict important ecclesiastical and political offenders were abolished. No more irregular financial expedients, such as the imposition of ship-money, were to be adopted, except by the consent of Parliament. As if this were not enough to put the king under the thumb of his Parliament, the royal prerogative of dissolving that body was abrogated, and meetings at least every three years were provided for by a “Triennial Act.”

[Sidenote: Violation of Parliamentary Privileges: Attempted Seizure by Charles of the Five Members]
[Sidenote: The Great Rebellion, 1642-1646]

All the contested points of government had been decided adversely to the king. But his position was now somewhat stronger. He had been able to raise money, the Scotch invaders had turned back, and the House of Commons had shown itself to be badly divided on the question of church reform and in its debates on the publication of a “Grand Remonstrance” –a document exposing the grievances of the nation and apologizing for the acts of Parliament. Moreover, a rebellion had broken out in Ireland and Charles expected to be put at the head of an army for its suppression. With this much in his favor, the king in person entered the House of Commons and attempted to arrest five of its leaders, but his dismal failure only further antagonized the Commons, who now proceeded to pass ordinances without the royal seal, and to issue a call to arms. The levy of troops contrary to the king’s will was an act of rebellion; Charles, therefore, raised the royal standard at Nottingham and called his loyal subjects to suppress the Great Rebellion (1642-1646).

[Sidenote: The Parties to the Civil War: “Cavaliers” and “Roundheads”]

To the king’s standard rallied the bulk of the nobles, high churchmen, and Roman Catholics, the country “squires,” and all those who disliked the austere moral code of the Puritans. In opposition to him a few great earls led the middle classes–small land-holders, merchants, manufacturers, shop-keepers, especially in London and other busy towns throughout the south and east of England. The close-cropped heads of these “God-fearing” tradesmen won them the nickname “Roundheads,” while the royalist upper classes, not thinking it a sinful vanity to wear their hair in long curls, were called “Cavaliers.”

[Sidenote: Parliament and the Presbyterians]

In the Long Parliament there was a predominance of the Presbyterians– that class of Puritans midway between the reforming Episcopalians and the radical Independents. Accordingly a “solemn league and covenant” was formed (1643) with the Scotch Presbyterians for the establishment of religious uniformity on a Presbyterian basis in England and Ireland as well as in Scotland. After the defeat of Charles at Marston Moor (1644) the Presbyterians abolished the office of bishop, removed altars and communion rails from the churches, and smashed crucifixes, images, and stained-glass windows. Presbyterianism became a more intolerant state religion than Anglicanism had been. Satisfied with their work, the Presbyterian majority in Parliament were now willing to restore the king, provided he would give permanence to their religious settlement.

[Sidenote: The Army and the Independents: Oliver Cromwell]

The Independent army, however, was growing restive. Oliver Cromwell, an Independent, had organized a cavalry regiment of “honest sober Christians” who were fined 12 pence if they swore, who charged in battle while “singing psalms,” and who went about the business of killing their enemies in a pious and prayerful, but withal a highly effective, manner. Indeed, so successful were Cromwell’s “Ironsides” that a considerable part of the Parliamentary army was reorganized on his plan. The “New Model” army, as it was termed, was Independent in sympathy, that is to say, it wished to carry on the war, and to overthrow the tyranny of the Presbyterians as well as that of the Anglicans.

[Sidenote: Cromwell’s Army Defeats the King and Dominates Parliament] [Sidenote: The “Rump Parliament”]

The “New Model” army, under the command of Fairfax and Cromwell, defeated Charles and forced him to surrender in 1646. For almost two years the Presbyterian Parliament negotiated for the restoration of the king and at last would have made peace with the royalists, had not the army, which still remembered Charles’s schemes to bring Irish and foreign “papists” to fight Englishmen, now taken a hand in affairs. Colonel Pride, stationed with his soldiers at the door of the House of Commons, arrested the 143 Presbyterian Commoners, and left the Independents–some sixty strong–to deliberate alone upon the nation’s weal (1648). This “Rump” or sitting part of Parliament, acting on its own authority, appointed a “High Court of justice” by whose sentence Charles I was beheaded, 30 January, 1649. It then decreed England to be a Commonwealth with neither king nor House of Lords.

[Sidenote: The Commonwealth, 1649-1660]

The executive functions, hitherto exercised by the king, were intrusted to a Council of State, of whose forty-one members thirty were members of the House. The Rump Parliament, instead of calling for new elections, as had been expected, continued to sit as the “representatives of the people,” although they represented the sentiments of only a small fraction of the people. England was in the hands of an oligarchy whose sole support was the vigorous army of Cromwell.

Menacing conditions confronted the newly born Commonwealth. War with Scotland and with Holland was imminent; mutiny and unrest showed that the execution of Charles had infused new life into the royalists; Catholic-royalist rebels mastered all of Ireland except Dublin. Under these circumstances, the Commonwealth would have perished but for three sources of strength: (1) Its financial resources proved adequate: customs duties were collected, excise taxes on drinks and food were levied, and confiscated royalist estates were sold; (2) its enemies had no well-drilled armies; and (3) its own army was remarkably powerful.

[Sidenote: Cromwell and the Restoration of Order]

Cromwell, victor in a series of bloody engagements in Ireland, after butchering thousands of the defeated royalists and shipping others as slaves to Barbados, was able to return to London in 1650, declaring, “I am persuaded that this is a righteous judgment of God upon these barbarous wretches [the Irish] who have imbrued their hands in so much innocent blood, and that it will tend to prevent the effusion of blood for the future.” The next movement of Cromwell, as Parliamentary commander-in-chief, was against the Scotch, who had declared for Charles II, the son of Charles I. The Scotch armies were annihilated, and Prince Charles fled in disguise to France.

[Sidenote: Navigation Act, 1651]

Meanwhile the members of the Rump, still the nominal rulers of England, finding opportunity for profit in the sale of royalist lands and in the administration of finance, had exasperated Cromwell by their maladministration and neglect of the public welfare. The life of the Rump was temporarily prolonged, however, by the popularity of its legislation against the Dutch, at this time the rivals of England on the seas and in the colonies. In 1651 the Rump passed the first Navigation Act, forbidding the importation of goods from Asia, Africa, or America, except in English or colonial ships, and providing that commodities of European production should be imported only in vessels of England or of the producing country. The framers of the Navigation Act intended thereby to exclude Dutch vessels from trading between England and other lands. The next year a commercial and naval war (1652-1654) broke out between England and Holland, leading to no decisive result, but, on the whole, increasing the prestige of the English navy. With renewed confidence the Rump contemplated perpetuating its narrow oligarchy, but Cromwell’s patience was exhausted, and in 1653 he turned Parliament out of doors, declaring, “Your hour is come, the Lord hath done with you!” Cromwell remained as military and religious dictator.

[Sidenote: Oliver Cromwell]

Oliver Cromwell (1599-1658) is the most interesting figure in seventeenth-century England. Belonging by birth to the class of country gentlemen, his first appearance in public life was in the Parliament of 1628 as a pleader for the liberty of Puritan preaching. When the Long Parliament met in 1640, Cromwell, now forty-one years of age, assumed a conspicuous place. His clothes were cheap and homely, “his countenance swollen and reddish, his voice sharp and untuneable,” nevertheless his fervid eloquence and energy soon made him “very much hearkened unto.” From the Civil War, as we know, Cromwell emerged as an unequaled military leader, the idol of his soldiers, fearing God but not man. His frequent use of Biblical phrases in ordinary conversation and his manifest confidence that he was performing God’s work flowed from an intense religious zeal. He belonged, properly speaking, to the Independents, who believed that each local congregation of Christians should be practically free, excepting that “prelacy” (_i.e._, the episcopal form of church government) and “popery” (_i.e._, Roman Catholic Christianity) were not to be tolerated. In private life Cromwell was fond of “honest sport,” of music and art. It is said that his gayety when he had “drunken a cup of wine too much” and his taste in statuary shocked his more austere fellow-Puritans. In public life he was a man of great forcefulness, occasionally giving way to violent temper; he was a statesman of signal ability, aiming to secure good government and economic prosperity for England and religious freedom for Protestant Dissenters.

[Sidenote: Radical Experiments under Cromwell]

After arbitrarily dissolving the Rump of the Long Parliament (1653), Cromwell and his Council of State broke with tradition entirely by selecting 140 men to constitute a legislative body or convention. This body speedily received the popular appellation of “Barebone’s Parliament” after one of its members, a certain leather merchant, who bore the descriptive Puritan name of Praisegod Barebone. The new legislators were good Independents–“faithful, fearing God, and hating covetousness.” Recommended by Independent ministers, they felt that God had called them to rule in righteousness. Their zeal for reform found expression in the reduction of public expenditure, in the equalization of taxes, and in the compilation of a single code of laws; but their radical proposals for civil marriage and for the abolition of tithes startled the clergy and elicited from the larger landowners the cry of “confiscation!” Before much was accomplished, however, the more conservative members of “Barebone’s Parliament” voted to “deliver up unto the Lord-General [Cromwell] the powers we received from him.”

[Sidenote: The Protectorate, 1653-1659]

Upon the failure of this experiment, Cromwell’s supporters in the army prepared an “Instrument of Government,” or constitution. By this Instrument of Government–the first written constitution in modern times–a “Protectorate” was established, which was a constitutional monarchy in all but name. Oliver Cromwell, who became “Lord Protector” for life, was to govern with the aid of a small Council of State. Parliaments, meeting at least every three years, were to make laws and levy taxes, the Protector possessing the right to delay, but not to veto, legislation. Puritanism was made the state religion.

[Sidenote: Parliament under the Protectorate]

The first Parliament under the Protectorate was important for three reasons. (1) It consisted of only one House; (2) it was the Parliament of Great Britain and Ireland rather than of England alone; (3) its members were elected on a reformed basis of representation,–that is, the right of representation had been taken from many small places and transferred to more important towns.

[Sidenote: Practical Dictatorship of Cromwell, 1655-1658]

Although royalists were excluded from the polls, the Independents were unable to control a majority in the general election, for, it must be remembered, they formed a very small, though a powerful, minority of the population. The Presbyterians in the new Parliament, with characteristic stubbornness, quarreled with Cromwell, until he abruptly dismissed them (1655). Thenceforth Cromwell governed as a military dictator, placing England under the rule of his generals, and quarreling with his Parliaments. To raise money he obliged all those who had borne arms for the king to pay him 10 per cent of their rental. While permitting his office to be made hereditary, he refused to accept the title of king, but no Stuart monarch had ruled with such absolute power, nor was there much to choose between James’s “_a deo rex, a rege lex_” and Cromwell’s, “If my calling be from God and my testimony from the people, God and the people shall take it from me, else I will not part from it.”

The question is often raised, how Cromwell, representing the numerically insignificant Independents, contrived to maintain himself as absolute ruler of the British Isles. Three circumstances may have contributed to his strength. (1) He was the beloved leader of an army respected for its rigid discipline and feared for its grim mercilessness. (2) Under his strict enforcement of law and order, trade and industry brought domestic prosperity. (3) His conduct of foreign affairs was both satisfactory to English patriotism and profitable to English purses. Advantageous commercial treaties were made with the Dutch and the French. Industrious Jews were allowed to enter England. Barbary pirates were chastised. In a war against Spain, the army won Dunkirk; and the navy, now becoming truly powerful, sank a Spanish fleet, wrested Jamaica from Spain, and brought home ship-loads of Spanish silver.

The weakness of Cromwell’s position, however, was obvious. Cavaliers were openly hostile to a régime of religious zealots; moderate Anglicans would suffer the despotism of Cromwell only as long as it promoted prosperity; Presbyterians were anxious to end the toleration which was accorded to all Puritan sects; radicals and republicans were eager to try new experiments.

[Sidenote: Disorganization following the Death of Oliver Cromwell]

The death of Cromwell (1658) left the army without a master and the country without a government. True, Oliver’s son, Richard Cromwell (1626-1712), attempted for a time to fill his father’s place, but soon abdicated after having lost control of both army and Parliament. Army officers restored the Rump of the Long Parliament, dissolved it, set it up again, and forced it to recall the Presbyterian members who had been expelled in 1648, and ended by obliging the reconstituted Long Parliament to convoke a new and freely elected “Convention Parliament.” Meanwhile, General Monck opened negotiations for the return of Charles II.


[Sidenote: Popular Grievances against the Protectorate]

The widespread and exuberant enthusiasm which restored the Stuarts was not entirely without causes, social and religious, as well as political. The grievances and ideals which had inspired the Great Rebellion were being forgotten, and a new generation was finding fault with the Protectorate. The simple country folk longed for their may- poles, their dances, and games on the green; only fear compelled them to bear with the tyranny of the sanctimonious soldiers who broke the windows in their churches. Especially hard was the lot of tenants and laborers on the many estates purchased or seized by Puritans during the Rebellion. Many townsmen, too, excluded from the ruling oligarchy, found the Puritan government as oppressive and arbitrary as that of Charles I.

[Sidenote: Opposition to Puritanism]

The religious situation was especially favorable for Charles II. The outrages committed by Cromwell’s soldiery had caused the Independents to be looked upon as terrible fanatics, Even the Presbyterians were willing to yield some points to the king, if only Independency could be overthrown; and many who had been inclined to Puritanism were now unwavering in loyalty to the Anglican Church. Orthodox Anglicanism, from its origin, had been bound up with the monarchy, and it now consistently expected a double triumph of the “divine-right” of kings and of bishops. Most bitter of all against the Cromwellian régime were the Roman Catholics in Ireland. Though Cromwell as Lord Protector had favored toleration for Protestants, it would be long before Catholics could forget the Irish priests whom Cromwell’s soldiery had brutally knocked on the head, or the thousands of Catholic girls and boys whom Cromwell’s agents had sold into horrible slavery in the West Indies.

[Sidenote: Royalist Reaction]

This strong royalist undercurrent, flowing from religious and social conditions, makes more comprehensible the ease with which England drifted back into the Stuart monarchy. The younger generation, with no memory of Stuart despotism, and with a keen dislike for the confusion in which no constitutional form was proof against military tyranny, gave ready credence to Prince Charles’s promises of constitutional government. There seemed to be little probability that the young monarch would attempt that arbitrary rule which had brought his father’s head to the block.

[Sidenote: Charles II, 1660-1685]

The experiment in Puritan republicanism had resulted only in convincing the majority of the people that “the government is, and ought to be, by King, Lords, and Commons.” The people merely asked for some assurances against despotism,–and when a throne was thus to be purchased with promises, Charles II was a ready buyer. He swore to observe _Magna Carta_ and the “Petition of Right,” to respect Parliament, not to interfere with its religious policy, nor to levy illegal taxes. Bound by these promises, he was welcomed back to England in 1660 and crowned the following year. The reinstatement of the king was accompanied by a general resumption by bishops and royalist nobles of their offices and lands: things seemed to slip back into the old grooves. Charles II dated his reign not from his actual accession but from his father’s death, and his first Parliament declared invalid all those acts and ordinances passed since 1642 which it did not specifically confirm.

The history of constitutional government under the restored Stuarts is a history of renewed financial and religious disputes. Charles II and his younger brother and heir, Prince James, duke of York, alike adhered to the political faith of their Stuart father and grandfather. Cousins on their mother’s side of Louis XIV of France, in whose court they had been reared, they were more used to the practices of French absolutism than to the peculiar customs of parliamentary government in England. Unlike their father, who had been most upright in private life and most loyal to the Anglican Church, both Charles and James had acquired from their foreign environment at once a taste for vicious living and a strong attachment to the Roman Catholic Church. In these two Stuarts Catholicism was combined with absolutism; and the Englishmen represented in Parliament were therefore brought face to face not only with a revival of the earlier Stuart theory of divine-right monarchy but with a new and far more hateful possibility of the royal establishment of Roman Catholicism in England. Charles II did not publicly confess his conversion to Catholicism until his deathbed, but James became a zealous convert in 1672.

That Charles II was able to round out a reign of twenty-five years and die a natural death as king of England was due not so much to his virtues as to his faults. He was so hypocritical that his real aims were usually successfully concealed. He was so indolent that with some show of right he could blame his ministers and advisers for his own mistakes and misdeeds. He was so selfish that he would make concessions here and there rather than “embark again upon his travels.” In fact, pure selfishness was the basis of his policy in domestic and foreign affairs, but it was always a selfishness veiled in wit, good humor, and captivating affability.

[Sidenote: Renewal of Financial Disputes between King and Parliament]

At the beginning of the reign of Charles II, the country gentlemen were astute enough to secure the abolition of the surviving feudal rights by which the king might demand certain specified services from them and certain sums of money when an heiress married or a minor inherited an estate. This action, seemingly insignificant, was in reality of the greatest importance, for it indicated the abandonment in England of the feudal theory that land is held by nobles in return for military service, and at the same time it consecrated the newer principle that the land should be owned freely and personally–a principle which has since been fully recognized in the United States and other modern countries as well as in England. The extinction of feudal prerogatives in the early days of the Stuart Restoration benefited the landlords primarily, but the annual lump sum of £100,000 which Charles II was given in return, was voted by Parliament and was paid by all classes in the form of excise taxes on alcoholic drinks. Customs duties of £4 10_s_. on every tun of wine and 5 per cent _ad valorem_ on other imports, hearth-money (a tax on houses), and profits on the post office contributed to make up the royal revenue of somewhat less than £1,200,000. This was intended to defray the ordinary expenses of court and government but seemed insufficient to Charles, who was not only extravagantly luxurious, but desirous of increasing his power by bribing members of Parliament and by maintaining a standing army. The country squires who had sold their plate for the royalist cause back in the ‘forties and were now suffering from hard times, thought the court was too extravagant; to this feeling was added fear that Charles might hire foreign soldiers to oppress Englishmen. Consequently Parliament grew more parsimonious, and in 1665-1667 claimed a new and important privilege–that of devoting its grants to specific objects and demanding an account of expenditures.

Charles, however, was determined to have money by fair means or foul. A group of London goldsmiths had loaned more than a million and a quarter pounds sterling to the government. In 1672 Charles announced that instead of paying the money back, he would consider it a permanent loan. Two years earlier he had signed the secret treaty of Dover (1670) with Louis XIV, by which Louis promised him an annual subsidy of £200,000 and troops in case of rebellion, while Charles was openly to join the Roman Catholic Church and to aid Louis in his French wars against Spain and Holland.

[Sidenote: Continued Religious Complications] [Sidenote: Legislation against Protestant Dissenters]

In his ambition to reëstablish Catholicism in England, Charles underestimated the intense hostility of the bulk of the English squires to any religious innovation. During the first decade of the Restoration, Puritanism had been most feared. Some two thousand clergymen, mostly Presbyterian, had been deprived of their offices by an Act of Uniformity (1662), requiring their assent to the Anglican prayer-book; these dissenting clergymen might not return within five miles of their old churches unless they renounced the “Solemn League and Covenant” and swore loyalty to the king (Five-mile Act, 1665); for repeated attendance at their meetings (conventicles) Dissenters might be condemned to penal servitude in the West Indies against (Conventicle Act, 1664); and the Corporation Act of 1661 excluded Dissenters from town offices.

[Sidenote: Leanings of Charles II toward Roman Catholicism]

As the danger from Puritanism disappeared, the Catholic cloud darkened the horizon. In 1672 Prince James, the heir to the throne, embraced Catholicism; and in the same year Charles II issued a “Declaration of Indulgence,” suspending the laws which oppressed Roman Catholics and incidentally the Dissenters likewise. The Declaration threw England into paroxysms of fear; it was believed that the Catholic monarch of France was about to aid in the subversion of the Anglican Church.

[Sidenote: Leanings of Charles II toward Roman Catholicism] [Sidenote: The Exclusion Bill]

Parliament, already somewhat distrustful of Charles’s foreign policy, and fearful of his leanings toward Roman Catholicism, found in the Declaration of Indulgence a serious infraction of parliamentary authority. The royal right to “suspend” laws upon occasion had undoubtedly been exercised before, but Parliament was now strong enough to insist upon the binding force of its enactments and to oblige Charles to withdraw his Indulgence. The fear of Catholicism ever increased; gentlemen who at other times were quite rational gave unhesitating credence to wild tales of a “Popish Plot” (1678). In 1679 an Exclusion Bill was brought forward which would debar Prince James from the throne, because of his conversion to Roman Catholicism.

[Sidenote: The “Whigs”]

In the excitement over this latest assertion of parliamentary power, [Footnote: In the course of the debate over Exclusion, the parliamentary party won an important concession–the Habeas Corpus Act of 1679, which was designed to prevent arbitrary imprisonment.] two great factions were formed. The supporters of Exclusion were led by certain great nobles who were jealous of the royal power, and were recruited from merchants and shop-keepers who looked to Parliament to protect their economic interests. Since many of the adherents of this political group were Dissenters, whose dislike of Anglicanism was exceeded only by their hatred of “popery,” the whole party was called by a nickname–“Whig”–which had formerly been applied to rebellious Presbyterians in Scotland.

[Sidenote: The “Tories”]

Opposed to the Whigs were the “Tories” [Footnote: Tory, a name applied to “popish” outlaws in Ireland.]–squires and country clergymen and all others of an essentially conservative turn of mind. They were anxious to preserve the Church and state alike from Puritans and from “papists,” but most of all to prevent a recurrence of civil war. In the opinion of the Tories, the best and most effective safeguard against quarreling earls and insolent tradesmen was the hereditary monarchy. Better submit to a Roman Catholic sovereign, they said, than invite civil war by disturbing the regular succession. In the contest over the Exclusion Bill, the Tories finally carried the day, for, although the bill was passed by the Commons (1680), it was rejected by the House of Lords.

[Sidenote: Temporary Success of the Tories]

In the last few years of Charles’s reign the cause of the Whigs was discredited. Rumors got abroad that they were plotting to assassinate the king and it was said that the Whiggish nobles who brought armed retainers to Parliament were planning to use force to establish Charles’s illegitimate son–the duke of Monmouth–on the throne. These and similar accusations hurt the Whigs tremendously, and help explain the violent Tory reaction which enabled Charles to rule without Parliament from 1681 to his death in 1685. As had been feared, upon the death of Charles II, the duke of Monmouth organized a revolt, but this, together with a simultaneous insurrection in Scotland, was easily crushed, and James II was securely seated on the throne.


[Sidenote: James II (1685-1688): His Futile Combination of Absolutism and Roman Catholicism]

In his short reign of three years James II (1685-1688) succeeded in stirring up opposition on all sides. The Tories, the party most favorable to the royal prerogative, upon whom he might have relied, were shocked by his attempts to create a standing army commanded by Catholics, for such an army might prove as disastrous to their liberties as Cromwell’s “New Model”; and the Whigs, too, were driven from sullenness to desperation by James’s religious policy and despotic government. James, like his brother, claiming the right to “suspend” the laws and statutes which Parliament had enacted against Roman Catholics and Dissenters, issued a Declaration of Indulgence in 1687, which exempted Catholics and Dissenters from punishment for infractions of these laws. Furthermore, he appointed Roman Catholics to office in the army and in the civil government. In spite of protests, he issued a second Declaration of Indulgence in 1688 and ordered it to be read in all Anglican churches, and, when seven bishops remonstrated, he accused them of seditious libel. No jury would convict the seven bishops, however, for James had alienated every class, and they were acquitted. The Tories were estranged by what seemed to be a deliberate attack on the Anglican Church and by fear of a standing army. The arbitrary disregard of parliamentary legislation, and the favor shown to Roman Catholics, goaded the Whigs into fury.

[Sidenote: The “Glorious Revolution” (1688): Dethronement of James II]

So long as Whigs and Tories alike could expect the accession on the death of James II of one of his Protestant daughters–Mary or Anne– they continued to acquiesce in his arbitrary government. But the outlook became gloomier when on 10 June, 1688, a son was born to James II by his second wife, a Catholic. Most Protestants believed that the prince was not really James’s son; politicians prophesied that he would be educated in his father’s “popish” and absolutist doctrines, and that thus England would continue to be ruled by papist despots. Even those who professed to believe in the divine right of kings and had denied the right of Parliament to alter the succession were dejected at this prospect, and many of them were willing to join with the Whigs in inviting a Protestant to take the throne. The next in line of succession after the infant prince was Mary, the elder of James’s two daughters, wife of William of Orange, [Footnote: See above, pp. 245, 248] and an Anglican. Upon the invitation of Whig and Tory leaders, William crossed over to England with an army and entered London without opposition (1688). Deserted even by his army James fled to France. [Footnote: Risings in favor of James were suppressed in Ireland and in Scotland. In Ireland the famous battle of the Boyne (1 July, 1690) was decisive.]

[Sidenote: Accession of William and Mary, 1689] [Sidenote: Constitutional Settlement: the Bill of Rights (1689) and Triumph of Parliament]
[Sidenote: The Mutiny Act]

A bloodless revolution was now accomplished and the crown was formally presented to William and Mary by an irregular Parliament, which also declared that James II, having endeavored to subvert the constitution and having fled the kingdom, had vacated the throne. In offering the crown to William and Mary, Parliament was very careful to safeguard its own power and the Protestant religion by issuing a Declaration of Rights (13 February, 1689), which was enacted as the Bill of Rights, 16 December, 1689. This act decreed that the sovereign must henceforth belong to the Anglican Church, thereby debarring the Catholic son of James II. The act also denied the power of a king to “suspend” laws or to “dispense” subjects from obeying the laws, to levy money, or to maintain an army without consent of Parliament; asserted that neither the free election nor the free speech and proceedings of members of Parliament should be interfered with; affirmed the right of subjects to petition the sovereign; and demanded impartial juries and frequent Parliaments. The Bill of Rights, far more important in English history than the Petition of Right (1628), inasmuch as Parliament was now powerful enough to maintain as well as to define its rights, was supplemented by the practice, begun in the same year, 1689, of granting taxes and making appropriations for the army for one year only. Unless Parliament were called every year to pass a Mutiny Act (provision for the army), the soldiers would receive no pay and in case of mutiny would not be punishable by court martial.

[Sidenote: Measures Favorable to Landlords] [Sidenote: Religious Toleration for Protestant Dissenters: Continued Persecution of Roman Catholics]

Both Whigs and Tories had participated in the Revolution, and both reaped rewards. The Tories were especially pleased with the army laws and with an arrangement by which farmers were given a “bounty” or money premium for every bushel of grain exported. [Footnote: That is, when wheat was selling for less than 6s. a bushel.] The Whigs, having played a more prominent part in the deposition of James II, were able to secure the long-coveted political supremacy of Parliament, and religious toleration of Dissenters. The Toleration Act of 1689 did not go as far as the Dissenters might have desired, but it gave them the legal right to worship in public, while their enemies, the Roman Catholics, remained under the ban.

[Sidenote: Commercial Gains for England] [Sidenote: Union of England and Scotland: the Kingdom of Great Britain, 1707]

In the foreign policy of the reigns of William (1689-1702) and Mary, and of Anne (1702-1714), Whiggish policies generally predominated. The merchants and shippers who formed an important wing of the Whig party were highly gratified by the Wars of the League of Augsburg and the Spanish Succession, [Footnote: See above, pp. 248 ff., and below, pp. 306 ff.] in which England fought at once against France, her commercial and colonial rival, and against Louis XIV, the friend of the Catholic Stuart pretenders to the English throne. [Footnote: Louis XIV openly supported the pretensions of James (III), the “Old Pretender.”] The Methuen Treaty (1703) was also advantageous: it allowed English merchants to sell their manufactures in Portugal without hindrance; in return for this concession England lowered the duties on Portuguese wines, and “Port” supplanted “Burgundy” on the tables of English gentlemen. The Act of Union of 1707 was not unfavorable either, for it established common trade regulations, customs, and excise in England and in Scotland. To the merely personal union between the crowns of England and Scotland which had been inaugurated (1603) by the first of the Stuart monarchs of England now succeeded under the last of the Stuart sovereigns a corporate union of the two monarchies under the title of the Kingdom of Great Britain (1707).

[Sidenote: Accession of the Hanoverians (1714); Continued Decline of Royal Power]

Upon the death of Anne (1714), the crown passed [Footnote: In accordance with the Act of Settlement (1701).] to her cousin, the son of Sophia of Hanover, George I (1714-1727). The new king, unable even to speak the English language, much less to understand the complicated traditions of parliamentary government, was neither able nor anxious to rule, but was content merely to reign. The business of administration, therefore, was handed over to a group of ministers who strove not only