Page images

the three nations; and, also, the liberty of the people's representatives in parliament will be certainly lost. For if the people find that, after so long and bloody a war against the King for breaking in upon their liberties, yet at last he must be taken in again; it will be out of question, and is most manifest, he may for the future govern by his will, dispose of parlia ments and parliament-men as he pleaseth, and yet the people will never more rise for their assistance. As for the interests of this famous city (which hath been in all ages the bulwark of parliaments, and unto whom I am, for their great affection, so deeply engaged) certainly it must lie in a Commonwealth; that government only being capable to make them, through the Lord's blessing, the metropolis and bank of trade for all Christendom, whereunto God and nature hath fitted them above all others."

Notwithstanding these declarations, however, he was not only a principal instrument in the restoration of Charles II., but also in restoring him without any conditions.* Thus, says Dr. Harris, was

* From a MS. collection made by Sir Thomas Browne, it appears that "Monk gave fair promises to the Rump, but at last agreed with the French Embassador to take the government on himself; by whom he had a promise, from Mazarin, of assistance from France. This bargain was struck late at night: yet not so secretly but that Monk's wife, who had posted herself conveniently behind the hangings, finding what was resolved upon, seut her brother Clarges away immediately with notice of it to Sir A. A. She had promised to watch her husband, and inform Sir A. how matters went. Sir A. caused the Council of State, whereof he was a member, to be summoned, and charged Monk that he was playing false.' The General insisted, that he was true to his principles, and firm to what he had promised, and that he was ready to give them all satisfaction.' Sir A. told him that, if he were sincere he might remove all scruples, and should



an exiled Prince by the dissimulation, treachery, and falsehood of Monk admitted to the government of three flourishing and renowned kingdoms without conditions, contrary to the sense and expectations of the most intelligent persons of all parties. For who could have imagined that a people, who had so long and successfully struggled for their liberties, would in one hour without striking a blow submit to the vanquished, and tamely yield to the yoke of those whom they knew to be their determined foes! Who could have thought that an English parliament, a name which had recently obtained so much renown, should by a single vote deliver up themselves, and all that was dear to them, into the hands of one, from whom they had reason to expect not over-kind treatment! But patriotism no longer actuated the breasts of the English senators; every thing was unminded except personal safety, or personal rewards, which were judged best obtained by thus making early court to the King in a matter most acceptable to him.

Those panegyrists indeed, observes Chalmers, who support the idea of his continued loyalty of principle even while serving the opposite cause, do not doubt that the restoration of Charles II. was meditated by him from the time of Cromwell's death;

instantly take away such and such men in his army and appoint others, and that before he left the room.' Monk consented: a great part of the commissions of his officers were changed, and Sir Edward Harley, a member of the Council and then present, was made Governor of Dunkirk in the room of Sir William Lockhart. The army ceased to be at Monk's devotion; the Embassador was recalled, and broke his heart." So much for the virtuous principle of the prime agent of the Restoration! And wherein, as to principle, do great revolutionists usually differ!

and the republican Ludlow accuses him of an early correspondence with the royal party. But whatever were his private views, the closest politician could not have veiled them more effectually. His relation Sir John Greenville sent his brother, Sir Nicholas Monk, to him in Scotland, with a letter from the King soliciting his support: but though he received the messenger with due kindness, he sent him back without any confidential communication upon the subject. Lambert his principal rival, who at this period possessed the chief influence in the English army, by direction of the Committee of Safety (now at the head of the government) marched northward with the view of overawing Monk's measures. The latter, in order to gain time, despatched commissioners to London to treat of an accommodation. In the mean while, the parliament resumed it's authority, and the military chieftains were deserted by their troops. Lambert was arrested, and thrown into prison; and nothing remained to oppose Monk's advance southward, which he commenced in January 1660.


As he proceeded, he received addresses on all sides, requesting his intervention in settling a legal and equitable government. Upon his approach to London he sent a message to the parliament, desiring them to remove from the capital those regiments, which had been concerned in the late violences.' This, though not without some resistance on the part of the soldiers, was effected, and Monk peaceably took up his quarters in Westminster: still however affecting an entire obedience to the senate, and even conformably to their command entering London in military array, and seizing several obnoxious persons. But soon afterward he complained of the odious ser2 C


vice they forced upon him, and peremptorily required the House to issue writs for the assembling of a new and free parliament. The rejoicings, generally celebrated upon this occasion, sufficiently proved the odium, which the Rump had incurred.

Every thing, now, manifestly tended to the restora tion of monarchy; though Monk, with impenetrable hypocrisy, still maintained the appearance of an attachment to republican principles, and steadfastly declined all communication with the exiled Charles. At length however he ventured, through the medium of Sir John Greenville, to send him a verbal message consisting of assurances of his fidelity, and some advice for his immediate behaviour. Upon these suggestions the King removed to Breda, and arrangements were concerted for his prompt restoration, when the escape of Lambert from prison, and the junction of some of his old military followers, gave a temporary interruption to the project. But he was speedily retaken, his party was suppressed, and on May 8, 1660, Monk assisted at the solemn proclamation of Charles II. in the capital. Upon the King's landing at Dover, the General was received by the royal party with all the distinction due to one, who had been so principally instrumental in the great event. It was of course no drawback upon the cordiality of his reception, that he had strenuously protested against all limitation of the monarchical power, and insisted that the restoration should be unconditional.

"The short interval," says Mr. Fox, "between Cromwell's death and the Restoration, exhibits the picture of a nation either so wearied with changes as not to feel, or so subdued by military power as not to dare to show, any care or even preference with regard

to the form of their government. All was in the army; and that army, by such a concurrence of fortuitous circumstances as history teaches us not to be surprised at, had fallen into the hands of one, than whom a baser could not be found in it's lowest ranks. Personal courage appears to have been Monk's only virtue: reserve and dissimulation made up the whole stock of his wisdom. But to this man did the nation look up, ready to receive from his orders the form of government he should choose to prescribe. There is reason to believe that, from the general bias of the Presbyterians as well as of the Cavaliers, monarchy was the prevalent wish; but it is observable that, although the parliament was, contrary to the principle upon which it was pretended to be called, composed of many avowed royalists, yet none dared to hint at the restoration of the King till they had Monk's permission, or rather command, to receive and consider his letters. It is impossible, in reviewing the whole of this transaction, not to remark that a General who had gained his rank, reputation, and station in the service of a Republic, and of what he, as well as others, called (however falsely) the cause of liberty,' made no scruple to lay the nation prostrate at the feet of a Monarch, without a single provision in favour of that cause: and if the promise of indemnity may seem to argue, that there was some attention at least paid to the safety of his associates in arms, his subsequent conduct gives reason to suppose, that even this provision was owing to any other cause, rather than to any generous feeling of his heart. For he afterward not only acquiesced in the insults so meanly put upon the illustrious corpse of Blake, under whose auspices and command he had

« PreviousContinue »