On April 25, 1660 the Convention Parliament met, and on May 1 they voted to restore Charles Stuart, who was proclaimed King in London one week later. Charles II returned to London on May 29, his 30th birthday. He had learned from his father’s experience and was very adaptable. The next day his first Privy Council included royalists, Presbyterians, and former officers of the Commonwealth. On June 1 the Convention proclaimed itself a Parliament that would sit until December 29. They included Anglicans, Presbyterians, and independents and confirmed all legal proceedings during the Interregnum, but they could be appealed. Their Act of Indemnity and Oblivion on August 29 pardoned all but 57 persons. Thirty were condemned to death for having beheaded his father Charles I in January 1649, but only thirteen were executed.
The realm had a large debt, and they disbanded the army. They restored confiscated property of the Crown and the Church, which had land valued at £2,400,000, but wealth within the Church was distributed rather unequally. Royalists who lost land could petition to get it back, but not those who sold it to pay debts. The officers of the Commonwealth and Puritan merchants who purchased such land even at low prices held on to their property. In the Restoration era rich men with land grew richer while the poor became poorer. They continued to enclose lands as they had since 1630. Debt forced Charles II to sell most of his land or to grant feudal rights. In 1660 when annual revenue was about £1,000,000, the kingdom’s debt was £3,000,000. The Convention Parliament voted for taxes to pay for the arrears in soldiers’ pay that cost almost £1,000,000. The Court of Wards was abolished, ending the King’s right to sell wardships of minor inheritors. In compensation the Commons authorized customs and excise taxes on ale, beer, tea, and coffee which raised annual revenues to an average of £1,200,000 for the next four years.
In November 1660 the Royal Society was founded in London with a grant from Charles II to improve natural knowledge. The original committee of twelve was mathematician William Brouncker, physicist and chemist Robert Boyle, merchant-treasurer Abraham Hill, economist William Petty, architect Christopher Wren, physician Jonathan Goddard, Anglican minister John Wilkins, the Scots Alexander Bruce and Robert Moray, and astronomers William Ball, Paul Niele, and Lawrence Rooke. On March 6, 1665 they began publishing the world’s first scientific journal, Philosophical Transactions. Boyle pioneered chemistry and published The Skeptical Chymist in 1661, and in 1662 he showed that air is necessary for respiration, combustion, circulation of blood, and the transmission of sound.
On January 6, 1661 the wine-cooper Thomas Venner led about fifty Fifth Monarchy Men in a brief uprising that tried to make Jesus king, but it was easily suppressed. Most were killed, and ten were captured; two weeks later fifteen were executed. This led to the appointment of George Monck as Captain-General for life and Duke of Albemarle, and his troops later became known as the Coldstream Guards.
John Evelyn (1620-1706) kept a diary from 1641 to 1697, but it was not printed until 1818. In 1661 he published Fumifugium with his plan for dispersing the smoke from coal and other fires from London. He complained that the air in London was not healthy for the lungs and noted that many factories were burning large amounts of coal. He advised planting trees and shrubs and suggested moving industries outside the city. Navy administrator Samuel Pepys also kept a diary from January 1, 1660 to May 31, 1669 that was published in 1825.
On October 25, 1660 Charles II declared religious freedom for all practicing Christians, and from April 5, 1661 to July 23 Anglican and Presbyterian leaders met at Savoy Palace to see if they could agree on religious matters. An election created the Cavalier Parliament that opened on May 8, 1661 and was dominated by revived Anglicans with less than sixty Presbyterians. William Petty estimated that less than 2,000 active men controlled the Parliamentary elections, and he also noted that the division of labor reduces the cost of production. On May 20 the House of Commons established the Church of England and took its sacraments, and they ordered the Solemn League and Covenant burned. The House of Lords was also restored with the bishops on June 30. None of the peers convicted of murder in the next 42 years would be punished. The House of Commons insisted on initiating all money bills and would not let the Lords amend them. King Charles appointed thirty men to his Privy Council, and twelve of them had fought against his father. The Committee for Trade and Plantations formed in July 1660 had ten members, but only two were Royalists. The King’s Bench replaced the jurisdiction of the Star Chamber. In 1661 the Act against Tumultuous Petitioning banned collecting more than twenty signatures on a political petition to the King or Parliament. Militia Acts of July 1661 and 1662 gave the King control over those soldiers. The Press Act of 1662 required licenses for printing, and a hearth tax of two shillings on each fireplace or stove added that March was unpopular.
The Younger Henry Vane was a Parliamentarian during the Civil War and then worked closely with Oliver Cromwell during the Commonwealth. Parliament put him on trial for treason, and he was not allowed a proper defense. A partisan jury convicted him, and he was beheaded on June 14, 1662.
Charles II appointed his conservative advisor Edward Hyde as Chancellor and made him Earl of Clarendon. A series of new laws attempted to unite the nation with an established religion. On December 20, 1661 the Corporation Act excluded municipalities that refused to renounce the Covenant and take the sacrament of the Church of England. The Book of Common Prayer was revised by December, and in April 1662 Parliament approved. In May the Act of Uniformity imposed use of this prayer-book and included the Quaker Act which required subjects to swear allegiance to the King. That year about 1,300 Quakers were in prison. Uniformity required clergy to assent to the new liturgy or renounce their livings by Bartholomew’s Day (August 24) when 1,909 dissenting clergy lost their parishes. The new Archbishop of Canterbury William Juxon and the Bishop of London were put in charge of licensing printing.
Margaret Cavendish, who had married the royalist Duke of Newcastle in 1645, and while in exile in Paris had written her autobiography, poetry, and natural philosophy, published Orations of Diverse Person in 1662. In her essays she argued that women can be stronger than men because of love. She also wrote on science, and with her romantic novel, The Description of a New World, Called The Blazing World, an early work of science fiction, she included her Observations upon Experimental Philosophy. Also in 1662 she had 14 of her plays published and some more in 1668, but none of them were produced before her death in 1673.
More laws aimed at dissenters were called the “Clarendon Code.” Charles published his first Declaration of Indulgence in December which was written by the new Secretary of State Henry Bennet, but it’s tolerance angered the House of Commons and had little effect. They passed the Conventicle Act in 1664 that was aimed at nonconformists and prohibited any religious assembly of more than five people that was conducted not in accordance with the Book of Common Prayer. In October 1665 the Five-Mile Act banned nonconformists from preaching or teaching within five miles of a town and all ejected clergy from living in or visiting within five miles of their former parish. Nonconformists were also excluded from universities for many years. The Triennial Act passed in 1641 had required Parliament to meet at least every three years, but the Cavalier Parliament repealed it in April 1663. Judges remained in office during good behavior, and in 1665 a law required jurors to own freehold land worth at least £20. Enforcement of the Conventicle Act decreased, and it expired in March 1669.
In October 1660 Clarendon’s daughter Anne Hyde was pregnant and declared that the King’s brother James, Duke of York, was the father and that they were secretly married in her father’s house. James tried to deny it at first; but the truth came out, and he recognized her as the Duchess of York. On June 23, 1661 Charles agreed to a marriage treaty with Portugal and promised to defend the Portuguese against Spain and in the East Indies in exchange for the dowry of princess Catarina de Bragança whom he married on May 21, 1662. Her dowry included two million Portuguese crowns (£300,000), Tangier, and Bombay. She made drinking tea popular, but they would have no children. Yet Charles had so many mistresses that he recognized fourteen children borne by them. On October 27 England sold Dunkirk for £400,000 to France because it cost £120,000 a year to defend and could get England involved in a war on the continent. In 1663 the first turnpike tolls were collected in England.
On March 23, 1663 Charles rewarded eight nobles, who had helped him gain the throne, by giving them land in the American colony of Carolina. Lord Ashley was included, and his friend, John Locke, wrote a constitution for the colony that would grant nobility to anyone who could purchase 3,000 acres. On July 8 the King granted a charter to Rhode Island protecting freedom of religion. Four days later Parliament passed the second Navigation Act that required all good from British colonies to be transported in British ships from British ports. The result would be that the smuggling already used to avoid restrictions would increase. On March 22, 1664 Charles gave his brother James, Duke of York, extensive land west of the Connecticut River and east to Delaware Bay which had belonged to the Dutch.
By 1664 the King’s debts had risen to £1,250,000. While the monarchy was restored, the power of the Parliament was ending feudalism. Gilbert Sheldon succeeded as Archbishop of Canterbury and agreed that clergy should be taxed at the same rate as the laity. The Royal Society appointed the Georgicall Committee to study agriculture. In 1665 Robert Hooke discovered that plants take in and expel air and contain living cells. That year the King’s physician Peter Chamberlen invented forceps for use by midwives. In 1667 Hooke urged that weather be systematically recorded, and the next year he published his Discourse on Earthquakes. Also in 1668 John Wilkins offered An Essay towards a Real Character, and a Philosophical Language in which he proposed a universal language to replace Latin and a decimal (metric) system for measurements.
The Convention Parliament had passed a Navigation Act in September 1660 that required all goods imported be in English ships or in ships from the nation where the goods originated. Although the Dutch and the English had agreed to a treaty in September 1662, the Staple Act passed on July 27, 1663 limited English colonists to imports of European goods only from England in English ships. On January 10, 1663 Charles II granted a charter to the Royal African Company.
In April 1664 the House of Commons favored another commercial war against the Dutch that broke out that summer. Charles borrowed £200,000 from the City of London and approved a privateering expedition by Captain Robert Holmes against the Dutch East India Company in West Africa. Col. Nicolls with three ships took over New Netherlands in America. War was declared on February 22, 1665, and Parliament in October authorized £1,250,000 for the war, which eventually cost £5,367,000. On June 3 (OS) in a naval battle off Lowestoft the English destroyed 17 Dutch ships and killed at least 2,000 and captured another 2,000 while losing only one ship and about 400 men. In 1666 France and Denmark allied with the Dutch, and in early June at a battle in the Channel the English lost 8,000 men, two admirals, and twenty ships, though the English were victorious at the mouth of the Thames on July 25. On June 18, 1667 Dutch ships led by Admiral de Ruyter sailed up the Thames and burned four English ships in the Medway and towed away the Royal Charles. Peace was restored with the Treaty of Breda on July 21. England gained the colonies that became New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware, and the Dutch gained a worldwide monopoly on nutmeg. Meanwhile England had made a commercial agreement with Spain in May 1667.
About two-thirds of London’s 460,000 people left town when the Great Plague of London began spreading in April 1665; it lasted through 1666, taking about 100,000 human lives. This was later understood to be a bubonic disease spread by fleas from rats. The poor with the disease were locked in their houses and given food by constables. Only about one in ten victims survived as many physicians left England. The London Gazette began publishing from Oxford on November 16, 1665 and transferred to London on February 1, 1666.
On September 2, 1666 a fire began in a bakery and in five days wiped out most of the wooden buildings in the old city, destroying 13,200 houses, 89 churches, 50 community buildings, and goods worth £3,500,000. Charles II ordered London rebuilt using bricks and stones instead of wood and appointed architect Christopher Wren director of the rebuilding including St. Paul’s cathedral. New laws were enacted to clean the streets.
England’s revenues fell to £700,000 in 1665 and 1666. In the winter of 1666-67 riots broke out in many parts of England because of unemployment and high taxes. Charles II agreed to a secret treaty with Louis XIV in March 1667. Parliament impeached the Earl of Clarendon in October; he fled to France in November, and in December they banished him for life. Henry Bennet had been Secretary of State since October 1662, was made Baron Arlington in 1665, and took charge of foreign policy.
James Howell was the son of a Welsh rector and was elected a fellow at Oxford in 1623. When the Civil War broke out in 1642, he was imprisoned for eight years, possibly for having been a royalist spy. He had traveled and learned many languages and wrote letters, fiction, and histories while in prison. In 1660 he published his Lexicon Tetraglotton, which was a dictionary for English, French, Italian, Latin, Spanish, and Portuguese, and that year he became the first royal historiographer-royal for £100 a year.
Thomas Fuller (1608-61) spent twenty years researching and writing his Worthies of England which was published in 1662. He had satirized revolutionary leaders in Andronicus, or the Unfortunate Politician in 1646 and reflected on those trying times in his Cause and Cure of a Wounded Conscience in 1647. He published his Church-History of Britain in 1655. In 1659 he wrote The Appeal of Injured Innocence, and in 1660 An Alarum to the Counties of England and Wales recommended a free parliament. In 1660 he was appointed chaplain to Charles II.
Henry More (1614-87) was a Cambridge Platonist and published The Immortality of the Soul in 1659 and The Grand Mystery of Godliness in 1660. His Enchiridion Ethicum had seven editions from 1667 to 1711, and was translated into English as An Account of Virtue in 1691. This book synthesized Aristotle’s ethics with Christian love.
In January 1668 King Charles II made another treaty with the Dutch and then made it a triple alliance with Sweden in April. Parliament approved and voted the King a subsidy of £800,000 and a new excise. The mother of Charles was the sister of France’s Louis XIII, and during his exile before becoming king Charles had lived for many years in France. His sister Henrietta married Louis XIV’s brother Duke Philippe of Orléans on March 31, 1661. In early 1669 his brother and heir James, Duke of York, informed Charles, Thomas Clifford, and Henry Bennet (later Earl of Arlington) that he had converted to Catholicism. The Parliamentary Commission of Public Accounts issued a report exposing luxury and immorality at court and maladministration of the Second Anglo-Dutch War (1665-67). In the two sessions ending in December 1669 they supplied the King with only £300,000, and in October 1669 Charles announced that it was all spent on the Navy.
In August 1669 France’s Louis XIV sent Colbert’s brother Charles Albert de Croissy as ambassador to London to propose an alliance. Parliament met again in February 1670, and Charles agreed to a new Conventicle Bill in exchange for funds. In this session that ended in April and another the next year Parliament imposed new duties on wine, legal proceedings, and another excise. While deciding whether to put a tax on theaters they discussed the prostitution among actors. John Coventry asked if the King’s pleasure lay with the men or the women. Charles was so upset that he sent his guards to slit Coventry’s nose to the bone. After a sword fight they did so, and the House of Commons banished them and removed the King’s power to pardon them.
On May 2, 1670 Charles II granted a royal charter to the Hudson’s Bay Company. On May 22 during Henrietta’s visit Charles II made a secret treaty with France at Dover in which he promised to declare himself a Roman Catholic, and Louis XIV granted him £150,000 and soldiers to enforce the conversion of England. The treaty was signed by four ministers who died as Catholics including Arlington and Clifford. They also agreed to attack Holland despite England’s 1667 peace treaty with the Dutch, and Louis promised England £225,000 a year and 6,000 troops. Ashley approved of this, and Buckingham was sent to Paris to conclude the “simulated treaty” that affirmed the alliance against the Dutch that was signed by England’s five chief advisors on December 21. The third Anglo-Dutch War would begin in March 1672.
On January 2, 1672 Charles II owed £1,328,526, and the Exchequer stopped making payments on the loans to London bankers, causing bankruptcies. He offered to pay his creditors the interest on his debts but renounced his obligation to repay the principal. This was the beginning of England’s national debt. A new economic council was formed with Ashley Cooper as President and John Locke as secretary. In March the King made Scottish John Maitland Duke of Lauderdale, Henry Bennet Earl of Arlington, Thomas Clifford a baron, and Ashley Cooper the Earl of Shaftesbury. On March 15 Charles issued a Declaration of Indulgence that suspended all penal laws against nonconformists and Catholics, legalizing private worship for Catholics and licenses for public worship by Protestant dissenters. Two days later he declared war on the Dutch. On May 28 (June 7 NS) Dutch forces led by De Ruyter fought off the English and French fleets at Southwold Bay. In the previous three years Parliament had granted only £660,000, and the government’s debt was now over two million. Also in 1672 the English Guinea Company merged with the Royal Africa Company which was given a charter and a monopoly on the slave trade.
After a hiatus of 21 months Parliament met in February 1673 and granted to the King £1,260,000 over 18 months. In exchange Charles on March 8 cancelled the Declaration of Indulgence and approved the Test Act requiring all civil and military officers to accept the sacrament of the Church of England. As a result in June prominent people such as James, Clifford, and Shaftesbury resigned their offices and were exposed as Catholics. Prince Rupert had a prominent role in the last two Dutch wars and succeeded James as supreme commander. When an army of 10,000 men gathered at Blackheath near London in the summer to invade Holland, some English became uneasy. James, Duke of York, married by proxy on September 30 the 15-year-old Catholic princess Mary Beatrice of Modena, grand-niece of Cardinal Mazarin. Two-thirds of the Parliament reacted and tried to annul the marriage, but the King prorogued them on November 4 and five days later removed Shaftesbury from the chancellorship.
The Dutch spread propaganda that Charles had allied with France because he wanted to spread Catholicism in England. Although Charles II was making his own foreign policy decisions, a rumor spread that a Cabal of five advisors was exerting great influence. The initial letter of their names spelled “cabal.” They were Treasurer Clifford, Secretary of State Arlington, Duke of Buckingham, Chancellor of the Exchequer Ashley, and secretary for Scotland Lauderdale. The Commons persuaded the King to dismiss Buckingham and Lauderdale from his Council. Shaftesbury urged Charles to divorce his childless Catholic wife, but he refused and dismissed Shaftesbury from his office as chancellor on November 9. In 1673 more papists were convicted in Wiltshire than in the previous twelve years. English and French ships had blockaded Dutch ports, but the naval battle off Texel in August forced them to abandon that. The Plantation Duty Act of 1673 prohibited trading sugar, cotton, and tobacco between colonies and required payment of duties to England, thus giving British merchants an advantage over colonists. William Coventry published the pamphlet England's appeal from the Private Cabal at Whitehall to the Great Council of the Nation by a true Lover of his Country which had five editions.
Parliament met again on January 7, 1674. Both houses of Parliament urged Charles II to make peace, and William Coventry considered it a war against Protestantism. Members from the country especially opposed the war. On February 9 Shaftesbury and the peace party persuaded the King to withdraw England from the war by signing the treaty at Westminster that affirmed prewar conditions, and the Dutch promised to pay an indemnity of £180,000. In a secret article some English troops commanded by his natural son, the Duke of Monmouth, remained with the French army. James Scott, Duke of Monmouth, had been borne by his mother Lucy Walter on April 9, 1649, and rumors persisted that she and Charles had been secretly married. Although the French gave Charles about £740,000 over six years, the Third Dutch War had cost much more than that. Commons members wanted to reform elections and make sure the Duke of York’s children were being brought up as Protestants; but Charles prorogued them on February 24 until November.
In Wales only about one book per year had been published in Welsh since 1546, but 139 Welsh books were printed between 1670 and 1700. A few families increased their hold on the land of Wales and dominated the elections which favored Tories. In the period 1660-1714 in sixteen general elections only 40 of 432 election returns were determined by voting because most were decided privately by landowners. After the restoration in 1660 Quakers were persecuted in Wales, and by 1700 most of the Friends had emigrated to the Holy Experiment in Pennsylvania. In 1674 the cleric Thomas Gouge, who had been ejected in 1662, left London to teach children in Wales using English devotional books, and by 1681 some 3,000 students had enrolled in the Welsh Trust schools.
Thomas Osborne replaced Clifford as Lord Treasurer in June 1673 and was made the Earl of Danby one year later. He promoted the Church of England, persecuted Protestant and Catholic dissenters, and opposed the alliance with France. Parliament had supplied £1,800,000 for the war against the Dutch, but total military expenditures surpassed this by £443,000. Yet the depression of the 1660s was over, and the economy improved greatly in the 1670s. In September 1671 the government took over the administration of customs from the tax farmers, and so the trade duties went directly into the Royal Exchequer. Danby had been treasurer of the Navy and increased this ordinary revenue. Yet the extravagance of King Charles II still meant increasing debt. Danby used bribery to try to influence Parliament. In the fall of 1675 pensions on the excise tax of £10,000 a year were paid to about thirty members of Parliament (MPs), and others were customs commissioners or officials of Irish revenue. Danby tried to suppress the spread of dissent in coffee houses, but that effort failed.
In the fall of 1674 Danby met with bishops, and in February 1675 the Privy Council approved measures to strengthen the monopoly of the Anglican Church. He released the plans for the rebuilding of St. Paul’s Church. Charles proclaimed his zeal for the Church of England in April, and two days later Danby asked the Lords to pass a Test Bill requiring MPs and officials to swear loyalty to the established government and Church by declaring that resistance against them is unlawful; but this was opposed by Shaftesbury, Buckingham, and George Savile, Marquis of Halifax, in a long debate. That spring the House of Commons tried without success to remove Scottish Secretary Lauderdale and to impeach Danby. In the fall they appropriated only £300,000 for twenty warships. Charles II made two more agreements in August 1675 and in February 1676 with Louis XIV who agreed to pay him a subsidy of £112,000. In November 1675 Shaftesbury published the Letter from a Person of Quality to his Friend in the Country, warning of plans by bishops to form an absolute monarchy. The King prorogued Parliament on November 22 and did not summon them until February 1677.
Thomas Traherne, whom Samuel Johnson called one of the twelve metaphysical poets, published only Roman Forgeries (a dialog between a Protestant and a Catholic) before his death in September 1674, but the next year his Christian Ethics was published emphasizing the infinite love of God. Also in 1675 John Flamsteed equipped the observatory established at Greenwich.
In December the retail sales of coffee, tea and chocolate were prohibited, but within two weeks the order was changed to mere regulation. Sugar was used to sweeten these drinks. In 1665 England had imported only 88 tons of sugar, but by 1700 they would bring in 10,000 tons. In 1674 physician Thomas Willis discovered sugar in the urine of diabetics and diagnosed that it was a blood disease. In 1676 Thomas Sydenham published his Observations of Medicine. He found that opiates were the most effective means of relieving suffering. His medical textbook would be used for two centuries.
The English Parliament met on February 15, 1677, and Charles II informed them of the alliance with the Dutch against the French. Shaftesbury, Buckingham, Salisbury, and Lord Wharton complained that it was illegal to prorogue for more than a year, and the Lords sent them to the Tower. Danby managed to get an assessment for seventeen months that would bring in £585,000 to build thirty ships, and he persuaded the Commons to urge Charles to defend the Spanish Netherlands from the French; but he adjourned the Parliament on May 28. In October the King agreed to the betrothal of his brother James’ oldest daughter Mary to the hunchbacked Willem of Orange. She wept for a day and a half, but the people celebrated with bonfires. Laurence Hyde was sent to negotiate an alliance with the Dutch. Charles made a third agreement with King Louis in August, promising not to recall Parliament for a year in exchange for a subsidy. Willem and Mary married in November. England and Holland agreed to a peace treaty in December, and English troops paid by the French were recalled. Louis XIV stopped paying Charles who then summoned Parliament.
On January 10, 1678 Laurence Hyde signed a treaty for a defensive alliance with the Netherlands. Charles II asked Parliament for money in January, and in March the Commons voted to raise 30,000 soldiers and equip ninety ships with a poll tax that would bring in £300,000. At the same time they prohibited imports from France, and this lasted until 1685. Charles II made another secret agreement with Louis XIV in May for about £500,000, but no English minister would sign the treaty. Many feared that the army would be used against the Parliament instead of France, and Andrew Marvel published his Account of the Growth of Popery and Arbitrary Government. In early June news of an armistice between the Dutch and the French reached London. Then the Commons voted £200,000 to pay off the soldiers and disband the army, though this was put off until the Treaty of Nijmegen on July 31 formally ended the war. William Temple was the English ambassador in Holland, and he negotiated an alliance with the Dutch on July 26.
Parliament was prorogued on July 15, 1678, and some feared the army of 30,000 might try to impose popery. About 60,000 Catholics were only about one percent of England’s population, but their gentry were about 7% of those in England and Wales. Titus Oates was an Anglican cleric but had been indicted for perjury in 1675 and escaped from Dover Castle. He had attended English Jesuit colleges at St. Omer in France and at Valladolid in Spain. The information he gained enabled him to make plausible charges against English Catholics. He was assisted by Israel Tonge who had a doctorate degree from Oxford. On August 13 King Charles was informed of the Popish Plot. Oates and Tonge produced 81 articles of charges based on a Jesuit plan to assassinate Charles to trigger a Catholic uprising in Ireland and England. On October 16 the Dublin government banished all Catholic bishops, Jesuits, and regular clergy from Ireland, and they closed all the convents. Two weeks later they prohibited Catholics from owning or carrying firearms unless they had a license from the Lord Lieutenant.
The Justice of the Peace Edmund Berry Godfrey in Westminster received their papers on September 28 and took their depositions. Oates presented accusations to the Privy Council on October 6. On the 17th Godfrey was found dead by strangulation and with a sword in his body. People suspected that he was silenced by Catholics, and on the 21st the Cavalier Parliament warned of the danger. Investigation indicated he may have committed suicide because the sword had been run through his body after death. On November 21 Chief Justice William Scroggs sentenced the banker William Staley to death for treason. One week later Oates accused Queen Catherine of treason. The Catholic courtier Edward Colman had been secretary to the Duke of York and his duchess, and he and three others were also executed by the end of the year. Colman had corresponded with the confessor to Louis XIV and had received money in England. Scroggs sentenced 21 men to death including seven Jesuits, and 14 others were also tried and executed for this alleged plot by 1680. In July 1679 Oates accused the Queen’s physician George Wakeman of poisoning the King, and only then did Scroggs question the evidence of Oates, influencing the jury to acquit Wakeman. Scroggs persecuted Catholics, and in April 1681 the King dismissed him with an ample pension. He also made money on his book about his thirteen state trials.
Shaftesbury had been released from the Tower in February 1678, and in November in the House of Lords he demanded that James, Duke of York, be removed from the Privy Council, but the Lords excepted James from the 1673 Test Act. Charles declared that James, Duke of Monmouth, was his illegitimate son, and the King’s brother James, Duke of York, went to Flanders. In September the Duke of Monmouth fled to Holland, and the Duke of York returned to govern Scotland. When Parliament met in October, they sent five Catholic peers to the Tower and impeached them, and on November 30 they banned Catholics from both houses of Parliament. After this no Catholics would sit in Parliament until 1829.
Ralph Montagu was England’s ambassador in Paris, but Danby got him removed in June 1678. Montagu found letters written by Danby in early 1678 exposing negotiations for the secret subsidy from Louis XIV. On March 25 Danby had asked Louis for six million livres. Montagu presented these to the House of Commons on December 19, and two days later the Commons began impeachment proceedings. On December 30 Charles prorogued the session. Then on January 24, 1679 he dissolved the Cavalier Parliament which had lasted 18 years and had 150 members favoring the King.
Ralph Cudworth (1617-88) was one of the Cambridge Platonists. He taught Hebrew and worked to readmit Jews into England during the Commonwealth. He published The True Intellectual System of the Universe in 1678, arguing for the existence of God, the natural basis of moral laws, and the reality of freedom.
In the new Parliament that met from March 6, 1679 to May 27 Charles had 30 members at the most. They were determined to exclude the Catholic James from the throne as the excluders outnumbered the court supporters by almost two to one. Danby faced the charges, and a Bill of Attainder against him failed; but he spent five years in the Tower. Parliament passed the Habeas Corpus Amendment Act that required judges to bring prisoners to trial within a specified time, and it prohibited imprisoning someone again for the same offense. Charles made Shaftesbury president of his Privy Council in April and included other opponents such as Secretary of State Sunderland. During the elections a Baptist printer Benjamin Harris connected to John Bunyan and Shaftesbury began publishing the biweekly Domestick Intelligence which became The Protestant Domestic Intelligence, and the Court party put out the True Domestick Intelligence. Henry Clare satirized Catholics in The Weekly Pacquet of Advice from Rome. Press surveyor Roger L’Estrange could no longer control publishing with licenses, and in 1680 his Cit and Bumpkin condemned petitions as against institutions. Chief Justice Scroggs fined Harris £500 and pilloried him for publishing An Appeal from the Country to the City.
The first Exclusion Bill was introduced on May 15, 1679 and it passed 207-128. On May 27 Charles prorogued and then dissolved the Parliament, and he did so again soon after it met on October 7. Then the King dismissed Shaftesbury, and William Temple, Essex, and Halifax resigned and were replaced by the Tory ministers Godolphin, Hyde, and Sunderland.
The famous diarist Samuel Pepys worked as an able administrator for the Navy but was removed because of the Popish Plot. New pamphlet titles in England increased from 800 in 1677 to about 1,800 in 1680, and more than five million copies of political pamphlets were circulating by 1681. Charles Blount warned about Popish malice in his Appeal from the Country in 1679, and that year John Temple’s popular history, The Irish Rebellion, which was first published in 1646, was reprinted. In 1680 Henry Neville published his Plato Redivivus and suggested that the increasing number of property owners deserved a wider distribution of political power. In 1681 Whigs described A Prospect of a Popish Successor. That year the first bank checks were issued in England, and Stephen Fox persuaded Charles II to found Chelsea Hospital to serve wounded soldiers.
Charles II became seriously ill at the end of August 1679, and his opponents warned of the dangers of his Catholic brother James, Duke of York, becoming king. Charles recovered in September and sent the two James rivals into exile, and York insisted that Monmouth resign all his military offices before going to the Netherlands for having conspired with York’s enemies. Mass demonstrations burning pope effigies were peaceful on November 5 and 17, 1679 and in 1680. Thomas Player printed petition forms and in January 1680 presented Charles with two petitions containing about 90,000 signatures from London and Wiltshire. Laurence Hyde replaced Danby as Treasurer in November 1679 and became Earl of Rochester three years later. He persuaded Charles to limit his expenditures. On June 10, 1680 Charles II made a treaty with Spain.
Those opposing the Royal Court led by Shaftesbury formed the Country party that eventually evolved into the Whigs while the Court party became the Tories. The Country party dominated the Parliaments that began on October 21, 1680 with King Charles asking for money to defend Tangiers and advising an alliance with Spain. He was willing to protect Protestants if the succession was preserved. On November 15 the Lords defeated the second Exclusion Bill by the vote 63-30. In April 1681 the Tory L’Estrange began publishing The Observator three times a week while the printer of the Whig Protestant (Domestick) Intelligence was imprisoned during most of 1681 and 1682. In those two years independent John Owen and Scottish Robert Ferguson were fined about £10,000 for illegal preaching.
By April 1680 every county in England and Wales had a new commission of peace, and 272 justices of the peace were removed. By 1683 Charles had removed the earls of Suffolk, Manchester, and Essex from the lieutenancy and the commission of peace.
In 1681 John Dryden published his play Absalom and Achitophel which satirized Shaftesbury as hungry for power and without principles. In February about 400 gentry welcomed Monmouth. Parliament met at Oxford on March 21; but after one week he dissolved them again, King Charles had no intention of calling elections. To explain himself he issued his Declaration to all his loving subjects and required Anglican clergy to read it from their pulpits. The Country party needed Parliament meeting, and they were also hurt by laws denying legal advice and prior notice of the charges or the list of witnesses to those charged with treason and felonies. Three weeks later Shaftesbury was arrested. A London jury acquitted him of treason; but he fled to Holland in November and died on January 21, 1683. Stephen College was executed in 1681, and Oates was banned form the Council chamber. In 1684 Oates would be fined £300,000 for sedition and kept in the King’s Bench prison because he could not pay. On July 12, 1683 a grand jury found cause to offer a reward of £300 for the capture of Monmouth. He went to his mistress Henrietta Wentworth and surrendered on November 25, and his confession was printed in the London Gazette. Legal proceedings were ended, and he went into exile in the Spanish Netherlands.
In 1682 John Bunyan published The Holy War that discussed the Catholic succession, and Thomas Shadwell supported the Whigs with The Lancashire Witches. The Tories had Thomas Otway’s play Venice Preserved, and Aphra Behn criticized the Whigs and dissenters with her play, The Roundheads or, the Good Old Cause. The Marquis of Halifax described the moderates in his Character of a Trimmer as balancing a boat endangered by extremists on each side.
The supposed Rye House Plot to kill the King while he was going to or coming from the races resulted in the execution of William lord Russell on July 21, 1683 and of Algernon Sidney on December 7. On July 13 that year before his trial Arthur Capell, Earl of Essex, committed suicide in the Tower, though some accused Charles or James of murder. Charles II also used quo warranto writs to take control of municipal corporations including the London city corporation in June 1683. The mayor and police helped the Tories win the elections, and the Whigs challenged them in court and refused to recognize the new sheriffs or the mayor. By that year 37 towns had new charters, and in the first three months of James II another 47 new charters were granted.
By the last year of the reign of Charles II the annual revenue had increased to £1,370,750. On July 28, 1683 Princess Anne, daughter of James, married Prince George, the younger brother of Kristian V of Denmark. In his last years Charles also appointed magistrates who persecuted dissenters. Despite the Triennial Act no more Parliaments were summoned by Charles, and he put James back on his Privy Council and released Danby from the Tower in 1684. That winter was extremely cold with the Thames freezing, and ice skates were invented. Also in 1684 the East India Company was given permission to trade with China at Canton after years of trading for silks, porcelain, and tea at Java. After bank failures in 1682 a depression began in 1684 that would last through 1687. Charles II suffered a stroke on February 1, 1685. He fulfilled his promise toLouis XIV by accepting the Catholic faith before his death five days later.
On December 13, 1659 Irish officers and gentry led by Theophilus Jones took over Dublin Castle and proclaimed a parliament. Charles Coote and Lord Broghill secured the garrisons in Connacht and Munster. They purged the radicals and called for an Irish Convention which met at Dublin on February 27, 1660. They proclaimed King Charles II on May 14, and in November he issued his ideas for settling the Irish issues. That year Charles donated the library of Bishop Ussher to Trinity College in Dublin, but the Dublin Philosophical Society included only one Catholic. On January 22, 1661 he outlawed all meetings and ordinations by Catholics, Presbyterians, independents, and separatists. Only eight bishops had survived the Commonwealth in Ireland, but twelve were consecrated in 1661. That year the Marquess of Ormonde was made a duke, and he served as Lord Lieutenant of Ireland 1662-68. In March, 1662 they imposed the hearth tax. On April 10 Charles II granted all the rights forfeited during his father’s reign, and the Act of Settlement that summer authorized the King to reorganize the confiscated land in Ireland. Of owners who claimed they were innocent 566 decrees were issued to Catholics and 141 to Protestants. Charles also took about 170,000 acres from regicides and gave them to his brother James, and Lord Lieutenant Ormonde also greatly increased his estates.
Also in 1662 the English Parliament made it a felony to export Irish wool. In the spring of 1663 Lt. Thomas Blood and Col. Alexander Jephson with some nonconformist ministers tried to seize Dublin Castle and fortresses at Cork, Limerick, Waterford, and Clonmel to secure the English interest against popery, but they failed. About seventy men were captured and imprisoned, and Jephson and two others were executed on July 15. Jephson was a member of Parliament, and seven other MPs were expelled. The Act of Explanation in 1665 required soldiers and adventurers to give one-third of their land to the dispossessed Catholics, and it was returned in 1666. Catholics regained their civil rights except to sit in Parliament. In 1666 the Irish Parliament passed the Irish Act of Uniformity which imposed use of the Common Book of Prayer and required all clerics and teachers to renounce the Solemn League and Covenant. In the fall the Irish Cattle Act restricted the export of Irish beef, and the price in Ireland fell from 40s to 12s. The government was centralized in Dublin, and the Parliament was not summoned again until 1685.
English Navigation Acts in 1663 and 1670 required all Irish goods going to America to be carried in English ships, and most Catholic merchants left Ireland. By 1670 only about 7,500 ex-soldiers had their land confirmed by King Charles II. That year a general synod of Catholic bishops was held in Dublin. Sheep replaced many cattle, and the wool trade increased. Baron John Berkeley was Lord Lieutenant of Ireland 1670-72 and favored Catholics. In 1672 William Petty published The Political Anatomy of Ireland and estimated that Ireland had 800,000 Catholics, 200,000 English, and 100,000 Scots. In 1676 he calculated that labor wages in England were twice those in Ireland. Arthur Capel, Earl of Essex, became Lord Lieutenant in May 1672 and supported the King’s Declaration of Indulgence; but after Charles II withdrew this in March 1673, Catholics in Ireland were oppressed again. Essex also supported Catholic merchants, lawyers, and priests which angered Irish Protestants.
Ormonde governed Ireland again from 1677 to 1685. The Catholic Oliver Plunket, Archbishop of Armagh, was accused of trying to raise 70,000 Catholics to cooperate with a French invasion and kill the Protestants. He was convicted by a jury of Protestants in June 1681 and was hanged on July 1. In 1683 William Molyneux founded the Dublin Philosophical Society, and Petty was the first president.
On May 14, 1660 Scots in Edinburgh celebrated the proclamation that Charles II was King. The English Navigation Act of 1660 excluded Scots from the colonial trade. On January 1, 1661 the Scottish Parliament met with Commissioner John Middleton, and on the 19th the 9th Earl of Glencairn became Chancellor of Scotland. On March 28 the Rescissory Act rescinded all laws passed by Parliament in the 1640s. They had the 8th Earl of Argyll put on trial, and after evidence presented by those who had served Cromwell he was beheaded on May 27. Five days later James Guthrie was executed for having written Causes of the Lord’s Wrath. Samuel Rutherford had died in prison in March, and the only other Scot executed was the author of the National Covenant, the Earl of Wariston, who was put to death in July 1663. The Parliament passed 393 acts in six months making the King almost absolute. The Episcopal Church created by the grandfather and father of Charles II was imposed on Scotland. Charles required all office holders to declare the two Covenants illegal and seditious. In the years 1661-62 about three hundred women and men were put to death for witchcraft in Scotland. An Act of Indemnity was passed in September 1662, and 700 people were excluded from its provisions and were subjected to fines. The Episcopal Ordination Act prohibited Presbyterian assemblies, and 400 ministers were ejected. After Middleton criticized the King’s Secretary for Scotland Lauderdale, Charles recalled the Commissioner in 1663. In July of that year Parliament required all Scots to attend their parish church or pay a heavy fine. A rebellion of Galloway men on November 15, 1666 was put down, and 33 of fifty prisoners were hanged.
On June 7, 1669 Charles allowed the Scottish Privy Council to restore ministers, who had lived peacefully, to their former parish churches or to other vacancies, and 42 Presbyterian ministers were reinstated. Then in October the Scottish Supremacy Act subordinated the bishops to the Crown, and this was enforced against the Covenanters by James Sharp, Archbishop of St. Andrews and primate of Scotland. On the same day the Scottish Militia Act enabled Charles II to send 20,000 Scottish soldiers to serve in Scotland, England, or Ireland. Secretary Lauderdale presided over the Scottish Parliament in November 1673 and blamed the Earl of Shaftesbury for “tampering.” The Parliament was prorogued and was not summoned again until 1681. On June 18, 1674 Charles ordered the Scottish Council to require that inheritors have their tenants promise not to violate the Conventicle Act; if tenants refused, inheritors must eject them or be punished. Within three years eleven landlords in Renfrewshire were fined £368,000.
On December 11, 1677 Charles II ordered the Highland Host in Scotland raised to make the Presbyterian heartlands obedient, and 8,000 soldiers at Stirling forced the landlords of Fife to submit on January 24, 1678. The King withdrew the Highlanders in February and other forces in April. After the troops left, the field conventicles resumed. In May at Whitekirk the King’s forces tried to make people disperse, and one soldier was killed; James Learmont had shouted instructions to armed men and was executed, and Temple was banished for wearing a sword. In Ayrshire in August nonconformist ministers led by John Welsh preached to about 7,000 people gathered for a three-day conventicle, and some 14,000 armed gentry met near Dumfries in November.
On May 3, 1679 Archbishop James Sharp of St. Andrews was dragged from a coach and murdered by Scottish Covenanters who fled to the west. On May 29, when the King’s birthday was celebrated, the militant Conventicler Robert Hamilton led eighty armed men to Rutherglen where they burned copies of oppressive Acts and nailed a “Declaration and Testimony” to the Mercat Cross denouncing Covenant violations. The royalist John Graham of Claverhouse commanded dragoons, and they pursued Hamilton and his men who eluded them. On June 1 thousands gathered for a conventicle at Loudoun Hill. As Claverhouse’s dragoons were approaching, the women and children withdrew. On Drumclog Moor about 1,500 armed men defeated the attacking dragoons, killing 36 soldiers and taking seven prisoners. The Covenanters pursued the fleeing dragoons to Glasgow. The Covenanters argued over the Rutherglen Declaration for three weeks. The Cameronians followed Richard Cameron and were most extreme and violent, believing in “preventive murder.” Robert Welch led those who wanted a free Presbyterian Kirk under a lawful king and a free Parliament and Assembly. A smaller group followed the pacifist minister John Blackadder.
On June 22 James Scott, Duke of Monmouth, with an army of 15,000 defeated about 6,000 rebels at Bothwell Bridge. About 800 Covenanters were killed with 1,400 captured. The next day Monmouth was replaced by General Tam Dalyell. He randomly hanged five prisoners for the murder of Archbishop Sharp. Those who signed a bond of good behavior were released. The amnesty excepted 65 leaders of whom 35 rebels lost their estates, and two were executed. Of the 340 sentenced to be transported to Barbados 250 were put on an unseaworthy ship that was wrecked off the Orkneys with 200 below the hatches dying.
Monmouth’s popularity increased, but he went into exile in the Netherlands in September. Charles II appointed his brother James to govern Scotland, and the Duke of York and his wife Mary arrived on November 24 and were welcomed by Chancellor Rothes and 38 privy councilors. After Lauderdale’s exclusions York’s policies were accommodating, but he left in February 1680. On June 22 Cameron and twenty armed Society People entered the Sanquhar market cross and posted the Declaration and Testimony of the True Presbyterian, Anti-prelatic, Anti-erastian, Persecuted Party in Scotland. On July 22 in a small skirmish on a field Cameron was killed. Covenanter Donald Cargill had fled to Holland, and in October he excommunicated the King, the Duke of York, and some Scottish politicians. A reward was offered for his capture, and Cargill was executed in Edinburgh on July 27, 1681.
The Duke of York returned in October and stayed in Scotland for eighteen months, becoming royal commissioner in July 1681. To improve the Scottish economy he canceled taxes on imported raw materials and exported manufactured goods. He encouraged Covenanters to start colonies in Perth, New Jersey and Stewart’s Town on a South Carolina island. He tried to persuade Presbyterians to accept bishops. James Dalrymple, Lord Stair, published The Institutions of Law of Scotland to help lawyers, and the Clerk Register Thomas Murray Glendoick printed the Acts of Parliament since 1424. James summoned a parliament, and he promoted a Test Act that required officials, clergy, teachers, and soldiers to affirm the power of the king in all civil and ecclesiastical matters. The 9th Earl of Argyll was convicted of treason and imprisoned in Edinburgh Castle, but he escaped dressed as a woman.
In April 1684 four Scots who had fled were tried in absentia, convicted, and had their estates confiscated. The 9th Earl of Argyll already had been condemned to death. Scots suspected of the Rye House Plot imprisoned in England were transferred to Scotland. On June 14 Charles II authorized the use of torture including the thumbscrew that generals Dalzell and Drummond brought from Moscow. In Scotland habeus corpus did not apply, and they could be tortured if accused of a capital offense. Application of thumbscrews to William Spence caused him to confirm that Argyll, Viscount Stair, and other Scots were involved in a plot to raise an army in Scotland.
Many continued to be fined for not attending church. In February 1684 husbands had begun to be fined for the recusancy of their wives, and a record in August showed that landlords in Roxburghshire were fined £274,737. On November 8 James Renwick and the Society People posted the Apologetical Declaration and Admonitory Vindication of the True Presbyterians on several market crosses and churches and two weeks later the Council resolved that anyone who refused to renounce the Apologetical Declaration before two witnesses should be executed. On January 13, 1685 the Council ordered men hanged and women drowned. During what was called “the killing times” as many as a hundred people may have been put to death. Most of the killing ended in May, but the Cameronian Renwick was captured and hanged on February 17, 1688. These times were portrayed from the viewpoint of a moderate by Walter Scott in his novel The Tale of Old Mortality in 1816.
With the restoration of the monarchy in 1660 George Fox was again arrested without good reason. He wrote a letter to Charles II telling the King that he was the very opposite of a disturber of the peace. The suspicion that he would plot an armed rebellion was ridiculous. He denied drawing any carnal weapon against the King or the Parliament or any man on Earth; but rather he said he was a witness against all murderers and did not have it in his heart to have any man destroyed. He asserted that he loved everyone including his enemies and attempted to awaken the love of the King for the truth. While in custody of soldiers at Whitehall he preached the gospel of loving one another and asked them why they wore swords and when they would break them and come to the gospel of peace. He also referred to the light in consciences that makes no covenant with death, to which light he spoke and in which he was clear. Fox exhorted all Friends to live in peace; he declared that those who use carnal weapons throw away spiritual weapons, and those who do not love one another and love enemies are out of Christ’s doctrine.
In 1660 Fox and eleven others signed “A Declaration from the harmless and innocent people of God, called Quakers, against all plotters and fighters in the world.” They stated that their principle is, and their practices always have been, to seek peace and follow justice and the knowledge of God for the welfare of all. Warfare results from the lust and desire to have men’s lives and estates. Pertinent passages from the Bible are quoted, but more importantly they honestly could declare that they practiced the ways of peace and suffered persecution for the sake of justice and had not done violence against anyone. They suffered in obedience to God, having been
despised, beaten, stoned, wounded, stocked, whipped,
imprisoned, haled out of synagogues,
cast into dungeons and noisome vaults
where many have died in bonds, shut up from our friends,
denied needful sustenance for many days together,
with other the like cruelties.1
Hundreds of Friends had suffered these things, few more than George Fox. Yet they refused to swear or to fight. Often they remained in jail after their sentence because they refused to pay the jail keeper; they did not recognize that they had committed a crime. They pleaded to the King so that he would end this useless suffering. In his Journal Fox described how this declaration cleared away the darkness so that the King proclaimed that no soldiers should search a house without a constable and that Friends in jail should be set at liberty without having to pay the fees.
Yet during the reign of Charles II (1660-1685) 13,562 Quakers were imprisoned in England; 338 died in prison or were killed in the assaults on their meetings; and 198 were exported as slaves. In 1664 Margaret Fell was summoned to the March Assizes and accused of having an illegal meeting in her house. She refused to take the oath and would not promise to stop holding Quaker meetings. She was sentenced to life in prison and was put in Lancaster Castle where George Fox already resided. She was released by order of the King and his Council in the summer of 1668. While in prison in 1666 Fell wrote Women’s Speaking Justified to defend female preaching. In 1667 Fox traveled to set up monthly and quarterly meetings, and in October 1669 he married the 55-year-old widow Margaret Fell and went to Ireland. When the Conventicle Act was renewed in 1670, Margaret was imprisoned again. The King had her released in April 1671. That year Fox organized the Women’s Monthly and Quarterly Meetings at the same time as the men’s.
By 1670 in addition to local meetings the Friends gathered monthly and quarterly. Fox and other missionaries went to the West Indies and America in 1671 to convince others of the truth of the inner Light. Fox preached to the Indians, whom he treated as equals, and he urged humane treatment of Africans and their eventual release from slavery. He returned to England in 1673 and was imprisoned for the eighth time. Fox dictated to Thomas Lower an account of his life that was published in 1694 edited by Thomas Ellwood as The Journal of George Fox. He traveled to Europe in 1677 and returned to Holland seven years later. Fox continued to preach and clarify the doctrines of the inner Light until he died in 1691; during all this time he was the generally acknowledged leader of the Quakers.
Robert Barclay was born in Scotland in 1648 and followed his father into the Society of Friends in 1667. He studied theology, married a Quaker, and defended the Christian divinity of the Quakers in his writings published in the late 1670s.
George Whitehead was only 16 when he left home to preach. He was often arrested for doing so. In 1661 he joined with some Friends to argue against the proposed Act of Uniformity in the House of Commons. During the plague of 1665 that killed nearly 100,000 people in London he prayed at the bedside of dying Quakers. Whitehead was arrested again in 1668 at a meeting with Friends, but they managed to persuade Charles II to issue the Royal Declaration of Indulgence that released 490 people from jails in England. Whitehead also led a group that influenced King William III to create the Bill of Rights of 1689.
The second great Quaker leader, William Penn, was born in London on October 14, 1644. His father William was an admiral, fought for Parliament in the Civil War, and retired to estates in Ireland that had been granted him in the Cromwellian Settlement of 1652. Suspected of communicating with Charles II, Admiral Penn led the unauthorized conquest of Jamaica for Cromwell in May 1655. He was knighted by Charles II and made a commissioner for the Navy. After showing courage in battle against the Dutch in 1665, he was bequeathed a claim on the government for £16,000. He was hopeful that his son would become prominent in the court and provided him with a fine education.
Young William Penn studied at Christ’s Church College in Oxford, where John Locke was teaching; but he was fined and expelled for refusing to attend church and for religious nonconformity. William may have first heard a Quaker sermon by Thomas Loe as early as 1660. Disgruntled by his son’s pious seriousness, the Admiral sent him off to France in 1663, and the father was glad when William returned the next year a good French scholar with the bearing of the courtly life. He advised his son then to study law at Lincoln’s Inn, but after a year a great plague hit London in 1665.
While in Ireland managing his father’s estates, young Penn turned toward religion again; he was convinced by Thomas Loe when he spoke about “a faith that overcomes the world.” Penn recalled how the Lord had appeared to him since the age of twelve, the debauchery of Oxford and his persecution there, and the “irreligiousness” of the world’s religions. At the Quaker meeting the Lord visited him again, and he testified about the mocking and scorn he had experienced, the displeasure of his parents, the invective from priests, but most of all his resisting and watching his own vain affections and thoughts. Uncertain about whether to give up his fine clothes, it is said that Penn asked George Fox if he must stop wearing a sword. Fox replied, “Wear it as long as thou canst.”
In September 1667 Penn was arrested at a meeting of Friends. The mayor, noticing his aristocratic dress, offered to free him on his promise to behave; but the 23-year-old refused and was sent to prison with eighteen others. As he went to prison, Penn gave up his sword and never wore it again. Penn wrote that religion was his crime and made him a prisoner to a mayor’s malice at the same time it made him a free man. In this letter to the Earl of Orrery he pleaded for religious toleration. The arrest brought the conflict between William and his father to a head. His father wanted him to conform to the ways of the world and attain a position of honor, but the son pleaded that he must listen to his conscience. Finally his father threatened to disinherit him; he asked that his son only uncover his head before the king, the duke, and himself. William prayed and fasted to know the heavenly will; but this only strengthened his resolution, and he was thrown out of the house.
Penn became an active promoter of Quaker ideas by writing numerous pamphlets. After he wrote “The Sandy Foundation Shaken” to refute the doctrines of the trinity and the eternal damnation of souls, he was put in prison, not for his ideas but because he had no license from the Bishop of London. He was given pen and paper and was told to recant; but he wrote his father he would die in prison before he would budge. A royal chaplain was sent to mediate, and he persuaded Penn to write another pamphlet explaining his views. Penn wrote “Innocency with her Open Face” and was released. Also while in the Tower of London in 1668 and 1669 he wrote the first edition in about a hundred pages of his most famous book, No Cross, No Crown, which was expanded to nearly six hundred pages by 1682.
In 1670 Penn and William Meade were arrested for preaching in the street on a warrant signed by Mayor Samuel Starling, who told Penn he would have his hat pulled off and berated his father. In the trial the prisoners appeared before twelve judges and twelve jurors. Penn challenged the legality of the indictment and would not plead without seeing a written copy; since this was not given, he pleaded not guilty. The next day the prisoners were fined forty marks for failing to remove their hats. Penn cited Coke on common law and the rights in the Great Charter (Magna Carta). The recorder charged the jury to bring in a verdict of guilty. Four jurors dissented, and they were sent back. After the jury found them guilty of speaking in the street but refused to add the words “in an unlawful assembly,” the magistrates ordered them “locked up without meat, drink, fire, and tobacco” as Penn called to them not to give up their rights as Englishmen. The charge that unarmed worshipers had riotously broken the peace was absurd. Yet the result was that Penn and all twelve of the jury were sent to prison. Someone, probably Penn’s father, paid the fines, and they were discharged.
Penn recently had been reconciled with his dying father, who passed away nine days later. The jurors, released on a writ of habeas corpus, sued the mayor and recorder, winning their case before the Court of Common Pleas in a historic decision that conceded judges “may try to open the eyes of the jurors, but not to lead them by the nose.” In 1671 Chief Justice Vaughan established the rights of juries so that no jurors could be punished for their verdicts. Penn wrote a pamphlet with an appendix citing numerous precedents since the Magna Carta of 1215. This trial became famous and showed that the arbitrary and oppressive proceedings of the courts badly needed reform.
Again the next year Mayor Starling had Penn arrested for preaching without taking an oath, even though the Conventicle Law was only for those in holy orders, which Penn was not. He was sent to Newgate prison for six months and occupied his time writing pamphlets. He also sent a protest to the sheriffs of London about prison conditions and an address to Parliament against the Conventicle Act. Later in 1671 Penn went with Fox to see him and his companions off to America from Gravesend. This stimulated Penn to undertake a missionary trip to Holland and Germany. In the Netherlands his communications foreboded the miseries of the wars brought about by Louis XIV.
In 1673 Penn went to court to secure a writ of habeas corpus to release George Fox from Worcester prison. Fox had been in prison for more than a year; but Judge Matthew Hale found so many errors in the indictment that he discharged Fox. Probably because of Penn’s influence with the last two Stuart kings, Fox was never arrested again. Penn wrote “A Treatise of Oaths” in 1675 so that Quakers would not be imprisoned for refusing to take an oath of allegiance or to swear in court. He cited 122 authorities from Pythagoras to Willem of Orange on the folly of exacting oaths. Penn’s many pamphlets arguing for religious tolerance such as “The Great Case of Liberty of Conscience Debated,” “Examination of Liberty Spiritual,” and “A Persuasive to Moderation” finally bore fruit in 1689 when the Toleration Act was passed. Many believed that his writings brought about the release of 1,300 Quakers from jail.
In 1677 Penn wrote the “Concessions and Agreements” for West New Jersey proprietors of the first Quaker colony in America, calling for annual elections by ballot for the assembly, which shall have power to make, alter, and repeal laws, including taxation; every adult male free of crime was eligible to vote and hold office; the legislature should choose ten commissioners for executive power; judges and constables were elected by the people; trial by jury was unrestricted; and freedom of conscience and religious worship were protected.
Before Penn’s father died, he gave his son his blessing. The crown of England owed £16,000, interest, and back salary to the late Admiral Penn, and in 1680 his son asked for a grant of American land west of the Delaware. The land he received in a charter on February 24, 1681 may be the largest piece of property ever owned by a commoner. Penn wanted to call it Sylvania for its forests, but Charles II insisted that Penn be added, making it Pennsylvania. Although Penn was sole proprietor and therefore governor, he wanted this holy experiment as a pacifist society to be a haven for religious toleration and representative government. Of course it was to be a home for the Quakers, but others were welcome also.
About 400 Quakers were prosecuted as conventiclers in 1683. That year in Bristol alone 191 Quakers paid £16,440 in fines, and in May 1685 Quakers in Suffolk were charged £33,300 for failing to attend church. When James II became king, a Quaker petition complained that 1,360 Friends were in prison.
John Milton lost his government salary in early 1660 and also £2,000 he had invested in the Commonwealth. He tried to get his daughters to serve as readers and amanuenses but found it difficult. He had more success working with sons of prominent men who were eager to learn from him. His second wife Katherine Woodcock had died in childbirth in February 1658, and five years later he married 24-year-old Elizabeth Minshull. They left London during the Great Plague of 1665. In February 1667 the first edition of his epic poem Paradise Lost was published in ten books, and the second edition revised into twelve books came out in 1674.
In Paradise Lost the poet aims to tell the story of mankind’s initial disobedience that caused Man to be expelled from Eden, and he hopes to show the eternal providence and to justify the ways of God. The first book begins in hell where Satan and the angels following him have been cast after trying to take over heaven. Pride and desire for revenge were the causes of the angels’ rebellion. They chose to make war against all-powerful God and were sent to bottomless perdition. Satan says they study revenge and hatred because they will never submit. He urges them to wage war by force or deceit. He believes that the mind can make a heaven out of hell, and now they are free. He would rather reign in hell than serve in heaven. Moloch used human sacrifices. Spirits can assume either sex. Satan notes that force can only overcome half one’s foe. If they are not to submit, the war must be resolved. He summons a council in his palace of Pandemonium.
In the second book the fallen angels debate what they should do. Moloch advises open warfare without delay. If they are divine and eternal, they cannot cease to be. Even if they are not victorious, they can get revenge. Belial disagrees, warns how war will be bad for them, and so he recommends peace. Mammon agrees with that and suggests they work to improve their situation and live by themselves in freedom rather than in servile vassalage. Beelzebub has a different idea and tells them that a new race of similar creatures to them is about to be created, and they could seduce them to join their party. Everyone there votes for that. Satan volunteers to undertake this mission alone. He goes to the gate of hell and finds it is locked; but his daughter Sin and his son Death help him unlock the gate, and he sets off for the Earth.
God speaks to his Son about how Satan is going to pervert humans who are free to choose temptations. God explains that divine justice requires that death is punishment for sin; but they can be redeemed if someone takes responsibility for their sins. The Son volunteers, and God the Father accepts and ordains him for incarnation. Satan approaches the Earth and lands on Mount Niphates. He sees the gate to heaven and pretends to be a mere cherub as he consults with the Archangel Uriel who tells him how to find Eden. Satan on the Tree of Life learns from Adam and Eve that they are forbidden to eat from the Tree of Knowledge. Uriel perceives that the cherub has changed and warns Archangel Gabriel, guardian of Eden, who sends his angels to search. Two find him tempting Eve with a dream about the Tree of Knowledge. Gabriel confronts Satan, does not believe him, and threatens to take him back to hell. Satan sees a sign in heaven and flees.
God sends Raphael to advise Adam and Eve, and Adam welcomes him into his lodge. Raphael tells them how God put his Spirit into them, giving them reason by which they can rule over other creatures; but he warns them that they must obey God. Adam asks why anyone would disobey God, and Raphael tells how Lucifer resented the Son sitting next to God the Father, and so he led a revolt in heaven and is now called “Satan.” Raphael describes the war in heaven. Michael with his sword wounds Satan temporarily, but as angels they have no bodies and cannot die. Satan uses devilish weapons, but after setbacks Michael and his angels use mountains to overwhelm them. God proclaims there must be no more fighting in heaven and sends his Son to win the victory. He drives the enemies against a wall and into an abyss prepared for their punishment. Raphael warns Adam that Satan in revenge may tempt them to sin against God. Raphael describes how God through his Son created the world in six days and rested on the seventh. God’s only command to Adam and Eve is not to eat fruit from the Tree of Knowledge. Raphael advises Adam not to seek celestial and astronomical knowledge. Instead Adam tells the angel what he remembers about how he was taught by God who gave him dominion over creation. Adam has noticed that animals are male and female, and he asks for a companion. God then creates Eve from his rib, and he and Eve immediately love each other. Raphael counsels Adam to refrain from carnal passion and urges him to develop spiritual love.
In Book 9 Satan returns to Earth and enters a serpent’s body. Eve has chosen to work separately from Adam who recognizes her freedom of choice and ability to use reason. Satan is envious of Adam and Eve in Paradise and flatters her. She asks how he knows language, and Satan says he ate fruit from a tree that gave him speech and reason. She asks to go to this tree and sees it is the forbidden Tree of Knowledge. Satan offers her its fruit and says eating this will make them like the gods. She tries the fruit and likes it. She takes some fruit to Adam and persuades him to taste it because it has made her more aware. Realizing she is lost, he eats the fruit because of his love for her, even though he believes that he too will die. Suddenly they desire each other and engage in sexual activity. After sleeping they are ashamed and cover their genitals with leaves. They blame each other and quarrel as they experience the passions of anger, hatred, mistrust, suspicion, and discord.
Learning what has occurred, the guardian angels leave Paradise and return to heaven. God tells the angels that he did not try to stop Satan. He sends his Son to judge the couple, and he helps them find clothes. The Son curses snakes. Women will have to give birth in pain and submit to their husbands, and men will have to hunt and work the land for food. The Son goes back to heaven, and Satan returns to Pandemonium where his speech is hissed. Sin and Death and have made a bridge from hell to Earth and begin their work on Earth. God says they will stay there until Judgment Day. God has his angels change conditions on the Earth. Heat and cold create seasons, and animals fight each other. Adam does not want to see mankind suffer for his sin, and he wants to die. Eve tries to comfort him, but he blames her. She asks his forgiveness and begs him to stay with her. She offers to die with him, but he says they must repent and go on. They pray together.
The Son of God tells his father of their prayers. God accepts them but sends Michael and cherubim to take the couple out of Paradise so that they will not eat from the Tree of Life. Adam and Eve are sad that they have to leave, but Michael puts Eve to sleep and takes Adam to a peak where he shows him what will happen to mankind until the great flood and Noah’s family. Then he tells about the tower of Babel, Abraham, Moses, Joshua, David, the Babylonian captivity, and the mission of the Messiah who will be put to death in Jerusalem and be resurrected. People will be comforted by the Spirit within them; but superstitions and traditions will taint, and secular power will interfere with the spiritual. Finally the Savior will appear in the clouds and renew the Earth. When they add deeds to their knowledge with faith, virtue, patience, temperance, and love, they will have a paradise within them. Then Michael escorts Adam and Eve out of Paradise.
Milton intended to emulate the epic poems of Homer and Virgil, and in doing so he elaborated on the founding myths of the Judeo-Christian religions by adding the Son of God to the creation stories in Genesis. As in myths of other religions, these stories contain symbolic wisdom and reflect the current knowledge of their originators. In the 17th century reason and freedom are playing larger roles, and the beginnings of modern science are starting to make literal interpretations of these ancient stories look foolish.
Milton’s poem Paradise Regained was licensed on July 2, 1670 and was registered along with Samson Agonistes on September 10, and the two poems were published together in 1671. In 1673 Milton published Of True Religion, Heresy, Toleration, and the Growth of Popery. Milton wrote his theological ideas in De Doctrina Christiana, but the long book was not discovered until 1825 and was published in 1826. In that work he wrote that in the kingdom of Christ external force should never be employed because the Christ uses only spiritual means. Milton died on November 8, 1674.
Paradise Regained begins with John baptizing Jesus while Satan is an invisible witness. Jesus is led by the Spirit into the desert where he goes forty days without eating. Satan has decided to tempt him and suggests that the Son of God could turn stones into bread. Jesus recognizes Satan and replies that he lives by the words that come from the mouth of God. Jesus also says,
God hath now sent his living Oracle
Into the World, to teach his final will,
And sends his Spirit of Truth henceforth to dwell
In pious Hearts, an inward Oracle
To all truth requisite for men to know. (I:460-464)
Satan consults a council of war, and Belial suggests they use women to test Jesus; but Satan rejects that tactic. Next Satan appears to Jesus with a table of scrumptious food and invites him, but he declines. Next Satan notes that Jesus is from a poor family and will need followers. He offers him wealth so that he can purchase power but to no avail. Neither does Jesus want to be a glorious conqueror except to reign over his own passions, desires, and fears. His goals are not attained by ambition, war, or violence but by works of peace, wisdom, patience, and temperance. He notes that Socrates was poor, but his teaching made him famous. Reason can be used to show the goodness of God by communicating with every soul freely. Satan urges him to rule right away; but Jesus replies that he may have to suffer and obey humbly first, and he warns his adversary that his rise will be Satan’s downfall. Satan suggests that Jesus could become King of Israel and need not fear Rome and Caesar. Jesus says he will leave it to providence for the right time. Jesus also refuses to take over one kingdom to destroy another, but his kingdom will come about in peace, though it will break up all other monarchies in the world. After giving Jesus frightening dreams, they travel to Jerusalem and from the top of the temple Satan suggests that the Son of God could throw himself down without being hurt; but Jesus responds that it is written one should not tempt God. This causes Satan to fall, and angels take Jesus to a fertile valley and a table with ambrosial food. Then Jesus returns to his mother’s house.
Milton wrote Paradise Regained after the Quaker Thomas Ellwood asked him about a “paradise found.” Milton’s response presents a more uplifting story than the previously victorious Satan in Eden as his temptations are overcome by Jesus. Although this episode in the life of Jesus is mythic, it fits in with his historical teachings.
Milton’s Samson Agonistes is based on Judges 13-16 and is written like a Greek tragedy with a chorus of Hebrews and taking place in one day. Blind Milton naturally identifies with the eyeless and imprisoned Samson, but the poetic tragedy not performed in his time has the same misogyny and violence found in the Biblical tale. Set about 1100 BC in Gaza the Philistines, who may have come to Canaan from Crete about the same time as the Hebrews arrived from Sinai, were governing the occupied Hebrews. Samson believes his strength comes from his long hair, and he has killed many Philistines before he told that secret to the seductive Dalila who then shaved his head, enabling the Philistines to get revenge by gouging out his eyes and making him work as a slave in a mill. In the poetic play Samson’s hair has grown back. His father Manoa tries to ransom him from prison, and on a holiday Samson is allowed to go to a Philistine temple where he pulls down the pillars to murder even more than the thousand people he had already killed. Milton’s poem celebrates this suicidal and terrorist achievement because Samson was on the side of the Hebrews.
John Bunyan was born in 1628 near Bedford and was baptized on November 30. He was the oldest son in a poor family and attended school for a while before taking up his father’s profession as a brazier or tinker. He studied the King James Version of the Bible, Fox’s Book of Martyrs, and books by Puritans. After the death of his mother in June 1644 and of his sister in July, he joined the Parliamentary army in November which brought him into contact with many dissenting preachers. He was released from his regiment in July 1647 and was married by 1649. For the next six years he experienced a spiritual crisis. In 1650 his daughter Mary was born blind, and that year John joined the open communion of the Bedford Baptists. In 1655 he was baptized in Bedford’s Independent church and soon began preaching. The next year he criticized Quakers in Some Gospel-Truths Opened. His wife died in 1658, and the next year he married 18-year-old Elizabeth and published The Doctrine of the Law and Grace Unfolded.
After the restoration of Charles II in 1660 the Bedford church was considered nonconformist and met secretly. Bunyan was arrested in January 1661 for preaching without a license at an illegal conventicle and was sentenced to three months in the Bedford jail. Then he was ordered not to preach but did so and was returned to jail. He made shoelaces to support his family and published the poem “Profitable Meditations.” Objecting to the mandatory use of The Book of Common Prayer, he wrote I Will Pray with the Spirit in 1662. In 1665 he published his millenarian vision in The Holy City, and in 1666 he completed and published the first edition of his spiritual autobiography, Grace Abounding. He was released for a few months, but more preaching sent him back to jail once more.
In January 1672 the Bedford congregation elected John Bunyan their pastor. In March the Second Declaration of Indulgence to the Nonconformists by Charles II ended his imprisonment, and in May he got his license to preach. Bunyan became a popular preacher and wrote many books about his Christian faith. He spent six more months in prison from December 1676 to June 1677, and he published The Pilgrim’s Progress in 1678. To show the opposite life of a sinner he wrote The Life and Death of Mr. Badman and published this dialog between Mr. Wiseman and Mr. Attentive in 1680. Two years later he published another allegorical novel entitled The Holy War Made by King Shaddai Upon Diabolus, to Regain the Metropolis of the World. In 1684 Bunyan published The Second Part of the Pilgrim’s Progress. The next year he put all his property in the name of his wife in order to protect his family from punishment directed at him. John Bunyan became ill after a ride in the rain to London and died on August 31, 1688.
At the beginning of the The Pilgrim’s Progress From This World to That Which Is To Come is “The Author’s Apology for his Book” in rhymed couplets. The prose novel is a recounting of a dream about a man named Christian. The preacher Evangelist warns him to flee from God’s wrath and go to the City of Zion because his town is going to be destroyed. Christian urges his family and neighbors to go with him, but they think he is mad and decline. Dressed in rags, he leaves his home with a Bible and a burden on his back. He first meets Pliant and Obstinate, who refuses to go with them, and they fall into a bog of despondency where the sins on his back weigh Christian down. Help comes along and shows them the steps out, and Pliable goes home.
Christian meets Mr. Worldly Wiseman who lives in Carnal Policy. Worldly criticizes Evangelist’s advice and urges him to avoid dangers by seeking Safety, Friendship, and Content. Worldly suggests he go to Morality where he will find Legality and his son Civility. Christian runs into Evangelist who persuades him to go to the Wicket Gate because Worldly is deceitful. Goodwill opens the gate, comforts him, and directs him on his way. Christian comes to the house of the Interpreter who explains the meaning of a picture and introduces his children Passion and Patience, who waits for the best things. Patience laughs at Passion and comes last but is lasting. Interpreter says that visible things are temporary, but the invisible things are eternal. A former professor tells them he is in despair like an iron cage because Lusts, Pleasures, and Profits are now gnawing at him like a burning worm.
Christian feels hope and fear, and God brings joy to his heart. He sees Simple, Sloth, and Presumption sleeping, and he talks with Formalist and Hypocrisy. He arrives at the hill of Difficulty and meets Mistrust and Timorous, confessing he was sleeping. They see Beautiful by the highway, and Porter asks Christian why he is late. He talks with Piety and Prudence. Christian recalls his wife and children and weeps. He enters the chamber of Peace and is shown the Delectable Mountains. He is armed and goes forward accompanied by Discretion, Piety, Charity, and Prudence because they are going down to the Valley of Humiliation. There Christian confronts the monster Appolyon who flatters and undervalues the Christ. Appolyon tries to dissuade him and angrily wounds Christian’s Understanding, Faith, and Conversion, but Christian is victorious.
Christian goes on with his sword to the Valley of the Shadow of Death where he is joined by Faithful who is assaulted by Adam the First and his daughters Lust and Pride and by Discontent. His friends include Arrogance, Self-Conceit, and Worldly Glory. Faithful is also attacked by Shame. Talkative discourses with them, but he does not do anything. Knowledge is not a sign of Grace unless it is True Knowledge. After much talking they are joined by their friend Evangelist who advises them to be ready for troubles at Vanity Fair. Christ visited the fair but bought nothing. They are arrested and hear testimony from Envy, Superstition, and Pickthank, and Faithful defends himself. The jury is Blindman, No-good, Malice, Love-lust, Live-loose, Heady, High-mind, Enmity, Liar, Cruelty, Hate-light, and Implacable. They find Faithful guilty of Death, and he is taken away. Christian still has Hopeful, but By-ends leaves him. Other pilgrims are Hold-the-World, Money-love, and Save-all, and they were taught by Gripe-man and Love-gain in the county of Coveting.
Christian and Hopeful see the hills of Lucre and Silver-mine but avoid temptation and sleep in a meadow. They join with strangers and fall into the pit of Vain-Confidence. Christian repents for misleading Hopeful, and they sleep on the grounds of Giant Despair. They awake, and the Giant drives them into the dungeon of the Doubting-Castle. Despair beats them and urges them to kill themselves, but Hopeful comforts Christian who finds the key Promise inside himself, and they erect a pillar and go to the Delectable Mountains. The shepherds Knowledge, Experience, Watchful, and Sincere welcome them and show them the Mountains of Error and Caution. Ignorance came from the country of Conceit and talks with Christian. Turn-away is from Apostasy, and Christian tells him how his companion Little-Faith was robbed by Faint-Heart, Mistrust, and Guilt. Little-Faith had to beg and is pitied. Christian talks about Esau, Great-Grace, and Job’s horse. The Flatterer catches Christian and Hopeful in a net, and a Shining One with a whip convicts them of forgetfulness. They are whipped and released.
Christian and Hopeful meet the Atheist, reason together, and keep awake by talking about their conversions. Christian and Hopeful pray, and Christ is revealed to them. They talk with young Ignorance about hope and good thoughts. Christian and Hopeful discuss why ignorant people stifle convictions. Angels guide us through death from this world to Glory.
The Second Part of the Pilgrim’s Progress is another dream which tells how Christian’s wife Christiana and their children make a dangerous journey but arrive at the desired country.
In 1680 John Bunyan published The Life and Death of Mr. Badman Presented to the World in a Familiar Dialogue Between Mr. Wiseman and Mr. Attentive. Although the author argues in his preface to the reader and in his novel that the punishment of sins is eternal in hell, the novel also shows that bad actions bring bad consequences, showing that evil is its own punishment in this life as well. I contend that a just God does not punish temporal sins with eternal punishment but that all souls are part of God and eventually return to an awareness of their oneness with God, though this may take many lifetimes to learn from the consequences of one’s actions on Earth.
At the beginning of the novel Attentive expresses his concern about the badness of the times to the Wiseman who agrees that the times are bad because of bad men. Attentive is afraid they will get worse before they improve, but he hopes that God will give long life to the good. He asks the Wiseman to tell him about the bad man who just died. Wiseman believes that the damned continue to have sense and reason which increase their torment after death.
Wiseman tells how the child was bad and lied to his parents to gain a little profit. The boy also began to steal from his father. Soon he preferred to be with his companions rather than his parents, and he looked forward to their deaths. He robbed orchards and other things, and he did not like Sundays because of religion. Badman also liked to swear and curse. In swearing he took the name of God in vain because he often swore falsely or really did not mean what he said. Wiseman explains that anyone who swears to a lie believes that God is as wicked as he is. The profane curse out of rage, envy, pride, scorn, and madness, wishing bad things on others. False swearing and cursing are both sins against the Light of Nature, and they bring negative consequences.
Badman ignored instruction, sermons, and good examples. His companions were villains who taught him more sins. They frequent taverns, and the bad effects of drunkenness are being impoverished, diseases, other sorrows, and a shorter life. As an apprentice he cheated and stole from his master to pay for his drinking. One of his companions introduced him to whoring referred to as “uncleanness.” Some women are made whores by the promise of marriage. The master and apprentice come to hate each other, and the young Badman runs away and soon finds a master like himself. They find many reasons to quarrel as he attempts to debauch his daughters and ruins his commodities. Bad masters beat their bad servants, condemning themselves. The Badman puts up with it for a while but then goes home to his father. His mother is upset that she has an ungodly son. He runs away again and finds new companions who flatter him, and his behavior deteriorates.
He wants a rich wife, tells her he loves her, and promises that he has a good trade. After they are married, she soon finds out what he is like. His creditors appear, and his wife’s money is used to pay for his whoring and feasting before they were married. Badman goes back to his old companions and discourages good people from visiting his wife. He goes to whores, rails at his wife, scorns her religion, and mocks her. He tries to keep her from going out with good company, but she sneaks out. She repents and complains, believing her marriage is unequal. He and his wife fight over their children, and he would threaten her to make her obedient. Badman delights in his lying, drinking, wenching, and defrauding. He borrows money and sweet-talks his creditors. Eventually he is bankrupt. He uses deceptive weights and scales, but God requires a just balance. He cheats and tries to hide his cheating, and he even pretends to be religious. Servants see what he does, and he turns to extortion. He becomes a huckster and tries to sell poor goods at high prices.
When people tell him of his faults, he laughs. He does not like to be told he is proud, for the wicked do not like having their vices exposed. He becomes angry and envious. While drunk he breaks his leg and swears. He prays for help, but after healing he is just as bad. He becomes sick and cries out again, but his atheistic views do not help him. He seems to change, and his wife is comforted; but as soon as he recovers, he goes back to his old ways. The Wiseman believes sick-bed repentance is suspect as it shows desperation. His wife becomes sick and converts one of their children before she dies. Badman goes back to whoring and after a while marries again; but she is like he is, and so they punish each other. They decide to part, and he suffers from painful diseases before dying impenitent. The Wiseman presents many arguments why the Badman will go to hell; but my viewpoint is that he has already suffered much for his sins and that such people will eventually learn their lessons and improve themselves in future lives.
Thomas Tryon (1634-1703) was from a poor family and worked as a hatter and became an Anabaptist in 1654. Influenced by Jakob Boehme’s writings, he listened to his inner “voice of wisdom” and became a vegetarian and avoided luxuries. He went to Barbados seeking more religious freedom and was horrified by the slavery on the plantations. He returned to London in 1669 and in 1682 felt guided to write books to promote a healthy and economic lifestyle that included not eating animals and abstinence from alcohol and tobacco. In the last twenty years of his life Tryon published 27 books. The first was Health's Grand Preservative; or, The Women's Best Doctor in 1682, and the second edition as The Way to Health, Long Life and Happiness in 1691 was reprinted five times. The writer Aphra Behn tried his vegetarian diet, and he advised that eating boiling meat is more healthy than frying. In 1683 he published A Dialogue Between an East-Indian … and a French Gentleman, contrasting the peaceful Brahmin’s philosophy and way of life to the Europeans who kill animals and sometimes people. Tryon hoped that a healthy relationship with animals would transform society to the peace of Eden. Tryon also advocated religious tolerance and noted that the Mughal’s jezia policy of taxing non-Muslims enabled them to practice their religion and might be better than Christian intolerance. Also in 1683 Andrew Sowle in The Upright Lives of the Heathen described how Brahmins are peaceful vegetarians. Vegetarians save money on food, and the word “frugal” comes from frux, the Latin word for fruit. Tryon was interested in magic and studied Three Books of Occult Philosophy by Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa (1486-1535) which had been translated into English in 1651 and recommended the vegetarian diet of Pythagoras and the Hindu Brahmins.
John Evelyn (1620-1706) is famous for his long diaries and included at his estate 38 vegetable plots and 300 fruit trees, unlike his friend Samuel Pepys who was an avid meat-eater. Both Evelyn and Pepys condemned the baiting of bears, bulls, and badgers. In 1658 Evelyn translated The French Gardener by Nicolas de Bonnefons, and in 1664 he wrote Sylva, or a Discourse of Forest Trees, urging landowners to plant trees for timber because the burgeoning iron industry was deforesting England. In 1699 he published Acetaria: A Discourse of Sallets to explain how to grow, prepare, and eat salads.
Henry More (1614-87) was a Cambridge Platonist who admired Pythagoras and hated cruelty to animals whom he believed were part of the world soul. In 1677 Baron Franciscus Mercurius van Helmont (1618-98) and the Christian Knorr von Rosenroth with the help of rabbis published the Kabbala Denudata that including writings by Isaac ben Solomon Luria (1534-72) and Chaim Vital (1543-1620) on reincarnation. The book also included an essay by More in which he wrote,
Every spirit found in a bit of gravel is liable to be transformed
into a plant, and from the plant into an animal,
from the animal to a human being,
and from the human being to an angel,
and from the angel to God himself.2
Helmont persuaded the Quaker George Keith that by reincarnation souls could become Christians and therefore be saved. Keith’s views became so controversial that a crowd in Philadelphia destroyed his podium with axes, and later the Society of Friends expelled Keith because of transmigration. Joseph Glanville was a Platonist at Oxford, and in 1662 he published Lux Orientalis, Or an Enquiry into the Opinion of the Eastern Sages, Concerning the Pre-existence of Souls, and he cited not only Indian Brahmins but also Persian Magi, Egyptian Gymnosophists, Jewish Rabbis, Greek philosophers, and Christian Fathers such as Origen. More and Helmont were also friends with the philosopher Anne Conway (1631-79), and in her Principles published anonymously by Helmont in 1690 she argued that animals are continually improving and would become human and that a man who had a brutish life might be punished temporarily by entering the body of a beast. She believed that God created all species to love each other.
Isaac Newton was born on December 25, 1642 and attended some schools before his widowed mother asked him to manage their farm. In 1661 he entered Trinity College at Cambridge and studied mathematics and mechanics while working for his expenses doing menial service. He studied astrology and geometry, and he was inspired by Descartes to work in mathematics. Newton earned his bachelor degree in 1665 and discovered the binomial theorem and began working secretly on his method of fluxions, which Leibniz also discovered and called “differential calculus.” During the great plague in 1665 Newton went back to the farm and while experimenting with light he saw how a prism divides light into colors. He loved to eat apples and thinking about an apple falling from a tree he considered that even the moon might be influenced by the force of gravity. He returned to Trinity College in 1667 and was elected a fellow. He taught mathematics and built a reflecting telescope in 1668 which he presented to the Royal Society in December 1671. He became a fellow two months later, and his theory of light started a controversy. By explaining the precession of the equinoxes he added more evidence to prove the heliocentric solar system.
In 1684 Newton explained to Edmond Halley how gravity shaped the orbits of the planets. He wrote his famous Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica (Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy) in 1685 and 1686. Halley financed its publication which first appeared on July 5, 1687. By using inductive logic Newton discovered his law of universal gravitation which is that every particle of mass in the universe attracts and is attracted to every other particle by a force that is directly proportional to their masses and inversely proportional to the square of the distance between them. For large spherical masses such as planets, stars, and moons it is as though all the mass is concentrated in their centers. Newton’s Principia also included three laws of motion. The third law has been translated “To every action there is always opposed an equal reaction: or the mutual actions of two bodies upon each other are always equal, and directed to contrary parts.” This physical law has ethical implications when it is compared to the Hindu and Buddhist concept of karma, which literally means “the measure or consequence of action” and is the principle that every individual is responsible for the consequences of one’s actions.
Although Newton may not always have been a vegetarian, the physician George Cheyne used him as an example of the benefits of a meatless diet. Some have argued that Newton may have eaten meat at times because he suffered from gout, which is associated with much meat-eating. Newton did not like hunting and preferred to live on vegetables and fruit. Voltaire explained that Newton had discovered a universal law of the physical world, and in his theological studies he posited that the golden rule to love others as yourself is a universal law of the spiritual world. In 1675 Newton was going to resign his Trinity fellowship rather than submit to compulsory ordination in what he considered to be a corrupt Anglican Church; but he was allowed to remain if he would not express his theological ideas. Based on his ideas and interests, Newton was likely influenced by the Rosicrucians, though he never admitted publicly that he was a member.
Newton wrote The Chronology of Ancient Kingdoms Amended which was published a few months after his death. In this book he argued that the world was created by one supreme God who governs, and he believed that the oldest religion is loving God, “honoring parents and loving our neighbors as ourselves and being merciful even to beasts.” Newton noted that in 521 BC Hystaspes, father of King Darius, with followers of Zarathushtra led the monotheistic reform that brought Egyptian ideas preserved in Babylon together with the ancient Brahmins. In the 1680s Newton worked on a book entitled The Philosophical Origins of Gentile Theology. In “Irenicum, or Ecclesiastical Polyty tending to Peace” he wrote that the precepts of Noah were “to abstain from murder, theft, fornication, and all injuries; not to feed on the flesh or drink the blood of a living animal, but to be merciful even to bruit beasts.”3
Newton was elected a member of Parliament in January 1689. After a serious illness in 1692 and 1693 he worked for the government, and in 1695 he became Master of the Mint until his death. He published Optics in 1704 and a second edition of the Principles in 1713. He never married and is believed to have died a virgin. Newton was first elected president of the Royal Society in 1703 and was annually re-elected and served until his death in 1727.
1. The Journal by George Fox, p. 212.
2. Quoted in The Bloodless Revolution: A Cultural History of Vegetarianism from 1600 to Modern Times by Tristram Stuart, p. 90.
3. Ibid., p. 111.