Discussion:
WI: Oliver Cromwell and Parliament allow Charles I to live
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jerry kraus
2017-07-27 14:02:45 UTC
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Sure, Charles I was constantly plotting his escape and return to power, but, was it really absolutely necessary to kill him? I'm not really sure about this. After all, his son and heir had already escaped to France, so, there was always going to be a perfectly legitimate Stuart heir to the Crown of England around, whether they killed Charles I, or not. Did it really make Cromwell and Parliament that much more secure having executed Charles I? If not, why bother?
Don Phillipson
2017-07-27 22:04:22 UTC
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Post by jerry kraus
Sure, Charles I was constantly plotting his escape and return to power,
but,
was it really absolutely necessary to kill him? . . .
Did it really make Cromwell and Parliament that much more secure?
This puts the cart before the horse. Many earlier kings had been
killed one way or another. The novelty in Charles's case was
putting on public trial (by a jury, as under English law) the chief
magistrate
i.e. the earlier authority for proclaiming laws and selecting judges etc.
The three Chief Justices of England agreed the Commons's
accusation of treason was illegal, and Charles as chief magistrate
did not recognize as legal the special court created by the Commons
(without Lords' ratification or royal assent.) 59 out of 68 commissioners
(MP judges) signed the death warrant. That is why Charles II hunted
down those still alive in 1660.

Later events suggest Charles' execution did make the parliamentary
Commonwealth more secure: no Stuart return was attempted (as
in 1715 and 1745.) This probably made Charles II's actual return
easier to negotiate when invited (and that seemed to work OK
although the dynasty did not.)
--
Don Phillipson
Carlsbad Springs
(Ottawa, Canada)
jerry kraus
2017-07-28 13:18:12 UTC
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Post by Don Phillipson
Post by jerry kraus
Sure, Charles I was constantly plotting his escape and return to power,
but,
was it really absolutely necessary to kill him? . . .
Did it really make Cromwell and Parliament that much more secure?
This puts the cart before the horse. Many earlier kings had been
killed one way or another. The novelty in Charles's case was
putting on public trial (by a jury, as under English law) the chief
magistrate
Excellent point, Don, and not one that is usually made. So, effectively, the idea was to legitimize the execution and elimination of the reigning sovereign and the monarchy in England by using the existing common law in England to do it with.
Post by Don Phillipson
i.e. the earlier authority for proclaiming laws and selecting judges etc.
The three Chief Justices of England agreed the Commons's
accusation of treason was illegal, and Charles as chief magistrate
did not recognize as legal the special court created by the Commons
(without Lords' ratification or royal assent.)
So, really, one could argue that the real issue was the nature of law and power in England. To what extent was power vested in the people and the commons, and to what extent in the chief magistrates and lords. A debate that continues to this day, of course.



59 out of 68 commissioners
Post by Don Phillipson
(MP judges) signed the death warrant. That is why Charles II hunted
down those still alive in 1660.
Again, the critical issue being who really controlled England. The People, or the Lords.
Post by Don Phillipson
Later events suggest Charles' execution did make the parliamentary
Commonwealth more secure: no Stuart return was attempted (as
in 1715 and 1745.) This probably made Charles II's actual return
easier to negotiate when invited (and that seemed to work OK
although the dynasty did not.)
Again, an excellent point, Don. Charles II, unlike Bonnie Prince Charlie, did not invade or conquer England, but was actually invited by the People and the Commons to return as Sovereign, because they were very tired indeed of the mess they were making of ruling themselves. So, in many ways, this whole situation is an excellent illustration of the limitations and pitfalls of the concept of Democracy.
Post by Don Phillipson
--
Don Phillipson
Carlsbad Springs
(Ottawa, Canada)
The Horny Goat
2017-07-28 17:51:18 UTC
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On Fri, 28 Jul 2017 06:18:12 -0700 (PDT), jerry kraus
Again, an excellent point, Don. Charles II, unlike Bonnie Prince Charlie,=
did not invade or conquer England, but was actually invited by the People =
and the Commons to return as Sovereign, because they were very tired indeed=
of the mess they were making of ruling themselves. So, in many ways, thi=
s whole situation is an excellent illustration of the limitations and pitfa=
lls of the concept of Democracy.
So how is this fundamentally different when nearly 30 years later a
similar invitation was extended to William of Orange? (Who while not
the legitimate heir was married to the legitimate heir)
jerry kraus
2017-07-28 18:19:02 UTC
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Post by The Horny Goat
On Fri, 28 Jul 2017 06:18:12 -0700 (PDT), jerry kraus
Again, an excellent point, Don. Charles II, unlike Bonnie Prince Charlie,=
did not invade or conquer England, but was actually invited by the People =
and the Commons to return as Sovereign, because they were very tired indeed=
of the mess they were making of ruling themselves. So, in many ways, thi=
s whole situation is an excellent illustration of the limitations and pitfa=
lls of the concept of Democracy.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Post by The Horny Goat
So how is this fundamentally different when nearly 30 years later a
similar invitation was extended to William of Orange? (Who while not
the legitimate heir was married to the legitimate heir)
Well, when Charles II was invited, Horny, England really didn't have a King, at all, and hadn't really had one for many years. Cromwell quite deliberately refrained from having himself declared King, preferring the highly ambiguous title of "Lord Protector", and referring to himself publicly as the "Good Constable". A kind of guardian of the nation's security, but, not its ruler. He certainly was not attempting to establish an hereditary monarchy with himself as the founder of the dynasty. So, when he died, although some attempt was made to set up one of his sons as his successor, there really was no alternative to either recalling Charles II, or having a comparatively true democracy based on the Commons and the People alone. Obviously, the Commons and the People didn't think they were up to the job, at the time.

In contrast, when William of Orange was "invited" to England, it was with the backing and accompaniment of a rather large invading Dutch Army -- another one of those rather numerous exceptions to the rule that England has never been successfully invaded since 1066 -- with the quite specific purpose of displacing the existing King, James II, and willing to fight it out with him, if absolutely necessary. James II, no doubt bearing in mind the fate of Charles I, saw the writing on the wall, gave up without a fight, thus the "glorious", bloodless revolution of 1688. Since the Revolution of 1688 involved the formal displacement of the existing sovereign by popular will, and the extinction of his entire dynasty, it had the effect of significantly undermining the "royal prerogative". Hence, Samuel Johnson's observation that England hadn't had a Great Prince as ruler since Charles II.

So, effectively, while the invitation extended to Charles II temporarily reinforced the power of the Lords in England, the invitation extended to William III had the opposite effect, reinforcing the power of the Commons and People, and undermining the power of the Sovereign. Charles II made England less democratic, while William III made England more democratic.
The Horny Goat
2017-07-28 20:38:03 UTC
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On Fri, 28 Jul 2017 11:19:02 -0700 (PDT), jerry kraus
Post by jerry kraus
So, effectively, while the invitation extended to Charles II temporarily reinforced the power of the Lords in England, the invitation extended to William III had the opposite effect, reinforcing the power of the Commons and People, and undermining the power of the Sovereign. Charles II made England less democratic, while William III made England more democratic.
With respect 'ending the Stuart dynasty' has to have an asterisk since
both Mary's and Anne's credentials as Stuarts are unchallenged.

The Stuart dynasty reallly ended with the death of Anne and the
accession of the Hanoverian kings.

A surviving child of William and Mary would have upended all of that
obviously.
jerry kraus
2017-07-31 13:22:04 UTC
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Post by The Horny Goat
On Fri, 28 Jul 2017 11:19:02 -0700 (PDT), jerry kraus
Post by jerry kraus
So, effectively, while the invitation extended to Charles II temporarily reinforced the power of the Lords in England, the invitation extended to William III had the opposite effect, reinforcing the power of the Commons and People, and undermining the power of the Sovereign. Charles II made England less democratic, while William III made England more democratic.
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Post by The Horny Goat
With respect 'ending the Stuart dynasty' has to have an asterisk since
both Mary's and Anne's credentials as Stuarts are unchallenged.
Fair enough, Horny, but, with respect to your initial question -- the difference between the Restoration and the Glorious Revolution -- the key point is that there really was no system in place to oppose Charles II when he was recalled. He didn't need a French army supporting him, the British people were simply looking for a competent, stable ruler to return to a country that had no real leadership at all, at the time. In contrast, James II was the anointed, legal ruler of England, with primacy in order succession in the Stuart line. William III had to have an army supporting him, in case James II decided to fight for his throne. Mary's claim to the throne was an asset, certainly, but there was no question that James II had primacy, by normal order of succession. This wasn't in any sense a Restoration, it was an upheaval of the Stuart dynasty because of the obvious incompetence and unpopularity of the legitimate, anointed King. Hence, the increasing tendency to distrust and undermine Royal Power and Prerogatives in England. So, really, it represents a big step on the road to Constitutional Monarchy, particularly in the context of the upheavals under Cromwell. Basically, William III knew it would be a really bad idea to mess with Parliament and the English People beyond a certain point, so, from this point onward the Parliament had a kind of veto power over the power of the King, I think it could well be argued, in any case. Of course, by the nineteenth century, the British had basically progressed to a full Constitutional Monarchy, with the Monarch being essentially a figurehead and Parliament having full power over the State.
Post by The Horny Goat
The Stuart dynasty reallly ended with the death of Anne and the
accession of the Hanoverian kings.
A surviving child of William and Mary would have upended all of that
obviously.
jerry kraus
2017-07-31 14:00:53 UTC
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Post by The Horny Goat
On Fri, 28 Jul 2017 11:19:02 -0700 (PDT), jerry kraus
Post by jerry kraus
So, effectively, while the invitation extended to Charles II temporarily reinforced the power of the Lords in England, the invitation extended to William III had the opposite effect, reinforcing the power of the Commons and People, and undermining the power of the Sovereign. Charles II made England less democratic, while William III made England more democratic.
With respect 'ending the Stuart dynasty' has to have an asterisk since
both Mary's and Anne's credentials as Stuarts are unchallenged.
The Stuart dynasty reallly ended with the death of Anne and the
accession of the Hanoverian kings.
A surviving child of William and Mary would have upended all of that
obviously.
Actually, Horny, the whole concept of William and Mary being "co-regents" is a very interesting, and, I think a somewhat unique one, specifically proposed to solve the unique problems of the time. They couldn't simply make Mary Queen, because everyone knew there would be some not inconsiderable need for military force to oppose the supporters of James II, and William would have to have the authority to proceed with this. But, having some dynastic royal legitimacy from Mary was considered useful, because no one was quite ready to entirely discard the concept of monarchical legitimacy, and normal dynastic succession. It was a very interesting compromise.
The Horny Goat
2017-07-31 23:06:15 UTC
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On Mon, 31 Jul 2017 07:00:53 -0700 (PDT), jerry kraus
Post by The Horny Goat
The Stuart dynasty reallly ended with the death of Anne and the
accession of the Hanoverian kings.
=20
A surviving child of William and Mary would have upended all of that
obviously.
Actually, Horny, the whole concept of William and Mary being "co-regents" i=
s a very interesting, and, I think a somewhat unique one, specifically prop=
osed to solve the unique problems of the time. They couldn't simply make =
Mary Queen, because everyone knew there would be some not inconsiderable ne=
ed for military force to oppose the supporters of James II, and William wou=
ld have to have the authority to proceed with this. But, having some dyna=
stic royal legitimacy from Mary was considered useful, because no one was q=
uite ready to entirely discard the concept of monarchical legitimacy, and n=
ormal dynastic succession. It was a very interesting compromise.
A big part of this was Mary herself who as heir to the throne after
James had the right to take the throne in her own name but refused to
do so without her husband not as consort but regnant.

Thus parliament KNEW before inviting William exactly what they were
getting. On the one hand they were getting the heir apparent but they
were also getting her husband too. Which given he had credentials as a
military commander was a plus to Parliament not a minus.

Nobody knew whether James would fight to keep his throne or not but
while they seemed to be expecting him to decamp into the night they
were ready to fight if need be. I don't think anybody expected the
actual fighting to take place in Ireland!

I agree 1689-1690 was a big step towards what is now called
constitutional monarchy.
jerry kraus
2017-08-01 13:15:13 UTC
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Post by The Horny Goat
On Mon, 31 Jul 2017 07:00:53 -0700 (PDT), jerry kraus
Post by The Horny Goat
The Stuart dynasty reallly ended with the death of Anne and the
accession of the Hanoverian kings.
=20
A surviving child of William and Mary would have upended all of that
obviously.
Actually, Horny, the whole concept of William and Mary being "co-regents" i=
s a very interesting, and, I think a somewhat unique one, specifically prop=
osed to solve the unique problems of the time. They couldn't simply make =
Mary Queen, because everyone knew there would be some not inconsiderable ne=
ed for military force to oppose the supporters of James II, and William wou=
ld have to have the authority to proceed with this. But, having some dyna=
stic royal legitimacy from Mary was considered useful, because no one was q=
uite ready to entirely discard the concept of monarchical legitimacy, and n=
ormal dynastic succession. It was a very interesting compromise.
A big part of this was Mary herself who as heir to the throne after
James had the right to take the throne in her own name but refused to
do so without her husband not as consort but regnant.
Thus parliament KNEW before inviting William exactly what they were
getting. On the one hand they were getting the heir apparent but they
were also getting her husband too. Which given he had credentials as a
military commander was a plus to Parliament not a minus.
Nobody knew whether James would fight to keep his throne or not but
while they seemed to be expecting him to decamp into the night they
were ready to fight if need be. I don't think anybody expected the
actual fighting to take place in Ireland!
I agree 1689-1690 was a big step towards what is now called
constitutional monarchy.
There were some rather unique features to the British experience in the seventeenth century. Three Revolutions in forty years! But this aspect of the "co-regency" is one of the most intriguing. Has this occurred ever before or since, in British history? In European history in the last thousand years? Was this primarily about trying to discourage open revolt from Scotland, which had, after all, only joined with England following the Stuart accession with James I? If we had proceeded to the House of Orange as the British Dynasty immediately, with the accession of William III, wouldn't Scotland have split immediately, as they attempted to do following the accession of the House of Hanover, in 1715 and 1745? And, with the religious conflicts and instability following the deposition of James II, wouldn't this have resulted in another very bloody and prolonged civil war?

Clearly, the resourcefulness and creativity of the British government and people can be traced to the fascinating convolutions occurring the seventeenth century, when they experimented with systems of government in quite unique and fascinating ways. I think between William III and the end of the reign of George III, there existed a kind of parity between Parliament and the King, so as to avoid the kind of conflicts that occurred in the mid-seventeenth century. Neither would push too hard, or too far, on the other. And, this, simply by popular consent, on the whole. Just isn't done, you know!
Rich Rostrom
2017-07-30 00:25:18 UTC
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Post by Don Phillipson
Later events suggest Charles' execution did make the parliamentary
Commonwealth more secure: no Stuart return was attempted (as
in 1715 and 1745.)
Umm... "Charles II landed in Scotland at Garmouth in Morayshire
on 23 June 1650...", where he signed the Covenants and raised
a rebellion. This was 17 months after his father was abridged.
--
The real Velvet Revolution - and the would-be hijacker.

http://originalvelvetrevolution.com
jerry kraus
2017-07-31 13:25:52 UTC
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Post by Rich Rostrom
Post by Don Phillipson
Later events suggest Charles' execution did make the parliamentary
Commonwealth more secure: no Stuart return was attempted (as
in 1715 and 1745.)
-------------------------------------------------------------------------
Post by Rich Rostrom
Umm... "Charles II landed in Scotland at Garmouth in Morayshire
on 23 June 1650...", where he signed the Covenants and raised
a rebellion. This was 17 months after his father was abridged.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------

Good point, Rich. Thus my initial question. Was anything really accomplished, at all, by executing Charles I, or, was it simply a mistake? Since his son was perfectly capable of fomenting rebellion, why bother executing his father, and making a martyr out of a man who was, basically, a totally incompetent King?
Post by Rich Rostrom
--
The real Velvet Revolution - and the would-be hijacker.
http://originalvelvetrevolution.com
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