The more corrupt the state, the more numerous the laws. — Tacitus

Story of the English - Helene Guerber

The Restoration

Oliver Cromwell was, as you have seen, a very remarkable man; but great as he is in history, his secretary Milton is even greater than he. This man was a Puritan of great genius, and so very diligent that he spent all his time in study. When only a college student, he wrote a beautiful poem called "Ode on the Nativity," and after a busy life and much hard work, he spent his old age in writing "Paradise Lost," one of the greatest poems in the English language.

Although he had become blind, Milton would not cease to work; so his daughters sat by him, reading aloud learned works in Latin and Greek. But they could not understand these books, for their father said that "one tongue was enough for a woman," and would not let them study more. Milton's poem was published about nine years after Cromwell died, and about seven before the poet's death.

Richard Cromwell was very unlike his father, and unwillingly accepted the office of protector. Seeing that the people were dissatisfied under his mild rule, he resigned at the end of a few months, leaving the country in a very bad state, for both Parliament and the army wanted to rule.

As Cromwell's strong hand was no longer there to hold the reins of government, General Monk, the most capable man in the country, decided that England would be better off under the rule of her rightful king. He therefore came down from Scotland with his army, dismissed the Parliament, and called for a new election.

Most of the members of the new Parliament were so strongly in favour of law and order that when General Monk proposed that Charles should come back, the plan was greatly approved not only by the House of Commons, but also by the House of Lords, which was now assembled for the first time since the death of Charles I. A message was sent to Charles in Holland, and he immediately set out for England, where he landed in May, 1660. General Monk came to Dover to meet him, and escorted him, to London, where he was crowned in Westminster Abbey. This return of the royal family is known as the Restoration; for now the crown was restored to the rightful heir.

All the people received the pleasant-mannered, good-natured king with great delight, and as he encouraged them to resume amusements which the strict Puritans had considered sinful, he is known as the Merry Monarch, and the country was again called "Merry England."

Charles pleased everybody, at first, by promising that every one should be pardoned, except the sixty men who had taken it upon themselves to sentence his father to death, and who were known as the regicides, or king killers. Some of these were already dead, and others had left the country; so only a few were captured and put to death.

Next, the body of Cromwell was taken out of its grave and hung at Tyburn, with those of a few other dead regicides. But Richard Cromwell, who had left England, was soon allowed to come back and end his days in peace there.

With the return of the king the Church of England was restored; but Charles did not follow Cromwell's wise example and allow every one to worship as he pleased. Charles generally allowed his friend the Earl of Clarendon to govern for him. He tried, however, to force even the Scotch to become members of the Church of England, although he had once promised to respect their Covenant. They resisted fiercely, held secret meetings in the mountains, and, when surprised by the king's troops, died like martyrs rather than give up their mode of worship. Exasperated by the cruel treatment inflicted by Claverhouse, commander of the king's troops, the Covenanters finally rebelled, and for many years stoutly resisted every attempt to force them to worship as the king wished.


Front Matter

Early Times
The Druids
The Britons
Caesar in Britain
Queen Boadicea
The Great Walls
The Great Irish Saint
The Anglo-Saxons
Brave King Arthur
The Laws of the Saxons
The Story of St Augustine
Three Great Men
The Danish Pirates
King Alfred and the Cakes
Alfred conquers the Danes
A King's Narrow Escape
The King and the Outlaw
The Monasteries
An Unlucky Couple
St Dunstan
King Canute and the Waves
A Saxon Nobleman
Lady Godiva's Ride
The Battle of Hastings
The Conquest
Lords and Vassals
Death of William
The Brothers' Quarrels
Arms and Armour
The "White Ship"
Matilda's Narrow Escapes
Story of Fair Rosamond
Thomas a Becket
Murder of Thomas a Becket
Richard's Adventures
Richard and the Saracens
The Faithful Minstrel
Death of Richard
The Murder of Arthur
The Great Charter
The Rule of Henry III
A Race
Persecution of the Jews
The Conquest of Wales
A Quarrel with France
The Coronation Stone
The Insolent Favourite
Bruce and the Spider
Death of Edward II
The Murderers punished
The Battle of Crecy
The Siege of Calais
The Age of Chivalry
The Battle of Poitiers
The Peasants' Revolt
Richard's Presence of Mind
A Tiny Queen
Henry's Troubles
Madcap Harry
A Glorious Reign
The Maid of Orleans
The War of the Roses
The Queen and the Brigand
The Triumph of the Yorks
The Princes in the Tower
Richard's Punishment
Two Pretenders
A Grasping King
Field of the Cloth of Gold
The New Opinions
Death of Wolsey
Henry's Wives
The King and the Painter
A Boy King
Lady Jane Grey
The Death of Cranmer
A Clever Queen
Elizabeth's Lovers
Mary, Queen of Scots
Captivity of Mary Stuart
Wreck of the Spanish Armada
The Elizabethan Age
Death of Elizabeth
A Scotch King
The Gunpowder Plot
Sir Walter Raleigh
King and Parliament
Cavaliers and Roundheads
The Royal Oak
The Commonwealth
The Restoration
Plague and Fire
The Merry Monarch
James driven out of England
A Terrible Massacre
William's Wars
The Duke of Marlborough
The Taking of Gibraltar
The South Sea Bubble
Bonny Prince Charlie
Black Hole of Calcutta
Loss of the Colonies
The Battle of the Nile
Nelson's Last Signal
The Battle of Waterloo
First Gentleman of Europe
Childhood of Queen Victoria
The Queen's Marriage
Wars in Victoria's Reign
The Jubilee