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There are also two contemporary treaties known as the Treaty of Breda.

The Declaration of Breda (issued on April 4, 1660) was a proclamation wherein Charles II of England made known the conditions of his acceptance of the crown of England which he was to accept, or resume, later in the same year. The declaration cemented the terms of the English Restoration after the Commonwealth period. It was written in response to a secret message sent by General George Monck, who was then the effective ruler of England.

Contents

Background

The declaration was named after the city of Breda in the Netherlands. It was actually written in the Spanish Netherlands, where Charles had been residing since March 1656; however, at the time of writing, England had been at war with Spain since 1655. To overcome the difficulties, both practical and in terms of public relations, of a prospective King of England addressing his subjects from enemy territory, Monck advised Charles to relocate himself to the United Netherlands, and to date his letters as if they were posted from Breda. Charles left Brussels, his last residence in the Spanish Netherlands, and passing through Antwerp arrived in Breda 4 April, and resided there until 14 May, after which he departed for England travelling via The Hague. The declaration, however (actually several letters, addressed to Monck, the Houses of Parliament, and the City of London), was despatched as soon as Charles had crossed the Dutch border, and was dated 4 April (OS)/14 April (NS).

The Declaration was drawn up by Charles and his three chief advisors, Edward Hyde, the Marquis of Ormond (James Butler), and Sir Edward Nicholas, in order to express the terms by which Charles hoped to take up "the possession of that right which God and Nature hath made our due"[1]. It guaranteed a "free and general pardon" to any old enemies of the King-to-be and of his father who recognized Charles II as their lawful monarch, with the exception of some of the regicides of Charles I.

It also promised "a free parliament, by which, upon the word of a king, we will be advised" and religious toleration[2]. The Declaration undertook to settle army pay arrears of the soldiers in the service of General Monck. The landed classes were reassured that establishing the justice of contested grants and purchases of estates that had been made "in the continued distractions of so many years and so many and great revolutions" was to be determined in Parliament.

Copies were delivered to both houses of the Convention Parliament by Sir John Grenville. Other copies with separate covering letters were delivered to Lord General George Monck to be communicated to the Lord President of the Council of State and to the Officers of the Army under his command, and to the Generals of the "Navy at Sea" and to the City of London.

Several British warships would be named HMS Breda after the declaration.

See also

Footnotes

  1. ^ See the Divine Right of Kings, on which the Stuarts insisted.
  2. ^ " we do declare a liberty to tender consciences, and that no man shall be disquieted or called in question for differences of opinion in matter of religion which do not disturb the peace of the kingdom"

External links

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There are also two contemporary treaties known as the Treaty of Breda.

The Declaration of Breda (issued on April 4, 1660) was a proclamation by Charles II of England in which he promised a general pardon for crimes committed during the English Civil War and the Interregnum for all those who recognised Charles as the lawful king; the retention by the current owners of property purchased during the same period; religious toleration; and the payment of pay arrears to members of the army, and that the army would be recommissioned into service under the crown. The first three pledges were all subject to amendment by acts of parliament.[1]

The declaration was written in response to a secret message sent by General George Monck,[2] who was then in effective control of England. On 1 May 1660, the contents of the declaration and accompanying letters were made public. The next day Parliament passed a resolution that "government ought to be by King, Lords and Commons" and Charles was invited to England to receive his crown. On 8 May Charles was proclaimed King. On the advice of Monck, the commons rejected a resolution put forward by jurist Matthew Hale (a member for Gloucestershire) for a committee to be formed to look into the concessions that had been offered by Charles and to negotiate conditions with the king such as those put forward to his father in the treaty of Newport.[3][4]

Contents

Background contents and aftermath

The declaration was named after the city of Breda in the Netherlands. It was actually written in the Spanish Netherlands, where Charles had been residing since March 1656; however, at the time of writing, England had been at war with Spain since 1655. To overcome the difficulties, both practical and in terms of public relations, of a prospective King of England addressing his subjects from enemy territory, Monck advised Charles to relocate himself to the United Netherlands, and to date his letters as if they were posted from Breda. Charles left Brussels, his last residence in the Spanish Netherlands, and passing through Antwerp arrived in Breda on 4 April, and resided there until 14 May, after which he departed for England travelling via The Hague. The declaration, however (actually several letters, addressed to Monck, the Houses of Parliament, and the City of London), was despatched as soon as Charles had crossed the Dutch border, and was dated 4 April (OS)/14 April (NS).

The declaration was drawn up by Charles and his three chief advisors, Edward Hyde, the Marquis of Ormond (James Butler), and Sir Edward Nicholas, in order to express the terms by which Charles hoped to take up "the possession of that right which God and Nature hath made our due".[5]

The declaration promised a "free and general pardon" to any old enemies of Charles and of his father who recognized Charles II as their lawful monarch, "excepting only such persons as shall hereafter be excepted by parliament". However it had always been Charles's expectation, or at least that of his chancellor, Edward Hyde (later Earl of Clarendon), that all who had been immediately concerned in his father's death should be delivered to punishment;[6] and, in the most unpropitious state of his fortune, while making all professions of pardon and favour to different parties, he had constantly excepted the regicides.[7] Once Charles was restored to the throne, on his behalf Hyde steered the Indemnity and Oblivion Act through parliament. The act pardoned most who had sided with Parliament during the Civil War, but excepted the regicides, two prominent unrepentant republicans John Lambert and Henry Vane the Younger, and around another twenty were forbidden to take any public office or sit in Parliament.[8]

In the declaration Charles promised religious toleration in area where it did not disturb the peace of the kingdom,[9] and an act of parliament for the "granting of that indulgence". However parliament chose to interpret the threat of peace to the kingdom to include the holding of public office by non Anglicans. Between 1660 and 1665 the Cavalier Parliament passed four statutes that became known as the Clarendon Code. These severely limited the rights of Catholics and nonconformists, effectively excluding them from national and local politics.[10]

The declaration undertook to settle army pay arrears of the soldiers in the service of General Monck. The landed classes were reassured that establishing the justice of contested grants and purchases of estates that had been made "in the continued distractions of so many years and so many and great revolutions" was to be determined in Parliament. Charles II appeared to have "offered something to everyone in his terms for resuming government".[11]

Copies were delivered to both houses of the Convention Parliament by Sir John Grenville. Other copies with separate covering letters were delivered to Lord General George Monck to be communicated to the Lord President of the Council of State and to the Officers of the Army under his command, and to the Generals of the "Navy at Sea" and to the Lord Mayor of the City of London.[12]

Commemoration

Several British warships would be named HMS Breda after the declaration.

Notes

  1. ^ Lister 1838, p. 501
  2. ^ Hutton 2000, p. 130
  3. ^ Lister 1838, pp. 508,509
  4. ^ Hostettler 2002, p. 73
  5. ^ See the Divine Right of Kings, on which the Stuarts insisted.
  6. ^ Hallam 1859, p. 406 citing Life of Clarendon, p. 69.
  7. ^ Hallam 1859, p. 406 Cites Clar. State Papers, iii., 427, 529.
  8. ^ Hallam 1859, p. 408
  9. ^ "a liberty to tender consciences, and that no man shall be disquieted or called in question for differences of opinion in matter of religion which do not disturb the peace of the kingdom"
  10. ^ UK Citizenship: Religious minorities, The National Archives, retrieved 1 July 2010
  11. ^ Encyclopædia Britannica 15th Edition Volume 3 p. 64
  12. ^ Lister 1838, p.500

References

  • Lister, Thomas Henry (1838). Life and administration of Edward, first Earl of Clarendon: with original correspondence, and authentic papers never before published. Longman, Orme, Brown, Green, and Longmans. 
  • Hostettler, John (2002). The Red Gown: The Life and Works of Sir Matthew Hale. Chichester: Barry Rose Law Publishers. ISBN 1902681282. 
  • Hallam, Henry (1859). The constitutional history of England, from the accession of Henry VII. to the death of George II. Harper. 
  • Hutton, Ronald (2000). The British Republic 1649-1660. 2nd Edition Macmillian. ISBN ??. 

External links


Source material

Up to date as of January 22, 2010

From Wikisource

Declaration of Breda
by Charles II of England
April 4, 1660.

[Signed] Charles R[ex]

Charles, by the Grace of God, king of England, Scotland, France and Ireland, Defender of the Faith, &c. to all our loving subjects, of what degree or quality soever, greeting.

If the general distraction and confusion which is spread over the whole kingdom doth not awaken all men to a desire and longing that those wounds which have so many years together been kept bleeding may be bound up, all we can say will be to no purpose. However, after this long silence we have thought it our duty to declare how much we desire to contribute thereunto, and that, as we can never give over the hope in good time to obtain the possession of that right which God and Nature hath made our due, so we do make it our daily suit to the Divine Providence that he will, in compassion to us and our subjects, after so long misery and sufferings, remit and put us into a quiet and peaceable possession of that our right, with as little blood and damage to our people as is possible. Nor do we desire more to enjoy what is ours, than that all our subjects may enjoy what by law is theirs, by a full and entire administration of justice throughout the land, and by extending our mercy where it is wanted and deserved.

And to the end that the fear of punishment may not engage any, conscious to themselves of what is passed, to a perseverance in guilt for the future, by opposing the quiet and happiness of their country in the restoration both of king, peers and people to their just, ancient and fundamental rights, we do by these presents declare, that we do grant a free and general pardon, which we are ready upon demand to pass under our Great Seal of England, to all our subjects, of what degree or quality soever, who within forty days after the publishing hereof shall lay hold upon this our grace and favour, and shall by any public act declare their doing so, and that they retum to the loyalty and obedience of good subjects (excepting only such persons as shall hereafter be excepted by parliament). Those only excepted, let all our loving subjects, how faulty soever, rely upon the word of a king, solemnly given by this present Declaration, that no crime whatsoever committed against us or our royal father before the publication of this shall ever rise in judgment or be brought in question against any of them, to the least endamagement of them either in their lives, liberties or estates, or (as far forth as lies in our power) so much as to the prejudice of their reputations by any reproach or term of distinction from the rest of our best subjects, we desiring and ordaining that henceforward all notes of discord, separation and differcnce of parties be utterly abolished among all our subjects, whom we invite and conjure to a perfect union among themselves, under our protection, for the resettlement of our just rights and theirs in a free parliament, by which, upon the word of a king, we will be advised.

And because the passion and uncharitableness of the times have produced several opinions in religion, by which men are engaged in parties and animosities against each other, which, when they shall hereafter unite in a freedom of conversation, will be composed and better understood, we do declare a liberty to tender consciences, and that no man shall be disquieted or called in question for differences of opinion in matter of religion which do not disturb the peace of the kingdom; and that we shall be ready to consent to such an act of parliament as, upon mature deliberation, shall be offered to us, for the full granting that indulgence.

And because, in the continued distractions of so many years and so many and great revolutions, many grants and purchases of estates have been made, to and by many officers, soldiers and others, who are now possessed of the same, and who may be liable to actions at law upon several titles, we are likewise willing that all such differences, and all thillgs relating to such grants, sales and purchases, shall be determined in parliament, which can best provide for the just satisfaction of all men who are concerned.

And we do further declare, that we will be ready to consent to any act or acts of parliament to the purposes aforesaid, and for the full satisfaction of all arrears due to the officers and soldiers of the army under the command of General Monk, and that they shall be received into our service upon as good pay and conditions as they now enjoy.

Given under our Sign Manual and Privy Signet, at our Court at Breda, this 4/14 day of April, 1660, in the twelfth year of our reign.


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