Charles II's final years - absolutism?

Harris' view of James' accession

Thanks to the 'royal recovery' at the end of CII's reign, 'when James II came to the throne in 1685, he enjoyed the strongest position of any English monarch' arguably since Henry VIII.

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When did Charles declare a new charter for the cit

Summer 1681 - many  commission of the peace and lieutenancies.

 Whigs = purged from theThis limited the influence of Whigs + Dissenters in their traditional urban strongholds. 

Dec 1681 - C demanded a new charter for the City of London. 

Finally secured the power in 1683 to appoint Lord Mayor, sherrifs + all other major office holders. 

The inability of London to protect its charter led to others' inability to defend theirs which led to increased Tory influence in urban areas. 

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How many new charters had been issued or were bein


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What did the Tories hope to achieve through their

1. Control over local gov' 

2. Have more influence over Parl' elections 

3. Comtrol dissent

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Arbitrary government?

  • Charles' exploitation of his prerogative - the T Act 1684  
  • Arrests + executions - 1681 Shafts, Rye House Plot 1682 
  • Persecution of dissent - @ least 400 Quakers, Hutton, Caths more lenience
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Hutton's view of Charles' religious persecution

C = 'the most savage prosector' of all the English monarchs 

- blod claim, especially when consider Mary Tudor's VCCR, 300 Prots in 5 years, clearly demonstrates the extent of C's persecution. 

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In this period the powers of the crown were extend

  • Prorgation + dissolution 
  • Line of succession 
  • Leadership of the church 
  • More control over local gov' - Quo warranto 
  • Whig leaders removed 
  • Persecution - C's authority strengthened by his use of the law courts 
  • Propaganda 
  • Healthy financial position 
  • An army of 10,000
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What was Quo Warranto and what did it do?

Compelled boroughs to substantiate their charters. 

HOWEVER, lawyers could easily find flaws so the law courts could declare that the charters were forfeit. 

Quo warranto campaign against London started in 1681 and wasn't completed until 1683. 

King's approval was required for the appointment of Lord Mayor, sherrifs and all other major office holders in London. 

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Why were the 'financial sinews of the monarchy' co

1. C's conversion to relatively restrained expenditure in his old age. 

2. +'sed revenue from customs during a decade of commercial prosperity. 

3. +'sed yield from hearth tax + excise from 1683-4, when the crown began to collect these taxes directly + efficiently. 

These factors enabled the crown's income to soar beyond the £1.2 mill estimated in 1660-1 to nearly £1.4 mill by 1684-5 + it was still increasing.

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