The Restoration Settlement, 1660-85



The convention parliament was dissolved in December 1660, and new elections were held in early 1661. Thomas Venner attempted an uprising in London, and there was nearly a Presbyterian and Independent coup in the London Corporation elections. The uprising reignited fears of radical groups and the elections produced a massive Royalist majority, resulting in the Cavalier Parliament. The new parliament was overwhelmingly Anglican and suspicious of both Catholics and dissenters.

The new political settlement included:

  • the prerogative courts were abolished.
  • 1641 Triennial Act was renewed but crucially did not include any mechanisms to enforce the calling of Parliament every three years. Charles could resort to personal rule if he wanted. It was more of a 'hope'.
  • Militia Act of 1661 stated that the king alone was in supreme overall command of the armed forces. 
  • Charles doubled the size of the Privy Council to 120 to accommodate the different factions. Made it difficult to manage, relied on a small inner circle.
  • Licensing Act reintroduced censorship of printed material.
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  • The Convention Parliament rejected the Presbyterian structure that existed under the republic and restored the Anglican Church.
  • In 1661 a meeting was held at the Savoy Palace in London to discuss details of the long-term religious settlement.
  • Although both the high-church and low-church factions were represented, the impact of Venner's rising and the election of the Cavalier Parliament meant that High Anglicanism would now dominate.
  • The four Acts of the Clarendon Code reflected the nature of this settlement. 
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The prerogative courts had been abolished, therefore, many of the taxes that Charles I had relied on, like Ship Money would have been impossible to enforce. Thereby, the financial settlement consisted of:

  • Parliament approved a regular income of £1.2 million a year, mainly from customs duties and excise taxes.
  • The Hearth Tax was authorised in 1661 and levied in 1662. Only one-third of the expected revenue of £250,000 was collected in the first year. The financial settlement was inadequate.
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The emergence of parties

  • 'court' and 'country' stemmed from the reign of Charles I but became more defined in the 1670s.
  • the CABAL declined and Danby became the chief adviser. wanted to build a 'court faction' but created a 'country' backlash.
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