Transcript for HoS 68

Now then, could be the start of a new era now that we’ve come to the end of Cromwellian Scotland, and do you know what – I believe it is, I really do, the sap is rising. And there are a few exciting things coming up, and I shall maybe give you a little overview of the next, let’s say 47 years or so, to give you a bit of a framework into which to stitch all the blizzard of names dates, events, triumphs, disasters and small furry animals that lie ahead. I hope that sounds sensible though I must admit there is a pretty obvious drawback. Which is that it inevitably involves plot spoilers, as night follows day. I am heartily sorry and repent of my sins and if you do not want the story ruined, then turn your ears away now for a few minutes.

So, turning to those 47 years – I have to say that you thought we were on a rollercoaster with the Scottish Revolution – and so you were ladies and gentlemen, so you were. But the fairground rides have not stopped yet, never fear, you have a new thrilling ride ahead. Rather than rollercoaster, let’s go for um, let’s say a switchback. You will soon be dizzy.

So, we might think of the period in 3 very broad lumps, though I suspect this would not have me admitted to the pantheon of greats of Historical story telling – though I wouldn’t be the first to divi things up in this way, this is pretty standard I think.

So – lump the first, The Restoration. Following an encounter with an oak tree, Scotland’s ancient monarchy returns, the house of Stuart, a monarchy of which the Scottish people were mighty proud. Obviously, they’d been through a sticky patch, it’s important to be honest about these things, and it had begun to look as though the Kirk better represented the identity and heart of Scotland – but look – that was all over now, water under the bridge, yesterday’s news, move on nothing to see here; the shame of defeat at the hands of Cromwell had seriously blotted that particular copy book, so much so that for many the copybook was just one big blot, and the Solemn league and Covenant was now spelled with just 4 letters. The Stuart Monarchy had a grade A, copper bottomed, gold plated opportunity to become everybody’s favourite parent again. Because we all have favourites.

We’ll see how Charles and his brother James cope with their golden opportunity. But it may give you something of a clue of the general direction of travel when I tell you about Lump the Second – in a little under 20 years time, we will be discussing another revolution – yes, another one; a bit like lardy cake, you can never have enough revolutions, after all. In some quarters this has become known as the Glorious Revolution. In other places, it’s been called, the bloody Revolution. In still other places, it’s been the ‘give-me-a-minute-let-me-think-about-that’ Revolution. Listen on, and find out which one of these three options is Scotland.

The final lump, brings us to the Glorious Union, also known by other names in some quarters. That will be a hoot, as you can well imagine. How will I cope with that I wonder how will I present it? You’ll have to wait and see.

So, that’s the super big picture. There are some broad questions that face us as we open the wardrobe doors, push back the fur coats, and step out into the Narnia of Scottish history. One of them is very similar to the one that cropped up continually with the last revolution; how far is this story the story of Scotland alone; and how far is it a Three Kingdoms story. Are events driven by the considerations of England, Ireland, or the demands of a monarchy seeking to make the Title King and Queen of Great Britain stick and make sense? You’ll be used to that one by now.

And connected to that – we saw in the mid century revolution the most dramatic change in relationship between the king and his subjects; so – what will survive of that, I wonder? How will the constitutional clock reset itself – surely there would be no going back once the drug of freedom had been injected. Swallowed. Smoked. Whatever.

Another concerns the consensus of Scottish politics. Now there’s always been a fundamental division, between Highland and Lowland; but within the Lowlands at least, where national political power really lay, the Scottish Revolution had generated a state which for a while was strong, and deeply rooted in unity, especially around Kirk and Covenant. How far could that sense of unity survive the Restoration? Deeply connected to that then, is a return to the religious settlement – there will be another attempt to reset the decisions here also of the Covenanters, but you know what those radical Presbyterians are like – taking no for an answer is not in their dictionary.

Ok, so I am hopeful that I have set the scene. Could start with Tumbledown Dick, General George Monke, or the good ship the Naseby which brought Charles back to blighty – hastily renamed the Royal Charles, of course. I do think it would have been fun to have kept it as the Naseby, the site of the final Royalist defeat, but not to be. Anyway, I could start there but I’m not. I am in fact going to start at Worcester. I do this in homage to Charles, because I am pretty certain that is what he would have wanted, and that he is sitting up comfortably in his grave eagerly preparing to listen – hopefully without any bones dropping off. Because Charles absolutely adored telling all his friends, and indeed, random sundry people, the full tale – with added twizzles and embellishments. In fact – sorry Charlie, it’s going to be the brief version. Charle’s own version of events was written down thirty years later by a courtier, and by golly, with 30 years of embellishments – by the end of it, Charles Stuart was nothing short of a genius with the power of a crystal ball. So really – if we went for the full Charles Stuart experience you’d probably be here all day; and quite possibly have to go to bed with him afterwards. So it’s a shortened version, from accounts of those who helped him. One thing they all agree on though was his courtesy and courage through the escape, which never wavered; and that ties in with reports from the doomed battle of Worcester on 3rd September – all agreed he was everywhere, and led his outnumbered army with courage and confidence. Though you know – he did in the end get his noble backside kicked by the son of a lowly yeoman farmer, so you know class war.

Anywho, there’s courage, fortitude, and enormous loyalty in the story – with a huge dollop of luck. One of Charles’ courtiers, the Earl of Derby knew a local catholic family the Penderells, tenant farmers at Boscobel. Charles had fled back to his lodgings in Worcester, leaving by the back door as soldiers crashed in through the front. The Penderells dressed Charles up as a labourer; it is a notable feature of his travels, incidentally that he was rather distinctive and was recognised all over the shop – but nobody dobbed him in. Charles tried to head for Wales, – that Crashed and burned. Then they started walking, heading for Bristol, but they often found the Army holding bridges and roads; so he took refuge with another Catholic family. When soldiers came, he famously hid up an oak tree while they searched the woods, and also hid in the house and garden. On 7th September he moved on to another Catholic household, stayed at the manor of one Jane Lane, sister of a royalist colonel; then riding across Somerset to the house of Francis Wyndham. He planned to hop on a boat from Dorset across to the free air of France; but disaster! The ports were heaving, heaving with Commonwealth soldiers, waiting to embark for Jersey.

A group of royalist supporters set out to solve this new problem – looking for a place free of buff coats. And so it was that at 4 O’clock on the morning of 15th October, a group of men including the master of a ship, found their way to a small creake near Shoreham. There lay a little 60 ton coal brig the Surprise, lying on its keel waiting for the tide. The party went aboard and waited 4 nervous hours until the tide lifted them up – and rather than heading for Poole, Captain Tattershall carried the hope of the Stuart dynasty across the water. And so it was that the good citizens of Fecamp in Normandy received a royal surprise.

Well, there’s a lot more where that came from, let me tell you. But seriously, the embellishments are as thick as the algae in the little wildlife pond I dug this year in the garden, green with them. Other people add further embellishments too; there’s a nice little tale published as part of James VII’s campaign for Catholic emancipation which has Charles lectured on a defence of Catholicism by a priest, Charles confessing it unanswerable and promising to give Catholics freedom of worship. Never happened, but why spoil a good story that was also politically handy?

Anyway, on to Rouen and Paris went Charles. France at the time was in the chaos of rebellion and civil war known as the Fronde, a 5 year conflict which seemed to have very few guiding principles except a hatred of Cardinal Mazarin, and left France with a belief that an Absolute monarchy was preferable to the alternative, the alternative appearing to be bloody chaos. Though of course that meant it was followed by yet another Franco Spanish war, but the best laid plans can go astray. But in consequence, when Charles rocked up, folks at the French court were rather distracted with other things to think about than young pretenders to foreign thrones; for a while Charles had to move in with his Mum, Henrietta Maria, and of course no 20 year old likes having to move back in with Mum. Although I don’t know there are benefits I guess. Laundry and all that.

Anyway, I could get lost in all of this, so I am going to cut it short so I’m going to summarise and make a few points.


First point is that during his 9 year exile, Charles did not have the luxury of sitting comfortably in the lap of the French monarchy with a fat pension; though he did get some support, and worked hard to ingratiate himself with the French. His conversation, it was once reported, tended to focus on his daring escape, and in pouring scorn on Scots and English Presbyterians, something to note for later. But money was always tight, late and fund raisers from Catholics in England rarely raised more than a few sous. One fund raising rouse he cooked up was to issues letters of marque to privateers who preyed on English merchant shipping, taking a cut of takings in return. One of the most successful was his own cousin, Prince Rupert of the Rhine who had his wicked way with English but also French, Dutch and Flemish seafarers. He wasn’t picky about where he got his pickings wasn’t Rupert.

Then there’s a reputation of an idle royal layabout having fun and indulging himself; which seems to be half true; he certainly hated paperwork, and his right hand man, Edward Hyde earl of Clarendon complained bitterly that his master always preferring crucial events rather than doing the knitting. Critical events like bathing parties. But on the other hand the correspondence from the court in exile poured out, trying to raise funds, encourage rebellions and so on. They were rarely very effective, but they do leave an impression of a lot of energy, despite the adverse circumstances.

Another point is that European support for Charles was a bit patchy. You might think that the horror of the crowned heads of Europe at the indignity of a king being put on trial for his sins and executed publicly would override everything in a tidal wave of class solidarity. But sadly no. There might have been much from the front of their hands, but the message from the back of the hands was a good deal more pragmatic. There was a period when the Anglo Dutch war offered Charles some hope – but Cromwell’s Protectorate foreign policy closed this down quickly; peace between England and the Dutch was made in 1654, a treaty of friendship with Sweden was concluded at the same time; negotiations followed between the Protectorate and Portugal and Denmark, a commercial pact was signed with France, followed by a treaty of friendship in 1655.

So Charles found foreign support thin on the ground. Negotiations with the Pope went nowhere since the Pope required him to convert to Catholicism, and despite later rumours, Charles’ commitment to the Church of England while in exile never seems to have wavered. Unlike his brother James. Who was with him in France, thoroughly Catholic of course, and for quite a while employed in the French Military – a job he adored.

He was forced to leave France for the Catholic Elector Archbishopric of Cologne; he was monitored all the way by Cromwell’s spy master. John Thurloe, whose network was thought to be very effective. Spies were certainly around; in 1665 a young Catholic, Henry Manning was discovered to be a spy, and executed by the Elector on Charles’ behalf.

From Cologne, Charles moved to the Spanish Netherlands, signing an agreement with Spain in April 1656, promising that, when he was king again, to return the Caribbean islands of Jamaica, Antigua and Montserrat t Spain, and lend 12 warships to conquer Portugal. From 1656 to 1660, then, Charles was a pensioner of Spain. From 1657, He tried to raise an army to recover his kingdom with the help of 6,000 Spanish soldiers. His army never amounted to much but for a time his band of 1,200 men were part of the Spanish war effort in the Low Countries.

Ok. The last thing I’ll cover, is about the court Charles sets up in France. As I have mentioned, his right hand man was always Edward Hyde; initially, his bile on the other hand was reserved for any of his councillors who had previously recommended alliance with the Scots – several like Long, Culpepper, Wilmott and Buckingham were banished from his presence because of it. You won’t know these names, you don’t need to – but again the sentiment of his bad memories in Scotland will later be relevant.

That is not to say that all Scots were banished from his presence – simply a reflection of the experience he’d had there, where he’d hated so much being told what to do and put in his place. Kings didn’t like having anyone else having a view on their place back in the day, the right place for a proper king was wherever the king thought it should be. But Charles kept Scotland and Ireland very much in mind for a possible source of rebellion. The Dule of Ormonde, royalist Ireland leader throughout the civil wars was a particular favourite in his French court for example.

In 1652, Charles was joined by a tall, black haired, red faced hook nosed soldier – this was one John Middleton, whose name you might remember. Middleton was a soldier; he’d been one of those who fought on the continent before the civil wars; he’d fought on the side of the Covenanters throughout the Revolution, including against Montrose. But he turned engager; and his relationship with the Covenanters was henceforth described on social media as ‘it’s Complicated’. The Presbyterian minister James Guthrie, pursued a political vendetta against him and pushed it hard; poor John ended up being accused of treason, and was forced to do penance in sackcloth in St Mary’s Kirk, Dundee, despite nothing being proven. Middleton was a man who believed deeply and fervently in holding a grudge, and in the benefits of kicking a man well after he was down, just to make sure he didn’t get back up again; he carried his grudge against Presbyterians close to his heart, and hoped to find an opportunity when James Guthrie was on the ground. He was to convert to the Anglican communion while in exile, and given some of the stuff he’s responsible for in the future, you have to feel that the Covenanters would regret the sackcloth and ashes thing. That, gentle listeners, is a trailer for later episodes.

Anyway, like many of his colleagues such as John Maitland, the earl of Lauderdale, after Engaging with the King and joining him in the invasion of England, he was captured at Worcester and incarcerated in the Tower of London. Unlike Lauderdale however, he managed to escape from the famously leaky Tower, dressed in his wife’s clothing and making it over to France. Very soon, he was safely established as Charles’ principal military commander.

It was he that the highland lord Angus MacDonald of Glengarry asked for when he contemplated rebellion in the Highlands, and he was despatched to Scotland to be part of what we talked about as the Glencairn rising; and by April 1655 he was back in France after going through that rising’s crashing and burning process. He became the commander of the Scottish component of Charles’ little army in Flanders and was sent on military missions, including to Danzig to try and raise recruits.

But in general the options for Charles then seemed limited, there was little serious sign of potential risings in favour of the Stuarts anywhere; one of Charles’ agents was reported to have gone ‘up and down the hills in a plaid’, talking to Highland lords – but found them cowed after the Glencairn rising. There were other Scots around Charles – Viscount Newburgh for example, James Livingstone, who was a peer in England and would sit in Charles’ Cavalier parliament after the Restoration. There was also Alexander Lindsay, the Earl of Balcarres, who fled to join Charles in 1654. This court in exile operates much like a normal court, on a shoe string and without the sumptuous palaces; in the sense that courtiers form factions, and have their pet schemes and loyalties, and carry out plots to gain position near to the warmth of the fire that is their king. One of those plots, for example tried to take down Hyde in Charles’ affections and convince him he was guilty of treason. Charles saw through that pretty easily and showed that when courtiers tried to manipulate him, he could be ruthless; the wrong doers were removed from the blessings of his presence without ruth going with them. It’s another factor about Charles to bear in mind.

The same lesson would be learned by Alexander Lindsay, the Earl of Balcarres. Balcarres led the strongly pro-covenanter faction within the Scottish contingent – in competition with Middleton and those of a more absolutist frame of mind, if I can put it that way – certainly anti covenanter. This is an interesting divide; because at this stage it might not be uppermost in Charles’ mind, but if he ever did get manage to climb back on the Scottish throne – what kind of king would he be? He’d sworn to the Covenant back in 1650 in the sight of God – would he honour that commitment or banish the covenant to the past?

Balcarres was horrified by Middleton’s conversion to Anglicanism, and increasingly distressed by his King’s apparent lack of commitment to the Covenant. So settled his well dressed backside on the nest of court, and he hatched a plot, because plots are always hatched, like a bad egg. He got his friends in Scotland to send a demand to Charles that he should declare for the covenant, and banish Middleton from his councils. Charles thought deeply, said, nope, we’re not going to do that, this is what we are going to do’; at which point he banished Balcarres, and treated him as a traitor. It tells us a couple of things; Charles was very happy to be ruthless towards his loyal followers and did not like to be manipulated; and that time had not reconciled him to the Covenant and Covenanters. Interestingly, Henrietta Maria then employed Balcarres and his wife which infuriated her son. It could be a tricky relationship at times.

I might now tell you about Lucy Walter – would you mind? I suppose it’s relevant or will be, and anyway it’s a bit of colour. So Lucy was the daughter of minor gentry in Pembrokeshire, Wales, William and Elizabeth. It seems William and Elizabeth didn’t really get on that well, and both accused each other of cheating and so they went separate ways; William stayed in Wales but Elizabeth took her daughter’s hand and together they headed off to the boiling cauldron that was civil war London. Now if I was allowed to be sent back anywhere in time, I think that would get my vote; though possibly just behind the garden of Eden, it would be nice to be rid of that original sin thing.

Anyway, Lucy seems to have put herself about a bit, and appears to have been something of a looker; it’s thought she had an affair with the darling of the Good Old Cause, Algernon Sidney. We have a comment from a bloke about here, made rather later it must be said, by, John Evelyn the diarist. He could be catty could our John, and he wrote that she was

‘a brown, beautiful, bold, but insipid creature’

Later James VII, who was not a fan for reasons that would become obvious, put it about that Algernon bought her services for 40 gold pieces. He also described her as

‘very handsome, [though] of little wit, and some cunning’

I’ll tell you why James was being catty later. There’s a lot of damming with faint praise you might notice; could be these folks were feeling challenged.

Lucy was and her Mum were now in trouble financially and the courts ordered her to return to Dad in West Wales, but Lucy had eaten of the Tree of Knowledge and did not care to go back to the beauty of the Welsh coast. She decided instead to head to Charles’ court to find a rich aristocrat there with whom to hook up, and duly met and fell in with Algernon’ Sydney’s royalist brother Robert. That got her an introduction to the king, and to Clarendon’s mind at least, she set her cap at him. Whether it was a her or him thing in terms of cap setting, for a year or more 1648-1649, Lucy and Charles Stuart were an item; Lucy would later claim it was more than that and they were married – and that will be relevant later too – all these ‘relevant for later’ things. Anyway, the union was blessed with issue, a son. Who Henrietta Maria quietly scooped up and put with a maid for a while.

Well, in the words of the Saw Doctors, time flew by and you moved on, and with exhilarating sadness Charles left for Jersey, and faute de mieux, Lucy took up with Viscount Taafe – and another baby ensued. When Charles came back to the continent from his encounter with an oak tree, Clarendon tells us that Lucy tried relight the old flame

She lived afterwards for some years in the king’s sight, and at last lost his Majesty’s favour’

Charles by this time had definitely moved on; we’d had an affair with Elizabeth Killgrew, wife of an Anglo Irish gent – producing one Charlotte Fitroy, and may have slept also with the widow Eleanor Byron. Obviously I have moved smoothly from history to the Tatler, Hello or whatever, but you know, that’s what Charles II does to you. So much hanky, and astounding quantities of panky.

Lucy Walters did not take this change in status easily; and made so many noisy and very public scenes that at one stage Charles tried to have his son abducted for her presence. Eventually Lucy returned to England to reclaim an inheritance, started an affair with one Thomas Howard, only to be arrested and deported back, things then turned nasty with Howard – oh you don’t want the gory details of all this.  Desperate either for attention or a means of supporting herself, or maybe both, Lucy threatened to sell letters she had from Charles. But by 1658, she began to accept defeat; her son James was removed from her and he was sent to Paris to be brought up there. Lucy stayed in Brussels but died suddenly at the age of 28. She left a rumour that she’d left proof of her marriage to Charles in a box somewhere.

I really have no idea why I told you this tale. I mean there’s a story there for a talented novelist no doubt – you could either take a determined and persistent woman wronged approach or ambition I suppose, so there’s an idea; actually I think there is one already by someone called Elizabeth Goudge – haven’t read it. Anyway, welcome to the colour of the Restoration court, before the Restoration court. The relevant for later things relate to Lucy & Charles’ son, James. One day he would be the Duke of Monmouth, and a protestant champion and competitor to the throne for James VII; and the rumour of the marriage suggested maybe he could be king by legitimate right – which is the reason for James’ cattiness. Monmouth will have his day in Scotland’s history more directly too.

Anyway, must get on. So to summarise from this rather discursive meandering around the Flower beds of history, what have we learned about Charles’ exile? Because it was about to end. We have learned I guess that Charles was a brave and pretty persistent chap – he’d been wandering the courts of Europe sometimes on a shoestring and continued to inspire the loyalty of a group around him; he’d demonstrated his bravery, but also his ability to make decisions and deal with the consequences however difficult. He had probably not forgiven the Covenanters the humiliations they’d inflicted on him, and Presbyterians in Scotland especially would suffer the consequences of that. Charles Stuart had no intention of being a covenanted king.

By 1658, Charles was fixing to spend the rest of his life becoming less and less relevant as his cause wasted away; there were very few signs indeed of a rebellion that would shift Cromwell. Oliver though, took the opportunity in 1658, 3rd September to be precise, to peg it. His son Richard took the reins of the Protectorate, really not being the kind of person to make a run of it, and soon tumbled down. A recalled parliament tried to set up a new government, which the radicals in the Army did not like and found themselves purged again. But in Scotland the scourge of Scottish royalties, the Anglo Irishman General George Monk moved south with his army, while the last army capable of opposing him disintegrated, despite the best leader England never had and last hope of the Commonwealth John Lambert. The Long Parliament was reconvened, and plans for a new election made.

Now as you can imagine all this chaos in England caught Charles’ attention. Made him stopping slouching around and sit up straight and eat his greens like a prospective king. Not everyone was necessarily thinking Restoration yet – Charles wanted to make it so, and was desperate for his supporters not to rock the boat too much and scare the parliament – he wrote to royalists in Scotland and England telling them to tone it down on the reaping grim revenge when we get back in power front. Secret approaches were made to Monke, and other important military folk like Edward Montagu, commander of the fleet.

Charles was trying ever so gingerly to land his catch, and the next bid was the declaration Charles sent from the Dutch town of Breda. The declaration offered an amnesty for all – except regicides – and religious toleration, ‘where it did not disturb the peace of the kingdom’. Those weasel words, added it is thought by Clarendon, end up doing a lot of work. I mean – a lot. The interpretation of what constituted a threat to disturbance of the peace of the kingdom would turn out to be very, very broad indeed.

Anyway it all sounded very fair. Charles was being received by the Dutch States General as though he were a king. The election of the new parliament delivered the kind of parliament Cromwell had always feared it would – an overwhelmingly royalist one. The Convention parliament as it was known invited the king to return to his throne, the message arriving on 8th May 1660. Curses.

Visitors from Scotland and England were now flooding into the Hague where Charles had set up court. One was a young minister of the Kirk called James Sharp – who was impressed with the warmth of Charles feelings for Scotland, and having a good, clear memory of all the ministers of the kirk. He was encouraged.

Another bloke who turned up at the Hague was the afore mentioned 44 year old John Maitland, the Earl of Lauderdale. Lauderdale came from a political family – his grandfather John Maitland of Thirlestone had been Queen Mary’s Keeper of the Seal and a leading politician of the Reformation period; his father had also been a politician of the civil war, as had our iteration, Lauderdale.  Now Lauderdale knew the young Charles, they had met before, a few times. Lauderdale had been a Covenanter, full blooded on at that. He’d taken a foremost part in the relationship between Covenanters and the English even before his Dad died in 1645. He negotiated with Charles I while in England, and was an active and well regarded diplomat, visiting Charles at Hampton court with Loudon and Lanark to try and stitch up a deal and was part of the king’s flight to the Scots at Newark and Newcastle. Then later, he was a signatory of the invitation to Charles minor to come to Scotland as Prince of Wales and rule – and when Charles cavilled at the terms, set off in a boat from the lovely village of Elie in Fife, and tracked the prince down to a royalist fleet bobbing around in the Downs.

There the two of them seem to have established a rapport – and Charles was persuaded to swallow the indignities forced on him by the Covenanters and set foot in Scotland and the rest is history. When that all fell to pieces he became an Engager and once more travelled to The Hague to coax Charles back to Scotland, and marched with him to Worcester – and defeat. He then languished in the Tower, and failed to dress up in women’s clothing, which as he know is the surefire way to be able to simply walk out of the Tower of London – works every time. With the fall of the Commonwealth he was set free, and immediately started corresponding with his old Presbyterian chumps and Engagers and his old friend John Leslie, Earl of Rothes, wrote to the king; and received an encouraging reply. This is interesting; because we might suppose that Charles harboured resentment against those horrid Covenanters and the grindstone against which they’d forced his nose, but he and Lauderdale seem to have forged a bond that rose above.

So in April 1660 Lauderdale set off for the Hague – Lauderdale was a man with an eye to the main chance and make no mistake. He was made gentleman of the king’s bedchamber, so the runes were good, and returned to London with the king on the good ship Naseby. Sorry, Royal Charles. Now, we’ll talk more about Lauderdale next time – much more. Lauderdale is a player with a capital P.

On 23rd May 1660, then, Charles set off for Kent and home. Not very much at all had been sorted about the future government of Scotland – and indeed that would take some time to achieve and unfold. And it is that to which we will turn next time

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