Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Charles II's Restoration


“I took up my politics,” said Sir Walter Scott of his school-days, “as King Charles II did his religion, from an idea that the Cavalier creed was the more gentlemanlike persuasion of the two.”

This quote of Walter Scott’s is found on the Bartleby.com website.  May 29th was a significant date for Charles II, for more than one reason.  It was his birthday, and his restoration day.  Diarist John Evelyn records the restoration:

‘29th May, 1660. This day, his Majesty, Charles II 
came to London, after a sad and long exile and calami- 
tous suffering both of the King and Church, being seven- 
teen years. This was also his birthday, and with a 
triumph of above 20,000 horse and foot, brandishing their 
swords, and shouting with inexpressible joy; the ways 
strewn with flowers, the bells ringing, the streets hung 
with tapestry, fountains running with wine; the Mayor, 
Aldermen, and all the companies, in their liveries, chains 
of gold, and banners ; Lords and Nobles, clad in cloth of 
silver, gold, and velvet; the windows and balconies, all 
set with ladies; trumpets, music, and myriads of people 
flocking, even so far as from Rochester, so as they were 
seven hours in passing the city, even from two in the 
afternoon till nine at night. 
 
I stood in the Strand and beheld it, and blessed God. 
And all this was done without one drop of blood shed, 
and by that very army which rebelled against him : but it 
was the Lord's doing, for such a restoration was never 
mentioned in any history, ancient or modem, since the 
return of the Jews from their Babylonish captivity; nor 
so joyful a day and so bright ever seen in this nation, 
this happening when to expect or effect it was past all 
human policy.’

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