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HistoricalPatternasPolitical Rhetoric:ToryUsesoftheRestoration TropeinPowerandOpposition PAULMCCALLUM Alittleafterteno'clockonthemorningofJanuary30,1649,according toacontemporaryaccount,1thecondemnedCharlesStuartmounted ascaffoldthathadbeenerected"betweenWhitehallGateandthegate leadingintothegalleryfromSt.James"(140).Beforelayinghisheadon thefatalblock,headdressedthoseabouthimonthescaffold,maintaining thathehadneverintendedtoencroachupontherightsofParliament,let alonemakewaruponit.Yethevouchsafedthathehad"forgivenallthe worldandeventhoseinparticularthathavebeenthechiefcausersofmy death"(141),anddeclaredhimselfresignedtoHeaven'sjudgement."I go,"saidtheKing,"fromacorruptibletoanincorruptiblecrown,whereno disturbancecanbe,nodisturbanceintheworld"(143).Then,whenthe timeforspeechhadpassed,hetookoffhiscloakandgavetheinsignia fromhisGartertoDr.WilliamJuxon,theBishopofLondon,thatitmight beconveyedtotheyoungprinceCharles.Ashedidso,theKingusedhis finalwordtolayonelastdutyupontheBishop—andthenation. "Remember." Englanddidremember.ThepublicbeheadingofGod'sanointedwould provehorrificenoughinitselftobeetchedindeliblyuponthenation's consciousnessandconscience.ButforStuartloyalists,Charles'sdeathalso broughttoaperiodanowreadilyidentifiablepatternofpoliticalcause, 201 202/MCCALLUM effect,andconsequence.TakingtheircuefromKingJamesI'sBasilikon Down(1603),royalistwritershadfortheprecedinghalfcenturybeen warningwithever-increasingurgencythat,leftunansweredandunquelled, "sedition"intheformofradicalProtestantismwouldleadtoaviolentcon- frontationbetweenkingandpeople,perhapseventhedisplacementof monarchybytheocrats,oligarchs,orrepublicans.2TheReformation,James hadobserved,hadvisitedsucheventsuponNorthernEurope,withProtes- tantzealotsgetting"suchaguidingofthepeopleatthattimeofconfusion, asfindingthegustofgovernmentsweet,theybegouthtofantasizethem- selves,aDemocraticformofgovernment,"and"fedthemselveswiththe hopetobecomeTribuniplebis:andsoinapopulargovernmentbyleading thepeoplebythenose,tobeartheswayofalltherule"(221-22).Now, withthefalloftheexecutioner'saxe,thesamesequenceofecclesiastical agitationleadingfirsttoconstitutionalthentoarmedconflicthadrunits seeminglyineluctablecourseinEngland.Indeed,thispatternstoodoutso clearlyintheEnglishpsychethat,thirtyyearsafterthespectacleofthat Januarymorning,whenanotherKingandParliamentstoodatdaggers- drawnoverthequestionofExclusion,theCivilWartrope(orfigure)would beforbothsidesareadymeansofexplicatingthepresentmoment,of makingintelligiblethetruenatureandstakesofthesuccessionstruggle.3 Beholdingthevisageof1678inthemirrorof1649,SirRogerL'Estrange, forone,wouldobserveominouslythatthenasnowtherebellious"Fac- tion"wouldnotleaveoff"tillbygradualEncroachments,andApproaches, theyFirststripthimofhisFriends;Secondly,ofhisRoyalAuthority;Thirdly, ofhisRevenue;andLastly,ofhisLife."*Infact,Torypropagandistswould exploitthepatternsodeftlyastomakeitonlytooself-evidenttoanever- wideningsegmentofthepopulacethattheeventsofthe1640swereplay- ingthemselvesoutyetagain—andhurtlingtowardthesamegrislyend. FortheTorypoets,thearticulationofthehistoricaltropeoftheCivil WarandapplicationofthisfiguretotheeventsoftheExclusionCrisis generallyproceedsasitdoesinloyalistpamphlets,tracts,andjournalism oftheperiod:anexpositionofthetermsofpoliticaldebategivesway,via theresurrectionofPuritanimagery,toanincreasinglyexplicit,increasinglylurididentificationoftheWhigOppositionwiththeregicidesof1649 . Trueenough,theexigenciesofpoeticcompositionand(inthecaseofpro- loguesandepilogues)ofplayhouseproductionsometimesmeantdelays betweenaneventanditsdepictioninverse.Yetwhatthemediumexacted inimmediacy,itmorethanrequitedinitssingularpowerofaffectiveap- peal.Infact,sowellweretheTorypoetsabletoreifythehistoricalpattern ofthe1630sand1640sinthenationalimagination,thatbythetimeCharles Îresumedthepoliticalinitiativeinthespringof1681,theycouldpresume HistoricalPatternasPoliticalRhetoric / 203 toextendtheCivilWartropetoincludeanew,figurativeRestorationas well.Reclaimingthethemes,imagery,andlanguagewithwhichtheyhad celebratedtheKing'sreturnin1660,theloyalistpoetsof1681andafter implicitlyconfirmedtheintegrityoftheCivilWartrope,andwithit,the identificationofWhiggerywithregicidalPresbyterianism.Further,they wereabletoassurethemselvesthattheirpoliticalfoeshadindeedbeen defeated,theirideologyexposedasmoribund.Furtherstill,throughthis figurativeRestorationtheTorypoetscouldrevisitandcarryforwardthe gloryandjoyattendantuponapasttriumph,aswellasrearticulatethe promiseofthattriumphforEngland'sfuture,thepromisethatEngland wouldatlastemerge,inDryden'sphraseof1660,"aWorlddividedfrom therest"5—anationsingledoutbyDivinefavortoenjoyanewGolden Age. AsappliedtoCharlesII'sreignandprojectedforJames's,thehistorical patternofchaos-and-order,dissolution-and-reintegration,apocalypse-and- apotheosiscreatedoratleastrevivifiedbytheRestorationtropelentto publicpoetsameansbywhichtoimposecoherenceonthenearpastand present,andto"shape"orprefabricatethenearfuture.Thisconfiguring powerhelpedtomaintaintheculturalauthorityofpoetryitselfinanage growingincreasinglyskepticaloffigurativelanguage—notleastinthepart thetropeplayedinthepublicself-fashioningsofthenextcentury'sgreat- estandmostproblematicpublicpoet,AlexanderPope.Hisrecoursetothe Restorationfigurewouldbringit,himself,andhismediumtotheirgreatest prominence.Yetataprice.ForevenasPopebroughtthetropetoitsrhe- toricalheight,hebothcompromiseditsintegrityandfatallyundermined theefficacyofpoetryasaforumofpublicdiscourse. ThepeculiarculturalsignificanceandpoweroftheRestorationfigure maybebetterunderstoodoncethematterandmanneroftheconfiguration ofitsprogenitor,theCivilWartrope,havebeenbrieflydescribed.Forthe CivilWartropeitselfdidnotemergeallatonceinTorypoetry,full-formed andfunctional,butinthreediscerniblestages,astheseveraldistinctparal- lelsbetweenthe1640sandthelate1670sbecamerecognized.Itwasinthe latespringof1679,forinstance,thatthebefuddlingfogofthePopishPlot begantolift,exposingtheOpposition'scynicaluseofittopromotetheir programmeofexcludingJamesfromthesuccession.Butforroyalistpoets, thepassageofthefirstExclusionBillinMay1679confirmedamorefar- reachingOppositionagenda.Consequently,duringwhatwemayidentify asthefirststageinfashioningtheCivilWarfigure,theytakeituponthem- selvestoidentifyandarticulate—inhighlyagonisticterms—thelargercon- stitutionalstakesofthesuccessionstruggle. 204/MCCALLUM Forthesewriters,thereismoreatstakeintheExclusionCrisisthan simplypreventingwhattheauthorof"ABalladCalledPerkin'sFigary" (1679)6termstheDukeofMonmouth's"bastardsuccession"(1.49)and ensuringthattherightman,theDukeofYork,atlengthgainsthethrone. Theroyalprerogative—ultimately,monarchyitself—isunderassaultfrom thosewhowould,accordingtoTheCharacter(early1679),7"[Contend] withtheKing,hislawsandpow'r,/Entrenchingone'sprerogativeeach hour;/Flyinginthefaceofhissupremacy/Withsaucypriveilegeand Liberty"(11.29-33).Andwhen,inhisprologuetoTheConspiracy;or,The ChangeofGovernment(March1680),8WilliamWhitakeradvisesthe"Men ofBusinessintheNation"(1.17),"LeaveyourprovokingCaesarandhis frowns,/LeavecrossingBirth-rightsanddisposingCrowns"(11.27-28), heintimatesthatthepeople'spresumptionisnothinglessthantheobvia- tionofdivinerightandhereditarysuccessionandthesubordinationof Kingtosubject—nothingless,thatis,thanrevolution.Nor,accordingto suchexplicationsoftheCrisis,9isrevolutionsimplyaconsequenceorby- productoftheOpposition'sprogrammeofExclusion.Itisinfactapre- meditatedmeanstowarditsultimateend:theoverthrowofmonarchyand theintroductionofrepresentativegovernment.Astheanonymouspoetof TheCharacterwouldhaveit,theOppositionisattemptingto"assumeat once,andatonehour,/Theroyalofficeandthesupremepower"(11.55- 56);toreduceKingandpeerstomere"ciphersinthestate"(1.59);andto maketheCommonstheonly"pow'rfulfiguresofdebate"(1.60).This,he grimlyobserves,putshiminmindofnothingsomuchas"GreatHell's LongParliament"(1.44),whose"blackrebellion"(1.44)againstroyalau- thorityculminatedinregicide. DuringthesecondstageoffashioningtheCivilWartrope,launchedin responsetothepetitioningcampaignofspring1680,Torypoetsexplicitly identifiedtheinstitutionofParliamentitselfwiththepoliticalOpposition, itsaims,methods,andthe"inevitable"consequencesoftheseforthena- tion.Theidentificationwasnotadifficultonetomake.Foronething,the ParliamentelectedinOctober1679hadmadeclearbeforeitsalmostim- mediateprorogationthatExclusionwasitsraisond'être,andopenlyiden- tifieditselfwiththegeneralProtestantfearthataCatholicsovereignwould severelyabridgeEnglishliberties.Foranother,thesubsequentpetitioning oftheKingthattheMPsbeallowedtositnotonlycalledtomind Parliament'smilitantpre-warpetitioning,particularlytheGrandRemonstranceof1641 ,butinitselfseemedanencroachmentupontheroyalpre- rogativetocall,prorogue,anddismissParliament.Androyalists'suspi- cionsonthispointwerearousedallthemorebythemanyunreconstructed Republicansprominentinthepetitioningcampaign. HistoricalPatternasPoliticalRhetoric / 205 Whenatlastallowedtosit,inOctober1680,whatwouldbecomethe SecondExclusionParliamentdidnothingtoassuageroyalistfearsandrec- oncileitselftotheCourt.Beforeitwasproroguedagainandfinallydis- solvedinlate-January1681,ithadprosecutedthosewhohadorganized theabhorringcampaignstocounterthepetitioners;hadcausedRoger L'Estrange,theTories'chiefpamphleteer,tofleetoScotlandlesthebe prosecutedforbeingapapist(October);hadpresidedoverthetrialand executionofWilliamHoward,ViscountStafford,whohadbeenimplicated inthePopishPlotbythefalsetestimonyofTitusOates(December);and hadpassedtheSecondExclusionBill(November11;rejectedbytheHouse ofLordsNovember15).Finally,asJ.R.Jonesnotes,duringthefirstweeks ofJanuary1681,ParliamentrespondedtoCharles'sexpressedresolution nevertoconsenttoexclusionbywarningtheKing"thatnosupplywould bevoteduntilExclusionhadpassed,andon10January,havingnoticeof animminentprorogation,theypassedaseriesofintransigentresolutions toshowthattheyacceptedtheking'schallenge,andwerereadyforafinal, all-outoffensiveinthenewelections."10Nor,seemingly,woulditsmili- tancybelimitedtoelectioneering,forwhentheParliamentelectedinMarch metatOxford,loyalistandoppositionMPsalikearrivedinthecityinthe companyofarmedretinues.TheconstitutionalstrugglebetweenKingand Commonsthreatenedtobecomequiteliterallyalife-and-deathaffair. BythetimetheOxfordParliamentmet,however,Torypoetshadfor overayearbeencastingthepetitioningcampaignasevidenceofPar- liament'simplacableantipathytowardthemonarchandmonarchy.The anonymousauthorofTheWiltshireBallad(February1680),11forinstance, warnshisreadersthatdespitetheirprotestationsthatitis"athing/Which onlycanpreserveaKing"(11.18-19),thosegatheringsignaturestode- mandthat"theHousemaysit"(1.18)knowfullwellthat"nothing/de- stroyshimmore,forshouldhegive/Consenthe'dneverthatretrieve/But partwithhisprerogative,/Alowthing/Makehimselfby't,therabbleget intohishighimperialseat"(11.20-26).Indeed,Parliament'ssupporters secretly"longtosee/Amonarchineffigie"(11.33-34);theyaspire"atthe helm...tosit,/Theregovernwithoutfearorwit,Kingorunkingwhen theythinkfit"(11.37-39).Andthisthepeoplewouldindeedbeabletodoif oncetheygainedatthemonarch'sexpensethe"pow'rtocall/Parliaments anddissolvethem,"forthentheywould"all/Regaliapossess"(11.65-67); thatis,theirauthoritywouldhavesupplantedtheKing's,makingthem effectivelyabsoluteinhisstead. Appearingexactlyayearlater,whentensionsbetweenCrownandCom- monswerereachingtheirzenith,WentworthDillon'sTheGhostoftheOld HouseofCommons(February1681)12ismerelymoreexplicitthanThe 206/MCCALLUM WiltshireBallad.HeretheghostofthesecondExclusionParliament,drag- gingitselffrom"deepestdungeonsofeternalnight,/Theseatsofhorror, sorrow,painsandspite"(11.1-2),warnstheParliamentabouttositnotto repeatitsmistakeoftryingtothwart,theneclipsethepowerofthemon- arch.Confessingthatit"grewseditiousforvariety"(1.22)whenit"did limitstotheKingprescribe"(1.19),thespectrethenrecountshowitfellto persecutingthoseloyaltotheKing["Allthatoppos'dmeweretobeaccus'd, /Andbythelawsillegallyabus'd"(11.23-24)];exploitedthefearsraised bythePopishPlot;andputitselfforwardasthechampionoftrueProtes- tantism.This,evenasitpursueditstrue,"rebelliousaim"ofseizing"[t]he King'sthreecrowns"(1.38).Andlestanyshouldmisstheimplicitallusion totheLongParliament,whichdeposedandbeheadeditssovereign,out- lawedmonarchy,dissolvedtheHouseofLords,thenreforgedKingdom intoCommonwealth,thepoethastheGhostremarkupontheskillof Shaftesbury—its"littleguide"(1.43),its"smallJesu"(1.47)—-in"driving EightybacktoForty-Eight"(11.45-48). Provocativeassuchparallelswereatsuchatime,themostrhetorically explosivephaseinthefashioningoftheCivilWarfigureisundoubtedly thelastofthethree,inwhichpoliticalandreligiousOppositionweremade outtobeoneandthesame,andShaftesbury'sWhigswereconflatedfully andabsolutelywiththeRoundheadregicidesof1649.Emergingalmost simultaneouslywiththeidentificationofParliamentandOpposition,the revivalofthePuritanasnationalbogeybeganinnocuouslyenoughinthe earlymonthsof1680withtheréintroduction(primarilyindramaticpro- loguesandepilogues)13ofcomparativelybenignstereotypesrelatingtoPu- ritandress,mannerisms,andmoralhypocrisy.Perhapsthetimingisowing tothepetitioningandabhorringcampaigns,whenhigh-flownpassionsmay haveinducedloyalistwriterstoreachforthenextlogicalrhetoricalweapon againsttheiropponents;perhapsthetimingisaconsequenceofrenewed ToryconfidenceduringwhatMarkKnightscallsthe"loyalistspring"of 1680,14bywhichtimethefailureofpetitioninghadbecomeclear,andTory writersfelttheycouldriskthedispleasureofParliament.Morelikely,the timingisduetotheever-wideningperceptionthatnonconformistswere becomingincreasinglyinvolvedintheOpposition,andwereagainthecause ofthenation'sbroils.15Whateverthecause,bythetimetheconflationhad runitscourse,duringthelatefallof1681,theCivilWartropestoodcom- pleteandatitsrhetoricalzenith.ForitwasonlywhenthecurrentOpposi- tionhadcometobeassociatedreflexivelywithagroupthatexcitedthe nation'smostvisceralhatredsandfears,andtowhomtheassociationsof rebellionandregicideattachedthemselvesmostessentially,thatthefrightmaskofrenewedCivilWarcouldmostplausiblybefittedtocurrentevents . HistoricalPatternasPoliticalRhetoric...

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1938-6133
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0360-2370
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pp. 201-239
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2010-06-24
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