Documenting Authority: Texts and Magistracy in Restoration Society Academic Article uri icon


  • Despite the initial welcome extended to him, Charles II returned to the English throne in 1660 accompanied by skepticism and even hostility from substantial numbers of his subjects. In the years immediately following the Restoration, the king, his government and the landed order, all uncertain of the extent of their power, strove together to define, reassert, and make it permanent. This was no easy task, in part because the messages of the Restoration were confusing. One was conciliatory, acknowledging that the events of the 1640s and 1650s could not be undone and had to be accommodated in some manner by the new regime. Legal proceedings under the republic were confirmed, passage of the Act of Indemnity signalled the eschewal of systematic revenge, and the retention of Interregnum officials, especially in local administration, deprived triumphant Anglican royalists of the monopoly of power and office for which they had hoped. The other message was conveyed in harsher terms. In many places and from many institutions, adherents of the revolutionary regime did lose their positions, while followers of recently-respectable creeds were now cast as enemies of the state and good order. The new monarchical order held no brief for republicans, and many dissenters of no very radical stripe were quickly placed beyond an official pale because they could not accept a prayer-book order in the church. In the early years of the Restoration, then, policies of accommodation coexisted with those of repression, and we may well ask how in these circumstances an enduring regime was reconstructed.

published proceedings

  • Albion

author list (cited authors)

  • Rosenheim, J. M

citation count

  • 2

complete list of authors

  • Rosenheim, James M

publication date

  • January 1993