1922 47 Council and Cabinet, 1679-88 WHEN Charles II dissolved his old privy council on 21 April 1679 he made a declaration J containing three main theses : that the members of the new council should be limited in number and selected on definite principles, that the government should be carried on in accordance with the advice of the new coun- cillors, and that the eclipse of the whole body by a committee for foreign affairs or cabinet council should cease. 2 Charles did not adhere to any of these promises very strictly ; but while the first was only partially broken, the second was immediately disregarded, and the third cast aside after 1680. James II paid no attention at all to the declaration. Let us first examine the question of membership. Of the thirty -three members of the newly constituted council, 3 eighteen retained their places at the end of Charles's reign. 4 Of the other fifteen four had died : Holies in February 1680, Lauder- dale in August, Rupert in November, and Finch in December 1682. Shaftesbury had been dismissed on 15 October 1679 ; Capel, Cavendish, Powle, and Russell had obtained leave to resign in January 1680; the names of Salisbury, Essex, and Temple had been struck off the list in January 168 1, 5 and Anglesey had 1 This declaration is entered at the beginning of the Privy Council Register, vol. Ixviii, and printed in the Works of Sir William Temple (ed. 1754), i, app. iii, and in State Tracts, pt. ii (1693). The important passages were printed by Mr. H. W. V. Temperley, ante, xxvii. 684-5. 2 Contemporaries agree in interpreting Charles's promise to abolish the committee for foreign affairs as the end of the cabinet council. Bulstrode, Memoirs, p. 300 ; Algernon Sidney's Letters to Henry Savile (printed separately and in Works of Algernon Sidney, 1772), 21 April and 16 July 1679 ; Savile Correspondence, p. 91 ; Hist. MSS. Comm., Ormonde MSS., N.S., iv. xx, and v. 55 ; Barillon to Louis XIV, 21 April 1679, in Christie, Life of Shaftesbury, n. cix. 3 The best list of the new councillors is to be found in an appendix to the late Murray Beaven's Sir William Temple. 4 Bancroft, Ormonde, Arlington, Sunderland, Bath, Compton, Henry Coventry, Sir Francis North (created Lord Guilford September 1683), Sir John Ernie, Sir Thomas Chichele with Albemarle, Newcastle, Winchester, Worcester (created duke of Beaufort December 1682), Bridgewater, Fauconberg, Halifax, and Robartes (created earl of Radnor July 1679). The first ten were originally privy councillors by their places, and the other eight non-official peers. All the non-official commoners had vanished. 5 Sunderland shared the fate of Essex and Temple, but was readmitted 20 Septem- ber 1682.
Page:English Historical Review Volume 37.djvu/55
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page needs to be proofread.