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916
[FRANCE
CHARLES I.—III.

of ease and personal convenience. Presbyterianism constituted a dangerous encroachment on the royal prerogative; the national church and the cavalier party were indeed the natural supporters of the authority of the crown, but on the other hand they refused to countenance the dependence upon France; Roman Catholicism at that moment was the obvious medium of governing without parliaments, of French pensions and of reigning without trouble, and was naturally the faith of Charles’s choice. Of the two papers in defence of the Roman Catholic religion in Charles’s own hand, published by James, Halifax says “though neither his temper nor education made him very fit to be an author, yet in this case . . . he might write it all himself and yet not one word of it his own. . . .”

Of his amours and mistresses the same shrewd observer of human character, who was also well acquainted with the king, declares “that his inclinations to love were the effects of health and a good constitution with as little mixture of the seraphic part as ever man had. . . . I am apt to think his stayed as much as any man’s ever did in the lower region." His health was the one subject to which he gave unremitting attention, and his fine constitution and devotion to all kinds of sport and physical exercise kept off the effects of uncontrolled debauchery for thirty years. In later years the society of his mistresses seems to have been chiefly acceptable as a means to avoid business and petitioners, and in the case of the duchess of Portsmouth was the price paid for ease and the continuance of the French pensions. His ministers he never scrupled to sacrifice to his ease. The love of ease exercised an entire sovereignty in his thoughts. “The motive of his giving bounties was rather to make men less uneasy to him than more easy to themselves.” He would rob his own treasury and take bribes to press a measure through the council. He had a natural affability, but too general to be much valued, and he was fickle and deceitful. Neither gratitude nor revenge moved him, and good or ill services left little impression on his mind. Halifax, however, concludes by desiring to moderate the roughness of his picture by emphasizing the excellence of his intellect and memory and his mechanical talent, by deprecating a too censorious judgment and by dwelling upon the disadvantages of his bringing up, the difficulties and temptations of his position, and on the fact that his vices were those common to human frailty. His capacity for king-craft, knowledge of the world, and easy address enabled him to surmount difficulties and dangers which would have proved fatal to his father or to his brother. “It was a common saying that he could send away a person better pleased at receiving nothing than those in the good king his father’s time that had requests granted them,”[1] and his good-humoured tact and familiarity compensated for and concealed his ingratitude and perfidy and preserved his popularity. He had good taste in art and literature, was fond of chemistry and science, and the Royal Society was founded in his reign. According to Evelyn he was “débonnaire and easy of access, naturally kind-hearted and possessed an excellent temper,” virtues which covered a multitude of sins. These small traits of amiability, however, which pleased his contemporaries, cannot disguise for us the broad lines of Charles’s career and character. How far the extraordinary corruption of private morals which has gained for the restoration period so unenviable a notoriety was owing to the king’s own example of flagrant debauchery, how far to the natural reaction from an artificial Puritanism, is uncertain, but it is incontestable that Charles’s cynical selfishness was the chief cause of the degradation of public life which marks his reign, and of the disgraceful and unscrupulous betrayal of the national interests which raised France to a threatening predominance and imperilled the very existence of Britain for generations. The reign of his predecessor Charles I., and even of that of his successor James II., with their mistaken principles and ideals, have a saving dignity wholly wanting in that of Charles II., and the administration of Cromwell, in spite of the popularity of the restoration, was soon regretted. “A lazy Prince.” writes Pepys, “no Council, no money, no reputation at home or abroad. It is strange how . . . everybody do nowadays refiect upon Oliver and commend him, what brave things he did and made all the neighbour princes fear him; while here a prince, come in with all the love and prayers and good liking of his people . . . hath lost all so soon. . . .”

Charles II. had no children by his queen. By his numerous mistresses he had a large illegitimate progeny. By Barbara Villiers, Mrs Palmer, afterwards countess of Castlemaine and duchess of Cleveland, mistress en titre till she was superseded by the duchess of Portsmouth, he had Charles Fitzroy, duke of Southampton and Cleveland, Henry Fitzroy, duke of Grafton, George Fitzroy, duke of Northumberland, Anne, countess of Sussex, Charlotte, countess of Lichfield, and Barbara, a nun; by Louise de Kéroualle, duchess of Portsmouth, Charles Lennox, duke of Richmond; by Lucy Walter, James, duke of Monmouth and Buccleuch, and a daughter; by Nell Gwyn, Charles Beauclerk, duke of St Albans, and James Beauclerk; by Catherine Peg, Charles Fitz Charles, earl of Plymouth; by Lady Shannon, Charlotte, countess of Yarmouth; by Mary Davis, Mary Tudor, countess of Derwentwater.

Bibliography.-See the article in the Dict. of Nat. Biog. by A. W. Ward (1887), with authorities there given; Charles II., by O. Airy (1904); Life of Sir G. Savile, by H. C. Foxcroft, and esp. Halifax’s Character of Charles II. printed in the appendix (1898); The Essex Papers (Camden Soc., 1890); Despatches of W. Perwich (Royal Hist. Soc. Pubtns., 1903); History of England, of the Civil War and of the Commonwealth, by S. R. Gardiner; Hist. of Scotland, by A. Lang, vol. iii. (1904); Macaulay’s Hist. of England, vol. i.; Notes which passed at Meetings of the Privy Council between Charles II. and the Earl of Clarendon (Roxburghe Club, 1896); A French Ambassador at the Court of Charles II., by J. J. Jusserand (1902); The Story of Nell Gwyn and the Sayings of Charles II., by P. Cunningham, ed. by H. B. Wheatley (1892); for his adventures and period of exile see Memoiren der Herzogin Sophie, ed. by A. Köcher (1879); “Briefe der Elisabeth Stuart,” by A. Wendland (Litterarischer Verein in Stuttgart, No. 228); Memoirs of Cardinal de Retz, Mlle de Montpensier and Mme de Motteville; The King in Exile, by E. Scott (1905); Scottish History Pubtns. vols. 17 (Charles II. in Scotland, by S. R. Gardiner, 1894) and 18 (Scotland and the Commonwealth, 1651–1653, ed. by C. H. Firth, 1895); Charles II. in the Channel Islands, by S. E. Hoskins (1854); Boscobel, by T. Blount, &c., ed. by C. G. Thomas (1894); The Flight of the King (1897) and After Worcester Fight (1904), by A. Fea; Edinburgh Review (January 1894); Eng. Hist. Rev. xix. (1904) 363; Revue historigue, xxviii. and xxix.; Art Journal (1889), p. 178 (“Boscobel and Whiteladies," by J. Penderel-Brodhurst); England under Charles II., by W. F. Taylor (1889), a collection of passages from contemporary writers; and R. Crawfurd, The Last Days of Charles II. (1909).

 (P. C. Y.) 


CHARLES I. and II., kings of France. By the French, Charles the Great, Roman emperor and king of the Franks, is reckoned the first of the series of French kings named Charles (see Charlemagne). Similarly the emperor Charles II. the Bald (q.v.) is reckoned as Charles II. of France. In some enumerations the emperor Charles III. the Fat (q.v.) is reckoned as Charles II. of France; Charlemagne not being included in the list, and Charles the Bald being styled Charles I.


CHARLES III., the Simple (879–929), king of France, was a posthumous son of Louis the Stammerer and of his second wife Adelaide. On the deposition of Charles the Fat in 887 he was excluded from the throne by his youth; but during the reign of Odo, who had succeeded Charles, he succeeded in gaining the recognition of a certain number of notables and in securing his coronation at Reims on the 28th of January 893. He now obtained the alliance of the emperor, and forced Odo to cede part of Neustria. In 898, by the death of his rival (Jan. 1), he obtained possession of the whole kingdom. His most important act was the treaty of Saint-Clair-sur-Epte with the Normans in 911. Some of them were baptized; the territory which was afterwards known as the duchy of Normandy was ceded to them; but the story of the marriage of their chief Rollo with a sister of the king, related by the chronicler Dudo of Saint Quentin, is very doubtful. The same year Charles, on the invitation of the barons, took possession of the kingdom of Lotharingia. In 920 the barons, jealous of the growth of the royal authority and discontented with the favour shown by the king to his counsellor Hagano, rebelled, and in 922 elected Robert, brother of King Odo, in place of Charles. Robert was killed in the battle of

  1. Mem. of Thomas, earl of Ailesbury, p. 95