[00:37.64]On January 30th, 1649, the English killed their king.
[00:44.56]It had happened before -
[00:46.72]all those Edwards and Richards done in by their subjects.
[00:51.36]But this was different.
[00:53.92]The British monarchy itself had been exterminated.
[00:58.08]Now there was just the people and its parliament,
[01:01.96]the keepers of the liberties of England.
[01:05.16]What use was freedom when you were frightened?
[01:08.76]What the people really wanted to know was - who would keep them safe?
[01:19.20]Who'd stop the soldiers burning and pillaging,
[01:22.96]allow people to sleep quietly in their beds?
[01:26.12]Who'd protect them from the wars of religion and politics
[01:29.92]which seemed to go on and on and on?
[01:35.52]Would it be parliament or would it be a great general like Oliver Cromwell?
[01:42.08]"It doesn't matter," said hard-headed philosopher Thomas Hobbes,
[01:47.36]a royalist who'd come back to Cromwell's England.
[01:51.00]"What the country needs is a strong ruler
[01:54.16]"who embodies ALL the people.
[02:00.32]"Whatever or whoever can save the country from anarchy,
[02:04.28]"whatever can save you from yourselves.
[02:07.80]"Never mind about what's right or wrong.
[02:10.84]"Put yourself in the hands of the power that protects,
[02:14.56]"the all-powerful Leviathan."
[02:22.48]If that's Oliver Cromwell, then so be it.
[02:26.32]It's the reasonable thing to do.
[02:29.80]The Scots, the English and the Irish were not about to be reasonable.
[02:33.88]They were much too busy being righteous.
[02:37.00]Over the next half century, righteousness would kill a lot of the British.
[02:42.16]At the end, reason would appear, but not before a lot of tears had been shed.
[02:47.92]Tears of rapture and tears of grief.
[03:31.80]Not everyone was lying awake at night biting their nails about the plight
[03:36.72]of kingless Britain.
[03:39.12]For many, this was the dawn of a new age.
[03:42.80]No one had foreseen this during the civil wars,
[03:46.56]but in giving them victory, the Almighty had shown them
[03:49.92]that Albion must be turned into Jerusalem.
[03:53.40]He had lain the Stuart kings in the dust.
[03:56.76]The only king to follow now was King Jesus,
[04:00.60]and the only true government that of his saints.
[04:10.44]Let them sing aloud,
[04:12.80]let the high praise of God be in their mouth
[04:15.96]and a two-edged sword in their hand!
[04:27.88]The kingdom of God was at hand, the most blessed revolution of all.
[04:32.04]No one was more convinced of this than Albion's holy warrior - Oliver Cromwell.
[04:41.04]Religion was not at first the thing contended for,
[04:45.00]but God brought it to that issue
[04:47.48]and at last it proved that which was most dear to us.
[04:55.24]Cromwell called himself "a seeker",
[04:58.00]and what he sought all his life was God's destiny for himself and for his country.
[05:05.44]At first, he'd been innocent of the Lord's design.
[05:08.84]For years, he'd led the life of an obscure East Anglian country gentleman.
[05:15.00]As Cromwell began to make his way in the world,
[05:18.32]some sort of crisis happened to his modest fortune.
[05:23.16]But what the world might have seen as misfortune
[05:26.72]was, through the cunning of the Almighty, his saving grace.
[05:32.48]He underwent some kind of religious conversion.
[05:35.64]The vanities were stripped away so he might be opened to the light.
[05:43.04]Oh, I lived in and loved darkness and hated the light!
[05:48.08]This is true. I hated Godliness, yet God had mercy on me.
[05:54.04]Oh, the riches of His mercy!
[06:00.76]The sense that God had some special service for him
[06:04.36]made a new man of Cromwell.
[06:06.76]He knew where he was going. He knew what had to be done.
[06:11.48]He must tear the sword out of the hands of the untrustworthy, Papist-loving king.
[06:21.64]He went to war as a complete novice with no military experience.
[06:27.32]His sense of divine appointment was his armour.
[06:30.88]It made him supremely confident, cool under fire,
[06:34.64]but never reckless.
[06:38.88]An aura of invincibility began to cling to him.
[06:42.48]He became the driving force of the Godly Revolution.
[06:49.36]When the vanquished king defied God's judgement,
[06:53.72]his blood was needed to expiate the crime.
[06:57.88]But it became obvious that doing away with the monarch
[07:01.24]was no guarantee of doing away with the monarchy.
[07:04.76]For if Charles couldn't be among his subjects in person, his proxy could.
[07:13.96]The Greek word 'icon' means both an image and a copy.
[07:17.72]The "Eikon Basilike", the spitting image of the king,
[07:21.36]appeared within a week of his execution.
[07:25.24]It was an instant bestseller, going through 35 editions in a year,
[07:29.44]and it made Charles an imperishable martyr...
[07:34.64]...a latter-day Christ sacrificed for the sins of his people.
[07:39.84]Like Christ, Charles would be resurrected wearing his heavenly crown
[07:44.92]and made flesh in the person of his son, Charles II,
[07:48.80]awaiting the call from exile in France.
[07:55.00]The poet John Milton, a champion of the parliamentary Commonwealth,
[08:00.16]was hired to attack the cult of the king martyr as so much wicked idolatry,
[08:06.36]to persuade the fearful and gullible they didn't need a Charles I.
[08:10.84]In fact, they didn't need any Stuart monarch.
[08:14.04]"Look," he wanted to say, "just stop worrying about the dead king.
[08:18.60]"You're the sovereign now. Come to think of it, you've always been the sovereign.
[08:23.36]"Kings have been yours to hire or fire."
[08:28.60]But when Cromwell and Milton told the people
[08:31.56]that it was time for them to govern themselves,
[08:34.44]they didn't, of course, mean to be taken literally.
[08:38.00]What? Every jumped-up weaver or ploughman
[08:41.08]with some sixpenny book-learning appointing himself the magistrate
[08:45.36]of Mucking-on-the-Wold, granting himself the vote?
[08:48.92]Heaven forbid! That way lay chaos.
[08:55.32]No, the people should put the government
[08:58.08]into the hands of the kind of men God saw fittest to exercise it -
[09:02.40]incorruptible men of substance and piety.
[09:07.32]"Oh, I see," said free-born John Lilburne, the Leveller,
[09:11.52]an ex-army officer who wanted to level the distance
[09:14.64]between the mighty and the humble, the rich and the poor.
[09:18.12]"The same kind of people who got us into this mess."
[09:31.28]We've all known a John Lilburne, some of us have even been John Lilburne.
[09:36.12]First at the barricades, first to be arrested, won't shut up!
[09:40.32]But love him or hate him, you know he won't go away.
[09:47.04]To Cromwell, he was a pain in the neck,
[09:49.88]a dangerous loudmouth, capable of wrecking discipline in the army.
[09:56.56]Lilburne, for his part, detested the new regime.
[10:03.20]All you intended when you set us fighting was to unhorse our old riders and tyrants
[10:08.64]so that you might get up and ride in their stead.
[10:12.40]The soldiers read Freeborn John and believed they should have a vote.
[10:17.96]Give them an inch and they take a mile and, pretty soon, they'd start believing
[10:22.84]their officers were the tyrants Lilburne and the Levellers said they were.
[10:29.84]They had to be stopped.
[10:32.00]An army was not, repeat not, a commune.
[10:39.24]I tell you, you have no other way to deal with these men,
[10:43.56]but to break them or they will break you.
[10:46.52]Yea, and bring all the guilt of the blood and treasure shed and spent
[10:51.20]in this kingdom upon your heads and shoulders
[10:55.12]and frustrate and make void
[10:57.48]all that work that with so many years' industry, toil and pains you have done.
[11:03.40]I tell you again, you are necessitated to break them.
[11:10.44]Off to the Tower went the Leveller leaders like so many traitors.
[11:16.12]Then something astounding happened.
[11:19.88]A petitioning campaign to demand the Levellers' release
[11:23.36]was mobilised in London by Leveller women.
[11:27.96]For the Puritans, the cardinal virtues of women were silence and meekness.
[11:33.20]But these women were shameless, obstinate, loud-mouthed,
[11:37.36]and, it has to admitted, brave.
[11:41.60]Leveller women had always been involved in the movement's campaigns.
[11:46.92]Elizabeth Lilburne had been politicised through her efforts to spring her husband
[11:52.08]from one prison or another.
[11:54.68]Mary Overton had been brutally punished
[11:57.32]for printing and distributing her husband's tracts.
[12:00.88]Tied to a cart and dragged through London's streets
[12:04.36]with her six-month-old baby, pelted and abused like a common whore.
[12:09.64]But the most impassioned and articulate of the sisters was Katherine Chidley.
[12:14.80]She started as a charismatic preacher and turned to politics
[12:18.88]in an attempt to make the Commonwealth understand
[12:22.24]the particular sufferings of her sex.
[12:27.08]We have an equal share and interest with men in the Commonwealth,
[12:31.88]and it cannot be laid waste.
[12:34.76]Considering that poverty, misery and famine,
[12:38.32]like a mighty torrent, is breaking in upon us
[12:42.20]and we are not able to see our children hang upon us and cry out for bread
[12:47.76]and not have wherewithal to feed them, we had rather die than see that day!
[12:56.68]This was not what Oliver Cromwell had expected from Jerusalem.
[13:02.40]It got worse.
[13:09.32]In May 1649, some hundreds of soldiers mutinied
[13:13.36]and tried to combine forces in Oxfordshire.
[13:17.92]Cromwell rode hell for leather - 50 miles in a day -
[13:21.80]and caught them in the middle of the night at Burford.
[13:30.72]One of the prisoners, Anthony Sedley, locked in the church,
[13:34.96]expecting the worst, carved his name into the font.
[13:39.84]The next morning, three of his comrades were led into the churchyard and shot.
[13:49.60]Then Oliver went off to get an honorary degree in law from Oxford.
[13:56.92]He made sure that the mutinous soldiers were shipped off to a place
[14:01.40]where they could vent their frustration on someone else.
[14:05.80]"Angry, are we?" was his line.
[14:08.40]"Want to know who's to blame for prolonging the civil wars?"
[14:15.04]Say hello to the Antichrist across the Irish Sea.
[14:20.36]The target of Cromwell's march through blood
[14:23.20]was an army of royalists holding out in Ireland in the name of the king's son.
[14:28.80]It was as much Protestant as Catholic,
[14:31.72]but in his conviction they were the legions of the Devil,
[14:35.28]Cromwell was not about to make nice distinctions.
[14:41.56]At Drogheda, on the main road between Dublin and Ulster,
[14:45.12]he made it only too clear what he had in mind.
[14:49.56]There's no point side-stepping this horror, is there?
[14:53.32]This was Cromwell's war crime,
[14:55.96]an atrocity so hideous, it's contaminated Anglo-Irish history ever since.
[15:01.60]We need to get right just what this atrocity was.
[15:05.56]What it wasn't was the indiscriminate butchery of women and children.
[15:09.92]No eye-witnesses ever claimed to have seen any such thing.
[15:14.68]But what Cromwell did order, unhesitatingly and without any mercy,
[15:19.48]was, in any case, an act of unspeakable murder.
[15:31.96]At least 3,000 royalist soldiers were butchered at Drogheda...
[15:39.16]...the vast majority after they had surrendered and disarmed.
[15:52.44]At St Peter's Church, Cromwell had his soldiers burn the pews
[15:56.60]beneath the steeple to smoke out the defenders,
[15:59.68]who were incinerated in the flames.
[16:03.36]The General saw no need to hang his head about the massacre.
[16:07.60]We are come to break the power of lawless rebels
[16:11.20]who, having cast off the authority of England,
[16:13.76]live as enemies to human society, whose principles are to destroy and subjugate
[16:18.92]all men not complying with them.
[16:22.12]We come by the assistance of God
[16:25.00]to hold forth and maintain the lustre and glory of English liberty
[16:29.28]in a nation where we have an undoubted right to it.
[16:34.12]This is absolutely authentic Oliver Cromwell
[16:37.64]and today it makes for unbearable reading.
[16:41.36]No, it's not the confession of a genocidal lunatic.
[16:45.16]It IS the confession of a narrow-minded, pig-headed Protestant bigot
[16:50.28]and English imperialist, and that surely is bad enough.
[16:58.24]Cromwell treated Ireland like the primitive colony he thought it was,
[17:03.88]moving the native Irish off their farms and using the land to pay his soldiers.
[17:09.52]Before he could finish his pacification, if that's what he thought it was,
[17:14.48]another piece of unquiet Britain rose up to mock him.
[17:20.00]For the Scots had invited the 20-year-old Charles II to come and be their king
[17:26.28]and went to war on his behalf.
[17:31.60]Cromwell lured them into England in the summer of 1651.
[17:36.24]The Scottish army found itself caught between two massively bigger forces.
[17:45.40]At the Battle of Worcester, on the 3rd September,
[17:48.56]it went down to a ruinous and irreversible defeat.
[17:57.00]Charles went on the run, hidden by royalist sympathisers
[18:00.60]until he could get smuggled out of the country.
[18:11.24]So when Oliver Cromwell returned to London in the autumn of 1651,
[18:16.32]it was as an English Caesar, the like of whom had not been seen
[18:20.84]since the days of Edward I.
[18:24.56]If Cromwell was God's Englishman,
[18:27.32]it was because he felt in his marrow that England was God's true promised land
[18:32.48]and the best thing for Britain was that it become as English as possible.
[18:39.00]The Stuart dream of the united Britain, of course,
[18:42.20]had been what had started the civil wars.
[18:45.28]Now Cromwell had ended them by making that dream a reality.
[18:49.48]Not as a united kingdom, but as a united republic of Great Britain.
[18:58.48]But what kind of republic was it supposed to be?
[19:02.00]Cromwell knew the county was exhausted
[19:04.64]from almost 15 years of war.
[19:08.00]It was time, as he said, "to heal and settle".
[19:14.20]But this didn't mean business as usual.
[19:16.80]Surely God didn't mean for so much blood and treasure to have been spilled
[19:21.44]only so that ungodly lawyers and money brokers could get richer?
[19:27.24]That seemed to be the way things were going under the parliament -
[19:31.40]the keeper of the liberties of England, as it styled itself.
[19:37.80]It still sat as it had when its members were purged by the army
[19:42.32]to allow the king's trial to proceed,
[19:44.96]ridiculed by its enemies as the "Rump".
[19:48.88]To Cromwell, the Rump was a monstrosity,
[19:52.36]a bastion of selfishness and greed,
[19:55.08]more like Sodom than Jerusalem.
[19:58.44]Worst of all, it showed no signs at all of wanting ever to close down.
[20:04.00]When it designed a bill to replace old members
[20:07.16]and keep itself going indefinitely, this was the last straw.
[20:16.92]On April 20th, 1653,
[20:20.40]Cromwell marched down to Westminster in the company of a troop of musketeers.
[20:32.56]Moses was descending from the mountain
[20:35.88]and he was not a happy prophet!
[20:42.48]At first, it seemed as though the Member for Cambridge might behave himself.
[20:47.64]Cromwell sat in his usual seat, he doffed his hat,
[20:51.64]he asked the Speaker respectfully if he might address the House.
[20:55.88]He even commended the Rump for its care of the public good,
[20:59.84]but as he warmed to his task, niceties were tossed aside
[21:03.60]and he began to berate the astounded members
[21:06.52]for their indifference to justice and to piety.
[21:10.60]"I expect you think this is not parliamentary language," he said.
[21:15.04]"Well, I confess, it is not,
[21:17.96]"and neither are you to expect any such from me."
[21:23.36]The hat went back on, always a very bad sign.
[21:27.00]Cromwell marched up and down the chamber,
[21:30.32]shouting that the Lord had done with them
[21:33.08]and had chosen instruments more worthy of their calling.
[21:37.40]Some poor soul tried to stop him in full spate,
[21:40.76]but Cromwell was in exterminating angel mode
[21:44.00]and brushed him aside contemptuously.
[21:47.00]"You are no parliament!" he bellowed, "I say, you are no parliament!"
[21:51.96]With that, he called in the musketeers.
[21:54.36]The boots entered heavily, noisily.
[21:59.52]Parliament was shut down.
[22:07.56]This was a depressingly modern moment,
[22:10.28]a classic coup d'etat, in fact.
[22:13.28]At this point, Cromwell crossed the line from bullying to outright dictatorship.
[22:19.16]In so doing, he undid at a stroke
[22:21.96]the entire point of the war he himself had fought
[22:25.32]against the king's unparliamentary conduct.
[22:28.88]Cromwell liked to claim he was striking a blow against "ambition" and "avarice",
[22:34.16]but what he really wounded, and fatally,
[22:37.24]was the Commonwealth itself.
[22:49.04]This is the point at which Cromwell could've seized power,
[22:53.60]and everyone expected him to.
[22:57.36]But Cromwell wasn't working for himself, he was working for God.
[23:03.24]In parliament's place, he'd set up an assembly of men
[23:06.80]hand-picked for their piety.
[23:09.36]It would be an assembly of saints, and his language was very different
[23:14.80]as he exhorted them to go about their business.
[23:22.40]Love all the sheep, love the lambs. Love all.
[23:31.16]But mystical rapture and politics don't go well together. At least, not in Britain.
[23:37.08]In a few months, the unworkable assembly collapsed,
[23:40.72]its leaders begging Cromwell to put it out of its misery.
[23:47.44]He duly obliged.
[23:51.16]Now there seemed no alternative but to take the crown -
[23:54.48]to become Oliver I.
[23:58.00]This was still a step too far for a man God had told
[24:01.96]to punish the haughtiness of kings.
[24:05.12]So instead he chose to become a Lord Protector.
[24:08.92]That had a good ring to it. Authority, but not tyranny.
[24:14.12]He was king in all but name,
[24:16.76]but a constitutional sovereign,
[24:19.08]ruling with a council and a newly-elected parliament.
[24:25.48]His great hope was for a settling,
[24:28.72]but the truth was that the Protector himself was anything but settled
[24:33.00]about the direction he should take the country.
[24:37.04]Should Britain be righteous or reasonable?
[24:40.60]It was a civil war he fought over and over again in his own head.
[24:46.00]Squire Cromwell could see the virtues of a reasonable state of affairs.
[24:51.12]Given a breathing space, the old world of counties
[24:54.00]was coming ever so cautiously back to life.
[24:58.08]Magistrates were sitting at courts,
[25:00.60]gentlemen riding to hounds, war-damaged houses being repaired,
[25:05.36]children being married off, friends and neighbours asked to dinner.
[25:13.04]And when some of those gentlemen were elected to the Protectorate parliaments,
[25:17.84]the old connections between Westminster and the counties,
[25:21.48]the secret of English government, were, at last, being put back together.
[25:28.88]But the righteous side of Cromwell fretted
[25:31.80]that this return to an older way of doing things was too successful.
[25:36.32]It was not so much healing as backsliding. Royalism by the back door.
[25:43.64]So in 1655, Cromwell turned his mastiffs loose.
[25:51.36]The Major Generals.
[25:56.08]They took righteousness out into the shires -
[25:59.24]the Protestant Taliban on horseback.
[26:02.72]"Muffle the bell-ringers, snoop on the ale-houses,
[26:06.72]"lock up the fornicators... cancel Christmas!"
[26:16.16]John Evelyn, ardent royalist and gentleman of letters,
[26:19.76]who grudgingly endured the Leviathan of the Cromwellian state,
[26:23.92]was one of countless people who were on the short end of the generals' bullying.
[26:30.68]I went with my wife to London to celebrate Christmas Day,
[26:35.24]Mr Gunning preaching in Exeter Chapel.
[26:38.44]As he gave us the Holy Sacrament, the chapel was surrounded by soldiers...
[26:45.80]... all the communicants and assembly surprised and kept prisoner by them,
[26:50.00]some in the house, others carried away!
[26:57.40]It was a public relations disaster for the Protectorate.
[27:01.56]The prudent Cromwell reasserted himself over the pious
[27:05.60]and he got rid of the Major Generals in a hurry!
[27:11.72]There were some places where the two instincts worked together,
[27:15.68]and changed Britain as a result, and this is one of them -
[27:19.64]the Synagogue of Bevis Marks in London.
[27:24.20]Historians sometimes complain that it's difficult to find hard evidence
[27:28.36]of any good that came out of the Protectorate.
[27:31.76]Well, this is hard enough evidence for me.
[27:34.84]For it was on these unforgiving backless oak benches
[27:39.12]that the first Jews to be admitted since the expulsion 360-odd years before
[27:44.20]parked their behinds.
[27:47.04]Under the Protectorate, Jews were allowed finally to worship openly and to live openly
[27:53.08]in what became a little piece of early multi-cultural London.
[27:57.44]It's Oliver Cromwell we have to thank
[28:00.00]for opening a new chapter of Anglo-Jewish history - my history.
[28:07.36](JEWISH RELIGIOUS SONG)
[28:18.80]His Apocalyptic timetable told him that the conversion of the Jews
[28:23.32]would herald the coming of the last days.
[28:26.68]His business sense told him that,
[28:28.84]through their network in the Dutch and Spanish trading world,
[28:32.20]the Jews could be a priceless source of commercial and military intelligence.
[28:39.00]Piety and pragmatism, those twin qualities,
[28:41.88]so often at odds inside Cromwell's personality,
[28:45.32]this time came together to make him, as far as the Jews were concerned,
[28:49.96]a true Lord Protector.
[28:53.32]But not king.
[28:55.48]In the end, and so unlike the king he had destroyed,
[28:59.76]Cromwell could never shake off his sense of unworthiness.
[29:03.72]It was what saved him and Britain from a true dictatorship.
[29:08.88]Oliver Cromwell believed he worked for God.
[29:12.52]Real dictators think they are God.
[29:15.08]It was those men who fancied themselves little gods -
[29:18.64]Charles I or the republican oligarchs -
[29:21.48]who most aroused Cromwell's contempt.
[29:24.68]Simplicity was a word he used all the time about himself
[29:28.24]and it was the highest of moral compliments.
[29:31.40]But to prolong the Protectorate, he needed to be more of a Leviathan
[29:35.56]than he could ever stomach.
[29:37.72]That is both his exoneration and his failure.
[29:43.96]It's one of the most extraordinary ironies of British history
[29:47.72]that Cromwell's Protectorate, demonised by both royalists and republicans alike,
[29:53.56]ultimately formed the blueprint for our constitutional monarchy -
[29:58.16]a chief executive who chose his government,
[30:01.00]but who were both answerable to a regularly elected parliament.
[30:06.68]But Cromwell himself would not live to see this happen.
[30:13.48]On September 3rd, 1658, the anniversary of the Battle of Worcester,
[30:18.88]Cromwell died while an immense black tempest was raging over England,
[30:24.24]ripping out trees and sending belfries crashing to the ground.
[30:36.60]It was, the old wives said,
[30:39.08]the Devil coming for his soul.
[30:46.72]What Oliver Cromwell left behind was not a workable political system, but a vision.
[30:51.72]He may have been an angry, ruthless, overbearing man,
[30:55.56]perhaps even a manic depressive,
[30:58.20]but that vision was something of startling sweetness -
[31:01.56]a sighting of Jerusalem,
[31:03.72]a place where everyone would be free to receive Christ in their own way,
[31:08.64]provided that they did not disturb the peace and conscience
[31:12.48]of anybody else.
[31:14.64]After all his marches and slaughters and fits of table-pounding red-faced fury,
[31:21.00]what, it turned out, Oliver Cromwell wanted for everyone
[31:24.88]was a quiet life.
[31:28.00]But Catholics were excluded from this vision
[31:30.96]because for Cromwell, as for the country at large, Catholicism meant tyranny.
[31:36.48]The Protector may have left the country safe from despots, but not from anarchy.
[31:41.80]After his death, it returned with a vengeance,
[31:44.92]power swinging between soldiers and politicians,
[31:47.92]sleepless nights and nagging questions from ten years before.
[31:53.36]Who'll keep us safe? Who do we obey?
[31:55.88]Where do we find a sovereign to protect us?
[32:00.68]It took another hard-headed soldier to see the only way to restore order.
[32:05.00]General George Monck had been a royalist in the Civil War
[32:09.56]and a Cromwellian when it seemed that only the Protector could keep the peace.
[32:14.68]He realised that, with the Lord Protector gone,
[32:17.80]there was only one person who could take his place.
[32:23.44]That was a new king.
[32:28.68]The irony about the restoration of Charles II
[32:31.64]was he came to the throne not because England needed a successor to Charles I.
[32:36.96]He came to the throne because England needed a successor to Oliver Cromwell.
[32:49.36]There was universal rejoicing, bonfires and feasting.
[32:54.36]The chaos brought by Cromwell's death was ending.
[32:57.32]This new Charles seemed just what everyone had hoped for -
[33:01.16]a model of sweet reason.
[33:03.96]That, at any rate, is what Samuel Pepys thought.
[33:07.76]Pepys was a pure product of Cromwell's England.
[33:11.24]He was present when the new king boarded his flagship home.
[33:15.40]En route, the tall, dark-haired man strode up and down the quarterdeck
[33:20.24]telling the story of his escape after the Battle of Worcester.
[33:24.96]Here was a king full of charisma.
[33:30.24]He had magic.
[33:37.12]But would his reason survive the emotions stirred by his return?
[33:42.80]The diarist John Evelyn recorded, with unrepentant royalism
[33:46.56]burning in his breast:
[33:49.60]This day came in His Majesty to London
[33:52.76]after a sad and long exile,
[33:55.52]with a triumph of above 20,000 horse and foot brandishing their swords
[34:00.04]and shouting with inexpressible joy,
[34:02.92]the way strewn with flowers, the bells ringing.
[34:06.88]I stood in the Strand and beheld it and blessed God.
[34:10.72]And all this without one drop of blood
[34:13.44]and by that very army which had rebelled against him.
[34:19.04]The king was crowned at Westminster on the 23rd April, 1661.
[34:25.08]His reign was backdated to the day after his father had been beheaded.
[34:31.00]But even before the king was crowned, there were those with long memories
[34:35.16]looking for revenge.
[34:39.52]On January 30th, 1661,
[34:43.08]exactly 12 years after Charles I's severed head dropped into the straw,
[34:48.56]the remains of Cromwell and the regicides were dragged from their tombs
[34:53.28]and hanged from the gallows at Tyburn before being buried in a deep pit.
[35:02.28]Over the next months, eleven other king-killers
[35:05.40]were hanged, drawn and quartered.
[35:12.68]The old Cromwellians watched all this in tactful, furtive silence.
[35:18.08]They wondered just how reasonable this new regime might actually be.
[35:25.16]Killing the killjoys, though, Charles knew,
[35:27.92]would not damage his popularity.
[35:30.92]Given a free vote, the people would, especially after the Major Generals,
[35:36.04]vote for pleasure over piety.
[35:39.28](FEMALE SINGER) # Lavender's green, diddle-diddle... #
[35:44.20]And leading the dance, of course, was Charles himself,
[35:48.36]constitutionally incapable of being so churlish
[35:51.72]as to spurn any woman generous enough to invite him into her bed.
[35:56.56]They all did.
[36:01.60]This was the golden age of ogling.
[36:03.88]If Puritan England had been governed by the ear,
[36:07.40]wide open to receive the word of God, the Restoration restored
[36:11.76]the sovereignty of the eye.
[36:16.12]Its ruling passion was "scopophilia", the addiction of the gaze,
[36:22.04]whether eyeballing an outrageous wig, a plunging neckline,
[36:26.48]a louse caught in the lens of a microscope
[36:29.68]or the constellations of the stars.
[36:32.28]# Lavender's blue, diddle-diddle
[36:37.28]# Lavender's green... #
[36:42.44]Charles's boyish enthusiasm for optical instruments
[36:46.08]suggested he might turn out to be a new kind of Stuart,
[36:49.84]whose vision dwelled not in cloudy realms of absolutism,
[36:53.48]but which was precisely focused,
[36:55.84]concerned to observe reality - political as well as physical.
[37:00.48]He might, in fact, turn out to be that most unlikely thing - a reasonable Stuart king.
[37:07.76]This was the Stuart for whom the physical world was his alpha and omega,
[37:12.80]who was earthy in his realism.
[37:16.28]All too earthy, some thought, as they looked down in disgust
[37:20.52]at a theatre of indolence, punctuated by debauchery, that had become the court.
[37:27.04]They were not so worldly, not so rational,
[37:30.52]as to be free of the fear that some day there would be a reckoning.
[37:35.72]Some day soon, as it turned out.
[37:41.92]In the summer of 1664, a comet appeared in the skies over England.
[37:47.52]Its sallow tail could be seen with unprecedented clarity
[37:51.48]through the lens of the new telescopes owned, among others, by the king.
[37:56.84]But what most people saw was disaster in the offing.
[38:01.20]They had all read their almanacs.
[38:03.36]They knew that the Apocalypse would be heralded by pestilence, fire and war.
[38:15.16]A year later, thousands of bodies killed by bubonic plague
[38:19.12]were being tossed each week into the great pit of Aldgate
[38:23.68]and there was nothing science could do about it,
[38:26.68]except count the dead with the care demanded
[38:30.80]by modern statistics.
[38:35.76](MAN) # My part of death
[38:39.12]# No one so true
[38:45.68]# Did share it
[38:50.92]# Come away
[38:54.36]# Come away...
[38:57.92]#... Death #
[39:04.52]One-sixth of London's population perished.
[39:09.32]The infection ebbed with the onset of autumn,
[39:12.24]but the trepidation hung around
[39:15.08]for the number of the Beast was 666.
[39:23.96]And sure enough, up from the smoky regions of Hell,
[39:27.72]in the first week of September, 1666,
[39:31.60]came the diabolical fire.
[39:38.72]In the early hours of Sunday September 2nd,
[39:41.80]the Lord Mayor of London was woken
[39:44.68]to be told that a fire had started in a baker's shop in Pudding Lane.
[39:50.16]His response was "Pish! A woman might piss it out!"
[40:05.76]As he snored on, the flames reached the warehouses flanking the Thames
[40:10.28]between the Tower and London Bridge, brimful of tallow, pitch and brandy.
[40:18.36]A monstrous fireball came roaring and sucking out of the narrow streets,
[40:22.76]feeding on overhanging bays and gables.
[40:28.72]In another hour, 200 to 300 houses had been swallowed by the flames.
[40:40.80]John Evelyn, who'd said for years
[40:43.20]that overcrowded London was a disaster waiting to happen,
[40:46.68]took no joy in the fulfilment of his prophecy.
[40:53.60]Oh, the miserable and calamitous spectacle.
[40:57.68]God grant mine eyes that I never behold it again,
[41:01.00]who now saw 10,000 houses all in one flame.
[41:06.36]The noise and crackle and thunder of the impetuous flames.
[41:10.92]The shriek of women and children, the hurry of people,
[41:14.28]the fall of towers, houses and churches like a hideous storm.
[41:19.96]London was... but is no more.
[41:40.00]When the rain started, a week after the outbreak of the fire,
[41:43.88]allowing an early stocktaking,
[41:46.04]the scale of the devastation horrified even the pessimists.
[41:50.56]13,200 houses had been destroyed,
[41:54.24]along with some of the most famous buildings of the city.
[41:59.60]St Paul's Cathedral was in ruins.
[42:03.76]The new Leviathan, it seemed, had no fire insurance.
[42:08.76]Still, there were those who were determined
[42:11.68]that London would rise as a phoenix from its ashes
[42:15.44]and, like the reborn, rebuilt Rome, astonish the world.
[42:21.48]This had long been on the mind of Christopher Wren,
[42:24.76]mathematician, architect and brilliant prodigy
[42:28.00]of the Royal Society.
[42:30.16]So when Roman antiquities were found in the debris
[42:33.12]around St Paul's, one of them a tablet bearing the Latin inscription
[42:37.56]"Resurgam" - I shall arise, Wren took the message to heart.
[42:45.00]London had once been a great Roman city
[42:48.12]and now would outdo the ancients,
[42:51.44]with great piazzas, broad avenues,
[42:54.00]calculated to afford geometrically satisfying vistas
[42:58.44]and up to fifty new churches.
[43:02.32]And at its heart would be a new St Paul's,
[43:05.76]a cathedral the like of which had never been seen in northern Europe.
[43:11.32]He built a giant wooden model to show the king and clergy
[43:15.32]just what they would be getting.
[43:18.56]How could they not be awestruck by the huge dome
[43:22.12]that used the same technology as a microscope
[43:25.04]to flood the interior with light?
[43:54.88]But there was a problem.
[43:57.60]Wren had designed his cathedral as a Greek cross,
[44:01.00]sacrificing the traditional floor plan of a Protestant church
[44:05.36]in favour of perfect acoustics and light.
[44:09.04]You can almost hear the mystified, angry complaints of the reverends.
[44:13.92]"Where exactly is the choir supposed to go?
[44:17.80]"How do we process up a nave which isn't there?"
[44:21.88]Mostly they said, "Call us old-fashioned,
[44:24.76]"but this looks suspiciously to us like a Catholic basilica.
[44:28.84]"We'll be damned
[44:31.00]"if we're going to let St Paul's turn into St Peter's."
[44:36.68]When the king told him to go back to the drawing board,
[44:41.28]Wren's normally very dry eyes are said to have filled with tears.
[44:46.32]He would have his chance to build his dome,
[44:49.28]but only when it was joined to a long nave,
[44:52.60]something resembling a traditional church.
[44:56.76]The irony was, for all his Roman enthusiasm,
[44:59.76]Wren believed he was building a truly Protestant church...
[45:05.04]but his timing was terrible.
[45:08.88]Ever since the Reformation, Britain had been victim to anti-Catholic fear
[45:15.24]and, once again, in Charles's reign, it erupted.
[45:22.40]Not all of it was misplaced.
[45:25.12]Charles was suspected of having secret Catholics in his government, and so he did.
[45:30.80]He was also suspected of making secret treaties
[45:33.96]with the militantly Catholic Louis XIV of France.
[45:38.40]And so he had.
[45:40.56]But there was worse... much worse.
[45:44.04]The king's own brother, James, Duke of York,
[45:46.92]had actually converted to the Roman Church
[45:49.56]and he made no secret of it.
[45:52.16]With no children born to the king, the first Catholic ruler since Bloody Mary
[45:57.04]was an imminent prospect.
[45:59.60]There was shivering in the shires.
[46:03.68]A century before, Queen Elizabeth had been threatened
[46:07.64]with Catholic assassination plots.
[46:09.80]The Jesuit lurking in the shadows was a permanent fixture in popular nightmare.
[46:17.32]When an ex-Jesuit called Titus Oates
[46:19.68]concocted a pack of lies about a plot to murder the king,
[46:24.28]invite a French invasion and create a Catholic state under James,
[46:29.08]he tripped the Guy Fawkes alert.
[46:32.96]And when the magistrate investigating the charges
[46:35.92]was found mysteriously murdered on Primrose Hill, it seemed obvious
[46:40.44]that Oates knew what he was talking about.
[46:43.44]It set the jittery country
[46:45.68]right over the edge.
[47:01.48]Anti-Catholic violence swept the country.
[47:04.56]Riots, burnings, lynch mobs, kangaroo courts.
[47:11.68]For some politicians, the ugly mood of the country
[47:14.84]was a golden opportunity to press their favourite cause.
[47:19.36]James, Duke of York, should never be allowed to sit on the throne.
[47:24.04]He had to be excluded.
[47:26.52]Anything to stop the cycle of religious wars from breaking out again.
[47:32.76]It was an extraordinary crisis in the history of the British monarchy.
[47:37.32]At stake were not only the lives of hundreds of those victimised
[47:41.36]by all the lies and hysteria,
[47:43.80]but the fate of the polity itself.
[47:46.40]Because to concede exclusion was to accept parliament had the right
[47:50.48]to judge who was fit or unfit to occupy the throne.
[47:54.72]And that was a concession Charles II was absolutely not about to make.
[48:02.52]Charles met the most serious crisis of his reign
[48:05.92]with his most powerful weapon - reason. He offered a compromise.
[48:11.40]His brother would be allowed to succeed if he agreed to be a private Catholic
[48:16.56]and not to lay a finger on the Church of England.
[48:20.52]Riding the wave of paranoia,
[48:22.88]the newly elected parliament summoned to Oxford turned him down.
[48:27.36]They assumed that memory was on their side,
[48:30.64]that Charles would remember the fate of his stubborn father, who'd triggered a war
[48:35.64]when he too had been suspected of being soft on Catholicism.
[48:41.64]But historical memory is a double-edged sword.
[48:50.28]When the Commons met in the Great Hall of Christchurch
[48:53.48]to hear what they thought would be the royal capitulation,
[48:56.72]they found themselves instead confronted by a Leviathan in ermine.
[49:05.24]"This is the king's will," he said.
[49:08.28]"Take it or leave it."
[49:13.04]It was a breathtaking gamble.
[49:15.96]Backed up by the House of Lords, Charles had left the exclusionists in the Commons
[49:21.08]no alternative but to go to war.
[49:26.56]He was betting that the memory of the last round
[49:29.76]would be a deterrent. He was right.
[49:34.04]The tombs of the dead from Edgehill, Marston Moor and Worcester
[49:38.76]were still being carved.
[49:41.68]That war began as a parliamentary protest
[49:44.44]and ended in Puritan crusade.
[49:47.68]Who wanted that back? Not the exclusionists.
[49:51.64]They blinked first.
[49:56.88]James did get the keys to the kingdom when his brother died in 1685,
[50:02.12]and he inherited a new parliament with a massively royalist majority,
[50:06.60]along with widespread public sympathy.
[50:09.80]Within three years, though, he had squandered it all.
[50:19.36]James never had any intention of hiding his faith.
[50:23.52]His Catholicism wasn't just a private comfort
[50:26.52]to be celebrated away from the public gaze.
[50:30.04]No, James was going to be a visible Catholic king...
[50:34.96]but he was playing a dangerous game.
[50:41.64]When James tried to reverse anti-Catholic laws,
[50:45.00]pillars of the establishment - the country gentry and the Church - were horrified.
[50:51.64]When the bishops complained, the king declared,
[50:54.60]"I shall find a way to do my business without you."
[50:59.80]The protesting bishops were locked up in the Tower.
[51:07.48]James's timing was disastrous.
[51:11.68]For he was doing all this when Louis XIV,
[51:14.76]the militantly Catholic King of France, was threatening Europe.
[51:20.52]By January, 1688,
[51:22.88]James had managed to alienate all his natural allies
[51:27.36]and turn himself into a more dangerous version of his father, Charles I.
[51:33.24]He was even filling the officer ranks of the army with Irish Catholics.
[51:40.80]The only consolation was that, at 52, he had no son.
[51:46.00]Next in line to the throne was his daughter Mary, a staunch Protestant,
[51:50.80]who'd married the Dutch prince, William of Orange,
[51:53.56]hero of the resistance to Louis XIV.
[51:57.44]On June 10th, 1688, all this changed.
[52:02.44]James's wife, Mary of Modena, gave birth to a boy,
[52:06.00]who was duly baptised with Roman rites.
[52:10.44]Now, not only was the king Catholic,
[52:13.60]so was his dynasty.
[52:16.40]What could be done? Well, something quite extraordinary.
[52:21.96]Seven leading statesmen sent a message to Holland
[52:25.72]with an explosive request.
[52:28.28]"Prince William," they asked, "would you mind invading Britain
[52:32.04]"and saving us from a Catholic king?"
[52:37.92]William of Orange wanted to save his country from Catholic despots,
[52:42.28]but the country he had in mind - first, foremost and always -
[52:46.44]was the Dutch Republic.
[52:48.60]English politics were always a sideshow for William to the main event.
[52:53.04]That was the great European war against Louis XIV.
[52:59.72]What choice did he have? There would be British troops in that war.
[53:04.36]To ensure they'd be fighting for him, not against him,
[53:07.72]100 years after the Spanish Armada had failed to do the very same thing,
[53:13.20]William set out to conquer Britain.
[53:20.76]He was nothing if not thorough.
[53:23.28]60,000 copies of William's manifesto
[53:26.04]blanketed England in an effort to present the planned invasion as a response
[53:31.12]to a spontaneous uprising against the Catholic tyrant.
[53:35.72]It was so persuasive that he succeeded
[53:38.52]in making James seem the foreigner in his own land
[53:41.80]and the Dutchman the true Brit.
[53:48.40]The fate of the Armada was a sobering thought,
[53:51.60]so his Dutch invasion force made the Spanish one seem puny.
[53:55.80]This time there were 600 vessels
[53:58.92]and up to 20,000 troops.
[54:03.44](WOMAN) # Lero, lero, lilli burlero
[54:06.20]# Lilli burlero, bullen a la
[54:08.92]# Lero, lero, lilli burlero
[54:11.92]# Lilli burlero, bullen a la #
[54:16.04]He landed at Torbay on November 5th - Guy Fawkes Day.
[54:20.24]Obviously, God was a Protestant!
[54:24.68]When he realised that this Protestant invasion was really going to oust him,
[54:29.12]James' courage failed him.
[54:31.84]His resolution in meltdown, his nights haunted by the ghost of his daddy,
[54:37.44]he fled the kingdom.
[54:47.16]William claimed that he'd come just to restore English liberties,
[54:52.00]but now he had Dutch soldiers in the streets,
[54:55.40]and if he decided to be king after all, who was going to say otherwise?
[55:07.08]In February 1689, William of Orange and Mary Stuart
[55:11.72]were proclaimed King and Queen of England.
[55:17.44]But during the ceremony, something profoundly novel happened.
[55:21.56]A Declaration of Rights was read out
[55:24.16]listing the conditions under which the new monarchs
[55:27.04]would be allowed to sit on the throne.
[55:31.76]Parliament had changed the job description of the ruler.
[55:35.28]It turned out that the country did not need Leviathan.
[55:39.20]It wanted a chairman of the board, and Dutch William fitted that role to a tee.
[55:47.12]William III would fight his wars by asking, not demanding funds
[55:51.96]from the elected representatives of the people.
[55:55.68]Ruling together with parliament,
[55:57.88]his government looked remarkably like a reasonable version
[56:01.76]of Oliver Cromwell's Protectorate.
[56:07.76]History has called this a "Glorious Revolution".
[56:12.00]It was probably neither,
[56:14.24]but afterwards, the British monarchy would never be the same again.
[56:25.36]But the old monarchy had one last desperate play to make.
[56:30.76]In March, 1689, James landed in Ireland
[56:34.52]with 20,000 French troops.
[56:38.76]The Catholic Irish flocked to their king.
[56:42.16]Like the English, they'd become pawns in someone else's chess game.
[56:52.52]Outside Drogheda, two armies, two worlds,
[56:56.48]faced each other across the River Boyne.
[56:59.12]One belonged to the old world of faith and fervour,
[57:03.48]the other, Dutch and German professionals,
[57:06.32]were part of a modern war machine.
[57:19.72]No prizes for guessing who won.
[57:35.60](MAN) It is the patriotic duty of Irish men and Irish women
[57:40.12]to engage in that legitimate armed struggle.
[57:43.76]We will never surrender!
[57:46.80]Never, never, never, never! (PEOPLE CHEERING)
[57:54.00](NEWSPEAKER) I appeal to Unionists to engage fully
[57:57.16]in the search for a lasting peace.
[57:59.52]I, too, am an Ulsterman
[58:02.28]and we don't need the British ministers to rule us...
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