The Scottish Parliament in the Restoration era, 1660-1681
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One issue has dominated the majority of historical studies of Restoration Scotland, that of religious dissent. Robert Wodrow's The Sufferings of the Church of Scotland from the Restoration to the Revolution portrayed an age of brutality in which the people were involved in a godly struggle in defence of Presbyterianism with an administration intent on maintaining Episcopal Church government. Wodrow's version of events has come to dominate the bulk of previous research, and few political studies of the period have been attempted. The Scottish Parliament, its role and function during the reign of Charles II has been particularly neglected. This thesis attempts to redress this state of affairs and provide a detailed account of Parliament during the period. The thesis proceeds chronologically, with an initial chapter on the first session of the Restoration Parliament. The transition from the republican regime to restored monarchy is examined, and the Restoration settlement, the constitutional basis of government during the period, is studied in detail. The second chapter on the parliamentary sessions of 1662 and 1663 begins to examine the personalities of the administration, and discusses the factional divisions that play out in the theatre of Parliament. Following chapters on the Conventions of Estates of 1665, 1667 and 1678 study the effect of religious dissent on the fiscal fortunes of the crown. The growth of an increasingly effective parliamentary opposition is considered in a series of chapters on the Parliament of 1669-1674 and on the session of 1681, the last of Charles II's reign. This thesis attempts to challenge the notion that Parliament in the Restoration era was merely a submissive body, easily moulded to the royal will. Instead, it is argued that the restrictions on parliamentary freedoms in the settlement of 1661 combined with the increasingly authoritarian administration of John Maitland, second Earl (later first Duke) of Lauderdale, created a body of opposition that believed Parliament had a substantial role to play. That such opposition existed sheds new lights on later events, particularly the deposition of the Stewart monarchy.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
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