England: Convention Parliament: 1660

Speaker pro tempore of the House of Lords
25 Apr 1660 - 1 Jun 1660 Earl of Manchester
Speaker of the House of Commons
25 Apr 1660 - 29 Dec 1660 Sir Harbottle Grimston
History:

The Lords Spiritual and Temporal and the Commons of England were convened by the writs issued in the names of the keepers of the liberties of England by authority of Parliament. Both Houses of the newly elected assembly usually called by historians the Convention Parliament convened on 25 Apr 1660. The Lords appointed the Earl of Manchester as Speaker pro tempore and the Commons elected Sir Harbottle Grimston, both on that day.

Both houses lacked the full authority as it was not convened by a sovereign, though the letters from Charles Stuart were addressed to each of the houses, as if they were legal houses of Parliament, and were received on 1 May 1660. To prevent any disputes about the assembling and sitting of the Convention, the houses considered a bill, which declared that the Lords and Commons then in session were the two Houses of Parliament, in spite of the fact that they had not been summoned by royal writs. It passed its three readings in the Commons on May 4 and 5. Two days later the Lords returned it to the Commons with the amendment that the Parliament could be dissolved by the King just as if he had summoned it. The Commons concurred and the bill was the first to receive the royal assent on 1 Jul 1660 according to the Lords Journals.

As said before, on 1 May 1660 the Lords and the Commons officially received the messages from Charles, forwarded by the Council of State unopened. After reading the letters, the Commons named a committee to draft an answer and adjourned in order that a committee of their members might attend a conference. There the Earl of Manchester read the votes the Lords had passed: "That, according to the ancient and fundamental Laws of this Kingdom, the Government is, and ought to be, by King, Lords, and Commons; that the Lords ... conceiving, that the separating the Head from the Members hath been the chiefest occasion of all our Disorders and Confusions; they desire that some ways may be considered how to make up these Breaches, and to obtain the King's Return again to his People"; and that a joint committee should be set up to accomplish these ends. The Commons, meeting again that afternoon after the conference, at once passed the first vote, but ignored the other two.

Having reached a decision to recall the King, Parliament speedily dealt with the necessary preliminaries. All proceedings involving the use of the great seal were to be in the King's name from 5 May 1660, and all ministers in the three kingdoms were ordered to pray for "Our Sovereign Lord Charles the Second, by the Grace of God, King of England, Scotland, France, and Ireland, Defender of the Faith, &c."

On 8 May 1660 the form of a proclamation was adopted by the Lords and Commons. According to it the King's right and title to the crown were completed by his father's death. Then the Lords and Commons, together with the Lord Mayor, aldermen, and commons of the City of London and other freemen, proclaimed that immediately upon the decease of the late King Charles the imperial crown did, "by inherent Birthright, and lawful and undoubted Succession," descend to King Charles the Second. The public proclamation was made on the same day in Westminster and London.

On 29 May 1660 Charles II ceremonially entered London, where he received the homage of the Houses of Lords and Commons. The Convention Parliament also disbanded the army, established a fixed income for the king by maintaining the parliamentary innovation of the excise tax, and returned to the crown and the bishops their confiscated estates. It was dissolved by the king on 29 Dec 1660. [1]


[1] "The Restoration of Charles II 1658-1660", by Godfrey Davis (Huntington Library, San Marino, CA, 1955).
Last updated on: 13 Mar 2010 01:49:02