Cavalier Parliament

From Academic Kids

The Cavalier Parliament of Britain lasted from May 8, 1661 until January 24, 1679. It followed the Convention Parliament. It endured for over 17 years of the quarter century reign of Charles II of England. Like its predecessor parliament, it was overwhelmingly Royalist and is also known as the Pensionary Parliament for the many pensions it granted to adherents of the King.

It was responsible for enacting the Clarendon Code, including:

In January 1661, the Fifth Monarchy men led a succession of revolts under the command of Vavasor Powell and Thomas Venner. These rebellions were initiated as an anticipation of the arrival of Jesus to claim the throne.

In 1662 an Act of Settlement (there are several parliamentary acts with this title, most notably the Act of Settlement of 1701 covering succession to the throne) was passed following the demobilization of the army. The 1662 Act of Settlement was intended to assist local authorities to cope with large numbers of displaced disbanded soldiers.

The Licensing Act of 1662 was passed with the following title: "An Act for preventing the frequent Abuses in printing seditious treasonable and unlicensed Bookes and Pamphlets and for regulating of Printing and Printing Presses".

In 1667 Clarendon was impeached and exiled.

In the same year:

  • The beginnings of what is now called a cabinet system began to emerge within the government.
  • The cabal comprising Clifford, Arlington, Buckingham, Ashley, Lauderdale ascended to power.
  • The factions of a "party political" system polarised between "court" supporters (royalists) and "country" supporters (parliamentarians) can clearly be seen to foreshadow the Tory and Whig parties.

In March of 1672, Charles II issued a Declaration of Indulgence for the benefit of nonconformist Protestants and Catholics. Parliament forced the king to withdraw the declaration the following year. In 1673 a Test Act (another title of several different acts) was passed, requiring all those holding office to swear an "oath of allegiance and of supremacy" and to "adjure transubstantiation" and to take the sacrament of the Church of England. Following the Popish Plot of September 1678, a Papists' Disabling Act was passed to exclude Catholics from Parliament.

On January 24, 1679, the seemingly interminable Cavalier Parliament was finally dissolved. A few weeks later, on March 6, a new parliament was assembled, but it was prorogued before it could conduct its business.

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