King Charles II


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King Charles IICharles II., King of England; son and successor of Charles I.; born in London, May 29, 1630. His mother was Henrietta Maria, daughter of Henry IV. of France, and sister of the then reigning King of that realm. As the fortunes of his father waned, his mother returned to France, where the son joined her; and, at the Hague, he heard of the death of his parent by the axe, when he assumed the title of King, and was proclaimed such at Edinburgh, Feb. 3, 1649. He was crowned at Scone, Scotland, Jan. 1, 1651. After an unsuccessful warfare with Cromwell for the throne, he fled to Paris; and finally he became a resident of Breda, in Belgium, whence he was called to England by a vote of Parliament, and restored to the throne, May 8, 1660. He was a very profligate monarch-indolent, amiable, and unscrupulous. He misgoverned England twenty-five years in an arbitrary manner, and disgraced the nation. He became a Roman Catholic, although professing to be a Protestant; and, when dying from a stroke of apoplexy, Feb. 6, 1685, he confessed to a Roman Catholic priest, and received extreme unction. The throne descended to his brother James, an avowed Roman Catholic. See JAMES II.

In March, 1663, Charles II. granted to several of his courtiers the vast domain of the Carolinas in America. They were men, most of them past middle life in years, and possessed of the " easy virtues " which distinguished the reign of that profligate monarch. They begged the domain under pretence of a " pious zeal for the propagation of the Gospel among the heathen," while their real object was to rob the " heathen " of these valuable lands, and to accumulate riches and honors for themselves. It is said that when these petitioners appeared before Charles in the gardens at Hampton Court, and presented their memorial so full of pious pretensions, the monarch, after looking each man in the face for a moment, with a merry twinkle in his eyes, burst into loud laughter, in which his audience joined involuntarily. Then taking up a little shaggy spaniel, with large meek eyes, and holding it at arm's-length before them, he said, " Good friends, here is a model of piety and sincerity which it might be wholesome for you to copy." Then, tossing the little pet to Clarendon, he said, " There, Hyde, is a worthy prelate; make him archbishop of the domain I shall give you." With grim satire, Charles introduced into the preamble of their charter that the petitioners, " excited with a laudable and pious zeal for the propagation of the Gospel, have begged a certain country in the parts of America not yet cultivated and planted, and only inhabited by some barbarous people who have no knowledge of God." See NORTH CAROLINA; SOUTH CAROLINA.



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