The Declaration of Breda was issued in 1660. The Declaration was a well-judged move by Charles II and Edward Hyde, the future Earl of Clarendon as it paved the way for Charles to return to Britain as king of England. The Declaration of Breda seemed to offer something for everyone such was the ambiguity of it but it was more than sufficient for General Monck to support the return of Charles. Of primary importance was the statement within the Declaration of Breda that no one would be held to account for their part in the English Civil War – this removal of the fear of revenge very much cleared the way for the return of the king in exile.
The Declaration of Breda was read to Parliament, which then formally announced Charles as king.
What did the Declaration of Breda state?
“Charles, by the Grace of God, King of England, Scotland, France and Ireland, Defender of the Faith, to all our loving subjects………If the general distraction and confusion which is spread over the whole kingdom doth not awaken all men to a desire and longing that those wounds which have so many years together been kept bleeding, may be bound up, all we can say will be to no purpose; however, after this long silence, we have thought it our duty to declare how much we desire to contribute thereunto;…..And to the end that the fear of punishment may not engage any,….we do grant a free and general pardon……excepting only such persons as shall hereby be excepted by Parliament, those only to be excepted….we are desiring and ordaining that henceforth all notes of discord, separation and difference of parties be utterly abolished among all our subjects, whom we invite and conjure to a perfect union among themselves, under our protection, for the resettlement of our just rights and theirs in a free parliament, by which upon the word of a king, we will be advised.”
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