1893 text

Sir Harry Vane the younger, an inflexible republican. He was executed in 1662, on a charge of conspiring the death of Charles I.

Sir Harry Vane the younger was born 1612. Charles signed on June 12th a warrant for the execution of Vane by hanging at Tyburn on the 14th, which sentence on the following day “upon humble suit made” to him, Charles was “graciously pleased to mitigate,” as the warrant terms it, for the less ignominious punishment of beheading on Tower Hill, and with permission that the head and body should be given to the relations to be by them decently and privately interred.— Lister’s Life of Clarendon, ii, 123.

12 Annotations

David Gurliacci   Link to this

Website of Vane's home, Raby Castle
(with information on Vane):

Kay Robart   Link to this

A short biography of Sir Harry Vane the younger is posted at http://www.skyhook.co.uk/civwar/biog/vane.htm

It finishes thus:
A member of the Third Protectorate Parliament 1659, Vane called for the return of the Long Parliament after the collapse of Richard Cromwell's government. He was suspected of conspiring with Major-General Lambert to establish a military dictatorship and although this probably was not true, he became generally unpopular. At the Restoration, he was arrested on the orders of Charles II on a charge of having conspired with the Army against the King. He was found guilty of high treason and beheaded on 14 June 1662.

David Quidnunc   Link to this

"VANE, young in years, but in sage counsel old,"
-- first line of Milton's "To Sir Henry Vane the Younger" (1652)

Sir Henry Vane (1613-1662) was born in Harlow, Kent, studied at Oxford and traveled in Europe.

"[H]e returned to England a thorough Puritan, and, refusing the career that was open to him as the son of a courtier, sailed in 1635 for New England. An impressive bearing and great abilities, joined to the fact of his high birth, led to his taking an active part in the affairs of the colony of Massachusetts."
-- Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography (1887-89)

Vane supported Anne Hutchinson, who fought for more religious freedom in the colony (at least for herself and other members of the Puritan church in Massachusetts), and he even beat John Winthrop to win a term as governor, but after a year in office he lost support. Hutchinson was eventually banished from the colony (the Hutchinson Parkway in Westchester County, N.Y., is named after her) and Vane decided to return to England in 1637. (Pepys's boss, George Downing, arrived in Massachusetts at age 15 in 1638.)

Vane was knighted by Charles I in 1640, appointed treasurer of the navy and elected as a member of the Short and Long Parliaments.

He was instrumental in getting a charter for the colony of Rhode Island, where founder Roger Williams offered religious freedom to Christians and Jews. Vane opposed the proposal to force Irish Catholics to attend Protestant worship.

Vane supported overthrowing Charles I but not executing him. He was valued by Cromwell and served in many capacities in government until the two clashed over Cromwell's dissolution of Parliament.

He wrote "A Healing Question" in 1656 "in which he outlined the principles of civil and religious liberty and proposed a convention to write a national constitution." Vane was prosecuted for writing the pamphlet.
-- web site of The Acton Institute

After Cromwell's death he returned to lead the republicans in Parliament.

"[H]e allied himself with the officers in setting aside the protectorate and in restoring the Long Parliament, and on Richard Cromwell's abdication he regained his former supremacy in the national councils. He adhered to Lambert, remained a member of the government after the latter had turned out the Long Parliament, and endeavoured to maintain it by reconciling the disputing generals . . . In consequence, at the restoration of the Long Parliament he was expelled by the House and ordered to retire to Raby."
-- The "1911 Encyclopedia" Britannica

David Quidnunc   Link to this

Vane's 1656 pamphlet "A Healing Question"

can be found here:

David Quidnunc   Link to this

Vane Quotes

"Magistracy is not to intrude itself into the office and proper concerns of Christ's inward government and rule in the conscience, but it is to content itself with the outward man."

"All just executive power [arises] from the free will and gift of the people, [who might] either keep the power in themselves or give up their subjection into the hands and will of another, if they judge that thereby they shall better answer the end of government, to wit, the welfare and safety of the whole."

-- both of these quotes were found at the website of the Acton Institute:

From the "1911 Encyclopedia" (Britannica) site:

"His views of government may be studied in The People's Case Stated, written shortly before his death. 'The power which is directive, and states and ascertains the morality of the rule of obedience, is in the hand of God: but the original, from whence all just power arises, which is magistratical and co-ercitive, is from the will or free gift of the people, who may either keep the power in themselves or give up their subjection and will in the hand of another.' King and people were bound by 'the fundamental constitution or compact,' which if the king violated, the people might return to their original right and freedom."


Cumgranissalis   Link to this

Vane was first arrested 9th of Jan '60 and dismissed from Parliament . He had asked for forgiveness by using the correct paper work along with Col Lambert . His allies petitionened Charles II but it was in vain, Charles turned him down.
snippets can be obtained from
House of Commons Journal Volume 7:

Cumgranissalis   Link to this

From our correspondent Australian Susan on Tue 14 Jun 2005, Sir Harry Vane
Good biog of him here [yea]

Terry F   Link to this

SIR HENRY VANE, 1613-1662: AMERICA’S FIRST REVOLUTIONARY argues that he learned his views while in the Colonies, as the elected Governor of Massachusetts

Terry F   Link to this

The World’s Famous Orations. Great Britain: I. (710–1777). 1906. II. At His Trial for High Treason. Sir Henry Vane (1613–62) (1662) http://www.bartleby.com/268/3/13.html

TerryF   Link to this

Vanity of Vanities, or Sir Harry Vane's Picture.

[lyrics] To the Tune of Jews Corant.


Jews Corant [notation]

Vanity of Vanities - Music

"The Blacksmith" a popular Royalist version of "Greensleeves" with audio file (alt. melody that fits the verse) http://www.izaak.unh.edu/nhltmd/indexes/dancing...

TerryF   Link to this

Henry Vane the younger. Good article and image in the Wikipedia.


Tom Bleser   Link to this

Prior to the English Restoration, the Governorship of Massachusetts changed hands more than 20 times, traded off between only 5 individuals (Endicott, Winthrop, Dudley, Bradstreet, and Leverett). Vane was the only exception. His brief stay in America, long enough to sensitize us to the martyrdom of Ann Hutchinson, his inequivocal committment to constitutional government's procedural responsibility to First Amendment liberty of conscience, he was, after a meteoric career marked by uncompromising enmity to all forms of despotism, mispercieved to be subversive to the crown and died the martyrs death, another true profile in courage.

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