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HTFB has posted one annotation/comment since 7 June 2013.


Second Reading

About Friday 25 May 1660

HTFB  •  Link

There is a painting of today's events at the Milwaukee Art Museum, of which the illustration Terry Foreman links to (though the link doesn't work for me) seems to be an engraving:
"General Monk Receiving Charles II on the Beaches of Dover" by Benjamin West in 1782…

By happy coincidence I came across it while holidaying in Milwaukee just a day after reading about the event in the second broadcast here of the Diary. So I knew what was going on! Monck is kneeling obsequiously to the King supported by the two Dukes: but Charles' restoration was absolutely in Monck's gift and the very clothes that Charles is wearing were in effect paid for by him. Back in February we saw that Monck had complete control over who would sit in Parliament and was both commander-in-chief of the army and head of the Council governing the country while Parliament was dissolved: he could have been Lord Protector, or President, if he chose.

West was an American who had emigrated to London and was appointed Historical Painter to the Court of George III in 1772. Although he was a friend of Benjamin Franklin and trained many American artists in his studio in England he was evidently a Loyalist and he never returned to America after the Revolution. By 1782 the American Revolutionary War was clearly going to end in a victory for the Republic, but the terms of peace had not been agreed.

So this is a painting showing the victorious general of the republican forces, with presidential authority, choosing at the end of a divisive and destructive war to return his country to the rule of the King in the interests of peace and stability---the analogy is obvious and the propaganda intent of the painting is glaring. I wonder whether Washington ever saw it, or the engraving?