This text was copied from Wikipedia on 23 May 2024 at 4:10AM.

The Declaration of Breda (dated 4 April 1660) was a proclamation by Charles II of England in which he promised a general pardon for crimes committed during the English Civil War and the Interregnum for all those who recognised Charles as the lawful king; the retention by the current owners of property purchased during the same period; religious toleration; and the payment of arrears to members of the army, and that the army would be recommissioned into service under the crown. Further, regarding the two latter points, the parliament was given the authority to judge property disputes and responsibility for the payment of the army. The first three pledges were all subject to amendment by acts of Parliament.[1]


The declaration was written in response to a secret message sent by General George Monck,[2] who was then in effective control of England. On 1 May 1660, the contents of the declaration and accompanying letters were made public. The next day Parliament passed a resolution that "government ought to be by King, Lords and Commons" and Charles was invited to England to receive his crown. On 8 May Charles was proclaimed King. On the advice of Monck, the Commons rejected a resolution put forward by jurist Matthew Hale (a member for Gloucestershire) for a committee to be formed to look into the concessions offered by Charles and to negotiate conditions with the King such as those put forward to his father in the treaty of Newport.[3][4]

The declaration was named after the city of Breda in the Netherlands. It was actually written in the Spanish Netherlands, where Charles had been residing since March 1656; however, at the time of writing, England had been at war with Spain since 1655. To overcome the difficulties, both practical and in terms of public relations, of a prospective King of England addressing his subjects from enemy territory, Monck advised Charles to relocate himself to the United Netherlands, and to date his letters as if they were posted from Breda. Charles left Brussels, his last residence in the Spanish Netherlands, and passing through Antwerp arrived in Breda on 4 April, and resided there until 14 May. Then he travelled to The Hague, where he was received by the States General of the Netherlands as a ruling King of England and grandiosely entertained, and departed for England on 2 June from Scheveningen on HMS Royal Charles, the former Naseby which was renamed on arrival at the Dutch coast. The declaration, however (actually several letters, addressed to Monck, the Houses of Parliament, and the City of London), was despatched as soon as Charles had crossed the border of the Dutch Republic, and was dated 4 April (OS)/14 April (NS).


The declaration was drawn up by Charles and his three chief advisors, Edward Hyde, James Butler, and Nicholas Monck,[a] in order to state the terms by which Charles hoped to take up "the possession of that right which God and Nature hath made our due".[5]

The declaration promised a "free and general pardon" to any old enemies of Charles and of his father who recognised Charles II as their lawful monarch, "excepting only such persons as shall hereafter be excepted by parliament". However it had always been Charles's expectation, or at least that of his chancellor, Edward Hyde (later Earl of Clarendon), that all who had been immediately concerned in his father's death should be punished,[6] and even while at a disadvantage, while professing pardon and favour to many, he had constantly excepted the regicides.[7] Once Charles was restored to the throne, on his behalf Hyde steered the Indemnity and Oblivion Act through Parliament. The act pardoned most who had sided with Parliament during the Civil War, but excepted the regicides, two prominent unrepentant republicans (John Lambert and Henry Vane the Younger), and around another twenty; all of whom were forbidden to take any public office or sit in Parliament.[8]

In the declaration Charles promised religious toleration in areas where it did not disturb the peace of the kingdom,[9] and an act of Parliament for the "granting of that indulgence". However Parliament chose to interpret the threat of peace to the kingdom to include the holding of public office by non-Anglicans. Between 1660 and 1665 the Cavalier Parliament passed four statutes that became known as the Clarendon Code. These severely limited the rights of Roman Catholics and nonconformists, such as the Puritans who had reached the zenith of their influence under the Commonwealth, effectively excluding them from national and local politics.[10]

The declaration undertook to settle the back-pay of General Monck's soldiers. The landed classes were reassured that establishing the justice of contested grants and purchases of estates that had been made "in the continued distractions of so many years and so many and great revolutions" was to be determined in Parliament. Charles II appeared to have "offered something to everyone in his terms for resuming government".[11]

Copies of the Declaration were delivered to both houses of the Convention Parliament by John Grenville. Other copies with separate covering letters were delivered to Lord General George Monck to be communicated to the Lord President of the Council of State and to the Officers of the Army under his command, and to the Generals of the "Navy at Sea" and to the Lord Mayor of London.[12]


Several warships of the Royal Navy would later be named HMS Breda after the declaration.


  1. ^ Nicholas Monck was a clergyman and brother of General George Monck, who carried letters between his brother and Charles II.


  1. ^ Lister 1838, p. 501
  2. ^ Hutton 2000, p. 130
  3. ^ Lister 1838, pp. 508, 509
  4. ^ Hostettler 2002, p. 73
  5. ^ See the Divine Right of Kings, on which the Stuarts insisted.
  6. ^ Hallam 1859, p. 406 citing Life of Clarendon, p. 69.
  7. ^ Hallam 1859, p. 406 cites Clar. State Papers, iii., 427, 529.
  8. ^ Hallam 1859, p. 408
  9. ^ "a liberty to tender consciences, and that no man shall be disquieted or called in question for differences of opinion in matter of religion which do not disturb the peace of the kingdom"
  10. ^ UK Citizenship: Religious minorities, The National Archives, retrieved 1 July 2010
  11. ^ Encyclopædia Britannica 15th Edition Volume 3 p. 64
  12. ^ Lister 1838, p. 500


External links

1893 text

King Charles II. his Declaration to all his loving Subjects of the Kingdome of England, dated from his Court at Breda in Holland 4/14 of April, 1660, and read in Parliament with his Majesties Letter of the same date to his Excellence the Ld. Gen. Monck to be communicated to the Ld. President of the Council of State and to the Officers of the Army under his Command. London, Printed by W. Godbid for John Playford in the Temple, 1660.” 40, pp. 8.

This text comes from a footnote on a diary entry in the 1893 edition edited by Henry B. Wheatley.

9 Annotations

First Reading

vincent  •  Link

Proclamation declaring Charles II's right of Accession:printed broadsheet 8/may/ 1660 Guildhall Library London;
"the exiled King's Declaration to the Navy and the Loyal response which Montague and Pepsy thoughtfully prepared before the Council of War could discuss it Pepys signed it, with eye to publicity" (from Geoffrey Trease Samuel Pepys and his world p32 Putnam 1972) Note it has and advertisement for "An excellent chymical Powder which never fails the cure of any ague....( I will scan it it for any body so interested else off to the guild hall.

vincent  •  Link

Here is a rough copy of the letter the cheers were for the last line but one. ` (414)

His Majesties letter to the Generals of the Navy at Sea.

Charles Rex.

Trusty and well Beloved, We greet you well: it is no small comfort to us, after so many great troubles and miseries, which the whole Nation hath g[r]oaned under; and after [s]o great Revolutions which have still increased those mi- series, to hear that the Fleet and Ships which are the W[i]ll of the Kingdom, are pu[t] under the Command of two [ ]crions so well disposed and concerned in the peace and happiness [o]f the Kingdom, as we believe you to be; and that the Officers and Seamen under your command, are more inclined to return to their duty to us, and put a pe[ri]od to the distempers and distra ctions which have, o impoverished and dishonoured the Nation, then to widen the breach, and raise their fortunes by rapine and violence; which gives us great encouragement and hope, Th[]t God Almighty will heal the wounds by the saine Plaister that made the Flesh raw ; that he will proceed in the same method in pouring his blessing upon us, which he was p[l]eased to use when he began to { [a]instuct us;} and that the manisestation of the good affection of the Fleet and Sea-men towards us and the N{a} ation, may be the Prologue to that peace which was first inter- ruptee by mistake and misunderhanderling of their Predeces- sors, which would be such a blessing unto us all, that We should not be less delighted the manner then the matter of it.

In this hope and confidence, we have sent the inclosed Decl- ration to you; earnestly desiring you, that you will cause it {to} be published to all the Officers and Seamen of the the Fleet; And you are also to tell them, That we have same gracious pur- pose towards them, which we have the already expressed to the Army at Land, and will provide to pay for all A[rrear]. So de- pending upon Gods blessing, which are best for us all ,We bid you farewel,

Given at Our Court at Breda this 14 day of April
1660 in the 12th year of our Reign

Retyped for posting

vincent  •  Link

Report of Council of War by SP(415)
At a Council of War held on board the Nasby the 3rd of May, where were present the General, Vice-admiral, Rear-admiral, capt: Cuttance,cap,Clark,cap,Hayward,cap,Penrose,cap,Wager,cap, S[]arling,and cap,Mootham &c. Upon the Generals communica- ting [n]nto them a letter from his Majesty directed to Gen. Monck and himself bearing date April 14. and a Declararation of his Ma- jesty of the samed d[a]te.

Resolved ([n]emine contradicente)

That the Commanders and Officers of the Fleet do receive the gra- cious Declarationof his Majesty, as also the expressions of his gracious purpose towards them,[a]nd the whole Fleet,(communicate{p}[d] in a Letter to the Generals, with great joyful[n]essof heart; and for them do return unto his Majesty their most humble thanks, declaring and professing their exact loyalty and duty unto his Majesty, and desire the Generals of the Fleet humbly to represent the same unto him.

It was also Resolved, that the said Letter,Declaration and Vote, should be publickly read to the re{spe}rve ships and Companies of the Fleet now in the {Downs},to know their{sense} concerning the same.

Which being according performed, they did by loud accla- mations,and other expressions of Joy, declare their assent to said Vote, not one person in the whole Fleet mani[f]{s}esting any dis- sent thereunto.

Samuel Pepys,Secretary.

Report of a Council of War signed by Samuel Pepys.
From the Faithful Post 53, 8 May 1660 Bodlein Library, Oxford followed by
An Advertisement

retyped for posting

vincent  •  Link

Although it can no way be doubted, but that his Majesties Right
and Title to his Crowns and Kingdoms, is and was every
way Compleated by the Death of his most Royal Father of
glorious Memory without the Ceremony or Solemnity of a
Proclamation: Yet since Proclamations in such Cases have
been always used, to the end that all good Subjects might up-
on this occation testifie their Duty and Respect; And since the
Armed violence, and other the Calamities of many Peers last past, have hitherto
{bep[ri]ed+} Us of any such Opportunity, Wherein We might Express Our Loyaltie
and Allegeance to His Majesty: We therefore the Lords and Commons now
assembled in Parliament, together with the Lord Mayor, Aldermen, and Com-
mons of the City of {London*} and other Freemen of this Kingdom now present
doe according to Our Duty and Allegiance, heartily ,joyfully, and unanimonsly
Acknowledge and Proclaim, That immediately upon the Decease of Our late
Soveraign Lord King {Charles*},the Imperial Crown of the Realm of {England*}
and all of the Kingdoms, Dominions, and Rights belonging to same, bid by
Inherent Birthright, and Lawfull and undoubted Succession, Descend and
come to his most Excellent Majesty, {Charls the second*} , as being Lineally,
Justify, and Lawfully next Heire of the Blood-Royal of this Realm; and that
by the Goodness and Providence of Almighty God, He is of {England, Scotland*,}
{France*}, and {Ireland*} the most Potent, Mighty, and undoubted King: And there-
unto We most humbly and faithfully doe Submit and Oblige Our Selves,
Our Heires, and Posterites for Ever.

God Save the K I N G
Tuesday May 8th, 1660.
Ordered by the Commons assembled in Parliamentt, That this Proclamation be forth-
with Printed and Published
Will: Jessop Clerk of the Commons
House of Parliament
London, Printed by Edward Husbands and Thomas Newcomb, Printers to the
Commons House of Parliament .

{* small type in enlish} The rest Printed in Gothic type

+{denied} could not decipher
The Belated Proclamation of Charles II at the Guildhall Library

vincent  •  Link

another version from Hhomeboy on Sat 5 Apr 2003, 7:35 am |

vicente  •  Link

another source for THE CONSTITUTIONAL DOCUMENTS OF THE PURITAN REVOLUTION 1625-1660 this incluudes declarartion of Breda. worth while reading all of the papers. the last item at the bottom of the page…

Log in to post an annotation.

If you don't have an account, then register here.


Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.