Life of Lord Clarendon. Volumes 1 & 2.

By Edward, Earl of Clarendon

Printed: 1857

Publisher: Oxford University Press. Oxford

Dimensions 17 × 24 × 4 cm

Language: English

Size (cminches): 17 x 24 x 4


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Tan leather binding with red and black title plates, gilt banding with gilt lettering on the spine. All edges marbled to match pastedowns.

  • F.B.A. provides an in-depth photographic presentation of this item to stimulate your feeling and touch. More traditional book descriptions are immediately available.

A lovely bound set. A comprehensive autobiography of Edward Earl of Clarendon. Containing an account of his life from birth to the Restoration in 1660. Followed by his history of the Grand Rebellion, from the Restoration to his banishment in 1667. Printed from his original manuscripts, given to the University of Oxford by the heirs of the late Earl of Clarendon. Edward Hyde, the First Earl of Clarendon was an English statesman, lawyer, and historian, chief advisor to Charles I during the First English Civil War, and Lord Chancellor to Charles II until 1667, when he fell out of favour and was exiled.

Edward Hyde in 1626, aged 17, by Cornelis Janssens van Ceulen                     

Edward Hyde, 1st Earl of Clarendon PC JP (18 February 1609 – 9 December 1674), was an English statesman, lawyer, diplomat and historian who served as chief advisor to Charles I during the First English Civil War, and Lord Chancellor to Charles II from 1660 to 1667.

Hyde largely avoided involvement in the political disputes of the 1630s until elected to the Long Parliament in November 1640. Like many moderates he felt attempts by Charles I to rule without Parliament had gone too far, but by 1642 felt Parliament’s leaders were, in turn, seeking too much power. A devout believer in an Episcopalian Church of England, his opposition to Puritan attempts to reform it drove much of his policy over the next two decades. He joined Charles in York shortly before the First English Civil War began in August 1642, and initially served as his senior political advisor. However, as the war turned against the Royalists, his rejection of attempts to build alliances with Scots Covenanters or Irish Catholics led to a decline in his influence.

In 1644, the king’s son, the future Charles II, was placed in command of the West Country, with Hyde and his close friend Sir Ralph Hopton as part of his Governing Council. When the Royalists surrendered in June 1646, Hyde went into exile with the younger Charles, who (from the royalist perspective) became king after his father’s execution in January 1649. Hyde avoided participation in the Second or Third English Civil War, for both involved alliances with Scots and English Presbyterians; instead he served as a diplomat in Paris and Madrid. After The Restoration in 1660, Charles II appointed him Chancellor of the Exchequer, while Hyde’s daughter Anne married the future James II, making him grandfather of two queens, Mary II and Anne.

These links brought him both power and enemies, while Charles became increasingly irritated by his criticism; despite having limited responsibility for the disastrous 1665-to-1667 Second Anglo-Dutch War, he was charged with treason and forced into permanent exile. He lived in continental Europe until his death in 1674; during this period he completed The History of the Rebellion, now regarded as one of the most significant histories of the 1642-to-1646 civil war. First written as a defence of Charles I, it was extensively revised after 1667 and became far more critical and frank, particularly in its assessments of his contemporaries.

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