Tory Historian's blog: a moderate in a radical decade

Posted by Tory Historian Saturday, October 05, 2013 , ,

Tory Historian continues to find Robert Sackville-West's book on Knole and the Sackvilles fascinating. Edward Sackville, the 4th Earl of Dorset, was described by his highly romantic descendant Vita Sackville-West as "the embodiment of Cavalier romance". As the author points out, he was a far more complicated character with interesting ideas though he did find himself on the Royalist side, despite his exasperation with King Charles I.
Edward believed passionately in monarchy, but in a monarchy limited by the rule of law and by the obligation to work with the Church and with Parliament. So finely tuned was the constitution which he and his allies upheld that any monarch would necessarily, and instinctively, seek to maintain a sense of harmony, generally by asking consent for his actions. Edward's attitude to the Petition of Right hardened to one of outright opposition because he believed there was no need for Parliament to prescribe, and legislate for, this delicate balance; and that any attempt to do so was as an unacceptable limitation on the King's prerogative and instinctive good sense.
As he and his allies found, that delicate balance was very hard to hold. National tragedy resulted in the short term but a stronger constitutional structure in the long.


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