In 1652 it seemed like the Royalist cause was lost. Cromwell had firmly established the Protectorate, and the Stuarts just couldn’t organize a serious threat to Cromwell’s authority.
Berkeley and others like him hoped for Charles Stuart’s return, but news was slow, and generally contained awful stories. Other than a potential conspiracy in which funds were to be funneled to the royalist cause abroad, Virginians seemed to move on in their own independent way.
Then 1659-1660 brought conflicting news reports. Richard Cromwell succeeded his father and then resigned not too long thereafter. Samuel Matthews Jr. died. Who was in charge in Virginia, let alone England?
Two restorations brought familiar faces back onto the scene – William Berkeley and then Charles Stuart, who became King Charles II. Their restorations didn’t return both lands back to a status quo antebellum, for that matter, no one knew what their returns meant. When Berkeley came back to power, he wasn’t even sure if he could or should rule. But upon Charles’ restoration that question answered itself. Berkeley was Charles’ man.
Still, the situation was fraught with concern. Berkeley had ideas that he had already put into motion before Charles’ restoration occurred. After the king reclaimed his throne, he began governing the Old Dominion in a manner that threatened all Berkeley and his government’s plans.
What else was Berkeley to do? He chose to go back to England.
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All photography used on this site is owned and copyrighted by the author unless otherwise noted. The featured image is of King Charles II’s Coronation Portrait at Westminster Abbey