Clarendon and His Friends

Richard Lawrence Ollard, Author Atheneum Books $22.5 (367p) ISBN 978-0-689-11731-2
Political architect of the Restoration, chief minister and loyal servant to Charles II, Sir Edward Hyde, Earl of Clarendon, weathered long years of exile and swung between extremes of wealth and dire poverty. In this verbose but richly textured biography, English historian Ollard (Pepys) argues that Clarendon, who actively supported plots to assassinate Oliver Cromwell, was motivated by an insistence that the rule of law must undergird the Royalist cause. The author makes us feel sympathy for this extremely vain, overbearing, witty and ambitious politician. Clarendon's friends included Ben Jonson and Thomas Hobbes, whose Leviathan he despised. A prolific historian, he much preferred domestic comfort to the intrigues of court. Ollard's compelling portrayal of this self-professed Christian sinner unintentionally shows the danger of a morality rooted in the assumption that God will work out His purposes in the political arena. Illustrations. (January 29)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1988
Release date: 01/01/1988
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