a1 Assistant Professor of History, University of Alabama
The latest monograph on the religious settlement of the Restoration calls attention to the untrustworthiness of Clarendon's account of the Act of Uniformity of 1662 while adopting the customary view, based on Clarendon's Life, that the Lord Chancellor ‘took a leading part in the Parliamentary attack upon the Indulgence’ in February 1663. With only one known exception, historians have relied heavily, and in most cases completely, on either Clarendon or T. H. Lister in ascribing to Clarendon a rôle of complete opposition to the Declaration of Indulgence of 1662 and the motives behind it, and the single exception, W. D. Christie, made only cautious references to some inaccuracies in the Life. Writers have erred in adopting Clarendon's narration of the Declaration and its background, and consequently have misinterpreted his basic policy and his interpretation of the English constitution. Careful study of new material and a re-examination of Clarendon's Life reveal that Clarendon consistently supported comprehension and toleration and that he was not responsible for the failure of the Declaration of Indulgence. It is even possible that the section of the Life so frequently cited in connexion with the Declaration does not even apply to that subject.