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The Indemnity and Oblivion Act 1660 is an Act of the Parliament of England (12 Cha. II c. 11), the long title of which is "An Act of Free and General Pardon, Indemnity, and Oblivion".This act was a general pardon for everyone who had committed crimes during the Civil War and Interregnum with the exception of certain crimes such as murder (without a licence granted by King or Parliament), piracy, buggery, rape and witchcraft, and people named in the act such as those involved in the regicide of Charles I. It also said that no action was to be taken against those involved at any later time, and that the Interregnum was to be legally forgotten.
The Indemnity and Oblivion Act fulfilled the suggestion given in the Declaration of Breda that reprisals against the establishment which had developed during the English Interregnum would be restricted to those who had officiated in the regicide of King Charles I.
The passage of the Indemnity and Oblivion Act through the Convention Parliament was secured by Lord Clarendon, the first minister of King Charles II, and it became law on 29 August 1660 during the first year of the English Restoration.
The lands of the Crown and the established Church were automatically restored, but lands of Royalists and other dissenters confiscated and sold during the Civil War and interregnum were left for private negotiation or litigation, meaning that the government would not help the Loyalists in regaining their property. Disappointed Royalists commented that the Act meant "indemnity for [Charles'] enemies and oblivion for his friends".Historians, on the other hand, have generally praised the King and Clarendon for the generosity and clemency of the Act, in an age not normally noted for mercy. Twenty years later, during the Popish Plot, Charles tried unsuccessfully to stand against the relentless demand for the execution of Catholic priests, and reminded the public sharply of how many of them had previously benefited from his reluctance to shed blood.
The act is often viewed from the perspective of those who were not pardoned and thus condemned to death. However, the debate in Parliament continued almost every day for over two months and names were added and taken off the list of those who were not to be pardoned. Initially there were only seven on the list:Thomas Harrison, William Say, John Jones Maesygarnedd, Thomas Scot, John Lisle, Cornelius Holland, and John Barkstead. On 7 June, the Commons, mindful of the Declaration of Breda, stated they as the Commons could add to the list others who would not be covered by the general pardon. They immediately added John Cooke, Andrew Broughton, Edward Dendy, and the "Two Persons who were upon the Scaffold in a Disguise" (i.e. the executioners). On 8 June, the Commons voted "That the Number of Twenty, and no more, (other than those that are already excepted, or sat as Judges upon the late King's Majesty) shall be excepted out of the Act of general Pardon and Oblivion, for and in respect only of such Pains, Penalties, and Forfeitures, (not extending to Life) as shall be thought fit to be inflicted on them by another Act, intended to be hereafter passed for that purpose".
One of the people to benefit directly from the Act was John Milton, who was released from prison.
The Act was repealed by the Statute Law Revision Act 1948.
An Irish act by the same name "An Act of Free and General Pardon, Indemnity, and Oblivion [for Ireland]" was sent to the Duke of Ormonde on 16 August 1664 by Sir Paul Davys, the Irish Secretary of State.
The Long Parliament was an English Parliament which lasted from 1640 until 1660. It followed the fiasco of the Short Parliament which had convened for only three weeks during the spring of 1640, and which in turn had followed an 11-year parliamentary absence. In September 1640, King Charles I issued writs summoning a parliament to convene on 3 November 1640. He intended it to pass financial bills, a step made necessary by the costs of the Bishops' Wars in Scotland. The Long Parliament received its name from the fact that, by Act of Parliament, it stipulated it could be dissolved only with agreement of the members; and, those members did not agree to its dissolution until 16 March 1660, after the English Civil War and near the close of the Interregnum.
The Restoration of the Stuart monarchy in the kingdoms of England, Scotland and Ireland took place in 1660 when King Charles II returned. The preceding period of the Protectorate and the civil wars, came to be known as the Interregnum (1649–1660).
The Declaration of Breda was a proclamation by Charles II of England in which he promised a general pardon for crimes committed during the English Civil War and the Interregnum for all those who recognised Charles as the lawful king; the retention by the current owners of property purchased during the same period; religious toleration; and the payment of pay arrears to members of the army, and that the army would be recommissioned into service under the crown. The first three pledges were all subject to amendment by acts of parliament.
William Lenthall (1591–1662) was an English politician of the Civil War period. He served as Speaker of the House of Commons for a period of almost twenty years, both before and after the execution of King Charles I.
The Habeas Corpus Act 1679 is an Act of Parliament in England during the reign of King Charles II. It was passed by what became known as the Habeas Corpus Parliament to define and strengthen the ancient prerogative writ of habeas corpus, which required a court to examine the lawfulness of a prisoner's detention and thus prevent unlawful or arbitrary imprisonment.
In legal terms, an Act of Indemnity is a statute passed to protect people who have committed some illegal act which would otherwise cause them to be subjected to legal penalties. International treaties may contain articles that bind states to abide by similar terms which may involve the parties to the treaty passing domestic legislation to implement the indemnity laid out in the treaty.
John Phelps was a Clerk and Registrar of the Committee for Plundered Ministers and of the High Court which tried Charles I of England for high treason in 1649.
Thomas Chaloner (1595–1661) was an English politician, commissioner at the trial of Charles I and signatory to his death warrant.
Events from the year 1660 in England. This is the year of Restoration.
John Fry (1609–1657) was a Member of the English Parliament and sat as a Commissioner (Judge) during the trial of King Charles I of England.
The Adventurers' Act is an Act of the Parliament of England which specified its aim as "the speedy and effectual reducing of the rebels in His Majesty's Kingdom of Ireland".
The Convention Parliament followed the Long Parliament that had finally voted for its own dissolution on 16 March that year. Elected as a "free parliament", i.e. with no oath of allegiance to the Commonwealth or to the monarchy, it was predominantly Royalist in its membership. It assembled for the first time on 25 April 1660.
Events from the year 1660 in Ireland.
Edmund Harvey or Hervey (c.1601–1673) was an English soldier and member of Parliament during the English Civil War, who sat as a commissioner at the Trial of King Charles I and helped to draw up the final charge. Although present on 27 January 1649 when the death warrant was signed he did not add his signature.
Vincent Potter (c.1614–1661) was an army officer in Parliament's army during the English Civil War and was one of the Regicides of King Charles I of England.
John Pyne was an English politician who sat in the House of Commons at various times between 1625 and 1653. He supported the Parliamentary cause during the English Civil War, but fell out with Oliver Cromwell during the Interregnum. At the Restoration he was exempted from the general pardon.
Richard Keble was an English lawyer and judge, a supporter of the Parliamentarian cause during the English Civil War. During the early years of the Interregnum he was a Keeper of the Great Seal. He was also an active judge who presided at several high-profile trials. At the Restoration under a provision in the Indemnity and Oblivion Act he was forbidden from holding further public offices.
The Treasons Act 1649 or Act declaring what offences shall be adjudged Treason was passed on 17 July 1649 by the Rump Parliament during the Commonwealth of England. It superseded the Act declaring what offences shall be adjudged Treason passed about two months earlier on 14 May 1649.
Cromwell's Act of Grace, or more formally the Act of Pardon and Grace to the People of Scotland, was an Act of the Parliament of England that declared that the people of Scotland were pardoned for any crimes they might have committed during the Wars of the Three Kingdoms. It was proclaimed at the Mercat Cross in Edinburgh on 5 May 1654. General George Monck, the English military governor of Scotland, was present in Edinburgh, having arrived the day before for two proclamations also delivered at the Mercat Cross, the first declaring Oliver Cromwell to be the Protector of England, Ireland and Scotland, and that Scotland was united with the Commonwealth of England.