I've never been particularly interested in the 17th century, but it's suddenly all I can think of. Funny, too, because both sides of my family were active participants in the drama, and on opposite ends of the argument. Sort of. Even within the Waller and Wolcott clans people were divided, but that's what civil war does.
There were two notable Wallers, Sir William and Sir Edmund. Both were MPs and both had estates to protect. This is where it gets humorous, though.
|Sir William Waller|
There is a redeeming factor in the divided Waller clan, however. Well, depending on how you look at it.
|Sir Edmund Waller|
Uncle Eddie was a funny bloke. Everyone said so. I've read quotes by his fellow MPs about how, "It wasn't a House until Waller arrived." Gee, that sounds like what people used to say about how a party just wasn't a party until I walked in the door... Edmund was known for being sporting, jolly, tolerant, fanciful, and affable. I like Uncle Eddie a whole lot better than Uncle William.
Edmund was a staunch royalist who hatched an obscure anti-Parliament plot ("Waller's Plot") for which he and his mates were arrested and thrown into the Tower. Paying the £10,000 bail (a mind-boggling fortune back then—I guess the Arts really paid off in those days), he was released and exiled to France. His friends didn't make out so well. They were executed. After seven years Parliament invited him back, whereupon he penned a congratulatory ode to Cromwell, A Panegyric to my Lord Protector, which was certainly an expedient gesture. Of course, upon the Restoration of the Crown, which placed Charles II on the throne, he wrote a little ditty singing his praises titled, To The King, upon His Majesty's Happy Return. When asked by the king to explain why this latter piece was inferior to the eulogy of Cromwell, Edmund cleverly replied, "Sir, we poets never succeed so well in writing truth as in fiction". Yeah, I love Uncle Eddie.
But back to the unfortunate Charles I. I guess I'm a royalist. I can't stand Cromwell and his merry band of slaughtering armies, and the very thought of how the plantation farmers justified slavery just makes me ill. No one's perfect, and Charles had his foibles as well, but in the end, if I had to have dinner with anyone from this cast of characters, I would choose to dine with King Charles I and Edmund Waller.