Politicians of contrasted character. The father was a worldly minded courtier, bent on accumulating a great landed estate. The son was a radical puritan with mystical leanings, and in middle life a doctrinaire republican.
Through purchase or patronage, the elder acquired a succession of posts in the royal household, won Charles I's confidence, and became a privy counsellor in 1630. Favoured also by the queen, he rose in February 1640 to secretary of state. Gradually he aligned himself with the future parliamentarians, until Charles stripped him of all his offices.
The younger Vane sacrificed a promising career at court in 1635 for the religious liberty of Massachusetts, where within six months he was elected governor. He got deep into religious controversy, clashed seriously with the general court, resigned, and returned home in 1637. In the Long Parliament he rapidly became a leader of the war party, and a close ally of Cromwell. But by 1648 he and Cromwell were parting company, and he held aloof from the king's trial. He was very active, however, in the government of the Commonwealth, and he regarded Cromwell's Protectorate as a betrayal of its republican principles. He was excepted from pardon at the Restoration, and was executed in 1662.
Subjects: British History.