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Charles II, Europe and ‘popery’

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1 Charles II, Europe and ‘popery’
Gabriel Glickman

2 Politics post-1660 – continuity or change?
Jonathan Scott – argument for continuity over C17th: Monarchs struggling financially Unstable structure of ‘composite monarchy’ Fears of ‘popery’ – lack of political trust in the Stuart court

3 Novelty/ innovation after 1660
Arguments of Steven Pincus, Tim Harris. Greater regularity and self-confidence in parliamentary sessions. Development of wider participatory politics –creation of the urban ‘public sphere’ (Habermas) Emergence of first political parties in 1670s.

4 The understanding of ‘popery’ in Restoration Britain
Growth in the power of open or secret Catholics esp. at court Political practises associated with authoritarian Catholic kingdoms – absolutist monarchs, standing armies, sidelining of parliament, erosion of civil liberties. The rise of international Catholicism esp. Louis XIV’s France.

5 The Restoration – resurgence of royalist sympathies
Image of Divine Right of Kings renewed in art, poetry, coinage: comparison of Charles II to David, Solomon, Caesar Augustus. Foundation of churches dedicated to ‘Charles the Martyr’. Renewal of the practise of ‘touching for the King’s Evil’ – Charles believed to have healed 1,800 people over his reign. Acts of retribution against former ‘regicides’. Charles II’s reign dated officially from 1649. Charles himself aims for conciliatory approach – Declaration of Breda (‘liberty to tender consciences’), Act of Indemnity and Oblivion.

6 Religious divisions in the British Isles
Restoration of the Church of England – imposition of Anglican rites, ceremonies and structure on Scotland and Ireland. Problem of Protestant ‘Dissent’ – old Puritan or Presbyterian tradition now outside the Church. 110,000 English Dissenters recorded, 1671. Presbyterian strongholds in Northern Ireland and South-West Scotland. Charles pushed towards coercive approach by loyalist Westminster Parliament – 1662 Act of Uniformity. 1666 – Pentland Rising in Scotland – beginning of the ‘Killing Time’.

7 Rising political dissent over foreign policy
Impeachment of Lord Chancellor Clarendon after failure of second Anglo-Dutch War , 1667. Critique of war in parliament and pamphlet press - French beginning to be seen as greater threat than Dutch. French power boosted with centralisation of state and mercantilist reforms pioneered by Louis XIV and finance minister Colbert. French expansion into southern Netherlands begins with War of Devolution Beginning of expulsion of the Huguenots - 50,000 refugees in England by 1690.

8 Charles II and the Anglo-French alliance
December 1670 – Treaty of Dover signed between Charles and Louis: formalises military and naval alliance against the Dutch. Secret clauses: Promise of French subsidies (initial payment of £200,000, plus £300,000 every year in event of war): intended to be an alternative to raising funds from parliament Charles II promises to bring British Isles back into Roman Catholic Church.

9 The conflict over foreign policy
Architects of Treaty of Dover e.g. Lord Treasurer Clifford, Lord Arlington have imperial and Atlantic idea of Britain’s destiny - want detachment from continent. Opponents of the court seek greater involvement in continental conflicts, in support of ‘balance of Europe’ and ‘the Protestant cause’. Slingsby Bethel (opposition pamphleteer) warns of ‘the deaths of many millions of precious Christians in France, England, the Netherlands, Germany, the Alpine Valleys, Italy and Spain’. Roger Morrice (Presbyterian preacher), The ‘great crisis’ of international Protestantism.

10 The crisis of Failure of third Anglo-Dutch War and opposition in British parliaments. Earl of Lauderdale – ‘such a spirit as I never thought to see here’ (Edinburgh). Defeat of Declaration of Indulgence. Passing of the Test Act (1673) – James, duke of York declares himself a Catholic and resigns public offices.

11 – deepening tensions Resurgence of Presbyterian unrest in Scotland – culminates in 1680 Sanquhar Declaration. Emergence of Country Party (after 1679, the Whig party) in Westminster under earl of Shaftesbury. Earl of Danby seeks to strengthen the monarchy – build-up of army, suppression of coffee-houses, new taxes. Reaction against Danby intensifies fear of popery: Henry Capel MP: ‘From popery came the notion of a standing army and arbitrary power... Formerly the crown of Spain, and now France, supports this root of popery amongst us’. Andrew Marvell, An Account of the Growth of Popery and Arbitrary Government in England (1677): ‘there has now for diverse years a design been carried on to change the lawful government of England into an absolute tyranny, and to convert the established Protestant religion into downright Popery’.

12 Popish Plot to Exclusion Crisis
Whig party under Shaftesbury claims vindication from ‘exposure’ of popish plot – seek to purge Catholics or suspected Catholics from public domain. Execution of 24 Catholics, including Viscount Stafford and Oliver Plunkett, archbishop of Armagh. Danby imprisoned by order of Parliament and Bill of Exclusion lodged against James, duke of York. Whig cause centred on Duke of Monmouth as alternative royal claimant but also draws upon radical and quasi-republican arguments e.g. writings of Algernon Sidney. Sir William Cowper MP: ‘The weight of England is in the people, and the world will find that they will sink Popery at last’.

13 Popish Plot playing cards

14 Exclusion Crisis moves beyond Westminster
Struggle for control of local corporations. Use of street pageantry, popular electioneering. Journals e.g. Protestant Intelligencer (Whig – author Henry Care), Observatour (Tory – author) Use of London theatre – Thomas Shadwell, Lancashire Witches (Whig); John Dryden, Duke of Guise (Tory). Whig argument – Tories/loyalists are ‘popish’. Tory argument – Whigs are republicans, fanatics (‘41 is here again).

15 defeat of the Whigs Whigs dependent on the sitting of parliament. Tory capture/ purchase of borough corporations destroys Whig base in local government. Catholics acquitted at ‘popish plot’ trials – dubious nature of the evidence revealed. June 1683 – ‘exposure’ of the Rye House Plot breaks the Whig leadership: Shaftesbury and Monmouth exiled, Russell executed, Essex commits suicide. Beginning of Tory-led purges, arrests and executions. Richard Rumbold – Whig executed in 1685, ‘This is a deluded generation, veiled in ignorance, that though popery and slavery be riding in upon them, do not perceive it; though I am sure that there was no man born marked by God above another; for none comes into this world with a saddle on his back, neither any booted and spurred to ride him’.

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