Page 6 - History 2020
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*The so-called ‘Immortal Seven’: two were top-rank politicians, Henry Compton, bishop of London;
            and Thomas Osborne, earl of Danby, former principal minister of Charles II and a powerful figure in
            the north; Charles Talbot, 12th earl of Shrewsbury, a convert from Catholicism to Anglicanism;
            Henry Sidney, whose brother was executed in the wake of the anti-Catholic 1683 Rye House Plot;
            Lord Lumley (another convert), influential in the north-east and the army; William Cavendish, 4th
            earl of Devonshire, powerful in the midlands; and Edward Russell, of a great noble family influential
            in the Navy. In addition “an array of colourful hangers-on helped drive the plot forward” says
            Vallance: including “the alarmingly unpredictable Lord Lovelace, a former friend of the dissolute
            poet earl of Rochester, and said never to have been sober since his days as a student at Wadham
            College, Oxford. His house at Ladye Place was used for by the plotters and as a hideaway
            afterwards” and “the rakish duellist, Thomas Wharton, librettist) of ‘Lilliburlero’” who “later liked to
            boast of having sung James II out of three kingdoms, and his role in the Glorious Revolution was
            made much of during his later career as lord lieutenant of Ireland.”

                   2.  Did it have popular support?
            The traditional view is that because they were strongly anti-Catholic, the public
            probably approved of getting rid of James, but played no active part. However recent
            historian J.H. Vallance (“1688 – The Glorious Revolution” 2007) sees plenty of
            evidence for active popular interest and involvement via newspapers, pamphlets and

            petitions. William knew that propaganda was important and brought printing presses
            with him when he crossed to England. Vallance describes popular anti-Catholic
            feeling as widespread and paranoid. In 1688 this was expressed in mob attacks on
            Catholic chapels. People saw Catholicism not just as a religion but as a vast
            international conspiracy to destroy Protestantism and to reduce Britain to a slavish
            satellite of the Catholic absolute monarchies, particularly France. James however did
            not favour such a policy. His own conversion was sincere and the policy he proposed
            during his short reign was greater religious tolerance, by calling for the removal of

            laws against both Catholics and Protestant Non-Conformists. He didn’t get very far;
            Anglican supporters of the Established Protestant Church opposed him; his attempts
            for an alliance with the latter had only limited success; while the favour he personally
            showed to prominent Catholics aroused suspicion.

            James II became king in February 1685. Only six months into his reign he suffered a
            massive stroke of bad luck: Louis XIV cracked down on French Protestants, the
            Huguenots. They had often faced persecution. In 1572 70,000 had been killed in the
            St Bartholomew Day Massacre. This period of persecution ended in 1598 when the

            Edict of Nantes granted them basic tolerance. But when Louis XIV became king, he
            renewed the persecution, culminating in October 1685 with the Revocation
            (cancelling) of the Edict of Nantes. The practical result was that 200,000 Huguenots
            fled France; 50,000 came to Britain. For James II this was a disaster; the British saw
            the plight of the Huguenots as a spectacle of the kind of thing that happened to
            Protestants under an absolute Catholic king*.
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