‘Profane pollicy’? Religion, toleration, and the politics of succession

Alexandra Gajda

in The Earl of Essex and Late Elizabethan Political Culture

Published in print March 2012 | ISBN: 9780199699681
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191739057 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Historical Monographs

‘Profane pollicy’? Religion, toleration, and the politics of succession

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Essex’s religious politics are examined. It is argued that the ecumenical views of Francis and Anthony Bacon influenced Essex’s attempts to style himself in the mid-1590s as the champion and patron of a broad base of confessional opinion. This policy was designed to enhance Essex’s likely influence over the succession. The patron of radical Puritans and conformist Protestants, Essex was especially encouraged to cultivate the support of ‘loyalist’ Catholics, who sought religious toleration. Of particular importance was Essex’s relationship with Thomas Wright, an ex-Jesuit priest for whom the earl gained an unprecedented guarantee of personal toleration in 1595. But Essex’s engagement with Catholic politics was damaged by the famous dedication to Essex of the notorious treatise about the succession, A conference about the next succession to the crowne of Ingland (1594/5). Almost certainly written by the Jesuit Robert Parsons, the Conference cast a long shadow over Essex’s subsequent history.

Keywords: earl of Essex; Francis Bacon; Anthony Bacon; toleration; Catholic; Puritan; Protestant; conformist; Thomas Wright; Robert Parsons

Chapter.  14466 words. 

Subjects: Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)

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