The tory reaction of the early 1680s witnessed an assault by royalists on the intellectual genealogy of their opponents, tracing whig ideas to their Catholic and Calvinist roots. This attack was epitomized in Oxford University's anathematisation and burning of seditious books in 1683. It was also embodied in the additions made by Robert Brady, court physician and master of Caius College, Cambridge, to his True and Exact History of the Succession of 1681 when he republished it in 1684. As this article shows, the actions of Oxford and Brady were representative of the culture of political memory amongst Restoration royalists who penned histories of seditious ideas. Catholic ideas of popular sovereignty and papal deposition of monarchs were traced from their perceived medieval origins through their scholastic descent and reiteration by Counter-Reformation Jesuit theorists. A parallel history of Calvinist resistance theory was tracked from the mid sixteenth century to Restoration nonconformists via Elizabethan puritans and Civil War preachers. In learned tomes, pamphlets, and popular verse, royalists conflated Catholic, Calvinist, and whig intellectual heterodoxy, an argument reiterated after the Revolution by Mary Astell. The labelling of such ideas as ‘popish’, whatever their origin, highlights a little recognised royalist strain of antipopery. In addition to providing an account of the early history of histories of political ideas, this article thus offers an alternative approach to Restoration royalism than the question of it as ‘absolutist’ or ‘constitutionalist’.
Journal Article. 13959 words.
Subjects: British History ; World History ; European History ; International History
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