The English Catholic Community, 1688-1745: Politics, Culture and Ideology

By Pittock, Murray | The Catholic Historical Review, January 2011 | Go to article overview

The English Catholic Community, 1688-1745: Politics, Culture and Ideology


Pittock, Murray, The Catholic Historical Review


The English Catholic Community, 1688-1745: Politics, Culture and Ideology. By Gabriel Glickman. [Studies in Early Modern Cultural, Political and Social History, Vol. 7.] (Rochester, NYThe Boydell Press. 2009. Pp- x, 306. $1 15.00. ISBN 978-1-843-83464-9.)

The time is certainly right for a new study of the English Catholic community in the eighteenth century. J. H. C Aveling's The Handle and the Axe (London, 1976) has been supplemented by many more recent studies, including Alexandra Walsham's groundbreaking Church Papists (Rochester, NY, 1993), Clotilde Prunier's painstaking archival study Anti-Catholic Strategies in Eighteenth-Century Scotland (New York, 2004), numerous Irish studies, and more specialist monographs such as John Watts 's Scanlan.The Forbidden College, 1716-1799 (East Linton, Scotland, 1999). This book is part of this process, but it does not advance it as much as it might have done, despite its archival care and deeply textured discussion.

As the dates of this study suggest, Gabriel Glickman's approach is strongly linked to the Jacobite era. This gives it clear parameters, but it also creates more than one methodological problem, since it involves him in the study of a complex international movement with strong support among many nonCatholics. In invoking the Catholic Jacobite diaspora's experience on the Continent, for example, a religious particularism is assumed without any testing of the largely integrationist thesis offered against the experience of English Anglicans, Scots Episcopalians (who often networked very well, not least in Italy), and indeed Irish Catholics. The Irish in Europe project at Maynooth and the work on Irish Brigade officers by Nathalie Genet-Rouffiac in France are highly relevant to Jacobite diasporic experience, as is Steve Murdoch's Network North (Leiden, 2006) and Rebecca Wills's The Jacobites and Russia, 1 715- 1 750 (East Linton, Scotland, 2002). Much of this work does not seem to have been consulted, which poses a problem with discussing Jacobite and Catholic diaspora together. The former has a rapidly growing body of scholarship attached to it that will naturally tend to qualify assertions about the latter.

Glickman's introduction suggests that the Catholic experience is largely dismissed, with much more attention paid to anti-Catholicism. This is rather overstating the case, given more sympathetic developments in recent scholarship, and Glickman himself could have found more room for antiCatholicism. His picture of the Gallican, reformist Catholicism (p. 18), which might have benefited from "peaceful integration" (p. 53) had the "Glorious" Revolution not happened, is on one level a useful corrective to a mindless stereotyping of the Catholic community in England as either dustily conservative or wilfully recidivist, but it equally seriously understates the widespread hatred of Catholics and their faith that existed in English society, particularly with local gentry elites.

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