Restoration Scotland, 1660-1690: Royalist Politics, Religion and Ideas

Restoration Scotland, 1660-1690: Royalist Politics, Religion and Ideas

Restoration Scotland, 1660-1690: Royalist Politics, Religion and Ideas

Restoration Scotland, 1660-1690: Royalist Politics, Religion and Ideas

Synopsis

In the twilight years of Scottish independence, the Restoration period witnessed both the triumph of Stuart absolutism and the radical Covenanting resistance of the "Killing Times" immortalised in presbyterian memory. This is the first account of this fascinating and dramatic period in Scottish history. It begins with the widespread popular royalism that acclaimed Charles II's return to power in 1660 and concludes by examining the collapse of royal authority that occurred under his brother, James VII & II, and the events of the Williamite Revolution of 1688-90. In reconstructing the world of late-seventeenth century Scotland, this book draws on an extensive range of printed and manuscript sources, the majority of which have never been used by historians before. Amidst current interest in Scottish political and parliamentary history before 1707, this book emphasises the dynamic and characteristic cosmopolitanism of Restoration intellectual culture as revealed from a range of national, British and Continental perspectives. In doing so, it challenges numerous historiographical orthodoxies, and modifies conventional understanding of pre-Enlightenment Scotland. CLARE JACKSON lectures in the history of political thought at the University of Cambridge.

Excerpt

In the twilight years of Stuart absolutism and Scottish independence, the Restoration period witnessed the apogee of royalist sentiment. This book provides the first reconstruction of late-seventeenth century Scottish intellectual culture, starting with the widespread popular royalism that accompanied Charles II’s restoration in 1660 and closing with the collapse of royal authority that occurred when his brother, James vii & ii, was driven from the throne in 1688. in doing so, this book restores to historical attention the richness and significance of the Restoration within Scottish history. For, until recently, historiographical orthodoxy tended to depict the entire seventeenth century as ‘a sort of grotesque interlude between the great ages of Reformation and Enlightenment’. Within that century, the Restoration period traditionally incurred particular opprobrium as an era of arbitrary government, state oppression, religious bigotry and fanatical rebellion. Situated between the excesses of the mid-century civil wars and the respectable settlement achieved by the ‘Glorious’ Revolution of 1688–89, it appeared an uncomfortable historical aberration. As the early-twentieth century Historiographer-Royal of Scotland, Peter Hume Brown, lamented, Charles II’s return to power in 1660 marked ‘the opening of the most pitiful chapter of the national history’.

The causes of previous historiographical denigration are not difficult to elucidate. For although the Restoration was subsequently remembered by the eighteenth-century cultural connoisseur, Sir John Clerk of Penicuik, as an age in which ‘religion and politics became totally confused’, an entrenched historiographical preoccupation with ecclesiastical affairs has ensured that politics and religion have too often been studied discretely. Secure in the knowledge that an

David Stevenson, ‘Twilight before night or darkness before dawn? Interpreting seventeenth-century Scotland’, in Rosalind Mitchison ed., Why Scottish History Matters (Edinburgh, 1991), p. 37.

Peter Hume Brown, History of Scotland, 3 vols. (Cambridge, 1899–1909), ii, 379.

John Clerk of Penicuik, History of the Union of Scotland and England by Sir John Clerk of Penicuik, Douglas Duncan trans. and ed. (Edinburgh, 1993), p. 80. Doctoral research that has produced narrative reconstructions of Restoration Scottish politics include Roy W. Lennox, ‘Lauderdale and Scotland: a Study in Politics and Administration 1660–1682’ (Columbia University, unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, 1977), Ronald Lee, ‘Government and Politics in Scotland 1661–1681’ (University of Glasgow, unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, 1995) and Kathleen M. Colquhoun, ‘“Issue of the Late Civill [sic] Wars”: James, Duke of York and the Government of Scotland 1679–1689’ (University of Illinois at

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