Calendar of the Manuscripts of the Most Honourable the Marquess of Salisbury: Preserved at Hatfield House, Hertfordshire

Calendar of the Manuscripts of the Most Honourable the Marquess of Salisbury: Preserved at Hatfield House, Hertfordshire

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Calendar of the Manuscripts of the Most Honourable the Marquess of Salisbury: Preserved at Hatfield House, Hertfordshire

Calendar of the Manuscripts of the Most Honourable the Marquess of Salisbury: Preserved at Hatfield House, Hertfordshire

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Excerpt

This second and final volume of Addenda comprises documentary material covering the years from the creation of Robert Cecil as 1st Earl of Salisbury in 1605 to the death of his son William, the second Earl, in 1668. It also brings to an end the Calendar of Salisbury MSS at Hatfield House, of which the first volume appeared in 1883.

Petitions form the main body of the material published in this, as in the preceding, volume. It has already been observed that their value as primary documentary sources is strictly limited. Nevertheless, they do provide a certain amount of circumstantial evidence concerning domestic events during this period.

(1) The Problem of the Recusants</b></p><p>The Gunpowder Plot of 1605 had drawn the more militant and desperate elements within the Catholic community into the open, and its failure had enabled the Government to eradicate them as a potential threat to internal security.By the execution of Henry Garnett, the Jesuit superior of the English province, on a charge of conniving at the conspiracy, it had also conveniently removed the one man whose character and scholarship had not only fortified the resistance of his co-religionists, but had inclined many people to become converts to the Catholic faith.Physical elimination had been followed by legislative retribution. The penal laws against recusants were enforced with greater vigour and enlarged so as to bring their women folk within the range of their penalties. A new oath of allegiance was imposed which, while permitting the Catholics to acknowledge the Pope as their spiritual father, denied him the right to release them from their obedience to James 1 as their temporal king.With public opinion applauding this policy of repression, and with the threat of treason and its obscene punishments hanging over its head, the Catholic minority, it was assumed, would soon become cowed and submissive, and cease to be a problem to the authorities.</p><p>This, however, was far from being the case. On the contrary, the years following the Gunpowder Plot showed that the recusants had lost none of their resoluteness, and that their adherence to their faith was as unyielding as ever.But they were cautious enough not to lay themselves open to a charge of treasonable . . .</p>
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