Academic journal article International Journal of English Studies

Anti-Catholicism, Civic Consciousness and Parliamentarianism: Thomas Scott's Vox Regis (1624)

Academic journal article International Journal of English Studies

Anti-Catholicism, Civic Consciousness and Parliamentarianism: Thomas Scott's Vox Regis (1624)

Article excerpt

ABSTRACT

The Anglo-Spanish negotiations for a dynastic alliance which began in 1614 had never been popular among a large section of English Protestants, who felt that their monarch should demonstrate a more active commitment to European Calvinism. Such prejudices increased after 1618 when the Bohemian crisis began and James did not support the Elector Palatine against the Habsburg Empire. The anti-Catholic mood reached its peak in October 1623, when the Prince of Wales arrived in London after Iiis failed journey to Madrid. Many Londoners viewed Iiis return as a victory over Spain and demanded a shift in Anglo-Spanish relations. This article considers the political tract Vox Regis (1624), written by Thomas Scott, one of the most prolific anti-Catholic pamphleteers at the time. In this work Scott develops many of the arguments proposed in Parliament in order to persuade James to change Iiis religious and foreign policy. His anti-Catholic attacks vehicle debates on the role of citizens in the Commonwealth and more participatory types of government, in opposition to the crown's appeal to the raison d'état and the doctrine of the divine right of kings. Thus, Scott relates anti-popery to civic consciousness, linking Iiis discourse to the humanist tradition and anticipating some of the ideological discussions prevalent in England during and after the civil war.

KEYWORDS: Anti-Catholicism Spanish Match, Civic Consciousness, Parliamentarianism, 1624 Parliament, Models of Kingship.

RESUMEN

Muchos ingleses protestantes no vieron con buenos ojos las conversaciones que se iniciaron en 1614 entre España e Inglaterra para promover una alianza dinástica. Al contrario, consideraban que su monarca debía comprometerse de forma más activa con el calvinismo europeo. Tales prejuicios se acentuaron en 1618 después del estallido de la crisis de Bohemia cuando lejos de apoyar al elector palatino frente al imperio de los Habsburgo, Jacobo I adoptó una posición neutral. El sentimiento anti-católico alcanzó su punto más álgido en octubre de 1623 después de que el príncipe Carlos llegara a Londres tras un viaje fallido a Madrid para conocer a su prometida. Muchos londinenses interpretaron su retorno como una victoria sobre España y pidieron un cambio en las relaciones anglo-españolas. Este artículo analiza el tratado político Vox Regis (1624), escrito por Thomas Scott, uno de los panfletistas anti-católicos más populares del momento. En esta obra, Scott desarrolla muchos de los argumentos que se habían utilizado en el parlamento de 1624 con la intención de convencer al monarca para que modificara su política religiosa y diplomática. Junto a la crítica anti-católica, el autor introduce un profundo debate sobre el papel de los ciudadanos en el gobierno y aboga por un modelo político más interactivo, en oposición a la defensa que se hacía desde la corona de doctrinas como la razón de estado y el derecho divino de los monarcas. De este modo, Scott vincula anti-catolicismo y conciencia cívica moldeando su discurso de acuerdo con la tradición humanista. Con ello anticipa algunas de las discusiones ideológicas que tuvieron lugar durante y después de la guerra civil inglesa.

PALABRAS CLAVE: Anti-catolicismo, el matrimonio español, conciencia cívica. Parlamentarismo, parlamento de 1624, modelos de monarquía.

1. INTRODUCTION

The different models of monarchy existing in Early Modern England -mixed or constitutional, absolute, divine-right- have been a focus of analysis in recent scholarship, which has pointed out the contemporary debate on the nature of the monarchical institution and the varied opinions on the role of subjects -or citizens, if we talk in Republican terms- in the nation's welfare. While some historians have observed a quasi-Republican thinking in Early Stuart England associated with a new interpretation of virtue and true nobility as an active moral commitment to the public good (Collinson, 2003; Norbrook, 1999; Peltonen, 1995; Zaller 2007), other scholars have stressed the use of those same ideas by authors often associated with Absolutism, such as Bodin or King James himself (Sommerville, 2007). …

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