The Corner

Re: The Jacobite Retort

Woops, I’m sorry. I didn’t see this email from the first Jacobite emailer:

Dear Jonah,

Far be it from me to defend Jacobitism, which, after all, entailed a belief in hereditary divine right legitimacy utterly at odds with the republican and proto-liberal impulses that animated the American Revolution. But the reader who commented on Jacobitism below repeats one of the serious historical misinterpretations of the Whigs. James II (and indeed his brother Charles II), far from emulating Louis XIV’s “religious intolerance”, made sustained efforts to establish religious toleration via parliamentary act and royal edict. James did this because his Catholic co-religionists were persecuted in Protestant England, but he extended religious toleration to Protestant sects as well. It was the revolutionary Whigs of 1688 (and the Tories allied with them) who manifested extreme religious intolerance. Their coup against James was almost entirely motivated by a bias against his Catholicism. Once he was gone, they reestablished most (although not all) of the religious monopoly enjoyed by the Church of England. The Toleration Act of 1689 was utterly meager when compared with the religious toleration that both Charles II and James II sought.

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