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Catholic politics and creating trust in eighteenth-century England

  • Carys Brown (a1)
Abstract

In eighteenth-century law and print, English Catholics were portrayed as entirely untrustworthy, and their exclusion from all aspects of English society encouraged. Yet, as many local studies have shown, there were numerous individual cases of relatively peaceful coexistence between Protestants and Catholics in this period. This article explores why this was the case by examining how Catholics overcame labels of untrustworthiness on a local level. Using the remarkable political influence of one high-status Catholic in the first half of the eighteenth century as a case study, it questions the utility of “pragmatism” as an explanation for instances of peaceful coexistence in this period. Instead it focuses on the role that deliberate Catholic resistance to legal disabilities played in allowing them to be considered as trustworthy individuals in their localities. The resulting picture of coexistence points towards a moderation of the historiographical emphasis on mutual compromise between confessions in favour of attention to the determined resilience of minority groups. In explaining this, this article makes the broader point that the influence of trust, long important in studies of early modern economic, political, and social relationships, is ripe for exploration in the context of interconfessional relations.

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Footnotes
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Many thanks to Dr Anne Dillon and the anonymous reviewers for their feedback on this article. I am grateful to Professor Alex Walsham for her guidance over the MPhil dissertation on which this article is based, and for her subsequent comments on earlier versions of this piece. I would also like to thank Harriet Lyon for her helpful suggestions and reading of drafts. I acknowledge the support of the Arts and Humanities Research Council through the award of an MPhil studentship.

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5 Crookshank, William, Popish cruelty represented. In a sermon occasioned by the present rebellion in Scotland; preach’d September 22d, 1745, To the Scots Church in Swallowstreet, Westminster (London: 1745), 1 .

6 Thompson, Andrew, ‘Popery, Politics, and Private Judgement in Early Hanoverian Britain’, The Historical Journal (hereafter HJ), 45 (2002): 333356 at 342–3, 336, 338.

7 ‘Charles II, 1678: (Stat. 2.) An Act for the more effectuall preserving the Kings Person and Government by disableing Papists from sitting in either House of Parlyament’, in John Raithby, ed. Statutes of the Realm, 9 vols (London: Record Commission, 1810–1825), 5: 894–896, online, https://www.british-history.ac.uk/statutes-realm/vol5/pp894-896 (accessed 15 Oct. 2016).

8 ‘William III, 1698–9: An act for the further preventing the Growth of Popery. [Chapter IV. Rot. Parl. 11 Gul. III. p. 2. n. 2.]’, in Raithby, ed. Statutes of the realm, 7: 586–7, online, http://www.british-history.ac.uk/statutes-realm/vol7/pp586-587 (accessed 15 Oct. 2016).

9 Walsham, Alexandra, Church Papists. Catholicism, Conformity and Confessional Polemic in Early Modern England (Woodbridge: Boydell Press, 1999), 11 .

10 Clifton, Robin, ‘Popular Fear of Catholics During the English Revolution’, Past and Present, 52 (Aug., 1971): 55 .

11 Lake, Peter, ‘Anti-Popery: the Structure of a Prejudice’ in R. Cust and A. Hughes, eds. Conflict in Early Stuart England (New York: Longman, 1989) 72106 at 76.

12 Battersby, John, An alarm to Protestants: or, a short method with a papist (London: 1714), 14 , 27.

13 Comber, Thomas, The plausible arguments of a Romish priest from antiquity, answered; by the author of the answer to the plausible arguments from scripture (London: 1735), sig. A3r.

14 Haydon, Anti-Catholicism, p. 253.

15 Good, David, ‘Individuals, Interpersonal Relations, and Trust’ in Diego Gambetta, ed. Trust. Making and Breaking Cooperative Relations (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1988), 3148 at 33, 37; Diego Gambetta, ‘Can We Trust Trust?’ in Gambetta, ed. Trust, 213–337 at 218.

16 Kersey, John, A new English dictionary (London: 1702), sig. Gg 5r; Defoe, Benjamin, A new English dictionary (London: 1735), sig. Hh 4r.

17 Muldrew, Craig, The Economy of Obligation. The Culture of Credit and Social Relations in Early Modern England (Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1998), 34 .

18 Weil, Rachel, A Plague of Informers. Conspiracy and Political Trust in William III’s England (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2013), 2 , 15.

19 Muldrew, The Economy of Obligation, 3–4.

20 William Sagar [1590] quoted in Shapin, Steven, A Social History of Truth. Civility and Science in Seventeenth-Century England (Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 1994), 50 .

21 Britannicus, Philo, The rights of the subject in electing their own representatives (London: 1734), 56 .

22 Holyoke, Edward, Integrity and religion to be principally regarded, by such as design others to stations of publick trust (Boston: 1736), 8 ; Massey, Edmund, The strait gate made unpassable by the abuse of riches, titles, and places of publick trust (London: 1725), 17 ; Anon., A dissertation on patriotism: shewing, the use of those two great qualifications of a patriot, integrity and courage (London: 1735), 12.

23 Sheils, W. J., ‘Catholics and Their Neighbours in a Rural Community: Egton Chapelry, 1590–1780’, Northern History, 34 (1998): 109133 ; Wanklyn, Malcolm, ‘Catholics in the Village Community: Madeley, Shropshire, 1630–1770’, in Marie B. Rowlands, ed. English Catholics of Parish and Town, 1558–1778 Catholic Record Society Monograph Series, 5 (London: Catholic Record Society, 1999), 210236 ; Brown, Carys, ‘Militant Catholicism, Interconfessional Relations, and the Rookwood family of Stanningfield, Suffolk, c.1689–1737’, HJ, 60 (2017): 2145 .

24 Kaplan, Benjamin J., Divided by Faith. Religious Conflict and the Practice of Toleration in Early Modern Europe (Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press, 2007), 10 .

25 Lewycky, Nadine and Morton, Adam, ‘Introduction’ in Lewycky and Morton, eds. Getting Along? Religious Identities and Confessional Relations in Early Modern England—Essays in honour of Professor W. J. Sheils (Farnham: Ashgate, 2012), 9 ; See also Spohnholz, Jesse, The Tactics of Toleration. A Refugee Community in the Age of Religious Wars (Newark: University of Delaware Press, 2011), 17 ; Frijhoff, Willem, Embodied Belief. Ten Essays on Religious Culture in Dutch History (Hilversum: Uitgeverij Verbren, 2002), 40 .

26 Walsham, Alexandra, ‘Cultures of Coexistence in Early Modern England: History, Literature and Religious Toleration’, The Seventeenth Century, 28 (2013): 115137 at 123.

27 Walsham, Alexandra, Charitable Hatred. Tolerance and Intolerance in England, 1500–1700 (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2006), 5 .

28 Theodor Harmsen, ‘Constable, Cuthbert (c.1680–1747)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, online, http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/6102 (accessed 15 Oct. 2016); John Bossy, The English Catholic Community, 1570–1850 (London: Darton, Longman and Todd, 1975), 406.

29 Harmsen, ‘Constable, Cuthbert (c.1680–1747)’.

30 M. J. Boyd, ‘“The Catholic Maecenas of his age”: Cuthbert Constable (c.1680–1747) of Burton Constable’ in Burton Constable Hall: The Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries, East Yorkshire History Series, 51 (1998), 28–35 at 31.

31 Woodhead, Abraham, Ancient Church government. Part III. Of heresy and schism (London: 1736), xi .

32 Harmsen, ‘Constable, Cuthbert (c.1680–1747)’; Jerome Bertram, ‘Woodhead, Abraham (1609–1678)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, online, http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/29923 (accessed 20 Feb 2017).

33 Woodhead, Ancient Church government, III: xxxii; Bertram, ‘Woodhead, Abraham (1609–1678)’.

34 The Gentleman’s Magazine, xvii, March 1747 (London): 154.

35 M. J. Boyd, ‘“The Catholic Maecenas of his age”’, 31.

36 Harmsen, ‘Constable, Cuthbert (c.1680–1747)’.

37 Boyd, ‘“The Catholic Maecenas of his age”’, 30; I gratefully acknowledge the assistance and generosity of Kelly Wainwright, curator of Burton Constable Hall, in allowing me to view the Hall and explaining work-in-progress on its restoration.

38 Viscount Fauconberg to Cuthbert Constable, 11 Dec. 1733, DDCC/144/3, f. 139, East Riding County Record Office (Beverley CRO), Beverley; Sidney Leslie Ollard, and Philip Charles Walker, eds. Archbishop Herring’s Visitation Returns, 1743, 5 vols (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013), 4: 387.

39 Ibid, 188, 363–4.

40 Cuthbert Constable to Marmaduke Constable, 26 May 1722, UDDEV/68/245/100, Hull History Centre (HHC), Hull.

41 Trappes-Lomax, Richard, ed. ‘Archbishop Blackburn’s visitation returns of the diocese of York, 1735’, in Catholic Record Society Miscellanea, 32 (London: Catholic Record Society, 1932), 204388 at 387.

42 Cuthbert Constable to Marmaduke Constable, 17 May 1722, UDDEV/68/245/100, HHC.

43 Henry Waterland to Cuthbert Constable, 8 April 1719, DDCC/144/2, f. 8v, Beverley CRO.

44 Ralph Brigham to Cuthbert Constable, 1724, DDCC/144/5, f. 51v, Beverley CRO.

45 See for instance Pollmann, Judith, Religious Choice in the Dutch Republic. The Reformation of Arnoldus Buchelius (1565–1641) (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1999), esp. ch.6; Frijhoff, Embodied Belief, ch. 2; Hanlon, Gregory, Confession and Community in Seventeenth-Century France. Catholic and Protestant Coexistence in Aquitaine (University of Pennsylvania Press, 1993), passim.

46 Harris, Bob, Politics and the Nation. Britain in the Mid-Eighteenth Century (New York: Oxford University Press, 2002), 6 ; Paul Chapman, ‘Jacobite Political Argument in England, 1714–1766’ (Unpublished PhD thesis, University of Cambridge, 1985), 4.

47 Fritz, Paul S., The English Minister and Jacobitism Between the Rebellions of 1715 and 1745 (Toronto and Buffalo: University of Toronto Press, 1975), 99100 ; Cruickshanks, Eveline, ‘Walpole’s Tax on Catholics’, Recusant History (hereafter RH), 28 (2006): 95102 at 101.

48 Gooch, Leo, ‘“The Religion for a Gentleman”: The Northern Catholic Gentry in the Eighteenth Century’, RH, 23 (1997): 543568 at 549.

49 Glickman, Gabriel, The English Catholic Community, 1688–1745 (Woodbridge: The Boydell Press, 2009), passim ; Baker, Geoff, Reading and Politics in Early Modern England. The Mental World of a Seventeenth-Century Catholic Gentleman (Manchester and New York: Manchester University Press, 2010), passim ; Questier, Michael, Catholicism and Community in Early Modern England: Politics, Aristocratic Patronage and Religion, c.1550–1640 (Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2006), 23, passim .

50 Yates, Nigel, Eighteenth-Century Britain, 1714–1815 (New York: Routledge, 2014), 37 .

51 Tadmor, Naomi, Family and Friends in Eighteenth-Century England, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001), 222 .

52 Harris, Politics and the Nation, 68, 70.

53 Glickman, The English Catholic Community, 153.

54 Nadel, G. H., ‘The Sussex Election of 1741’, Sussex Archaeological Collections, 114 (1976): 84124 at 85, 90, 96; Levis, R. B., ‘Sir James Lowther and the Politics Tactics of the Cumberland Election of 1768’, Northern History, 19 (1983): 108127 at 108; Mead, A. F.., ‘The Wendover Election of 1741’, Records of Buckinghamshire, 28 (1986): 121127 at 123.

55 William Pulteney to Cuthbert Constable, April 1734, DDCC 144/3, f. 27v, Beverley CRO; Henry Waterland to Cuthbert Constable, 20 November 1734, DDCC 144/2, f. 65v, Beverley CRO.

56 Cuthbert Constable to Lawyer Harland, containing a copy of a letter from Lord Bath, 1 August 1742, DDCC 144/4 (loose papers), Beverley CRO.

57 Tadmor, Family and Friends, 222, 235–236.

58 Cuthbert Constable to Marmaduke Constable, 1722, UDDEV/68/245/101, HHC.

59 Rent book of the Honourable Cuthbert Constable for estates in Holderness, 1744–1746, DDCC 140/54, Beverley CRO.

60 Raymond, S. A. and Raymond, M. J., eds. The Yorkshire Poll book 1741 (Exeter: Raymonds Original Pollbooks, 1997).

61 Raymond and Raymond, eds. The Yorkshire Poll Book 1741; C. Collyer, ‘The Yorkshire Election of 1741’, Proceedings of the Leeds Philosophical and Literary Society, 7 (1953): 137–52.

62 Collyer, ‘The Yorkshire Election of 1741’, 139.

63 Ibid.

64 Report of Lord Gallway, Surveyor-General, on the petition of Roger Hall (enclosed) with copies of various documents concerning the lease of Cherry Cobb Sand, 17 May 1749, T 1/328/87-89, The National Archives (TNA), Kew.

65 Memorial of Mr Walker to the Treasury, 12 May 1742, DDCC 22/1, Beverley CRO.

66 Pulteney to Constable, 11 May 1742, DDCC 22/1, Beverley CRO.

67 Henry Musgrave to Pennock Ward, n.d, DDCC 22/1 (loose letters), Beverley CRO.

68 Sedgwick, Romney R., ‘ROBINSON, Luke (d.1773), of Elloughton on Brough, nr. Hull, Yorks’, in Sedgwick, ed. The History of Parliament: The House of Commons 1715–1754 (Woodbridge: Boydell and Brewer, 1970), online, http://www.historyofparliamentonline.org/volume/1715-1754/member/robinson-luke-1773 (accessed 15 Oct. 2016).

69 Constable to Harland, 1 August 1742, DDCC 144/4 (loose papers), Beverley CRO.

70 Musgrave to Constable, 11 May 1742, DDCC 22/1 (loose papers), Beverley CRO.

71 Constable to Harland, 1 August 1742, DDCC 144/4 (loose papers), Beverley CRO; Report of Lord Gallway, 17 May 1749, T 1/328/87-89, TNA.

72 Goldie, Mark, ‘The Unacknowledged Republic: Officeholding in Early Modern England’ in Tim Harris, ed. The Politics of the Excluded, c.1500–1850 (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2001), 153194 at 168, 176.

73 Kishlansky, Mark A., Parliamentary Selection. Social and Political Choice in Early Modern England (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1986), 12 , 14.

74 Smith, E. A., ‘The Election Agent in English Politics, 1734–1832’, English Historical Review, 84 (1969): 1235 at 13–14.

75 Collyer, C., ‘The Yorkshire Election of 1734’, Proceedings of the Leeds Philosophical and Literary Society: Literary and Historical Section, 7 (1952): 5382 at 74–5.

76 Hall, Richard, ‘Voting Communities in the West Riding of Yorkshire in the Early Eighteenth-Century’, Parliaments, Estates and Representation, 20 (2000): 91110 at 96–7.

77 Braddick, Michael J, ‘Administrative Performance: the Representation of Political Authority in Early Modern England’ in Michael Braddick and John Walter, eds. Negotiating Power in Early Modern Society. Order, Hierarchy and Subordination in Britain and Ireland (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001), 166187 at 186.

78 Kaushik, Sandeep, ‘Resistance, Loyalty and Recusant Politics: Sir Thomas Tresham and the Elizabethan State’, Midland History, 21 (1996): 3772 at 41, 48, 64.

79 Baker, Reading and Politics, 20, 62, 209.

80 Glickman, The English Catholic Community, 61–2, 69–70, 151.

81 Kaushik, ‘Resistance, Loyalty and Recusant Politics’, 64.

82 Musgrave to Constable, 17 June 1733, DDCC 144/3, f. 53, Beverley CRO.

83 Cuthbert Constable to Marmaduke Constable, 26 May 1722, UDDEV/68/245/100, HHC.

84 Anon., The artifices of the Romish priests, in making converts to popery: or, an account of the various methods, practised by popish missionaries, (London: 1745), title page.

85 Ollard and Walker, eds. Archbishop Herring’s Visitation Returns, 387.

86 Kaushik, ‘Resistance, Loyalty, and Recusant Politics’, 42.

87 Haydon, Anti-Catholicism, 11.

88 Brigham to Constable, 1724, DDCC 144/5, f. 51v, Beverley CRO.

89 Good, ‘Individuals, Interpersonal Relations, and Trust’, 33, 37.

90 Gambetta, ‘Can We Trust Trust?’, 218.

91 Good, ‘Individuals, Interpersonal Relations, and Trust’, 42–3.

92 Tilly, Charles, Trust and Rule (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005), 3 , 13.

93 Sheils, ‘Catholics and Their Neighbours in a Rural Community’, 126, 130; Brown, ‘Militant Catholicism’.

94 Hosking, Geoffrey, ‘Trust and Distrust: a Suitable Theme for Historians?’, Transactions of the Royal Historical Society, 16 (2006): 95115 at 104; Hosking, Geoffrey, Trust. A History (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014), 6 .

95 Forrest, Ian, ‘Trust and Doubt: The Late Medieval Bishop and Local Knowledge’, Studies in Church History, 52 (2016): 164185 at 177; See also Reynolds, Susan, ‘Trust in Medieval Society and Politics’ in The Middle Ages Without Feudalism. Essays in Criticism and Comparison on the Medieval West (Farnham: Ashgate, 2012), XIII: 1, 15, passim.

* Many thanks to Dr Anne Dillon and the anonymous reviewers for their feedback on this article. I am grateful to Professor Alex Walsham for her guidance over the MPhil dissertation on which this article is based, and for her subsequent comments on earlier versions of this piece. I would also like to thank Harriet Lyon for her helpful suggestions and reading of drafts. I acknowledge the support of the Arts and Humanities Research Council through the award of an MPhil studentship.

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British Catholic History
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