Thursday, December 01, 2005

The persecution of Dissenters

After the Oxford dissolution, repression of Dissenters began on an increasingly systematic and severe scale with Charles’s explicit encouragement, though the laws against Catholics were enforced less severely (this partly reflected the duke of York’s influence). He made an exception only for William Penn, who publicly dissociated himself from the Whigs, rewarding him with the Pennsylvania Charter in 1681. The city of Philadelphia was established in the following year.

In January 1684 over 200 Dissenters faced charges at Coventry for not attending church. Between 1681 and 1685 as many as 400 Quakers died in prison, many during the exceptionally cold winter of 1684. (At the same time Louis XIV was sending the dragoons against the Huguenots.)

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