Thursday, January 12, 2006

Scotland and Ireland

The problem for James was that his policy of granting more toleration coincided with events outside England such as the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes.

In Ireland he very quickly alienated powerful Protestant interests by giving his support to Richard Talbot, who became earl of Tyrconnell in 1685 and Lieutenant-General of the Irish Army in March 1686. His nickname was ‘Lying Dick Talbot’; he was regarded as a drunken buffoon, though he had a sharp political brain. Tyrconnell began a campaign to purge the Irish army of Protestants. By September 1686 40% of officers and 67% of the rank and file were Catholics. James’s policies in Ireland seemed to give the lay to his protestations that he had no intention of promoting Catholics at the expense of Anglicans.

In Scotland, a country which James knew and seemed to have liked (unlike Ireland) Catholicism was promoted through a Scottish Declaration of Indulgence (February1687) which granted freedom of worship to Catholics and Quakers, but not Presbyterians. It was issued on the grounds of his ‘Absolute power, which all our subjects are to obey without reserve’. This seemed to confirm the association of Catholicism with absolutism.