This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
 enemies he partook of the cruel temper of his time. He was at once ascetic and sensual, alternating be. tween the hair-shirt of penance and the embraces of Catharine Sedley. His situation was one of the most difficult and embarrassing which can be conceived of. He was at once a bigoted Papist and a Protestant pope. He hated the French domination to which his brother had submitted; yet his pride as sovereign was subordinated to his allegiance to Rome and a superstitious veneration for the wily priests with which Louis XIV. surrounded him. As the head of Anglican heretics, he was compelled to submit to conditions galling alike to the sovereign and the man. He found, on his accession, the terrible penal laws against the Papists in full force; the hangman's knife was yet warm with its ghastly butcher-work of quartering and disembowelling suspected Jesuits and victims of the lie of Titus Oates; the Tower of London had scarcely ceased to echo the groans of Catholic confessors stretched on the rack by Protestant inquisitors. He was torn by conflicting interests and spiritual and political contradictions. The prelates of the Established Church must share the responsibility of many of the worst acts of the early part of his reign. Oxford sent up its lawned deputations to mingle the voice of adulation with the groans of tortured Covenanters, and fawning ecclesiastics burned the incense of irreverent flattery under the nostrils of the Lord's anointed, while the blessed air of England was tainted by the carcasses of the ill-fated followers of Monmouth, rotting on a thousand gibbets. While Jeffreys was threatening
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.
An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.