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By Jonathan Scott

This e-book completes the learn of the existence and political considered Algernon Sidney (1623-1683), which all started with Algernon Sidney and the English Republic, 1623-1677 (1988). within the method it deals a reinterpretation of the most important political challenge of Charles II's reign, and of its ecu and seventeenth-century contexts. Like its predecessor, the ebook spans the disciplines of highbrow and political background. Its dual concentration is the final six years of Sidney's existence, which culminated within the well-known public drama of his trial and execution for treason in 1683, and in his significant political paintings, the Discourses referring to govt, which was once used as facts opposed to him on the trial. This intertwining of occasions and concepts demands an exam of the connection among the sensible and highbrow facets of the main issue of 1678-1683 generally.

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Andrew Browning also identified in this period 'parties' which were not 'what . . by modern standards might be regarded as a . . party' - such organisations were 'not appropriate to the needs of the seventeenth century'. 70 The problem with this claim is not only that no evidence has been presented to support it. It is that there is much evidence against it. There is for instance Burnet, who lamented that what he called 'the Country Party was broken in pieces; for nothing less would satisfy Shaftesbury than .

3 0 8 ; J. Clarke, Life of James II vol. I (1816), p. 6 3 5 ; see chapter 6 below. 80 As in the reign of Charles I, then, the hallmarks of this crisis, in terms of personal and political association, were fragmentation and fluidity. There was no monolithic 'whig' (or any other) party; there were a number of competing factions on both sides. The cohesion that existed between them — and what polarity existed between the sides themselves - was ideological, not organisational. Along this continuum of belief the whole crisis shifted through several stages, in response to a rapidly moving sequence of events.

2. The French Intrigues Discovered. With the Methods and Arts to Retrench the Potency of France by Land and Sea (1681), p. 13; Scott, Sidney and the English Republic, pp. 128,215. See Scott, 'England's Troubles', part 1. 30 The Restoration crisis parliaments themselves became the next casualty. The eventual result of this growth of popery and arbitrary government, this crisis of protestantism, and of parliaments, was the destruction of the government. All seventeenthcentury English governments had to take account of this supra-national, European situation, and the anxiety it generated.

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