The Historical Spectator.

The Duke of York Is No Papist

In 1680, Charles II was on the British throne, and his brother James, the Duke of York, was the only heir. Rumors had begun to circulate that James was a Roman Catholic, and a certain pamphlet had brought those rumors out into the open. Patriotically, another pamphleteer (the librarian identifies him as John Garbrand) undertook to defend the Duke from these scurrilous charges. Here in his preface, our author warns his readers against the sinister designs of those who made the accusations. In fact, James did turn out to be a Papist, which complicated his reign somewhat when he inherited the throne five years later.

Courteous reader, Having seen a Pamphlet some time since, Entituled, Reasons whereupon the Duke of York may most strongly be reputed, and suspected to be a Papist: Not knowing, but that it may come into the hands of some, whom I would not have Poysoned with those fallacious Arguments; I thought it my duty to answer them: That the World may see the Malice and Rage of some Seditious Persons, who, by loading the Duke with Scandalous Aspersions, endeavour to lessen his esteem with the King: And, if that will not do, to brand his Reputation in the opinion of the Credulous Multitude; That they may the sooner introduce their own Maximes into the Government; which are not more fatal to the King, than Destructive to his Subjects.

Therefore, kind Reader, beware, and think not, whilst these Stigmatize the Duke, they are Innocent themselves: ’Tis their Guilt makes them endeavour to overthrow the Government; And, they had rather see the Nation Ruined than themselves brought to answer their breach of Laws: And observe it when you will, Whoever shall go about to Fortify the present Government against Faction, and Rebellion, shall, by the Seditious, be reported to introduce Popery; Or, to be Popishly affected: Knowing, at the same time they do so, they win upon the giddy Vulgar, who have no greater Antipathy then against the Bishop of Rome: And by this Device, commonly, they deliver themselves from that Punishment which they ought justly to undergo. And, this, to me, is a better Argument, that the Duke of York is no Papist; since the Seditious only would have him thought so, then, all the Reasons they have given, can, probably make him one. Your belief of this will compleat my wishes, which are, that you may be Happy, Farewel.

From The Grand Inquest, Or a Full and Perfect Answer to Several Reasons, by which it is Pretended His Royal Highness, the Duke of York, May be Proved to be a Roman-Catholick.