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6 Reaction and Realignment, 1678–88

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Chapter Summary

This chapter discusses the implications of developments for the Highlands. It presents a general overview of the 'second Restoration' in Britain. The chapter examines the various re-orientations of Highland policy during the early 1680s. It offers a detailed study of the most significant initiative of the period, the commission for securing the peace of the Highlands. The 'Restoration crisis' as it unfolded in England was rooted in the 'Popish Plot'. This giant and entirely fictious conspiracy, allegedly aiming to kill Charles II as a preliminary to re-imposing Catholicism across the British Isles, was fabricated in 1678 by the fanatical anti-Catholic clergyman Israel Tonge and the unsavoury conman Titus Oates. Despite Rosehaugh's objections, the obvious dichotomy between the relative triviality of Earl Argyll's offence and the stringency of the punishment roused suspicions that there were other factors working towards the earl's ruin. Albany's influence was held to be crucial.

Keywords: Albany; Britain; Charles II; Earl Argyll; Popish Plot; Restoration crisis; Rosehaugh; Scottish highlands



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