The chapters on the Popish Plot
and Revolution illustrate that latent apocalyptic anticipation could very easily be translated into political pressure.
In addition to its importance in mainstreaming apocalyptic interpretation in late-Stuart history, Johnston's work is especially helpful in explaining the credibility of the Popish Plot
allegations and the meaning of 1688-89 for contemporaries.
During the Popish Plot
(revealed in 1678), the anti-Catholic public began insulting Catherine on the way to chapel at Somerset House.
He further believed that church was the main source of all idolatry, tyranny, and persecution of Christian saints, and he viewed the Popish Plot
as another example of the need for swift action against the church.
The authors, father and son, paint the background to all this and describe in detail the hysteria that gripped the country during the Popish Plot
of 1678 and the years following.
Charles II'S response to the Popish Plot
helps to explain why few were eager to block James's succession.
Echoing contemporary hysteria about terrorist cells and knee-jerk government and public responses, the tale of how Pepys was cynically implicated in the Popish Plot
is one of skulduggery, brazen dishonesty and seething grudges.
Although his own sympathies were Protestant and moderately Whig, he stood bail for Baron Arundell, one of the five Catholic peers imprisoned in 1678 during the Popish Plot
scare, when Arundell was finally released in 1684; the surety provided was 5,000 [pounds sterling].
Between 1778 and 1682, during the period of the Popish Plot
and the Exclusion Crisis, these five plays were staged with added dark motifs and pessimistic episodes.
Even remarkable and lurid events such as those in the Popish Plot
are described in drab, matter-of-fact tones, if they are described at all.
Raymond opens with the origins of the form in the popular culture of the sixteenth century, focusing especially on the Marprelate controversy of the 1580s, and closes with the full development of the form and "pamphletization" of culture in the 1680s, using the fierce polemics surrounding the Popish Plot
to punctuate his contention that as the seventeenth century progressed, pamphlets--notwithstanding their diminutive size and suspect reputation--played an increasingly vital role in the generation of public opinion, political conflict, and social policy in England.
The feeling of anxiety and uncertainty characterizing the language and imagery of these versions is not surprising given the threat of civil unrest in the years of the Popish Plot
and the Exclusion Crisis.