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Old 11-19-2020, 04:29 AM   #31 (permalink)
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Boooooooo!!!!!!!!!!
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There is only one bright spot and that is the growing habit of disgruntled men of dynamiting factories and power-stations; I hope that, encouraged now as ‘patriotism’, may remain a habit! But it won’t do any good, if it is not universal.
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Old 11-19-2020, 06:44 AM   #32 (permalink)
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Huzzah!
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Old 11-19-2020, 08:39 AM   #33 (permalink)
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Trollheart!!! So good to see you here again!
I hope you and your sister are ok, and that you'll be staying around for a while longer this time. Welcome back, my friend.
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Old 11-19-2020, 08:59 AM   #34 (permalink)
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Trollheart posted!
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Old 11-19-2020, 09:45 AM   #35 (permalink)
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Boooooooo!!!!!!!!!!
No matter how long I stay away, I'm always touched by your heartfelt welcomes and genuine emotion at my return. How are you, my comic-loving friend?
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Huzzah!
Yo Plank! Missed ya!
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Trollheart!!! So good to see you here again!
I hope you and your sister are ok, and that you'll be staying around for a while longer this time. Welcome back, my friend.
Thanks Lisna. Yes we're fine thanks, though her condition has progressed/regressed to such an extent that these days it's really hard to understand what she's saying. Like listening to Batty I guess! Seriously though, yeah, we're both alive though we had scares. We've been luckier than many. Good to see you again; hope you're well.
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Rubbish! I haven't touched a drop... oh. I thought you said Trollheart pasted! How are you man? Been a while.

Yes, sorry to prove the naysayers wrong, and hope I didn't lose anyone any serious money, but I'm back. Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the journal section....


Stand by for a new reign of terror, er, terrifically busy journal posting!
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Old 11-19-2020, 04:40 PM   #36 (permalink)
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Welcome back, Trollheart! You've been dearly missed, as always.

With love from ribbons O'County Cork (well, at least my ancestors were from there )
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Old 11-19-2020, 04:51 PM   #37 (permalink)
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Thanks ribbons. Missed you too! Go raibh mhath agat!
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Old 11-19-2020, 08:39 PM   #38 (permalink)
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How are you man? Been a while.
Been okay/good...started an e-commerce business. Started a blog and been doing playlists for the website. Blog link in the signature, website link in the Twitter link. It has the playlists on there and stuff.


I'm an official music blogger now though because I do two album reviews every two weeks for the website and make a monthly Top 10 playlist with a another playlist in the blog. Trying to become a better reviewer as of right now.

Hope you have been great!
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Old 01-16-2021, 10:40 AM   #39 (permalink)
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Chapter VIII: Under the English Heel, Part II: The Return of the King

Timeline: 1650 - 1691

England was never a country built to be a republic. It may have worked for France, and it may have worked for the United States, but England had been ruled by monarchs from its earliest days, and though the execution of Charles I and the ascension of Oliver Cromwell shook English society and politics to its roots, in the grand scheme of things it was more a small tremor than the earthquake it could have been. Unlike the French Revolution a century later, where the deposing of the King and all the noble classes led to a true republic (though first to The Terror) which never went back to a monarchy, England was a land of kings and queens, and Cromwell’s attempt to turn it into a republic was really nothing more than a blip on history. Even now, four hundred years after his rule, and when it certainly has little or no need of one, England - Britain, indeed - stubbornly persists in perpetuating an outdated and completely unnecessary monarchy.

It’s probably true to say England will never be free of the Crown.

Which is why it was no great surprise to find that soon after Cromwell's passing and with the ineffectual attempts of his son to govern, England was soon welcoming a king back onto the throne.

Charles II: Back in the Saddle

Charles II (1630 - 1685)

No stranger to the battlefield, Charles II had fought with his ill-fated father at the Battle of Edgehill during the English Civil War, and had been made commander of the English forces in the West Country by 1645, at the tender age of fifteen. However the war was not going in his father’s favour, and in 1646 Charles fled to join his mother in exile in France, later moving to Holland where he tried to aid his father against Cromwell but was unable to prevent the king’s death and the abolition of the monarchy. Enraged at Cromwell, and loyal to the Crown, Scotland proclaimed the king’s son as monarch of Scotland, but he was not allowed travel there unless he gave an undertaking to impose the Scottish Presbyterianism religion upon the kingdom of Britain, which he refused to do. After his attempts to invade Scotland and force them to accept him as king on his terms failed miserably though, he had no choice and so agreed in 1650, arriving in Scotland and riding to take England back.

In this he again failed miserably, Cromwell’s forces beating his armies back and necessitating his going on the run to avoid capture, literally hiding in a tree (now called the Royal Oak) in Shropshire until he could be smuggled back to France in defeat. It would therefore not be by force of arms or in military victory that Charles would return to England, but rather at the invitation of the English Parliament, frustrated with the incompetent and inexperienced son of Oliver Cromwell. The grand experiment was over; Charles was asked to retake his place on the throne of England, the republic was abolished and the monarchy restored.

But what did all this mean for Ireland?

Like much of Ireland’s troubles, Charles’ return and the Restoration, as it became known, can be summed up in one word: Catholicism. Despite his assurances to the Scots that he would promote and disseminate their religion, it was Anglican Protestantism that was made the sanctioned, and indeed compulsory, faith in the new England. With the outbreak of the Great Fire of London in 1666, things began to turn bad for Catholics.

Great Balls of Fire! London’s Burning! (September 2 - 6, 1666)


A fire broke out in Thomas Farriner’s bakery on Pudding Lane in the early hours of September 2 1666. The family managed to escape the blaze but by then the fire was spreading, and delays in obtaining the permission of the Lord Mayor of London to demolish the adjacent buildings to stop the growth of the fire meant that by the time he had arrived it was already too late. Most of London’s buildings were of wood at that time, and easily caught fire, aided by the dry spell the city had been experiencing that month. Add in the overcrowding, the use of thatch for roofs, towering, crumbling tenement buildings that often reached six or seven stories and warehouses filled with tar, pitch and other combustibles, to say nothing of the stocks of gunpowder left over from the Civil War, and the City was quite literally a powder keg just waiting for a spark.

And when that spark was lit, the entire thing went up with frightening speed.

There being no fire brigade to speak of, the blaze had to be tackled by local people, the militia and the Watch, none of whom had any real professional training in fire-fighting, and the narrow, crowded streets, further congested by the panicked populace trying to get away from the fire, complicated matters as well. Essentially, the efforts to combat the fire turned more into attempts to escape or outrun it than to extinguish it, leaving the flames to hungrily devour the city unchecked, ranging further and further, and razing the city to the ground. In the aftermath, Lord Mayor Sir Thomas Bloodworth, a man universally deemed unequal to his role and completely useless, was blamed for the fire’s development, refusing in the early stages of the fire to allow houses be pulled down as their owners could not be located, and growling of the fire that “a woman could piss it out.”

By sunrise on Sunday September 2 over 300 houses had been burned down and the fire had reached London Bridge, aided by a high wind. By mid-morning efforts to combat the fire had been abandoned, and everyone was running to escape it as the city burned. Charles himself intervened to have houses and buildings pulled down, after Bloodworth had made a half-hearted attempt at it, fainted and gone home to bed, leaving the city to the fire. But even demolition of buildings was insufficient to prevent the fire spreading, and it roared hungrily across the city, reaching the business district by Monday, devouring the Royal Exchange, the houses of bankers and exclusive shopping precincts.

Imagine the terror of a fire that raged on unchecked for four days! No emergency services to call, no way to put it out, and nothing to do but watch and wait, prepare and hope it didn’t get to your part of town, being ready to do what everyone else was, what everyone else had no option to, but flee as the flames advanced and claimed more of London. Those who could escaped via the boats on the river, those who couldn’t were hemmed in by the ancient Roman wall, which made a firetrap of the city. The king put his brother, James, Duke of York, in charge of combatting the fire - the Lord Mayor had fled the city - and he had some success, but he was fighting a losing battle. The fire raged on through Monday, and far from showing any signs of abating, was strengthening by the next day.

To the horror of all watching, the venerated Cathedral of St. Paul’s, surrounded by wooden scaffolding as it was in the midst of restoration work, went up like a torch and was completely gutted on Tuesday. As the flames headed for the Tower of London, with its gigantic store of gunpowder, the army took matters into their own hands and blew up buildings to halt the advance of the fire. The wind dropped near the end of the day, and with it the fire, which began to gutter out. In the end, over 13,500 houses as well as major buildings like the Royal Exchange, St. Paul’s Cathedral and The Custom House had been destroyed, the damage originally estimated at one hundred million pounds, later revised down to ten million.

In the immediate aftermath of the Great Fire (and even during it) speculation ran rife as to who might be responsible for such a tragedy, popular opinion excluding the possibility that this could have been, as it was, a tragic accident. Nebulous accusations against “foreigners” led to Dutch, French or any other non-English people in London running the risk of being lynched by mobs, and the army spent a good deal of its time rescuing innocent travellers from the hands of the angry crowds. And of course, as was ever the case in Protestant England, much of the blame fell, without a shred of evidence, upon the shoulders of the hated Catholics. The famous Gunpowder Plot had been, after all, only sixty years ago and was still fresh in the minds of most English people: the attempt to blow up parliament and assassinate the king (James I) and all of his ministers fuelled the hatred and widened the division between Catholics and Protestants.

Having dealt already with the Great Plague the year before, Charles was in no mood to fuck around with the Irish, and having a scapegoat to hand was useful for him, to divert attention from the fact that the streets which had been built during his father’s day, and his father’s, and so on, had been directly responsible for the spread of the fire. A monument to the Great Fire bore the inscription “Popish frenzy which wrought such horrors is not yet quenched.”
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Old 01-16-2021, 10:57 AM   #40 (permalink)
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When the Lie Becomes the Truth: The Popish Plot (1678 - 1681)

Although Charles II had been welcomed back after the rigours of life under The Lord Protector, his marriage to the Catholic Catherine of Portugal, his alliance with the old enemy France against Protestant Holland, and the embracing of his brother and heir James, Duke of York, of Catholicism, all led to there being much suspicion as to where the king’s loyalties lay, in terms of religion. His lenient attitude towards and treatment of Catholics had not gone down well with his people, and they worried that on his death they could be left with a Catholic King.

Sometimes, into such a cauldron of worry and paranoia the tiniest match has to be dropped to set the whole thing off, and two men who had many reasons to hate Catholics, one of which was believed to be actually insane, somehow gained the trust of the authorities, whipped up the public into a frenzy, and engineered the execution of innocent men, including priests, and one man who would later be canonised by the Church.

And it was all a lie.



Titus Oates (1649 - 1705)
One of the two instigators of the plot, Oates was an English priest, and a poor one. A terrible scholar, he only managed to be ordained due to a false claim to have a degree (oddly enough, its production was never demanded and its existence seems to have been taken on trust by the Bishop of London, who ordained him) and later got into trouble while serving aboard a naval ship and being accused of “buggery” in Tangiers. Only his status as a priest saved him, but he was dismissed from the Navy. Prior to this incident, he had, while serving as curate in All Saint’s, Hastings, accused a teacher of sodomy with one of his pupils, completely baselessly, in order to take his job, and when the allegations proved groundless was himself accused of perjury.

Having been ordained into the Church of England in 1670 Oates, after some misadventures and after making some powerful enemies, switched his allegiances and became a Catholic priest seven years later. He met and cultivated the friendship of Israel Tonge, and together they authored anti-Catholic pamphlets, Oates later confiding to Tonge that he had only pretended to convert in order to get close to Catholics and learn their secrets. Between them they concocted the Popish Plot in 1678.

Israel Tonge (1621 - 1680)

A Doctor of Theology, Tonge blamed Catholic Jesuits for the burning down of his church during the Great Fire of London, He became even more anti-Catholic, writing tracts and essays denouncing them, and fabricating wild conspiracy theories about Rome’s lust for power and the danger of the Pope. Another rabidly anti-Catholic doctor, Richard Barker, sponsored him (and later, Oates), providing him with food, lodgings and money, and securing for him a position as rector in the parish of Avon Dasset, in Warwickshire, a post Tonge did not however accept.

Together these two men would create a conspiracy to rival the best of Qanon or any in Trump’s time. Completely fabricated, with no evidence or provenance whatever, it would still be accepted as legitimate and lead to the further persecution and death of many blameless Catholics.

Writing the manuscript himself, Oates laid out a plot by the Pope to have the king assassinated, naming Jesuit priests who were to carry out the attempt, about a hundred in all. He then slipped the note into the house of Richard Barker, where his friend Tonge was living. Tonge then “discovered” the writing, passed it on to his friend Christopher Kirkby, who became alarmed and informed the king. Charles was sceptical, but agreed to see Tonge and Oates, then passing the matter on to his Treasurer, Thomas Osborne, Lord Danby. Danby seemed convinced, but the king brushed the whole thing off, believing Oates a liar. The Duke of York, however, fearful for his brother’s life and knowing (though he was himself a Catholic) how vehemently opposed to the Church of England English Catholics were, ordered an investigation into the threat.

Though Charles was still reluctant and did not believe a word of it, he probably worried that ignoring the threat might make him look overly sympathetic to Catholics, further cementing in the minds of his subjects his untrustworthiness, and recalling to their memory the fact that he was married to a Catholic princess. Therefore, he agreed to the investigation, and as it gathered steam and people were arrested on various spurious charges, Oates was given a complement of soldiers and allowed to begin rounding up Jesuits. The murder of a prominent anti-Catholic minister in suspicious circumstances set things in proper motion.

Sir Edmund Berry Godfrey, to whom Oates had made his first depositions about the alleged plot, was found murdered with his own sword. The slaying was never solved, and laid at the feet of unnamed Catholics. As a result, and with the supposedly genuine threat of an attempt on the king’s life by these heathens, Charles was prevailed upon to exile all Catholics to within twenty miles of London. Parliament issued the declaration that "This House is of opinion that there hath been and still is a damnable and hellish plot contrived and carried out by the popish recusants for assigning and murdering the King." Things began to move fast.

Oates seized upon his success and accused five Catholic lords: (William Herbert, 1st Marquess of Powis, William Howard, 1st Viscount Stafford, Henry Arundell, 3rd Baron Arundell of Wardour, William Petre, 4th Baron Petre and John Belasyse, 1st Baron Belasyse) and while the king scornfully maintained that at least one of them was so afflicted with gout that he could barely stand, and was unlikely to be plotting anything, the Earl of Shaftesbury had them all arrested and taken to the Tower. Shortly afterwards he demanded that the king’s brother, James, Duke of York, be excluded from succession to the throne, due to his Catholic allegiances. At the end of the year the second Test Act was passed, as anti-Catholic fervour swept through England, which forbade Catholics from sitting in either the House of Lords or the House of Commons, and so effectively banning them from holding any political office.

Two of the “Popish Lords” would die - Stafford beheaded while Petre simply died in the Tower - but the remaining three would be acquitted. However Catholic hysteria had descended on England long before this and as would happen in the Salem witch trials ten years later, accusations flew, unproven allegations were taken as evidence, and Catholics were persecuted, exiled and murdered.

Oliver Plunkett (1625 - 1681)

Last of Oates’ victims was a man who would go on to be canonised and therefore made a saint in the latter half of the twentieth century. Oliver Plunkett was Archbishop of Armagh, and Primate of All Ireland. The grandson of a Baron, he was well connected to powerful Irish families such as the Earls of Roscommon and the Lords of Louth. He travelled to Rome in 1647, his ambition to become a priest, but by the time he was ready to return Cromwell held sway over Ireland and it would have been death for him to set foot on his native land again, so he remained in Rome until 1670, when the Restoration returned Charles II to the throne and, for a time, a more tolerant attitude was observed by the Crown towards Catholics.

With the passing of the Test Act, however, his church was destroyed and he had to flee into hiding, refusing to be exiled. When the Archbishop of Dublin was arrested as part of Oates’ crazy conspiracy, Plunkett was accused of plotting a French invasion of England. He was arrested but Lord Shaftesbury, knowing he would never be convicted in Ireland, sent him to be held in Newgate Prison, where, despite the first trial collapsing on the grounds of the witnesses against Plunkett also being on the run, wanted men, and total lack of any evidence to convict, the second trial found him guilty and he was sentenced to be executed.

Much again like the Witch Trials would, the fervour for killing Catholics began to die down after this. This could be partly ascribed to the - mistaken - belief that all those who had plotted against the king (according to Oates and Tonge) had been dealt with, and that the danger to his royal person, and the kingdom, was passed, and partly, too, to accusation after accusation being made, each madder and more far-fetched than the last. Oates remained as zealous as ever, trying to extend the conspiracy he had created into Yorkshire, but the English were by now tired of his unfounded allegations, and many believed that some of those who had been accused and executed were in fact good and innocent men. It began to look more and more like one man’s evil quest for personal revenge, which was what it was, of course. As trials collapsed all over the place, and the king was finally able to step forward and pronounce the witch-hunt for what it was, Oates rather stupidly accused the king himself of plotting with Catholics, and was arrested and thrown into prison.

When Charles died and was succeeded by James, the new king - a Catholic, remember - had Oates tried for perjury, probably the best he could do. Found guilty, it was unfortunately impossible to sentence Oates to death for such a crime, so he was ordered to be whipped through the streets, pilloried every year and imprisoned for life. He was eventually released in 1689 when William of Orange became king, but by then everyone had forgotten about him and he faded out of history, from hero to zero.
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