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Dangerous TalkScandalous, Seditious, and Treasonable Speech in Pre-Modern England$
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David Cressy

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199564804

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199564804.001.0001

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Charles II: The Veriest Rogue that Ever Reigned

Charles II: The Veriest Rogue that Ever Reigned

(p.203) 9 Charles II: The Veriest Rogue that Ever Reigned
Dangerous Talk

David Cressy

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines anti-monarchical speech in the reign of Charles II, when the law was tightened to punish treasonous expressions. The Restoration of Charles II was a joyful affair for most of the king's subjects, but an unhappy turn for supporters of the commonwealth regime. Some of the anti-monarchical language was associated with plots to reverse the Restoration, but much of it was just alehouse chatter. The authorities remained vigilant, for nobody could tell whether loose talk betrayed a treasonable project, or how deep a conspiracy might run. The restored Stuart regime could not allow dangerous talk to go unchecked, and making an example of seditious speakers was part of the process of restoration. Hundreds of English men and women came before authorities in Charles II's reign for uttering dangerous words that are treasonable and seditious. Most of those cited were men of plebeian social condition.

Keywords:   Charles II, Restoration, treasonable words, anti-monarchical language, sedition, treason

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