Charles II, 1673–85
In the aftermath of James’s conversion, the Cabal, such as it was, split apart. Ashley Cooper (now the Earl of Shaftesbury) and Buckingham became critics of the Government. Clifford resigned his post as Treasurer after refusing to take the oath of office demanded under the Test Act, thereby also signalling his conversion to Catholicism. Arlington, also accused by the Commons of being ‘popishly affected’, saw his influence wane and resigned his post as Secretary of State in 1674. And although Lauderdale continued in office, his influenced was almost exclusively limited to Scottish affairs. It was this political vacuum that Charles’s new chief minister, Thomas Osborne, Earl of Danby, filled.