chapter  1
“Really a sweet town”: Laying the Scene Locally in Restoration Drama
ByBridget Orr
Pages 16

The democratic spirit has never had a place in the Catholic Church. The debates over the nature of the English Catholic Church occasioned by the Cisalpine movement, and particularly its greatest clergy spokesman, Joseph Berington, brought to the fore theological beliefs and doctrinal issues rooted not necessarily in arguments over the nature of truth, but in two opposing orientations. As English Catholics entered the second half of the eighteenth century, the prospects of their acceptance not only in English political and national culture, but also as partners in England are growing enlightenment emphasis on religious pluralism. One of the first and best statements of Cisalpine principles was Joseph Berington's The State and Behaviour of English Catholics from the Reformation to the Year 1781. Catholic peers had used their wealth and political capital for specifically Catholic purposes, and had wielded their power for the benefit of all English Catholics, who could begin to publicly embrace their Englishness for the first time.