Saturday, 24 June 2017
The Red Rose and The White Rose
When my friend Richard Burgon, who has told me that I set the sartorial tone of the whole movement, balked at swearing allegiance to the Hanoverian monarch, then I was delighted to see what a good Catholic boy he still was.
Perhaps he should have worn an oak leaf and acorns? Next time, perhaps he will?
Andrew Murray, meanwhile, is a scion of the Jacobite Dukes of Perth. That is as it should be.
The Whig Revolution of 1688 led to very deep and very wide disaffection among Catholics, High Churchmen, Congregationalists, Baptists, Quakers and others.
Within those subcultures, long after the death of the Stuart cause as such with Cardinal York in 1807, there persisted a feeling that Hanoverian Britain, her Empire, and that Empire’s capitalist ideology, imported and at least initially controlled from William of Orange’s Netherlands, were less than fully legitimate.
This was to have startlingly radical consequences.
First in seventeenth-century England and then in the eighteenth-century France that looked to that precedent, gentry-cum-mercantile republican absolutism was an inversion of Jean Bodin’s princely absolutism, itself an Early Modern aberration. But what of the creation of a gentry-cum-mercantile republic in the former American Colonies?
Did it, too, ultimately derive from reaction against the Stuarts, inverting their newfangled ideology against them? No, it ultimately derived from loyalty to them, a loyalty which regarded the Hanoverian monarchy as illegitimate.
Since 1776 predates 1789, the American Republic is not a product of the Revolution, but nevertheless sits under a radically orthodox theological critique, most obviously by reference to pre-Revolutionary traditions of Catholic and Protestant republican thought.
On the Catholic side, that is perhaps Venetian. On the Protestant side, it is perhaps Dutch. On both sides, it is perhaps to be found at cantonal level in Switzerland, where it is possible that such thought might hold sway even now.
There simply were Protestant Dutch Republics before the Revolution. There simply was a Catholic Venetian Republic before the Revolution. There simply were, and there simply are, Protestant and Catholic cantons in Switzerland, predating the Revolution. The literature must be there, for those who can read the languages sufficiently well.
Furthermore, there is no shortage of Americans whose ancestors came from the Netherlands or from Italy, and there may well be many who assume from their surnames that their bloodline is German or Italian (or possibly French) when in fact it is Swiss.
It is time for a few of them to go looking for these things, with a view to applying them as the radically orthodox theological critique of that pre-Revolutionary creation, the American Republic.
Within that wider context, far more Jacobites went into exile from these Islands than Huguenots sought refuge here. The Jacobites founded the Russian Navy of Peter the Great. They maintained a network of merchants in the ports circling the Continent.
Their banking dynasties had branches in several great European cities. They introduced much new science and technology to their host countries. They dominated the Swedish East India and Madagascar Companies. They fought with the French in India.
And very many of them ended up either in the West Indies or in North America. New York seems the most obvious place to look for them, being named after its initial proprietor as a colony, the future James VII and II.
The Highlanders in North Carolina spoke Gaelic into the 1890s, but in vain had the rebellious legislature there issued a manifesto in that language a century earlier: like many people of directly Scots rather than of Scots-Irish origin or descent, they remained loyal to the Crown during the Revolutionary War.
However, there were many Jacobite Congregationalists, such as Edward Roberts, the exiled James’s emissary to the anti-Williamite Dutch republics, and Edward Nosworthy, a gentleman of his Privy Council both before and after 1688. There was that Catholic enclave, Maryland.
And there was Pennsylvania: almost, if almost, all of the Quakers were at least initially Jacobites, and William Penn himself was arrested for Jacobitism four times between 1689 and 1691.
Many Baptists were also Jacobites, and the name, episcopal succession and several other features of the American Episcopal Church derive, not from the Church of England, but from the staunchly Jacobite Episcopal Church in Scotland, which provided the American Colonies with a bishop, Samuel Seabury, in defiance of the Church of England and of the Hanoverian monarchy to which it was attached.
Early Methodists were regularly accused of Jacobitism. John Wesley himself had been a High Church missionary in America, and Methodism was initially an outgrowth of pre-Tractarian, often at least sentimentally Jacobite, High Churchmanship.
Very many people conformed to the Established Church but either refused to take the Oath or declared that they would so refuse if called upon to take it. With its anti-Calvinist soteriology, it high sacramentalism and Eucharistic theology, and its hymnody based on the liturgical year, early Methodism appealed to them.
Wesley also supported, and corresponded with, William Wilberforce, even refusing tea because it was slave-grown; indeed, Wesley’s last letter was to Wilberforce. They wrote as one High Tory to another.
Wilberforce was later a friend of Blessed John Henry Newman, whose Letter to the Duke of Norfolk constitutes the supreme Catholic contribution to the old Tory tradition of the English Confessional State, in the same era as Henry Edward Manning’s Catholic social activism, and the beginning of Catholic Social Teaching’s strong critique of both capitalism and Marxism.
Whiggery, by contrast, had produced a “free trade” even in “goods” that were human beings. The coalition against the slave trade contained no shortage of Methodists, Baptists, Congregationalists or Quakers.
Yet the slave trade was integral to the Whig Empire’s capitalist ideology. If slavery were wrong, then something was wrong at a far deeper level. James Edward Oglethorpe, a Jacobite, opposed slavery in Georgia. Anti-slavery Southerners during the American Civil War were called “Tories”.
Radical Liberals were anti-capitalist in their opposition to opium dens, to unregulated drinking and gambling, and to the compelling of people to work seven-day weeks, all of which have returned as features of the British scene.
Catholics, Methodists, Congregationalists, Baptists and Quakers fought as one for the extension of the franchise and for other political reforms. It was Disraeli, a Tory, who doubled the franchise in response to that agitation. To demand or deliver such change called seriously into question the legitimacy of the preceding Whig oligarchy.
It is almost impossible to overstate the importance of Catholicism, of the Anglo-Catholicism that High Churchmanship mostly became at least to some extent, of the Baptist and Reformed (including Congregational) traditions, and, above all, of Methodism, to the emergence and development of the Labour Movement.
Quakerism and Methodism, especially the Primitive and Independent varieties, were in the forefront of opposition to the First World War, which also produced the Guild of the Pope’s Peace, and which had a following among Anglo-Catholics of either of what were then the more extreme kinds, “English Use” and “Western Use”. Each of those included Jacobites among, admittedly, its many eccentrics.
Above all in Wales, where Catholic sentiment was still widely expressed in the old tongue well into the eighteenth century, Quakers and Methodists had very recently stood shoulder to shoulder with Presbyterians, Congregationalists and Baptists, including Lloyd George, against the Boer War.
Paleoconservatives who would rightly locate the great American experiment within a wider British tradition need to recognise that that tradition encompasses the campaign against the slave trade, the Radical and Tory use of State action against social evils, the extension of the franchise, the creation of the Labour Movement, and the opposition to the Boer and First World Wars.
All of those arose out of disaffection with Whiggery, with the Whigs’ imported capitalist system, with their imported dynasty, and with that system’s and that dynasty’s Empire.
A disaffection on the part of Catholics, High Churchmen (and thus first Methodists and then also Anglo-Catholics, as well as Scottish and therefore also American Episcopalians), Congregationalists, Baptists, Quakers and others.
Behind these great movements for social justice and for peace was still a sense that the present British State (not any, but the one then in existence) was itself somehow less than fully legitimate.
In other words, the view that there was ultimately something profoundly wrong about this country and her policies, both domestic and foreign, was a distant echo of an ancestral Jacobitism.
Radical action for social justice and for peace derived from testing the State and its policies against theologically grounded criteria of legitimacy.
It still does.
Of course, I know that Richard was really expressing doubts about the monarchy itself. I refuse to believe that every White Gold merchant on the Conservative benches is a God-fearing monarchist.
But when Prince George was born, there were complaints that we now knew that our next three Heads of State, probably stretching into the twenty-second century, would all be white males.
Well, they would all have been white males, anyway. The present one is not male. But any elected Head of this State always would be. And white. And quite or very posh. So why bother changing the present arrangements?
No one with anything like the Royal Family’s foreign background would ever stand a hope of becoming the President of Britain. The Queen is of heavy immigrant stock, and she is married to an immigrant.
They are both probably part-black. In fact, no one could believe anything else having seen a portrait of Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, whose features were publicly called “Negroid” at the time, when her ancestry was common knowledge and apparently disturbed nobody. The city of Charlotte in North Carolina is named after her, and it is the seat of Mecklenburg County.
Furthermore, the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh are plausibly believed to be descended from Muhammad through various part-Moorish royal lines on the Iberian Peninsula.
Even if Robert Graves was once ushered away from Her Majesty after he had mentioned their common descent from the Prophet of Islam, that view is widely held in an entirely matter-of-fact way across the Islamic world.
Genghis Khan and the Tang Emperor Suzong are less plausible ancestors, but not impossible ones.
Loyalty to the monarchy is nothing if not a bulwark against racism, and not only, although certainly, because the Queen is the Head of the Commonwealth, as well as directly of 16 member-states. Only four of those 16, including this one, have white majority populations.
Only two of the remaining 14 British Overseas Territories are predominantly white, and only one of those two has a population descended primarily from these Islands, something that Canada and Australia also do not have.
Try and imagine anyone with anything remotely approaching the Queen’s known ancestry as a candidate for President of Britain. No such person would stand the slightest chance of election to that office. Nor would anyone aged 26, as the Queen was when she came to the Throne. Nor would anyone aged 91.
The Royal Family is not at the pinnacle of the class system. That is the old Noble Houses of England and Scotland, who look down on the Royals as immigrant noovs, an unfortunate political necessity from the eighteenth century.
That was the root of the trouble with Diana. She had married down. Time was when the Spencers, then the richest family in the Kingdom, had even bankrolled the indigent Hanoverians.
Liberty is the freedom to be virtuous, and to do anything not specifically proscribed.
Equality is the means to liberty, and is never to be confused with mechanical uniformity; it includes the Welfare State, workers’ rights, consumer protection, local government, a strong Parliament, public ownership, and many other splendid things.
And fraternity is the means to equality. For example, in the form of trade unions, co-operatives, credit unions, mutual guarantee societies and mutual building societies; numerous more could be cited.
Liberty, equality and fraternity are therefore inseparable from nationhood, a space in which to be unselfish.
Thus from family, the nation in miniature, where unselfishness is first learned.
And thus from property, each family’s safeguard both against over-mighty commercial interests and against an over-mighty State, therefore requiring to be as widely diffused as possible, and thus the guarantor of liberty as here defined.
The family, private property and the State must be protected and promoted on the basis of their common origin and their interdependence, such that the diminution or withering away of any one or two of them can only be the diminution and withering away of all three of them.
All three are embodied by monarchy.
Monarchy further embodies the principle of sheer good fortune, of Divine Providence conferring responsibilities upon the more fortunate towards the less fortunate.
It therefore provides an excellent basis for social democracy, as has proved the case in the United Kingdom, in the Old Commonwealth, in Scandinavia and in the Benelux countries.
Allegiance to a monarchy is allegiance to an institution embodied by a person, rather than to an ethnicity or an ideology as the basis of the State.
As Bernie Grant understood, and as one expects that Diane Abbott understands, allegiance to this particular monarchy, with its role in the Commonwealth, is a particular inoculation against racial feeling.
No wonder that the National Party abolished it in South Africa. No wonder that the Rhodesian regime followed suit, and removed the Union Flag from that of Rhodesia, something that not even the Boers’ revenge republic ever did. No wonder that the BNP wants (or wanted, since it now scarcely exists) to abolish the monarchy here.
It was Margaret Thatcher who mounted an assault on the monarchy, since she scorned the Commonwealth, social cohesion, historical continuity, and public Christianity.
She called the Queen “the sort of person who votes for the SDP”, and she arrogated to herself the properly monarchical and royal role on the national and international stages. She used her most popular supporting newspaper to vilify the Royal Family.
When the Sex Pistols sang of a “Fascist regime” in the Britain of 1977, then they were referring to a Labour Cabinet with Tony Benn in it. Benn had also been the Postmaster General who had taken on the pirate radio stations in order to protect the livelihoods of the unionised musicians.
The fans of pirate radio and then of the Sex Pistols went on to elect Thatcher three times, and did not vote Labour at another General Election until Tony Blair had come along, giving him a third term as Prime Minister even two years after the invasion of Iraq.
God Save The Queen, Comrades.
God Save The Queen.