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Letter from the Bishop of Oxford to Lord Norris concerning the exclusion crisis

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Letter from the Bishop of Oxford to Lord Norris concerning the exclusion crisis

Author
John Fell, Bishop of Oxford
Date
1681
Medium
Manuscript

In January 1681 Charles II dissolved Parliament, the House of Commons having passed a bill to exclude his Catholic brother, the Duke of York, from the succession. Elections were called for a new Parliament to be convened in Oxford. The political spotlight was thus firmly focussed on Oxfordshire. Fearing the effects of a divisive contest in the county, the Bishop of Oxford sought a compromise between the pro-exclusionist Whigs and the anti-exclusionist Tories. In this letter to Lord Norris, the Lord Lieutenant and leading Oxfordshire Tory, the Bishop suggests that the county nobility and gentry should come together privately to prevent "the mischeifs of having many candidates set up" for election. His proposal was supported by Lord Lovelace, a leading Oxfordshire Whig. The Oxford Parliament, which met in March, did not prove a success. It was dissolved seven days into the session, an exclusion bill having again been brought before the Commons (Hutton, Charles the Second, pp. 400-1).

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