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Gentleman Spectator May 8, 1677 Edition

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The coffee houses have reopened. Is it a coincidence that, at the same time, riots have broken out in the city against Catholics? The Queens Chapel at Whitehall was said to be vandalized by a mob. It is yet unclear as to whether the Mayor, Sheriff of Londonshire, or the Lord Lieutenant of London and his Langdon Regiment shall be able to quell the lawlessness.


There was a fire at the Royal Theater owned by Thomas Killigrew. It is one of the only such events not blamed on a mob, or Catholics.


Southern England


The weather is predicated to be cool but calm. Southern ports are expected to fare well with trade from the colonies and foreign kingdoms.




There continue to be reports of problems in Virginia; but, more encouraging news has been received from other colonies in America. Tobacco and timber have become popular exports to England. As for the West Indies, great wealth has been created with sugar, spices and rum production, but the seas are plagued with pirates and foreign smugglers, hoping to deprive England of the sugar and spices of its colonies. Colonists are calling for additional measures to protect shipping lanes, while English shopkeepers are hoping for the same. The East India Company is said to be faring well with its trade routes to Bombay.


Political News


Yet again, the House of Lords has been called to consider the impeachment of the Lord Treasurer of England, the Earl of Danby. Two years ago the charge was corruption, and the motion failed. This year, the allegations relate to a treaty signed with the French in which the French paid gold into the royal treasury and there was a promise about the conversion of England to Catholicism. Various gentlemen in Parliament claim it is treason that the Minister signed such a treaty, while his defenders argue that the Lord Treasurer is well-known as anti-French and anti-Catholic, so it follows that Lord Danby committed no treason, but fooled the French out of their gold.


Lord Danby has proposed a second Test Act with an intent to remove Catholic lords from the House of Lords. It is expected that the Second Act shall fail where the first succeeded as the Magna Carta confers rights to the peerage of England that is difficult to overcome.


Important economic bills related to the Bank of England, taxes, anti-piracy and smuggling laws have moved to the rear of the queue, along with other legislation important to the people of England, until talk of treason and Catholics calms. Sadly, passion has trumped reason in Parliament so far.


The Northern Secretary has been sent to the Tower for allegedly issuing commissions in violation of the Test Act.


Foreign Affairs


The embassy from France, historically including the brother of King Louis of France, the Duc d'Orleans, has arrived in London to a cool reception. The embassy has sought to calm English fears that France was behind the unfortunate events at Windsor, and to deny wild accusations of a possible French invasion of England. Its war with the Dutch continue and the French Party continues to remind Englishmen that we were were allies in the Dutch Wars.


Don Juan Jose de Austria has arrived in London. He is the illegitimate son of the late King of Spain. It is said he is here on a goodwill mission to strengthen English and Spanish relations.


No further news in negotiations to betroth Princess Mary to William, Prince of Orange.


Business News


At long last, there will be an opportunity for the public to purchase shares in the West Indies Company, created by the Earl of Basildon. It is said that the majority of shares were secretly snapped up by the royal family and members of the Privy Council, since the wealth potential of the West Indies is well known. Yet, Lord Basildon has promised to afford an opportunity to select Englishmen to purchase a few shares on the Royal Exchange starting next week. The company has a royal monopoly on sugar, all but assuring it of great success. Expect bidding on the Exchange to be fervent.


The Palace


Rumors persist but there is no confirmation as to whether Queen Karoline is pregnant.


The King has indulged the Queen, it is said, by sending forth his former mistresses. The Duchess of Portsmouth is said to plan to marry a Welshman gentleman, while other former mistresses have relocated to Chelsea.


The sister of the Earl of Chilchester has become betrothed to Lord Russell and is said to have planned a wedding in the coming weeks.


The Master of Revels, Thomas Killigrew, was wounded at an earlier ball and is convalescing this season. His duties have been taken over temporarily by the Royal Chamberlain.


The palace, as usual, is awash with debutantes. There continue to be plays and vocal performances at the palace, but none of particular note to the gentry at large. The famed composer Lully arrived with the French contingent and is said to have performed works at recent balls and private engagements.


In contrast to the rest of London, the palace has been tolerant of foreign visitors and gentry of all religions. As such, goodwill is shared, giving hope to days of peace and prosperity ahead.

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