Roger L’Estrange and the Huguenots : Continental Protestantism and the Church of England Chapitre d’ouvrage - Mars 2008

Anne Dunan-Page

Anne Dunan-Page, « Roger L’Estrange and the Huguenots : Continental Protestantism and the Church of England  », in Anne Dunan-Page et Beth Lynch (ed.), Roger L’Estrange and the Making of Restoration Culture, 2008, pp. 109-130. ISBN 978-0-7546-5800-9


L’Estrange’s interest in Continental writing was mentioned only in passing by George Kitchin, L’Estrange’s first and only biographer, and it has remained largely unexplored ever since. Accordingly, this chapter examines some of L’Estrange’s connections with Continental protestants, most notably French Huguenots, and consider how L’Estrange enlisted their help in his persecution of English Nonconformity. In 1681, L’Estrange translated a French work, entitled, in his version, Apology for the Protestants. This can now be identified as an abridgement of an anonymous text entitled Apologie pour les protestans...published anonymously in 1680, supposedly in Amsterdam, for the Huguenot bookseller Jean-Maximilien Lucas. We shall see that L’Estrange may have been in contact with him during his brief exile in Holland. The book proposes a reunion of Protestants and Catholics. L’Estrange’s preface enlists the help of Pierre du Moulin, Jean-Maximilien de L’Angle and Jean Claude, and in doing so, he disregards their staunch anti-Catholic writings. L’Estrange’s rapprochement between Catholics and the Church of England can therefore be said to manipulate the Huguenots’ position. His appeal to such men as these enabled him to attack both the English dissenters and indirectly the French Whigs under pretence of inclusion. At stake here is L’Estrange’s—and the Huguenots’—understanding of what ’conformity’ entailed, and at a time when the English regime tolerated French Churches on condition that they adopt the Anglican liturgy, but also when the dragonnades could potentially direct Huguenot sympathies towards their persecuted dissenting brothers in England.

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