The Glorious Revolution, 1688.
James II should have been one of Britain’s best kings.
His brother Charles had brought stability after the Civil Wars. Christmas was back, soldiers had gone. Puritans had shut the hell up and were allowing everyone to play football again. A trade boom had left the Crown with more money than you could shake a sceptre at (and Charles had a famously long sceptre).
For once, an Englishman, a Scotsman, and an Irishman could walk into a bar without killing each other. It was a golden age for British comedy.
Admittedly, there were some ominous signs. People were drinking coffee and reading newspapers, which made them opinionated and excitable (until they needed the loo). Quakers and other dissenters were being persecuted, and people worried – still – about where the limits of the King’s authority were and how far he could ignore Parliament like the rest…
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