In The Atterbury Plot Eveline Cruickshanks and Howard Erskine-Hill elucidate the different stages of the attempt to restore the Stuarts from 1720 to 1723 directed by Bishop Atterbury, and look at the reasons why a High Anglican such as Atterbury saw the restoration of the Catholic Stuarts as the means of saving Britain. The burst of the South Sea Bubble in 1720 resulted in widespread public discontent and the hope of a constitutional restoration of the Stuarts. The Tories, who were proscribed from office, were led by Bishop Atterbury, James III's representative in England and Walpole's most feared opponent in Parliament. Together they worked alongside for a restoration brought about through a general rising. Faced with George I's standing army and his Dutch mercenary allies, the Tories looked for support from the Jacobite regiments in French and Spanish service, volunteers raised from the British army and navy, and popular support from several other bodies.Walpole foiled the plot by the preventive arrest of leading conspirators, who were held in prison contrary to common law. Christopher Layer, one of the conspirators, had enough evidence against him to condemn him to death, but Walpole did not have legal proofs to convict Bishop Atterbury, his secretary George Kelly or John Plunkett Layer's associate. By bills of pains and penalties passed in Parliament in divisions along party lines, Atterbury was forced into exile, while Kelly and Plunkett were sentenced to life imprisonment. As a result, Walpole was able to render the Tory party powerless for several years to come. Rich in new material, this book unravels for the first time the scale and international dimension of a plot which posed the most serious challenge to the Hanoverian regime before the '45 rebellion.

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