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By the early seventeenth century, England and its monarchs had experienced a sequence of apparently miraculous escapes from danger—the series of threats on Elizabeth’s life, the Great Armada bearing down onto the English shore, the ruthless ambition of the Gunpowder Plot. It was very tempting for writers to see this apparent “deliverance” as divinely ordained for their country, and over the next century there grew the theme of Britain’s “triumph of providence” over her enemies.

John Nalson. An impartial collection of the great affairs of state ... London, 1682

The frontispiece image, from John Nalson's An impartial collection of the great affairs of state (1682), depicts Britannia fallen victim to domestic sedition and foreign threats.


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