Thea Lindquist deposited John Taylor (1597-1655): English Catholic Gentleman and Caroline Diplomat on Humanities Commons 6 years, 5 months ago
During the Thirty Years’ War, John Taylor served at the Habsburg courts in Brussels, Madrid, and Vienna. Although he figured prominently in Charles I’s secret Habsburg foreign policy during the war, published information on Taylor is sparse. His story is especially compelling given his own and his family’s connections with Continental Catholicism as well as his involvement, as a gentleman of indisputably Catholic background, in English diplomacy of the time.
Taylor’s story demonstrates that Charles I had no qualms about taking Catholics into his service and entrusting them with negotiations of a sensitive nature. Taylor’s involvement in the King’s secret Habsburg foreign policy was in fact due in large part to his vulnerable financial, religious, and political position, which made him an easy scapegoat should the need for one arise. In the end, however, the King’s underhanded tactics blew up in his face. While he had Taylor thrown into the Tower for openly dealing with the Emperor, this was not enough to conceal the nature of his negotiations with the Catholic Habsburgs. The exposure of Charles’s secret foreign policy had momentous consequences, for it contributed to the hardening of Protestant opinion against him that manifested itself in the Civil War.