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Dissenting HistoriesReligious Division and the Politics of Memory in Eighteenth-Century England$
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John Seed

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780748621514

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748621514.001.0001

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Enthusiasts, Puritans and Politics: David Hume's History of England

Enthusiasts, Puritans and Politics: David Hume's History of England

Chapter:
(p.73) 3 Enthusiasts, Puritans and Politics: David Hume's History of England
Source:
Dissenting Histories
Author(s):

John Seed

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9780748621514.003.0003

This chapter turns away from Dissenting histories to David Hume's History of England (1754–63) and its hostile account of the role of the Puritans in England's seventeenth-century crisis. Histories and memories of the seventeenth century, and in particular of the wickedness of Puritan fanatics, were reproduced by the most powerful cultural institution of Hanoverian England: the Church of England. The chapter goes on to consider ways in which the Church, with the imprimatur of the State, diffused a particular version of the seventeenth century to a wider population. There are convergences between this ‘official’ perspective and that of Hume's History of England. Both contribute to a political narrative of the nation in which the Puritan tradition is dismissed as pathological or anathematised as subversive.

Keywords:   David Hume, History of England, Church of England, Puritan fanatics, political narrative

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