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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

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

John Seed

Edinburgh University Press

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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