Beyond the lives of particular men

Kathleen Lynch

in Protestant Autobiography in the Seventeenth-Century Anglophone World

Published in print March 2012 | ISBN: 9780199643936
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191738876 | DOI:
Beyond the lives of particular men

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Richard Baxter’s Reliquiae Baxterianae was published posthumously. As edited by Matthew Sylvester and Edward Calamy, it became an important model for history writing from an eyewitness perspective in the early eighteenth century. Baxter failed to achieve religious comprehension, but as one of the cornerstones of the collection of Dr. Williams’s Library in London, his manuscripts were a unifying factor for a nonconformist community that achieved toleration after the abdication of James II. Reliquiae Baxterianae is best understood as a refusal to identify a single determinative moment of change in a life. Baxter was labeled a political and religious extremist by Sir Roger L’Estrange, for A Holy Commonwealth (1659) which seemed to celebrate Richard Cromwell’s Protectorate. Baxter’s printed repudiation of this work stands as a singular event in his long public life and prolific writings, many published by Nevill Simmons. It is the axis around which his copious autobiographical materials revolve.

Keywords: Richard Baxter; Reliquiae Baxterianae; A Holy Commonwealth; Dr. Williams’s Library; Sir Roger L’Estrange; Nevill Simmons; religious comprehension; toleration

Chapter.  15972 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Literary Studies (1500 to 1800)

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