Robert Brady

(c. 1627—1700) historian and physician

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William Atwood (c. 1650—1712) lawyer and writer on politics

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Sir Henry Spelman (c. 1564—1641) historian and antiquary

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Robert Brady was born in Denver, Norfolk and died in Cambridge on 19 August 1700. He was educated at Caius College, Cambridge, where he gained a BM in 1653 and received a DM in 1660 on Charles II's recommendation. By royal mandate, he became Master of Caius in 1660. Brady was a Royalist. He was briefly exiled after the second civil war and his brother was hanged in 1650 for participating in a failed Royalist uprising. In the mid-1670s Brady offered his services as a propagandist to both the Secretary of State, Sir Joseph Williamson, and the Earl of Shaftesbury, but neither accepted. He had, as yet, written nothing political. Archbishop Sancroft engineered publication in 1681 of his first polemical work, a Royalist rebuttal of the Whig historians William Petyt and William Atwood. For a while, Brady dominated English ideological controversy concerned with the character and practical implications of the English past. He became a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians in 1680 and was court physician to Charles II and James II. He was appointed Regius Professor of Physic at Cambridge and was MP for the University in 1681 and 1685. In 1686, James II appointed him acting Keeper of the Tower Records. But James II's fall in 1688 involved the victory of Whig historiography over Tory. Brady lost his Keepership of the Records to his main ideological opponent, Petyt, in 1689. He returned to Cambridge but he did not turn to Jacobitism. Like many Tories, he accepted the new regime, and as Master of Caius he ensured that all the Fellows took the new oaths of allegiance by late 1691. His writings during the last decade of his life display none of the fierce political engagement characteristic of those of the 1680s.


From The Continuum Encyclopedia of British Philosophy in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Philosophy.

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