<i>Enthusiasts, Puritans and Politics: David Hume's</i> History of England

John Seed

in Dissenting Histories

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print November 2008 | ISBN: 9780748621514
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748651306 | DOI:
Enthusiasts, Puritans and Politics: David Hume's History of England

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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

Chapter.  11053 words. 

Subjects: UK Politics

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