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Date of Award

2-1983

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

History

Supervisor

Professor J.W. Daly

Abstract

This dissertation presents the first thorough study of Charles Leslie's 'political and theological writings. During his career as a pamphleteer and journalist, Leslie wrote against whigs, disserters, freethinkers and latitudinarians. These groups, he believed, had conspired to bring about England's rebellion against legitimate authority in both church and state. Leslie attempted to demonstrate the veracity of the scriptual record and to argue that legitimate government must be deduced from the divine model set down there. In the process, he become his generation's most vigorous opponent of whig political thought and offered the first detailed criticism of John Locke's theory of government.

Throughout the thesis the theological aspect of post-revolutionary politics and political thought has been emphasised. Leslie derived his theory of monarchical government from his theory of episcopal government. Freeing the church of England from secular control was his fundamental goal, and a restoration of the Stuarts--who had promised to give up certain prerogatives in the area of ecclesiastical affairs--was a first step towards such a reform of the church. None of the scholars who have noticed Leslie's writings in the past few years have been concerned with his emphasis upon thelogical questions and the proper relationship of church and state. Historians of jacobitism have not considered what a Stuart restoration would have meant for the church of England. A close examination of Charles Leslie's career and writings helps to clarify both the motives and the goals of that small group of English churchmen of which he was a leading member.

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