1. Radicalism and the English revolution

Mario Caricchio

Glenn Burgess

Ariel Hessayon

Nicholas McDowell

Nigel Smith

2. Britain 1660-1714: competing historiographies

Giovanni Tarantino

Mark Knights

Yaakov Mascetti

3. The Church of England in the eighteenth century

Guglielmo Sanna

William Gibson

Robert G. Ingram

Robert D. Cornwall

4. Non-British readings of the English revolution

Stefano Villani

Gabi Mahlberg

Pietro Messina

5. Rediscovering radicalism in the British Isles and Ireland in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth centuries

David Davis

Jared van Duinen

Chloë Houston

Manfred Brod

Levente Juhász

Cromohs Virtual Seminars

Sykes's Shadow: Thoughts on the Recent Historiography of the Eighteenth-Century Church of England[*]

Robert G. Ingram
Ohio University

R. G. Ingram, "Sykes's Shadow: Thoughts on the Recent Historiography of the Eighteenth-Century Church of England", in M. Caricchio, G. Tarantino, eds., Cromohs Virtual Seminars. Recent historiographical trends of the British Studies (17th-18th Centuries), 2006-2007: 1-3


1. Few working on the eighteenth-century Church of England would disagree that we are fast approaching, if we have not already reached, an historiographical crossroads. For the last century, historians have been tilting at Victorian windmills, "peculiarly preoccupied with vindicating [the eighteenth-century Church] from the condemnation heaped upon it by Anglo-Catholics and Evangelicals in the nineteenth century". This must, Mark Goldie recently gibed, surely be "the longest shadow in modern historiography".[1] Some bristle at Goldie's chiding. "Part of the response would be that, despite a large body of work which has now challenged Victorian perceptions, a great many historians of the eighteenth century working outside church history depend on, and rehearse, the Victorian church's judgements about its Hanoverian predecessor", Jeremy Gregory retorts.[2] Both Goldie's criticisms and Gregory's indignation are understandable. Surely historians of the eighteenth-century Church of England need to reorient our historiographical priorities, yet just as surely social, cultural, and political historians have largely the findings of the last thirty-years of revisionist religious historiography into their work.
What is to be done? In his contribution to this seminar, Professor Gibson proposes one possible way forward. The evidence, Gibson rightly suggests, is broadly on the side of the optimists: to continue "the internecine feud between optimists, pessimists, and denominational historians' is sure to yield little new that would either compel pessimists to change their minds or convince secular historians to integrate religion more fully into the grand narratives of eighteenth-century British history.[3] Instead, Gibson argues, religious historians need to expand their horizons. We need to illumine religion's importance in hitherto unexamined places (he proposes paying more attention to sacred spaces) and to spotlight the continuities of religious belief and experience (he advocates questioning, if not jettisoning, the religious labels that have led to an overly denominational understanding of eighteenth-century British religious life). More importantly, we need "to be intolerant of purely secular accounts of eighteenth-century English society". Taken together, these measures will, Gibson believes, help "restore religion and the Church of England to the place that they rightly should command in the history of the century".
Professor Gibson and I are both optimists, but while he is an optimistic optimist I am a pessimistic optimist. Or, put another way, Gibson thinks like a latitudinarian, while I think like a Jesuit. We do not differ over the ends of historiographical evangelization, merely over the means. Gibson's arguments in Quo vadis? imply that the cool light of reason and a little modulation of the message will bring round the unbelievers in the revisionist scholarship of the eighteenth-century Church. I, on the other hand, tend to think that historians of eighteenth-century Anglicanism need to do some serious missionary work, traipsing into the unbelievers' camp and demonstrating, in language they can understand, why eighteenth-century Britain's religious history is, or should be, important to them. My aim in this piece, then, is to explain how the historiographically unevangelized think, why they have paid so little attention to revisionist religious scholarship, and what kind of missionary strategies might allow religious historians to speak more effectively to them. That means that this piece on the historiography of the eighteenth-century Church of England will primarily concern itself with the meta-narratives of eighteenth-century Britain.  

2. The work of eighteenth-century religious historians has fallen on deaf ears among the wider profession because religion has little place in the analytical frameworks most use to understand the period. Nearly two decades ago, Jonathan Clark offered his revisionist manifesto, English Society, 1688-1832, "as a breach of the historiographical peace".[4] The peace he disturbed was real, yet the period's historiography has reverted to its previous calm. For since the 1960s modernity has been the predominant organizing theme of eighteenth-century British historiography.[5] Alas, eighteenth-century Britons themselves were not preoccupied with modernity, so it is worth considering why subsequent historians have been.    
The eighteenth century has not always fit easily into the meta-narratives of British history that predominated before the 1960s. In the Whig interpretation, it was but a lifeless lull between 1688 and 1832, a time when liberal constitutional "progress" stood still.[6] Sir Lewis Namier, whose work successfully demolished the Whig explanation of political motivation and progress in his studies of mid-century political life, did less to invigorate research into the period. Powerful as Namier's analysis might have been, his work seemed to cut off as many lines of research as it opened and treated the century as almost hermetically sealed off from the rest of British history.[7] The Marxist historian E.P. Thompson may have helped save the century from stultifying Namierite political history, but it is telling that his work concentrated on the 1790s. For the century presented even greater interpretative difficulties for Marxists than for Whigs since the non-existence of a large and dynamic urban middle class made it hard to explain the development of a capitalist, industrialized nation in the nineteenth century.[8] Well into the post-war period, the eighteenth century remained a backwater for British historians.
This situation has changed dramatically in the last three decades, and the marked growth in historians' interest in the period has coincided with the eighteenth century's increasing association with the origins of modernity, not least because it gives plausible historical meaning to the period.[9] As Dror Wahrman reflects,

I have become increasingly convinced that the explosion of interest in the eighteenth century in the last couple of decades, especially among British historians who have no revolution to explain and who had long neglected this "forgotten century", is not unrelated to the frisson caused by the realization that through studying the eighteenth century we can establish a conversation –a conversation marked by alternating bouts of suspicion and familiarity, alienation and intimacy– between the historical bookends of modernity.[10]

Jane Shaw reckons this holds true for religious historians, as well. "It may be...that the eighteenth century, which witnessed the birth of modernity, holds a particular fascination for our own age, which is witnessing the ‘death' of modernity", she suggests, "and as we struggle with questions of faith and reason at this particular time, we look to the eighteenth century's own struggles with precisely those issues for insight".[11] Today modernization theory informs much of the mainstream historiography of Georgian Britain, both explicitly and implicitly.[12] J.H. Plumb, for instance, drew straight lines of causation between profound material change and the modern world's advent. Modernity, for him, was synonymous with newness and progress and was wholly self-evident.[13] Kathleen Wilson, by contrast, rejects the notion of modernity as "one moment or age", arguing instead that it is "a set of relations that are constantly being made and unmade, contested and reconfigured, that nonetheless produces among its contemporaneous witnesses the conviction of historical difference". This conceptualization, she believes, prevents us from reducing the eighteenth century "to the status of the great primordial swamp of a more ‘modern' world", while nonetheless allowing us to think of it "as an emphatically historical condition that can be recovered". From this theoretical starting point, she goes on to spotlight various moments in "‘modern' national becoming" during the eighteenth century.[14] Alan Houston and Steve Pincus broaden their conceptualization of modernity beyond Wilson's to encompass "socio-economic, political and experiential elements", including rapid demographic change, urbanization, democratization, political centralization, secularization, liberal economies, toleration, and a host of other features distinctive of the modern world.[15] Scouring the later seventeenth century for these various markers, they conclude that "English men and women were obsessed by modernity. Some celebrated what was new and what was modern, others denounced it, but almost everyone commented upon it. Awareness of change in politics, culture and society was widespread and profound".[16]
More commonly historians of eighteenth-century Britain have been content merely to let modernization theory serve as the backbeat to their work. This is especially evident in the historiography of governance, behaviour, and belief. One of the fundamental problems facing eighteenth-century British historians is explaining how a country on the edge of Europe with a seemingly small reservoir of wealth and manpower became the most powerful nation in Europe by the end of the century. The historiographical consensus is that the effort to wage a successful "second hundred years war" against France forced the British government to adapt and reform, to create a "fiscal-military state" complete with a modern-looking bureaucracy and tax system.[17] In the end, it was the fiscal-military state's combined ability to collect taxes efficiently and to borrow at low interest rates that allowed the British to fund and wage a prolonged and successful military effort against the French. As the state reconstituted itself to a nearly permanent war footing, its relationship with those whom it governed changed, as well, leading to more-nearly representative government and more "popular" involvement.[18]
Historians have likewise noted the modern behaviour and associational patterns of Georgian Britons. It has become increasingly common for historians to argue that a "consumer revolution" transformed eighteenth-century Britain: indeed, there has been an "avalanche of articles and monographs exploring the many different aspects of consumption" precisely because, John Brewer suggests, the "consumer revolution" project was from its outset "concerned with the origins and development of something that was considered modern. The search for consumer society was a search for modernity, and the emphasis...was on the first signs of what in its maturity was to be a full-blown, modern consumer society."[19] This revolution, it is argued, ushered in transformative ideas about individual behaviour and group association that affected British society from top to bottom. For one thing, the modes of behaviour in an agrarian, hierarchical pre-modern society were less pertinent in a commercial society, hence the emergence of a set of "polite" modes and manners more suited to the new social realities.[20] Others have contended that the consumer revolution shaped the contemporary notion of Britain's imperial holdings as an "empire of goods" and, indeed, that consumption united the American colonists during the 1760s and 1770s in ways that ideology alone did not and could not.[21] Related to the boom in material production and consumption was, for instance, a rise of voluntary societies, a phenomenon that has led Peter Clark to claim, "there is a good case for saying that we cannot understand modern society without understanding the world of the modern voluntary association".[22]
If the fiscal-military state and a polite and commercial society marked a breach with the pre-modern world, so too, we are assured, did the emergence during the century after the Restoration of the "bourgeois public sphere". First posited by Jürgen Habermas, the public sphere was "the sphere of private people come together as a public; they soon claimed the public sphere regulated from above against the public authorities themselves, to engage them in a debate over the general rules governing relation" in society.[23] A sign of democratization, the public sphere's emergence both heralded and reflected the advent of modernity, and British historians have found the Habermasian model useful to help explain changes in public life during the late seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, particularly regarding the role and importance of new institutions like the coffeehouse in the nation's political and cultural life.[24]
The historiography of eighteenth-century British thought is likewise indebted to modernization theory, suggesting as it does that eighteenth-century British men and women thought of themselves as decidedly different from even their most recent forebears. We see, for instance, the development of a "modern" historical consciousness.[25] Indeed, "eighteenth-century British identity [was] tightly bound up with what it meant to be modern", for the "age of Johnson" consciously distinguished itself from the "age of Elizabeth", and "defined itself by comparison and contrast with the last age".[26] "Improvement" likewise became the "leitmotiv of Georgian Britain", signalling a breach with the past.[27] Still others have suggested that the English literary canon developed in response to modernity. "The paradoxical establishment of tradition out of a sense of modernity happened when literary culture was seen to be under considerable duress, even crisis", contends Jonathan Brody Kramnick.[28] So too were the eighteenth-century "cosmopolitan" histories emblematic of a perceived disjuncture between a benighted past and an enlightened present.[29]  
Not only were Georgian Britons conceptualizing their age as distinctively modern, but they were also, it is argued, thinking about their individual and corporate identities in distinctively modern ways. Dror Wahrman has recently anatomized the passage of "the ancien regime of identity" and the subsequent "making of the modern self".[30] Others have argued that the eighteenth century witnessed a "sexual revolution" in which older notions about the body, sexuality, and sexual activity gave way to new, more modern understandings.[31] As Georgian Britons thought about their individual and sexual identities differently, so too did they re-conceptualize their corporate identities, as the pressures of war, Protestantism, and commerce forged a distinctive British national and imperial identities.[32] Yet again where political thought and action are concerned, Steve Pincus has waged a concerted campaign to convince us that the "long" eighteenth century witnessed the birth of the modern: in post-Restoration England we see the "emergence of modern statecraft", the Dutch invasion of 1688 was a "nationalist revolution", and conservative classical republicanism suited to an agrarian world gave way to a liberal political economy more appropriate for a self-consciously commercial society.[33]
More than anything else, though, it is the Enlightenment that most associates the eighteenth century with the modern world. Brian Young points to "the obsessive iteration of ‘modernity' as a watchword of Enlightenment", while S.J. Barnett rightly notes that "modernity and the Enlightenment are so frequently linked that either term almost automatically invokes the other".[34] Roy Porter's magisterial study of the British Enlightenment, for instance, hailed "the creation of the modern world" during the eighteenth century, arguing that enlightened ideas formed the "matrix of modernity" and that the "intellectual revolution" marked "a turning point, since it secularized the world-view and trained eyes and attention towards the future".[35] This path from early modernity through Enlightenment and secularization to modernity is a familiar one in the historiography, so much so that secularization seems to be the salient feature of modernity.[36] While there are an array of definitions of secularization –ranging from the simple decline of religious belief or church attendance, to the transformation of a "religious culture" into a culture of individualized "religious faith", to a "shift of emphasis from faith to conduct'– most historians seem to concur that eighteenth-century Britain was markedly more secular than either the sixteenth or seventeenth centuries.[37]
Though not comprehensive, this brief historiographical overview has highlighted the degree to which modernity has shaped much of the most influential recent work on eighteenth-century Britain. Certainly there have been those who have challenged the modernity topos, Jonathan Clark most notable and incisive among them.[38] Across the last three decades, Clark has forcefully and repeatedly argued that eighteenth-century England was an ancien regime confessional state in which the Church of England, aristocrats, and the King were hegemonic. The period between the Restoration and the Reform Bill was, argued Clark, a coherent chunk of time (the "long" eighteenth century), "an extended era with a unity and an integrity of its own which belongs neither to "pre-modernity" nor to "modernity" as familiarly understood".[39] What brought an end to the "social, religious and political hegemony" in 1832 was "a final and sudden betrayal from within", through the "reaction of its erstwhile defenders".[40]
Historians of eighteenth-century religion have welcomed Clark's work rather more than other historians, who have tended to caricature its conclusions, reject it out of hand, or simply ignore it, rather than debate it at the level of first principles.[41] The reasons for this neglect are various but include the fact that Clark's alternative meta-narrative concerns ideas, rather than behaviour. The brilliance of Clark's work lies in its methodical and powerful arguments regarding the theological foundation of eighteenth-century British political thought and the clear connections he draws between religious heterodoxy and political radicalism. Britain might have been a confessional state in theory, but was it in actuality, where the rubber meets the road?  Put another way, just as Clark's critics have ignored his important and path-breaking conclusions, so too has he emphasized the continuities of early modernity within the realm of ideas while downplaying the period's disjunctures.[42] As a result, neither Clark nor his critics have melded very successfully the old and the new into a coherent vision of eighteenth-century Britain. As Joanna Innes rightly notes, it is a challenge facing all historians of the period: "The problem of integrating into a single vision aspects of past society which strike us as ‘modern' and aspects which strike us as alien seems for some reason to be one historians of eighteenth-century England find particularly hard to resolve."[43]
Historians of eighteenth-century Britain still do not know fully what to do with religion in general and the established Church of England in particular. Emblematic is a recent essay collection on Anglicanism and the western Christian tradition by a group of eminent historians that contains five essays on the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, one on the nineteenth, two on the twentieth, but none at all on the eighteenth.[44] A number of reasons account for this kind of neglect. First, as we have seen, many have understood the eighteenth century as the jumping-off point for the modern, secular world. The story of this period, consequently, is the story of secularization in which religion and particularly religious institutions are pushed to the sidelines.[45] Second, in the post-revolutionary calm of the eighteenth century when religious strife did not spark internecine war, religious conviction recedes from the stage of historical causation. The Reformations, the Civil Wars, and the Glorious Revolution were many things, but all were primarily fights about religion. Religion did not provide quite this of high drama during the eighteenth century, and indeed it was a conscious strategy in the post-1688 world actively to "forget" the religious strife of the seventeenth century and to create a set of conditions that would prevent its return.[46] And, finally, the established Church of England came in for sustained criticism from many of those who first wrote its history: anticlericals attacked its privileged legal position, later high churchmen found it too latitudinarian, Tractarians thought it too erastian, evangelicals faulted it for its intolerance of Methodism, and Victorian church reformers thought it corrupt and negligent. The lasting taint of Victorian censure cannot be underestimated.[47] Secular historians continue either to omit the Georgian Church altogether from their narratives or to parrot the litany of charges heaped upon it by its later critics,[48] while historians of Anglicanism often seem most concerned with rebutting a Victorian bill of particulars.[49] Mark Goldie, in particular, has written perceptively about the problems of "allowing the Victorian benchmark to set the terms of discussion" among historians of the Georgian Church. "Not only is it disturbing to find a subject still so overcast by what must be the longest shadow in modern historiography, but also it is an essentially intramural benchmark", he laments. "It tends to assume the standpoint of the Christian, and Anglican, believer. The church is judged by its pastoral adequacy in fulfilling its divine mission".[50]

3. So, historians of the eighteenth-century Church of England face two barriers to wider acceptance among secular historians. First, their work does not fit into the conventional analytical frameworks by which most historians understand the century. Second, they continue to operate in historiographical grooves dug out nearly two centuries ago. It seems to me that the best way to tackle the first problem is to address the second. In short, church historians need to stop letting Norman Sykes set their research agendas and, instead, construct their arguments in ways that secular historians can understand and appreciate. One possible model might be Brian Cowan's exceptional The Social Life of Coffee.[51] Cowan's work on coffee in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Britain operates on at least two levels. It is, in the first instance, the best history available of the representation and consumption of coffee in late early modern Britain. But Cowan's book is also about the cultural shift from early modernity to modernity in Britain, using coffee as the optic through which to view that moment. And what it does brilliantly is to use the history of coffee to illumine the problems inherent in the prevailing conceptual models of that transition, in particular blowing up Habermas's notion that the coffeehouse, as the emblematic institution of the public sphere, was modernity's harbinger. Had it merely engaged historians of coffee or consumption, Cowan's book would have likely reached a far narrower audience: because it grapples vigorously and directly with the most profound questions about the age and its character, The Social Life of Coffee is a work with which scholars wholly uninterested in caffeinated beverages must nonetheless engage. Historians of the eighteenth-century Church of England must adopt the same sort of strategies, it seems to me, if our work is to command a wider audience and influence.
I am trying to do just that in a forthcoming study of the polymath archbishop of Canterbury Thomas Secker (1693-1768), whose life and career serves as the vantage point from which my study re-evaluates eighteenth-century Britain.[52] This choice of perspective may strike one as idiosyncratic, even perverse, for the established Church must surely be more a relic of a God-infused, pre-modern world than a harbinger of modernity. Or should it? There are good reasons to think that someone like Thomas Secker can provide important insights into eighteenth-century British society. The Church of England was the nation's church as established by law and had, if not a legal monopoly on worship after the Toleration Act of 1689, then a legally privileged status. Even at the dawn of the nineteenth century, the Church maintained at least the nominal allegiance of over ninety percent of the populace, and it retained a privileged, if not unchallenged or even predominant, social, political, cultural, and intellectual role in Georgian Britain. Anglican clerical leaders like Secker kept a close eye on what was going on in society –they had to if they hoped effectively to lead their Church. As such, they tended to be sensitive barometers of change who allow us to appreciate more clearly just what transformations were afoot in Britain during the period. A convert to the Church of England from Dissent, a physician with a Continental education, an opponent of theological heterodoxy and a patron of the theologically orthodox, a renowned preacher and model pastor, a committed Whig with the ear of the nation's rulers, a proponent of an imperial, even international, Anglicanism, and a man whose thirty-four-year career on the episcopal bench allowed him both to formulate and implement religious policy, Thomas Secker had the background, beliefs, ambitions, and professional positions that make him both an interesting entry into the period and a delicate gauge of societal change.
My book's aims are threefold. It is the only modern treatment of Secker to make full use of his voluminous archive.[53] He was the Cranmer or Laud of the Georgian Church, a man, Stephen Taylor rightly notes, "who encapsulate[d] the character of eighteenth-century Anglicanism", yet this is the first archivally-based study of him.[54] More importantly, it reveals Secker at the head of a hitherto unexamined, yet comprehensive, effort to reform and revitalize the Georgian Church of England from within. The effort failed, both on its own terms and in those of the Victorian church reformers who later looked back with such disdain on their eighteenth-century forebears. The effort's failure, though, should not dissuade us from recognizing its significance, for it demonstrates the Church's flexibility, adaptability, perceptiveness, and self-reflectiveness in ways not always appreciated by religious historians. Finally, and most importantly, because it was responsive the reform and revitalization effort reveals much about the nature of British society during the period. More often than not, Secker's work on behalf of the Church was reactive rather than proactive, defensive rather than offensive. His vision of what the Church needed to be sprang from his understanding of what it was not: his reform efforts, then, reflect his understanding of eighteenth-century British society and the changes afoot in that society. Secker's life and career offer neither an unobstructed nor an unjaundiced perspective on the age––nonetheless, viewing the period through his eyes distorts less than viewing it through the kaleidoscope of modernity. And the picture of societal change that emerges is gradual, not quick-paced; incremental, not revolutionary; muddy, not clear. Georgian Britons did not drive toward the bright future of the modern world with their eyes on a clearly paved, unobstructed road. They drove instead with one eye in the rear-view mirror looking back to a well-lit world whose certainties they knew, and at times feared, and with the other eye on the road ahead trying to peer through a thick fog of uncertainty that was their future. We might now know what lay down the road when the fog cleared, but Georgian Britons had no road map and did not know where exactly they were heading. We would do well to sit next to them in the passenger's seat to view the world as they did, with all its uncertainties, anxieties, and hopes. Will my work on Secker reach a wider audience? I have no idea, but by engaging directly with historiographical issues that concern secular historians of eighteenth-century Britain, I am quite consciously trying to reach to those outside the world of eighteenth-century Anglican historiography.
There is, of course, reason to be sceptical that the sort of evangelical strategy I am advocating will produce little fruit. The reception of Jeremy Gregory's Restoration, Reformation, and Reform, 1660-1828 is cautionary. In his important study of the archbishops of Canterbury, Gregory eloquently made the optimists' case for the eighteenth-century Church, but he also took issue with Jonathan Clark's thesis regarding the existence of an ancien regime confessional state into the early nineteenth century in Britain. From the clergy's perspective, Gregory showed, the confessional state "was something to work for: it had not yet been achieved".[55] At the same time, though, his demonstration of the existence of substantive Anglican reform efforts that were in continuity with the "long Reformation" project suggested that Britain had not yet left early modernity behind during the eighteenth century. Gregory, then, quite clearly spoke to a series of historiographical concerns than extended well beyond merely Anglican ones. Yet the reviews of his work, while lauding his detailed examination of the pastoral supervision of the archbishops of Canterbury, largely ignored the wider historiographical implications of his work, implications he himself spelled out in his book.[56]
If the reception of Gregory's work is sobering, it should not be dissuasive. For Mark Goldie's comments about the adolescence of the eighteenth-century Church of England's history are not without merit. We have, for too long, operated in Norman Sykes's shadow, rebutting the same criticisms of the Georgian Church he rebutted eighty years ago. As a result, the historiography of the eighteenth-century Church lacks both the sophistication and wider influence that those of the sixteenth-, seventeenth-, or nineteenth-century Church enjoy. If things are to change, we must step outside of Sykes's shadow once and forever. But do we have the will to do so?



[*] I would like to thank Patrick Griffin and Bill Gibson for their helpful advice in the preparation of this essay.

[1] Mark Goldie, "Voluntary Anglicans", Historical Journal [HJ], 46, 4, 2003, pp. 977-90, at pp. 977, 988.

[2] Jeremy Gregory, Review of Doing the Duty of the Parish: Surveys of the Church in Hampshire, 1810, ed. Mark Smith (2005), Reviews in History (8 April 2006). <http://www.history.ac.uk/reviews/paper/gregory.html>

[3] For the optimist/pessimist split, see the contributions to this seminar by Professor Gibson and Dr. Sanna.

[4] J.C.D. Clark, English Society, 1688-1832: Ideology, Social structure and political practice during the ancien regime, Cambridge, 1985, p. x.

[5] Norma Landau, "Eighteenth-Century England: Tales Historians Tell" (Eighteenth-Century Studies, 22, 2 1988-89, pp. 208-18); H.T. Dickinson, "Introduction", in A Companion to Eighteenth-Century Britain, (ed. H.T. Dickinson, London, 2002, xv-xvii); and Paul Langford, "Introduction: time and space", (in The Eighteenth Century, 1688-1815, ed. Paul Langford, Oxford, 2002, pp. 1-32) are reliable introductions to the historiography of the period that come at the period from different directions.

[6] G.M. Trevelyan was the undisputed doyen of twentieth-century Whig historians. David Cannadine, G.M. Trevelyan: a life in history (1992) is the best treatment and contextualization of Trevelyan's work. Herbert Butterfield's The Whig Interpretation of History (1931) effectively assailed Whig constitutional history in general and Trevelyan in particular. For background, see C.T. McIntire, Herbert Butterfield: Historian as Dissenter, New Haven, 2004. Annabel Patterson, Nobody's Perfect: A New Whig Interpretation of History, (New Haven, 2002) however, aims "to reinstate a ‘whig interpretation of history', in defiance of the historiographical orthodoxy that declares such an interpretation archaic and procedurally mistaken". Jonathan Clark, "More imperfect than others", (Times Literary Supplement [TLS] (13 March 2003), pp. 3-4) offers a trenchant rejoinder.

[7] L.B. Namier, The Structure of Politics at the Accession of George III (London, 1929) and idem, England in the Age of the American Revolution (London, 1930) were his seminal works. Herbert Butterfield, George III and the Historians (New York, 1959) sparked a minor historiographical controversy, described ably in John Kenyon, The History Men: the Historical Profession in England since the Renaissance, Pittsburgh, PA, 1984, pp. 261-69. See also Richard Brent, "Butterfield's Tories: ‘High Politics' and the Writing of Modern British Political History", HJ, 30, 4, 1987, pp. 943-54.

[8] John Rule, "Thompson, Edward Palmer (1924-1993)", Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, (Oxford, 2004 [ODNB]) contains a useful bibliography of works by and about Thompson. David Hempton and John Walsh, "E.P. Thompson and Methodism", (in God and Mammon: Protestants, Money, and the Market, 1790-1860, ed. Mark A. Noll, Oxford, 2001, pp. 99-120) offers incisive criticism of Thompson's views on religion.
[9] See, for instance, Miles Ogborn, Spaces of Modernity: London's Geographies, 1680-1780, New York and London, 1998, pp. 1-38, 239-247.

[10] Dror Wahrman, The Making of the Modern Self: Identity and Culture in Eighteenth-Century England, New Haven, 2004, p. xviii. Cf. Tim Hitchcock, Down and Out in Eighteenth-Century London, Hambledon and London, 2004, pp. 238-40.

[11] Jane Shaw, "The long eighteenth century", in A Century of Theological and Religious Studies in Britain, ed. Ernest Nicholson, Oxford, 2005, p. 236.

[12] Eighteenth-century British historiography is not unique in this regard. Christopher S. Celenza, The Lost Italian Renaissance: Humanists, Historians, and Latin's Legacy (Baltimore, 2004) and Philip Benedict, Christ's Churches Purely Reformed: A Social History of Calvinism (New Haven, 2002, pp. xv-xxvi, 533-46), for instance, explore the ways modernization theory has suffused the historiography of Renaissance Italian humanism and Calvinism.

[13] J.H. Plumb, "The Acceptance of Modernity", in Neil McKendrick, John Brewer, and J.H. Plumb, The Birth of A Consumer Society: The Commercialization of Eighteenth-Century England, Bloomington, IN, 1982, pp. 316-34. David Cannadine, "Historians of the ‘liberal hour': Lawrence Stone and J.H. Plumb re-visited", (Historical Research, 75, 189, 2002, pp. 216-254) and idem, "John Harold Plumb, 1911-2001", in Biographical Memoirs of Fellows, III ([Proceedings of the British Academy, Volume 124], Oxford, 2005, pp. 269-309) offer perceptive assessments of Plumb's historical writings and legacy.

[14] Kathleen Wilson, This Island Race: Englishness, Empire and Gender in the Eighteenth Century, London and New York, 2003, pp. 29-53, at pp. 30, 31, 53.

[15] Alan Houston and Steve Pincus, "Introduction. Modernity and later-seventeenth-century England", in A Nation Transformed: England after the Restoration, ed. Alan Houston and Steve Pincus, Cambridge, 2001, pp. 5-10, at pp. 5-6.

[16] Ibid., p. 1.

[17] John Brewer, The Sinews of Power: War, Money, and the English State, 1688-1783 (London, 1989); Patrick O'Brien and Philip A. Hunt, "The rise of a fiscal state in England, 1485-1815" (Historical Research, 66, 1993, pp. 129-76); Lawrence Stone (ed.), An Imperial State at War: Britain from 1689-1815 (London, 1994); and H.V. Bowen, War and British Society, 1688-1815 (Cambridge, 1998) are reliable introductions to the subject.

[18] See, for instance, H.T. Dickinson, The Politics of the People in Eighteenth-Century Britain, New York, 1994; Nicholas Rogers, Crowds, Culture, and Politics in Georgian Britain, Oxford, 1999; Robert Shoemaker, The London Mob: Violence and Disorder in Eighteenth-Century England, Hambledon, 2004; Mark Knights, Representation and Misrepresentation in later Stuart Britain: partisanship and political culture, Oxford, 2005.

[19] John Brewer, "The birth of consumerism", TLS (21 October 2004), p. 3. Maxine Berg, Luxury and Pleasure in Eighteenth-Century Britain (Oxford, 2005) is an accessible introduction to the voluminous literature on the subject.

[20] Lawrence E. Klein, "Politeness and the Interpretation of the British Eighteenth Century", (HJ, 45, 4, 2002, pp. 869-898) thoroughly and reliably surveys the scholarly literature on politeness.

[21] T.H. Breen, "An Empire of Goods: The Anglicization of Colonial America, 1690-1776", Journal of British Studies, 25, 4,1986, pp. 467-99 and idem, The Marketplace of Revolution: How Consumer Politics Shaped American Independence, Oxford, 2004. Cf. Gordon Wood, "The Shopper's Revolution", New York Review of Books, (10 June 2004), pp. 26-30.

[22] Peter Clark, British Clubs and Societies, 1580-1800: The Origins of an Associational World, Oxford, 2000, pp. viii-ix.

[23] Jürgen Habermas, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere: An Inquiry into a Category of Bourgeois Society, translated by Thomas Burger, Cambridge, MA, 1989), p. 27. See also, idem, The Philosophical Discourse of Modernity: Twelve Lectures, translated by Frederick Lawrence, Cambridge, MA, 1987, especially pp. 1-22, 336-67.

[24] Steve Pincus, ""Coffee Politicians Does Create": Coffeehouses and Restoration Political Culture", (Journal of Modern History, 67, 4, 1995, pp. 807-834) is the most forceful articulation of the idea that coffeehouses were emblematic of the emergence of "a public sphere in the Habermasian sense". Brian Cowan, "The Rise of the Coffeehouse Reconsidered", (HJ, 47, 1 2004, pp. 21-46) perceptively distinguishes between normative and practical public spheres and offers the most reliable guide to the extensive secondary literature on coffeehouses as they relate to the emergence of the public sphere. Tony Claydon, "The sermon, the ‘public sphere' and the political culture of late seventeenth-century England", (in The English sermon revised: Religion, literature and history, 1600-1750, eds. Lori Anne Ferrell and Peter McCullough, Manchester and New York, 2000, pp. 208-234) is an insightful corrective to the notion of a secularized public sphere, while Jason Peacey, Politicians and Pamphleteers: Propaganda During the English Civil Wars and Interregnum (Aldershot, 2004), "Epilogue" is among those to ask whether there was not an English public sphere well before the Restoration.

[25] Daniel Woolf, The Social Circulation of the Past: English Historical Culture, 1500-1730, Oxford, 2003, and Rosemary Sweet, Antiquaries: The Discovery of the Past in Eighteenth-Century Britain, Hambledon and London, 2004.

[26] Jack Lynch, The Age of Elizabeth in the Age of Johnson, Cambridge, 2003, pp. vii, 16.

[27] Peter Borsay, "The Culture of Improvement", in The Eighteenth Century, 1688-1815, ed. Langford, pp. 183-210, at p. 185.

[28] Jonathan Brody Kramnick, Making the English Canon: Print-Capitalism and the Cultural Past, 1700-1770, Cambridge, 1998, p. 1.

[29] Karen O'Brien, Narratives of Enlightenment: Cosmopolitan History from Voltaire to Gibbon, Cambridge, 1997; idem, "History and literature, 1660-1780", in The Cambridge History of English Literature, 1660-1780, ed. John Richetti, Cambridge, 2005, pp. 365-90.

[30] Wahrman, The Making of the Modern Self.

[31] See, for instance, Tim Hitchcock, English Sexualities, 1700-1800, New York, 1997; Robert B. Shoemaker, Gender in English Society, 1650-1850, London, 1998; Randolph Trumbach, Sex and the Gender Revolution. Volume 1: Heterosexuality and the Third Gender in Enlightenment London, Chicago, 1998. Karen Harvey, "The Century of Sex? Gender, Bodies, and Sexuality in the Long Eighteenth Century", (HJ, 45, 4 , 2002, pp. 899-916) assesses the secondary literature.

[32] Linda Colley, Britons: Forging the Nation, 1707-1837, (New Haven, 1992); Tony Claydon and Ian McBride (eds.), Protestantism and National Identity: Britain and Ireland, c. 1650-c.1850, (Cambridge, 1998); and J.C.D. Clark, "Protestantism, Nationalism, and National Identity, 1660-1832", (HJ, 43, 1, 2000, pp. 249-76) represent a range of scholarly reads on British national identity during the eighteenth century. Kathleen Wilson, Sense of the People: Politics, Culture, and Imperialism in England, 1715-1785 (Cambridge, 1995); David Armitage, The Ideological Origins of the British Empire (Cambridge, 2000); and Eliga Gould, The Persistence of Empire: British Political Culture in the Age of the American Revolution (Chapel Hill, NC, 2000) are useful introductions to the scholarship of eighteenth-century British imperial identities.

[33] See, for instance, Steve Pincus, "‘To protect English liberties': The English nationalist revolution of 1688-1689", in Protestantism and National Identity, pp. 75-104; idem, "Neither Machiavellian Moment nor Possessive Individualism: Commercial Society and the Defenders of the English Commonwealth", American Historical Review, 103, 3, 1998, pp. 705-36; idem, "The Making of a Great Power? Universal Monarchy, Political Economy, and the Transformation of English Political Culture", The European Legacy 5, 4, 2000, pp. 531-45; and idem, "From holy cause to economic interest: the study of population and the invention of the state", in A Nation Transformed, pp. 272-98.

[34] B.W. Young, Religion and Enlightenment in Eighteenth-Century England: Theological Debate from Locke to Burke, Oxford, 1998, p. 5; S.J. Barnett, The Enlightenment and Religion: The myths of modernity, Manchester and New York, 2003, p. 1.

[35] Roy Porter, The Creation of the Modern World: The Untold Story of the British Enlightenment, New York, 2000; idem, "Matrix of Modernity?", Transactions of the Royal Historical Society, 12, 2002, pp. 245-59. Cf. Justin Champion, Republican Learning: John Toland and the Crisis of Christian Culture, 1696-1722, Manchester and New York, 2003.  

[36] Jeremy Morris, "The Strange Death of Christian Britain: Another Look at the Secularization Debate", HJ, 46, 4, 2003, p. 965.

[37] See, for instance, C. John Sommerville, The Secularization of Early Modern England: From Religious Culture to Religious Faith, Oxford, 1992; Blair Worden, "The question of secularization", in A Nation Transformed, pp. 20-40, at p. 40; Porter, The Creation of the Modern World, especially pp. 96-129, 205-57. Interestingly, recent scholars of modern British history have argued that secularization was a phenomenon of the nineteenth or twentieth centuries: Jeffrey Cox, The English Churches in a Secular Society: Lambeth, 1870-1930 (Oxford, 1992); Mark Smith, Religion in Industrial Society, Oldham and Saddleworth, 1740-1865 (Oxford, 1994); S.J.D. Green, Religion in the Age of Decline: Organization and Experience in Industrial Yorkshire, 1870-1920 (Cambridge, 1996); Sarah Williams, Religious Belief and Popular Culture in Southwark, c. 1880-1939 (Oxford, 1999); Callum Brown, The Death of Christian Britain: Understanding Secularization, 1800-2000 (London, 2000); and Morris, "The Strange Death of Christian Britain" (pp. 963-976) are representative of those who argue for a later dating of secularization.

[38] J.C.D. Clark, "England's Ancien Regime as a Confessional State", (Albion, 21,3, 1989, pp. 450-74) and idem, "Providence, Predestination and Progress: or, did the Enlightenment Fail?", (Albion, 35, 4, 2003, pp. 559-89) are the most succinct and accessible statements of his argument against those who would argue for the modernity of Georgian Britain.

[39] Clark, English Society, 1660-1832, p. 14.

[40] Clark, English Society, 1688-1832, p. 409.

[41] Among the perceptive rejoinders to Clark's work are Joanna Innes, "Jonathan Clark, Social history and England's ‘Ancien Regime'", (Past and Present, 115, 1987, pp. 165-200) and Frank O'Gorman, "Eighteenth-Century England as an Ancien Regime" (in Hanoverian Britain and Empire: Essays in memory of Philip Lawson, eds. Stephen Taylor, Richard Connors, and Clyve Jones, Woodbridge, 1998, pp. 23-36) as well as the contributors to special issues of Albion, 21, 3, 1989 and Parliamentary History 7, 2, 1988.

[42] Jeremy Black, "Confessional state or elect nation? Religion and identity in eighteenth-century Britain", in Protestantism and National Identity: Britain and Ireland, c.1650-c.1850, pp. 53-74; Jeremy Gregory, Restoration, Reformation and Reform, 1660-1828: Archbishops of Canterbury and their Diocese, Oxford, 2000, pp. 3-4.

[43] Joanna Innes, "Not so Strange? New Views of Eighteenth-Century England", History Workshop Journal, 1991, p. 183. Cf. W.A. Speck, "Will the Real 18th Century Stand up?", HJ, 34, 1 1991, pp. 203-06; Claydon, "The sermon, the "public sphere" and the political culture of late seventeenth-century England", pp. 226-28.

[44] Stephen Platten (ed.), Anglicanism and the Western Tradition, Norwich, 2003. Essayists include Diarmaid MacCulloch, Eamon Duffy, Pauline Croft, Peter Lake, Judith Maltby, Peter Nockles, William Jacob, and Gerard Noel.

[45] B.W. Young, "Religious History and the Eighteenth-Century Historian" (HJ, 43, 3 2000, pp. 849-68) examines the secularized historiography of eighteenth-century Britain.

[46] Jonathan Scott, "England's Troubles, 1603-1702", in The Stuart Court and Europe, ed. R. Malcolm Smuts, Cambridge, 1996, pp. 20-38.

[47] B.W. Young, "‘Knock-Kneed Giants': Victorian Representations of Eighteenth Century Thought", (in Revival and Religion since 1700: Essays for John Walsh, eds. Jane Garnet and Colin Matthew, London, 1993, pp. 79-84) illuminates the various "prejudices and blindspots" among those nineteenth-century critics of the Georgian Church. Maurice Cowling, Religion and Public Doctrine in Modern England (Cambridge, 1985, II, pp. 3-100) comes at the problem from a slightly different direction. William Gibson, The Achievement of the Anglican Church, 1689-1800: The Confessional State in Eighteenth-Century England (Lewiston, 1996, pp. 5-31) and idem, The Church of England, 1688-1832: Unity and Accord (London, 2001, pp. 4-27) highlight the resilience of the Victorian criticism of the Georgian Church.

[48] Boyd Hilton, "Apologia pro Vitis Veterorum Hominum", (Journal of Ecclesiastical History [JEH], 50, 1 1999, p. 119) suggests that "the rehabilitation of the Georgian Church...is now almost a commonplace". The variety of interpretations in Jeremy Gregory and Jeffrey S. Chamberlain (eds.), The National Church in Local Perspective: the Church of England and the Regions, 1660-1800 (Woodbridge, 2003) seriously vitiates Hilton's claim, as does the near complete failure of textbook treatments of eighteenth-century Britain to incorporate Anglican revisionism: for the latter, see Robert G. Ingram, "Nation, Empire, and Church: Thomas Secker, Anglican Identity, and Public Life in Georgian Britain, 1700-1770", University of Virginia Ph.D. thesis, 2002, p. 5 n. 14.

[49] Norman Sykes, Church and State in England in the XVIII Century (Cambridge, 1934) is generally considered the first modern attempt to revise the bleak Victorian portrait of the Georgian Church. Despite its age and neglect of ideology and theology, Church and State remains the starting point for historians of eighteenth-century Anglicanism. For a number of decades, though, Sykes remained something of a lone voice in the wilderness arguing against the Victorian view of the eighteenth-century established Church, not least because he did not build up around him a "school" of historians. The 1970s and 1980s did witness a renewed interest in the Church, among Oxbridge graduate students in particular. A number of those at the vanguard of revisionism took the special subject at Oxford on "Church, State, and Society, 1829-1854" and were advised in their doctoral work by G.V. Bennett, John Walsh, or Geoffrey Rowell. What unites revisionists is not their conclusions –an unthinking pessimism has not been supplanted by an equally reductive optimism; rather, revisionists tend to reject anachronism, measuring the Church and its leaders against the pastoral standards of the day. I am grateful to Jeremy Gregory, Jeremy Morris, and John Walsh for conversations on this subject.

[50] Goldie, "Voluntary Anglicans", p. 988.  

[51] Brian Cowan, The Social Life of Coffee: The Emergence of the British Coffeehouse, New Haven, 2005.

[52] Robert G. Ingram, Religion, Reform and Modernity in Britain, 1700-1770, Woodbridge, forthcoming.

[53] A peculiar set of circumstances that temporarily put Secker's primary archive at Lambeth Palace off-limits to researchers helps account for the relative neglect of this important figure in Georgian Anglicanism. In the 1970s, Lambeth Palace commissioned R.W. Greaves to write a biography of Secker akin to Norman Sykes's magisterial William Wake, Archbishop of Canterbury, 1657-1737, 2 vols., Cambridge, 1957. Under the terms of that commission, the enormous Secker archive housed at Lambeth Palace Library was made unavailable to the general public until Greaves finished his study. Unfortunately, Greaves died before being able to complete his study; John McCauley, though not himself a specialist in early modern British history, did help bring Greaves's edition of Secker's Autobiography (LPL MS 2598) to print: Stephen Taylor, review of Autobiography, (JEH, 41, 1 1990, pp. 173-74) highlights the problems with the published edition. I thank Melanie Barber for this information.

[54] Stephen Taylor, "The moderate men in charge", in Not Angels, but Anglicans: A History of Christianity in the British Isles, ed. Henry Chadwick, Norwich, 2000, p. 181. Jeremy Gregory, "Secker, Thomas (1693-1768)", ODNB and Aldred Rowden, Primates of the Four Georges (London, 1916, pp. 248-309) are the best brief surveys of Secker's life and career. Leslie W. Barnard, Thomas Secker: An Eighteenth Century Primate (Lewes, 1998) is the only full-scale biography, but Barnard's almost wholesale reliance on Secker's published works, to the exclusion of his enormous archive of unpublished correspondence and papers, vitiates the book: see my review in Anglican and Episcopal History, 69, 3, 2000, pp. 376-78.
[55] Jeremy Gregory, Restoration, Reformation, and Reform, 1660-1828: Archbishops of Canterbury and their Diocese, Oxford, 2000, p. 4.

[56] See, for instance, Eamon Duffy, "Visiting rites", TLS (28 September 2001), p. 26.

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