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Deism in Enlightenment EnglandTheology, Politics, and Newtonian Public Science$
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Jeffrey R. Wigelsworth

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780719078729

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: July 2012

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719078729.001.0001

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The meaning of 1689: politics and theology, 1694–1700

The meaning of 1689: politics and theology, 1694–1700

(p.14) Chapter 1 The meaning of 1689: politics and theology, 1694–1700
Deism in Enlightenment England

Jeffrey R. Wigelsworth

Manchester University Press

The arrival and coronation of William III were a cause for great optimism and trepidation in the realms of English religion and politics. John Toland believed that the Revolutionary Settlement of 1689 would remove the veil of mystery from the Church of England and usher an era where politics would be freed from party sentiment hoping that this environment might provide him a chance to participate in the nation's governance. Matthew Tindal wrote strong defences of the new king against the Jacobites and High Church Tories, whom he saw as impediments to the advancement of England under William. Both Tindal and Toland anchored their interpretations of 1689 with similar conceptions of God and theological beliefs. Conservatives feared the outcome of 1689 and pointed to the writings of Toland and Tindal as evidence of the danger posed by permitting too much toleration in matters of religion. The deists inserted themselves into the impending political events and used theology as the basis for their arguments. It was against this backdrop of religious uncertainty that the deists wrote and in their own way, attempted to help England chart a new course in politics and theology.

Keywords:   William III, John Toland, Matthew Tindal, theology, Princess Anne, Carlos II

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