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The Cupri-Cosmits and the Latitude-Men

  • Robert Crocker
Chapter
Part of the International Archives of the History of Ideas / Archives Internationales d’Histoire des Idées book series (ARCH, volume 185)

Abstract

‘Latitudinarianism’ is perhaps best described as a pervasive tendency in mid-seventeenth century England, having its roots in intellectual Puritanism, and the growing reaction against Calvinist dogmatism that began in the 1620s and 30s.1 The term ‘Latitude-man’ seems to have been first employed by the Presbyterians in Cambridge in the 1650s against a small but gifted group of anti-Calvinist ‘moderate’ divines, including More and his Platonist friends, who were broadly ‘puritan’ in their theology, but who had rejected the orthodox dogmatism and ecclesiology of their peers.2 The few surviving ‘apologies’ for the doctrines of the ‘Latitude-men’ produced after the Restoration suggest that the term had been taken over by the returning exiles to indicate those ‘gentlemen of broad swallow’, who had survived the interregnum by compromising their doctrine for their safety and comfort. These same apologies also laid siege to certain negative or intolerant aspects of doctrinal Calvinism, appealing directly to the newly reinstated Anglican hierarchy for approval.3 Their differences, though, with the ‘High Church’ restorers of dogmatic orthodoxy amongst the returned exiles — over doctrine, the basis of authority and its exercise in the Church, and other ‘things indifferent’ — were consistently played down besides this main polemical insistence on their status as doctrinally orthodox and obedient, ‘good’ Anglicans, a surviving rump of loyalists from an earlier period.4

Keywords

Natural Theology Absolute Goodness Divine Grace Vaine Attempt Indelible Character 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 1.
    See M. I. Griffin, Jnr, Latitudinarianism in the Seventeenth-Century Church of England (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1992), John Gascoigne, Cambridge in the Age of Enlightenment (Cambridge: CUP, 1989), and John Spurr, The Restoration Church of England (New Haven: Yale, 1991). See also the fine early study by McAdoo, Spirit of Anglicanism (1965) and Philosophy, Science and Religion in England 1640–1700 ed. by R. Ashcraft, R. Kroll and P. Zagorin (Cambridge: CUP, 1992). See also R.H. Popkin’s essay, “The Philosophy of Bishop Stillingfleet”, JHP 9 (1971): 303–319, on the scientific and philosophical dimensions of Latitudinarianism, and J. Marshall, “The Ecclesiology of the Latitude-men. Stillingfleet, Tillotson and Hobbism.” JEH 36 (1985): 407–27.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    See J. Gascoigne, “The Holy Alliance: the rise and diffusion of Newtonian natural philosophy and latitudinarian theology within Cambridge.” (unpub PhD. diss, Cambridge, 1981), 38–41; and also the letters between Anthony Tuckney and his former pupil, Benjamin Whichcote, in Whichcote, Letters, in Aphorisms (1753): 1 ff, and the discussion of them in Roberts: 47–65.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    See `S.P.’, A Brief Account of the New Sect of Latitude-Men (1662): 9–11; [Edward Fowler], Principles and Practices of certain Moderate Divines (1670): 42–6,and 128–30; Joseph Glanvill, Essays (1679): 223–8; George Rust, Discourse (1683), `To The Reader’.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    See for instance [Fowler], Principles (1670): 301 ff. who devotes only the last 50 of 350 pages to his differences with the `high-churchmen’ over church government.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    This attribution has been generally accepted, though on slender grounds. Another possibility could be Samuel Parker, whose own early works and intellectual concerns it also resembles.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    In the Bodleian copy of Fowler’s book (shelfmark 8°.A.16.Linc.), there are two notes in a seventeenth-century hand (probably Barlow’s). The first remarks upon its similarity to More’s book, and his probable authorship of it, and the second correctly attributes it to Fowler. The book was published just after the failure of Comprehension in parliament.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    This exists in two versions, the second published as the last essay in Glanvill’s Essays (1676), and the first, in manuscript, in the University of Chicago Library, an extract of which has been printed in Cope, “The Cupri-cosmits: Glanvill on Latitudinarian Anti-Enthusiasm.” HLQ, 17 (1953–4): 269–286.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    The manuscript is held in the Bibliotheca Philosophica Hermetica in Amsterdam, and appears to have been prepared for publication or private circulation as a tribute to More shortly after his death. It is entitled “A Kind tho’ vain attempt, in speaking out the ineffable Doctor Harry More… that Famous Christian Philosopher.” The publisher was to be Robert Southwell, possibly in conjunction with Edmund Elys, More’s lifelong friend Dr John Davis (of whom little is known), or one of their mutual friends.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Bensalem MSS p.9, in Cope,“The Cupri-cosmits”: 271.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
  11. 11.
    This section is the basis of the Ms. “Kind tho’ vain Attempt”, mentioned above.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Author of Bentivoglio and Urania (1660), which is plainly influenced by More’s Spenserian allegory in his “Psychozoia”.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Glanvill, in Cope, “The Cupri-cosmits”: 273–86.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Hallywell’s absence from all accounts of the Cambridge Platonists, and most of the Latitudinarians, is a surprising omission.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    See More, DP, 47–51; and DD (1713): 300–2 and 326–28; Hallywell, Deus Justificatus (1668); Smith (1660): 154–8; Rust, Remains (1686): 25; Glanvill, Logoi (1670): 7–8; and Fowler, Principles (1670): 197–208.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    The origin of this `necessitarianism’ can be seen in More’s early definition of God in PP (1647): 4212: “The Platonists call the Originall of all things, To en and T’agathon, for these reasons: To en, or One, because the multitude or plurality of Beings is from this One, as all numbers from an unite: T’agathon, or the Good, para tou ‘agein, or ‘agan thesein, because all things are driven, drawn, or make haste to partake of it…”Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    See More’s characteristic view of the Calvinists’ God of power as a kind of devil, DD (1713), dialogue III, sects.xv-xvi.Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    See below, next two chapters, and for example, EE, I,iv, the `Noemata’ or moral axioms. On this tendency, see David Dockrill, “The Heritage of Patristic Platonism in seventeenth century English Philosophical Theology”, in Rogers: 55–77.Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    EE, II vi 10 on the innateness of moral equity, and see above, and Yolton (1956): 31-2. Burton, In his Anatomy (1621), Iii 10: 42, defined `Synteresis’ thus: “the purer part of the Conscience, is an innate habit, and doth signifie, a conservation of the knowledge of the law of God of God and Nature,to know good and evill.” Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    See Patrides: Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    See Rust, Discourse (1683): 40–1. The biblical reference implied here is Romans ii 14–5.Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Rust, Discourse (1683): 40–1.Google Scholar
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    See J.G. Stephens, “Matter, Mind and Perception: Studies in the history of Innate Ideas in Britain, 1650–1800” (unpublished M.Litt, Cambridge, 1977), chapters 1 and 2.Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    On the background to this, see Francis, Oakley, Omnipotence, Covenant and Order (Ithaca, NY, 1984), and the essays in G. Canzani, M.A. Granada, Y.C. Zarka (eds), Potentia Dei: l’onnipotenza divina nel pensiero dei secoli XVI e XVII (Milano: Franco Angeli, 2000).Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Fowler, Principles (1670): 202–6.Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    See “Psychozoia”, iii 12–22.Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Whichcote, Letters, in Aphorisms (1753): 13–16; and More, GMG: VIII v 7–10.Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Principles (1670): 129.Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    GMG (only 1660), Preface: 27; in Fowler, Principles (1670): 132.Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    Fowler, /bid: 137.Google Scholar
  31. 31.
    See Whichcote, Letters (1753): 43–53; Fowler, Principles (1670): 43 ff.; S.P., Brief Account (1662): 10; Rust, Discourse (1683): 24 ff.; Glanvill, Logoi (1670): 6–9; and More, IS: Iii 3–4; EE: I iii 4, and I iv 4; and DD: 500–3.Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    Principles (1670): 220; and Glanvill, Logoi (1670): 6.Google Scholar
  33. 33.
    ’bid, and for More, see below.Google Scholar
  34. 34.
    See Whichcote, Letters (1753): 11, and below.Google Scholar
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    See Glanvill, Logoi (1670): 20–1, and below.Google Scholar
  36. 36.
    See More, Discourses: 40, 122 and 171; and above.Google Scholar
  37. 37.
    Principles (1670): 72; and More, Discourses: 54.Google Scholar
  38. 38.
    See Gascoigne, Cambridge; Whichcote, Letters, in his Aphorisms (1753), and the Preface by Samuel Salter.Google Scholar
  39. 39.
    See Gascoigne, Cambridge: 1–4; and Passmore, Ralph Cudworth (1951): 80.Google Scholar
  40. 40.
    Gascoigne, Cambridge: 7–14.Google Scholar
  41. 41.
    See Gascoigne, Cambridge: 21,ff.Google Scholar
  42. 42.
    Shapiro, John Wilkins (1969): 145–7.Google Scholar
  43. 43.
    On Fowler’s career, see D.N.B. Google Scholar
  44. 44.
    C. Raven, John Ray (1650): 37 ff.Google Scholar
  45. 45.
    Ray, Wisdom of God (1691), Preface. The influence of More’s Antidote (book 2) on Ray’s Wisdom is very striking, many of Ray’s earliest examples being taken directly from More’s book, and often in the same order.Google Scholar
  46. 46.
    See Nicolson, “Christ’s College and the Latitude-men”, MP 27 (1929–30): 35–53.Google Scholar
  47. 47.
    See Nicolson, “Christ’s College”, and below.Google Scholar
  48. 48.
    See David Dockrill and J.M. Lee, “Reflections of an episode in Cambridge Latitudinarianism: Henry More’s Epistle Dedicatory to Gilbert Sheldon of his Enchiridion Metaphysicum” in Dockrill and R.G. Tanner (eds), Tradition and Traditions: Prudentia (Supplementary Number, 1994): 207–223, especially 211–213.Google Scholar
  49. 49.
    More to Anne Conway, Dec. 31, [1663], in Nicolson: 220–1 (Letter, Appendix, below).Google Scholar
  50. 50.
    More to Anne Conway, [June] 29, [1665], in Nicolson: 242 (Letter, Appendix, below).Google Scholar
  51. 51.
    More to Robert Boyle, Nov. 27, 1665, in Nicolson: 265 (Letter, Appendix, below)Google Scholar
  52. 52.
    Anne Conway to her husband, March 10, 1664/5, in Nicolson: 234; See also idem, 298, Lord Conway to More, Nov. 9, 1669, where he offers More and Cudworth an Irish bishoprick each (Letter, Appendix).Google Scholar
  53. 53.
    Beaumont was to succeed Gunning to the Regius Professorship. See DNB. Google Scholar
  54. 54.
    Beaumont, Op.cit., facing title page.Google Scholar
  55. 55.
    For Beaumont, see the Life prefacing J. Gee’s edition of his Original Poems (1749), and below.Google Scholar
  56. 56.
    More to Anne Conway, July 10,[1665], in Nicolson: 243 (Letter, Appendix).Google Scholar
  57. 57.
    More to Robert Boyle, Nov. 27, 1665, in Ibid: 264. On Sparrow, Beaumont, Gunning and Thorndike and their relationship to Bishop Wren, see Gascoigne Cambridge: 21–28. On Thorndike’s objections to More’s Platonic theology, see his Theological Works (1864), vol.5: 313–4; and 342. This is his work against Comprehension, The True Principle of Comprehension (1667).Google Scholar
  58. 58.
    See Dockrill and Lee, “Reflections of an episode”.Google Scholar
  59. 59.
    GMG: X xiii. More made extensive changes to the second edition of this work under the influence of these criticisms, and left out his offending Preface altogether. See below, next chapter.Google Scholar
  60. 60.
    GMG: X iii 1. Compare Hallywell, Sacred Method of Saving Souls (1677): 12; Rust, Remains (1686): 4; and Fowler, Principles (1670): 66 and 84.Google Scholar
  61. 61.
    GMG: X iv-v. See also Hallywell, Deus Justificatus (1668), especially 148; Fowler, Principles: 197204; and below.Google Scholar
  62. 62.
    GMG: X vi. See also Hallywell, Defence of Revealed Religion (1694): 66; and Fowler, Principles (1670): 72 and 259–60.Google Scholar
  63. 63.
    GMG: X vii-xi. Compare Hallywell, Excellency of Moral Virtue (1692): 28; and Fowler, Principles (1670): 128–45.Google Scholar
  64. 64.
    GMG: X x-xii. See below, and `S.P.’, Brief Account (1662): 11–13; Fowler, Principles: 306 ff. On the way such specific calls for a broadening tolerance emerged against a widespread faith in intolerance, see Mark Goldie, “The Theory of Religious Intolerance in Restoration England”, in O.P. Greel, J.I. Israel, N. Tyacke (eds), From Persecution to Toleration: The Glorious Revolution and Religion (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1991), chapter 13.Google Scholar
  65. 65.
    For objection 1, see More, GMG (1660):V iii 1;and V iv 1; and his Apology (1664): 494; and Beaumont, Observations (1665): 10. For objection 2, see More, GMG(1660 only): VI iv 3; Apology (1664): 508; and Beaumont, Observations (1665): 28, and below.Google Scholar
  66. 66.
    On Preexistence see below.Google Scholar
  67. 67.
    For objection 5, see More, GMG: V I 5; his Apology: 517; and Beaumont, Observations: 78. For objection 6, see More, GMG, VI xv 1; Apology: 523; and Beaumont, Observations.: 85, and below.Google Scholar
  68. 68.
    For objection 3, see More, GMG (1660 only): Pref, sect. 19; Apology: 511; and Beaumont, Observations: 55. Objection 4: More, GMG: Pref, sects. 18 and 19; Apology: 515; and Beaumont, Observations.: 66. Objection 9: More, GMG: V xvii 7; Apology: 551; and Beaumont, Observations: 168, and below.Google Scholar
  69. 69.
    Objection 7: More, GMG: X x; Apology: 538; and Beaumont, Observations: 95. Objection 8: More, GMG: X xi; Apology (1664): 542; and Beaumont, Observations: 152. Objection 10: More, GMG: X,x; Apology: 555; and Beaumont, Observations: 183, and below.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert Crocker
    • 1
  1. 1.University of AustraliaAustralia

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