Sir Matthew Hale, 1609-1676: Law, Religion and Natural Philosophy

Front Cover
Sir Matthew Hale (1609-76) was the greatest common lawyer of his age, and the most universally admired. Although he held office under Oliver Cromwell, this barely affected his standing in Restoration times. A study of Hale's life and thought necessarily illuminates the central role of the common law in Stuart politics. This book explains Hale's political ideas, and his subtle understanding of the peculiar character of an 'unwritten' law. It also covers his extensive writings on scientific and religious questions, writings which document a shift from puritan to liberal Protestantism. His acute but equivocal response to the science of Descartes and Boyle reveals a fascinating interplay between his 'latitudinarianism' and the new natural philosophy. The result is a unique case study, and a comprehensive portrait of a seventeenth-century mind.
 

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Contents

Coke the appeal to reason
11
Selden the appeal to contract
30
The rights of the Crown
42
Interregnum
58
Protectorate
74
Restoration the nature of laws
89
Restoration constitutional theory
98
Restoration legal practice
118
Hale and religious dissent
173
Natural philosophy
193
Natural motions
195
The Torricellian experiment
209
The soul
218
Conclusion
234
Hale and witchcraft
237
Bibliography
240

Religion
137
Hales puritanism
139
Hales latitudinarianism
156

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About the author (1995)

Born in Australia in 1949, John Guy grew up in England. Early in life Guy developed a love of history. He pursued that interest and read History under the supervision of Professor Sir Geoffrey Elton, the pre-eminent Tudor scholar of the late-twentieth century. John Guy took a First and became a Research Fellow of Selwyn College in 1970. Awarded a Greene Cup by Clare College in 1970, he completed his PhD on Cardinal Wolsey in 1973 and won the Yorke Prize of the University of Cambridge in 1976. John Guy has lectured extensively on Early Modern British History and Renaissance Political Thought in both Britain and the United States. He has published 16 books and numerous academic articles. Guy's book My Heart is My Own: the life of Mary Queen of Scots (Harper Perennial, 2004) won the 2004 Whitbread Biography Award, the Marsh Biography Award, was a finalist in the USA for the 2004 Biography/Autobiography of the Year Award (National Books Critics' Circle), and has been translated into Spanish and Czech. Other books include Thomas More (Hodder Arnold, 2000), and The Tudors: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford University Press, 1990). For over twenty years he was co-editor of the acclaimed academic series Cambridge Studies in Early Modern British History; and co-author of The Reign of Elizabeth I: Court and Culture in the Last Decade (Cambridge University Press, 1995) and contributed to The Oxford History of Britain, The Oxford Illustrated History of Britain, The Oxford Illustrated History of Tudor and Stuart Britain, and The Oxford History of the British Isles: the Sixteenth Century.

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