The letters of Theophilus Lindsey (1723-1808) illuminate the career and opinions of one of the most prominent and controversial clergymen of the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. His petitions for liberalism within the Church of England in 1772-3, his subsequent resignation from the Church and his foundation of a separate Unitarian chapel in London in 1774 all provoked profound debate in the political as well as the ecclesiastical world. His chapel became a focal point for the theologically and politically disaffected and during the 1770s and early 1780s attracted the interest of many critics of British policy towards the American colonies. Benjamin Franklin, Joseph Priestley and Richard Price were among Lindsey's many acquaintances.
The first of this two-volume edition of the letters of Theophilus Lindsey covers the period from 1747 to the eve of the French Revolution; their subjects include religious and political debate, campaigns for ecclesiastical and political reform, and the emergence of a theologically distinct Unitarian denomination. The letters are accompanied by full notes and introduction.
G.M. DITCHFIELD is Professor of Eighteenth-Century History, University of Kent at Canterbury.