Daily entries from the 17th century London diary
Though the term "fanatic" or "phanatique" was in use since 1525, by 1660 the word acquired new force to characterize (and denigrate) passionate nonconformists, both religious and political, especially the radical Puritan sects. The connotation broadened rapidly, and early in the 1661 Diary it will have become "a hostile epithet for all Nonconformists" (Companion, Large Glossary)---a heterogeneous assortment which would include Anabaptists, Fifth Monarchists (a millenarian sect), Quakers, and Presbyterians. For one such as Pepys, who prized the traditions of the church he was brought up in, "fanatic" was a term of clear opprobrium. Later in the Diary he will discuss the strength of their numbers in London, how they were persecuted when it was feared they would foment civil unrest, and the vexed question of their true loyalty and patriotism. ("Shorter Pepys," index)
The sects had flourished in the 1640's and in the 1650's due to greater freedom of speech and a free press. From 1640 to 1642 more than 1966 pamphlets had been published which questioned traditional institutions such as the family, marriage and property. These would have been read to the illiterate in taverns.What was previously regarded as heresy was freely debated and available such as Socinianism, which questioned the divinity of Christ, Millenarianism,whose golden age was in the future, The Koran, polygamy, free love and divorce.The panic of the years 1659-1660 was very real and General Lambert, whose escape from the tower had put the country on the alert, was said to be arming the Quakers, whose pacifism was a later development.After 1660 there was a real attempt to weed out the sects,Levellers,Diggers and Ranters among others, not least by The Royal Society whose aim was to combat "fanaticism"and "enthusiasm".Robert Boyle set out in his philosophy to "steal the sectaries.....thunder". On a more positive note the mechanical philosophy helped to end belief in astrology, animism, magic and witchcraft.
Hill. Christopher, Some Intellectual Consequences of the English Revolution. Phoenix 197
Fifth Monarchy --
"The Fifth Monarchy Men or the Fifth Monarchists were a quasi-political religious party active from 1649-1661. Based on a strong millennium message, they hoped to reform Parliament and the government for the imminent coming of Christs' Kingdom on Earth. The movement was prominent throughout the Commonwealth and was organized.
"The 'Fifth Monarchy' or the 'Fifth Kingdom' is a biblical reference. The reference is based of the Old Testament (Daniel 2: 44) of a prophesy in a dream by King Nebuchadnezzar. He envisioned five kingdoms in history, and the last, or Fifth Kingdom would usher in a new kingdom on earth. Millenarianism was a popular message of the Interregnum (1649-1660). 'The godly being in league with God ...' (1626) wrote Thomas Gataker."
explanation continues at:
Down the drain-hole of history:Whitley, "Seventh Day Baptists in England"..." shortly after 1661,Tillam and the others organized a wholesome emigration up the Rhine to a settlement in a disused monastery: this drained away most of the Fifth-Monarchy men and many Seventh-day Baptists. This colony soon met with total disaster. "
A FANATICKone who pretends to Inspiration and Revelations--- An Universal Etymological English Dictionary, 1675
Note also the encyclopedia entry for Thomas Venner, a fanatick if there ever was one:http://www.pepysdiary.com/encyclopedia/1777/
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