From annotations on 10 February 1668:

Language Hat: “Comprehension” here has its etymological sense of ‘inclusion’ (i.e., of Nonconformists within the established church).

Terry Foreman: “the House of Commons met; and upon information given them of a Bill intended to be brought in, as common report said, for Comprehension, they did mightily and generally inveigh against it, and did vote that the King should be desired by the House… that the laws against breakers of the Act of Uniformity should be put in execution: and it was moved in the House that, if any people had a mind to bring any new laws into the House, about religion, they might come, as a proposer of new laws did in Athens, with ropes about their necks.”

House of Commons Journal: Address for enforcing Church Government.

Resolved, &c. That his Majesty be humbly desired to issue his Proclamation, to enforce Obedience to the Laws in Force, concerning Religion and Church Government, as it is now established, according to the Act of Uniformity: And such Members of this House, as are of his Majesty’s Privy Council, are to attend his Majesty with this Address.

3 Annotations

Third Reading

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

I can understand why there was a desire to rein in the more extremely unconventional sects that had emerged. But they didn't all just go away.

One, the Muggletonians, survived for over 300 years.

The problems their leader, Lodowicke Muggleton, encountered after the Restoration:
He was committed to gaol in Derby in 1663,
his books were seized in London in 1670,
he was tried for blasphemy at the Old Bailey in 1677. He was found guilty, condemned to the pillory on 3 separate days, had his books burnt before his face, and was confined to Newgate until 19 July, 1677.

That date of release (later reckoned as 30 July after the alteration of the calendar) became one of two special anniversaries in the Muggletonian history.
The other was the 3 days when God spoke to co-founder John Reeve, later reckoned as 14, 15, and 16 February.
These 'holidays' were commemorated by believers well into the 20th century.

Lodowicke Muggleton's funeral on 17 March, 1698, was attended by 248 believers; he had died at his lodgings in the Postern, London Wall, 3 days earlier. He was buried in Bethlehem new churchyard (opposite where Liverpool Street Station stands).

Numbers went into decline. Muggletonians were not an evangelizing sect: the initiative had to come from the seeker, or, as Muggleton put it, 'God only opens the door to those who knock themselves'.
This self-denying ordinance imposed strains which emerge in the correspondence of later Muggletonians.
But they were free from the usual sectarian conceit that only believers would be saved. Only believers had the assurance of salvation, but many would be saved (Muggleton thought perhaps half the world) without that assurance.
Certainly ALL children would be saved; equally certainly, NO clergymen.

So Muggletonianism never expanded as the Quakers did. What is surprising is that they should have lasted for over 300 years.

Chambers's Encyclopaedia in 1881 pronounced the sect as extinct, but their archives were tracked down in 1974, when it was found in the possession of a Kent farmer, who gave the 88 volumes of papers to the British Library, where they are now housed.

The recovery of the manuscripts has enhanced Lodowicke Muggleton's reputation.

Through Lodowicke Muggleton's lens, John Reeve dominates the earliest years (1652–8).
The story is different afterwards. Muggleton exerts a powerful grip on the movement, mainly by letters. He did not travel: he hated the sea, and he was baffled by the motives of migrants. He once forbade his lieutenant Tomkinson to think of emigrating. This was an unusual assertion of leadership.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link


Lodowicke Muggleton was not one for imposing rules on followers: he preferred those correspondents who sought his advice to make up their own minds.
He did not want them, for example, to go to church, but he turned a blind eye on some who did.
He thought praying was unnecessary, but condoned the practice if it gave pleasure to his followers.
He believed they were wrong to set so much store on written blessings from him, when oral ones were sufficient, but he still gave them when asked.
His ascendancy manifested itself in his casuist skills, not in claims to infallibility.
Lodowicke Muggleton believed that witches and ghosts, just like dreams, were produced by fear; hell was inside the self; the Devil was a creation of the imagination; and parents should love their children, but the converse did not follow.

Muggleton continued with vigor to exercise the power conferred on him since 1652 to bless and to curse; it was not until the 18th century that such powers were questioned.

The Muggletonian creed which Lodowicke fashioned had no time for churches, ceremony, and priestcraft.
Believers met where they could, often in pubs. There they would find a side-room to extol the qualities of Lodowicke Muggleton and John Reeve to the tune of patriotic ballads of the day.

This association with pubs made Macaulay designate the ascetic Muggleton as a 'tippler' (History of England, 1.164).

The archives showed that Lodowicke Muggleton was no more a drunkard than he was a psychotic (A. Jessopp, The prophet of Walnut Tree Yard, Nineteenth Century, 1884).

The recovery of the archive showed the positive qualities of a great and underrated spiritual casuist.



Please add information about other unusual sects and personalities that we don't generally discuss in conventional history circles.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

I was reading about Valentine Greatrakes who, around 1660, had a revelation that he could heal scrofula, and earned a visit to Whitehall to meet with Charles II to discuss/demonstrate his abilities.

It turns out that, after the Diary, he got caught up with the Muggletonians:
"Valentine Greatrakes returned to London a number of times, in 1675 serving as an intermediary between the Irish Muggletonians and their English founder, Lodowick Muggleton.
Greatrakes connection with the Muggletonians is noteworthy, but it is tempting to read too much into the association. The Muggletonians were a radical and small religious group that arose in the mid 1600’s when 2 London tailors experienced a divine revelation that they were the prophets foretold of in the Book of Revelation.
The Muggletonians were a millenarian sect, one of many that arose in the tumult of the 17th century. However, they were a largely apolitical group, and Greatrakes interest in them probably speaks more to his own mystical and prophetic religious experiences than his political motivations.
While his continued interest in the religious and political life of the country is evident, most of his days were taken up by the mundane routine of running a small estate in Ireland, and his notoriety ever reached the heights it had in 1666, when his fame as the Irish Stroker had made him known throughout the British Isles.
His exploits were remembered, and he continued to feature as an object of puzzlement and cause of debate in discourses on religion, miracles, and science, even into the 18th century."…

So after a visit to Charles II, Greatrakes eventually retired to Ireland and did his best to be a country gentleman. Being a retired miraculous healer is difficult -- people always want you to come out of retirement.

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Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.