Men of Substance: A Study of the Thought of Two English Revolutionaries, Henry Parker and Henry Robinson

By W. K. Jordan | Go to book overview

I
INTRODUCTION

WE ARE considering men gripped with the vision of a nobler world. We are considering men who together were to make a monumental contribution to the ferment of thought which was to dissolve the ancient structure of the English constitution, to destroy forever the theory and practice of a catholic religious society supported by the arm of persecution, and to fashion the design of a new economic and social order. These men were in the vanguard of thought in an age characterized by genius of achievement and notable for the formulation of the ideas which were to become the sturdy sinews of a liberal society destined to dominate the western world for more than two centuries. They were sprung of ancient stock; were endowed with the solid sanctions of status; and they were animated by an almost passionate sense of political and social responsibility. Henry Parker and Henry Robinson were men of substance.

Henry Parker was a member of a prominent Sussex family which had owned extensive landed properties for at least three centuries and which for six generations before his birth had fulfilled with dignity and competence the requirements imposed upon the landed gentry by an astute central government. Henry Robinson, the son of a rich merchant, was descended from a long line of prosperous and irascible merchants, one of whom had in a moment of shrewd investment likewise founded a landed branch. His family had maintained and expanded a considerable fortune during a century and a half in which talent and boldness were the only guaranties against commercial ruin. Parker was a member of the ancient aristocracy of land, the son of a father who had served the great yet heady queen faithfully and importantly during a busy lifetime; Robinson was a scion of one of the oldest of the great merchant families, an almost perfect representative of a

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Men of Substance: A Study of the Thought of Two English Revolutionaries, Henry Parker and Henry Robinson
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Acknowledgments vii
  • Contents ix
  • I - Introduction 1
  • II - Henry Parker (1604-1652): Antecedents And Life 9
  • III - Henry Robinson (1605-1673?): Antecedents And Life 38
  • IV - Religious Thought 67
  • V - Political Thought 140
  • VI - Social and Economic Thought 203
  • Bibliography 259
  • Index 267
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