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By Perez Zagorin

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8 See the first Agreement, Postscript. * The case o f the armie truly stated, 1-2, 6, 14-16. 5 A cal to all the sotddiers o f the armie, 1647, 6. C. H. ), Hallerand Davies (Leveller tracts, 64), and Ashley {op. , 39) are correct, I believe, in accepting this as Wildman’s. , Part II, 6-7. 1 I jW. the other Leveller leaders, Wildman’s principal requirement was the recognition of the right of all, including the poorest, to have a voice. Like them, too, he desired the redress of grievances, the effect of which would have been to cut seriously into the interests of many powerful groups : the common lawyers, members of the great trading companies, and the beneficed clergy, besides the crowd of jobbers and committee­ men who were making profits out of government business.

And Haller (Tracts on liberty, I, 125) ascribe this anonymous work to Walwyn. It bears every mark of his style. 6 Lilbume and Overton similarly depreciated it in 1646; see above, 11, 23. 7 The origins of this interpretation of the English past have never been adequately studied. , in Samuel Daniel’s The collection o f the history o f England, 1612-18, in the latter’s account o f the reign of William I. 27 THE LEVELLER THEORISTS ' cause they were aware that the past could not always be used to sup­ port their demands, they appealed to reason.

Their literal acceptance of the state of nature. is 3 remarkable illustration of this. For what did the stress on the state of nature signify, if not a reading away o f all the determinate historical conditions under which men lived, with all their corporate privileges, customary rights, and traditional ties? All that remained was man as a rational creature and what he could claim in virtue of being a man—a*, claim more compelling than any sanctioned by immemorial custom. ~~The invocation of reason by the radicals left the royalists in posses­ sion ofHlstory.

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A History of Political Thought in the English Revolution by Perez Zagorin


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