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Oral culture in Britain 1500–1850
Editors: Adam Fox and Daniel Woolf

Human beings have developed a superabundance of ways of communicating with each other. Some, such as writing, are several millennia old. This book focuses on the relationship between speech and writing both within a single language, Welsh, and between two languages, Welsh and English. It demonstrates that the eighteenth-century Scottish clergy used the popular medium of Gaelic in oral and written form to advance the Gospel. The experience of literacy in early modern Wales was often an expression of legal and religious authority reinforced by the spoken word. This included the hearing of proclamations and other black-letter texts publicly read. Literate Protestant clergymen governed and shaped the Gaelic culture by acting as the bridge-builders between oral and literary traditions, and as arbiters of literary taste and the providers of reading material for newly literate people. The book also offers some illustrations of how anecdotes became social tools which used to make points not only in private correspondence but also in civil conversation in early modern England. Locating vagabonds and minstrels, and other wanderers on the margins of settled society depended on the survival of the appropriate historical record. Cautionary tales of the judgements God visited upon flagrant and incorrigible sinners circulated widely in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century England: stories of sabbath-breakers, swearers, drunkards, adulterers and other ungodly livers struck down suddenly by the avenging arm of the Almighty. During the age of Enlightenment, intellectual culture nourished a new understanding of non-literate language and culture.

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The clergy and emigration in principle

judgment on which most Irish clergymen, of all denominations, could have set him right. Horatio Townsend’s earlier perception of a peculiar attachment to the soil aside, independently funded emigration was proceeding at a considerable pace by 1830, while, in the wake of the Robinson emigration, the Colonial Office had received thousands of petitions from Ireland requesting free passages to North America.33 It was clear that any extension of government funding for emigration would be enthusiastically taken up. For a section of Protestant clergymen, already disturbed by

in Population, providence and empire

, Rudyard Kipling came out with his famous imperialist poem The White Man’s Burden’, which makes explicit reference to the US and the Philippines (indeed, it was first published with the subtitle The United States and the Philippine Islands’), much to the delight of Lodge and Roosevelt. The ‘white man’s burden’ dovetailed with ‘new manifest destiny’, legitimizing US imperialism, presenting it as the ‘imperialism of righteousness’. 116 Protestant clergymen went further

in Humanitarian intervention in the long nineteenth century

spite of his declared beliefs, have been very much opposed to any accusation of maleficent witchcraft. Why should this difference exist between two Protestant clergymen with much in common in other respects? One way to answer this question is to consider the specific circumstances under which individual authors wrote. Gifford had personal experience of witchcraft accusations as minister for the parish of Maldon in Essex, a county which underwent a much higher level of witchcraft persecution than the rest of the Home Counties, and his works suggest that he was

in Scepticism and belief in English witchcraft drama, 1538–1681