Introduction
in Witchcraft and Whigs
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This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in this book. The book suggests that Francis Hutchinson dedicated his life to protecting the position of the established Church within society, and to forging and maintaining the political hegemony of the Whig and Hanoverian regime, first in England and then in Ireland. James Sharpe suggests that Hutchinson's witchcraft scepticism was the result of two things. First is Hutchinson's desire to distance himself from a belief system increasingly considered by the elite as part of vulgar, popular culture. Second is his disinclination to view the universe as a place where immaterial forces regularly impinged on the day-to-day workings of the temporal world. Ian Bostridge argues that Hutchinson rejected witchcraft, because he regarded it as a salient example of religious enthusiasm and as such inimical to his Whiggish vision of a polite, ordered, and, commercial society.

Witchcraft and Whigs

The life of Bishop Francis Hutchinson, 1660–1739

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