Vera J. Camden
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Dissenting devotion and identity in The Experience of Mary Franklin (d. 1711)
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This essay explores how Mary Franklin, a newly discovered female voice, used her private manuscript devotions to create an identity that could defy and defend against State persecution. As a mother and a Presbyterian minister’s wife, living in a Restoration London notoriously dangerous to dissenters, Franklin chronicles the trials her family endured for their religious beliefs in a manuscript account, later titled by Franklin’s granddaughter ‘The Experience of my dear grandmother, Mrs Mary Franklin’. A recourse to scripture proofs, coupled with her own dramatic experiences, allowed Franklin to write a spiritual autobiography that situated her belief in a distinct Protestant past, as well as in the present tumultuous times she was living in. This essay reveals how Franklin’s devotion protected her against the tribulations of persecution and defined her identity as a dissenter.

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People and piety

Protestant devotional identities in early modern England

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