Introduction: Crossing Borders: From Private Dialogue to Public Debate

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Writing in 1645, the Separatist leader Katherine Chidley diagrams a particular form of public debate, one based on collective dialogue and the public use of reason. Chidley’s pamphlets attack the infamous and (as her criticisms suggest) infamously long-winded pamphlets of Thomas Edwards, Presbyterian nemesis of the multiple religious sects that sprang up in Britain shortly before and during the mid-century Civil Wars. In opposition to Presbyterian calls for state control of religion, Chidley pitches sectarian bids for limited religious toleration and public dispute: And therefore the way to decide the controversy, is to cease writing of such large tractates, werein you do but (as it were) pick straws (and make abundance of repetitions, to trifle away the time,) (In my judgment) (I say). It were better for yourself and Mr. Samuel Rutherford, and Mr. A.S. (or any of you, or whomsoever the Parliament will appoint,) to produce Scripture and good reason for your way, (if you can) and let as many of the Ministers of the Congregations of the Separation, have freedom to produce Scripture and sound reason, for their way, [in a free conference.] And let the houses of Parliament who are able to judge of the great, and weighty business of the Kingdom (let them I say) have the hearing, and trial of the conference, and as things are cleared, so let them allow or disallow.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationEarly Modern Cultural Studies 1500-1700
Number of pages35
StatePublished - 2007
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameEarly Modern Cultural Studies 1500-1700
ISSN (Print)2634-5897
ISSN (Electronic)2634-5900


  • Private Sphere
  • Public Culture
  • Public Life
  • Public Sphere
  • Seventeenth Century

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • General Arts and Humanities
  • Linguistics and Language


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