Toggle Main Menu Toggle Search

Open Access padlockePrints

John Darby and the Whig Canon

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Joseph HoneORCiD



This is the authors' accepted manuscript of an article that has been published in its final definitive form by Cambridge University Press, 2021.

For re-use rights please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.


Through a coordinated series of publications in the final years of the seventeenth century, a diverse set of commonwealth texts was entrenched into canon of whig political thought. This article explores that canon through the lens of the history of the book. Many texts of the whig canon were edited by the Irish deist John Toland. All of them were printed by John Darby. This article reconstructs Darby’s role in the commonwealth opposition to the perceived failures of the Williamite revolution. Using bibliographical methods to establish his output, it shows that from the earliest days of the revolution Darby reprinted a broad range of historic whig texts, including ephemeral pamphlets and poems, which provided a language, a rationale, and a model for opposition activity. He also manufactured pamphlets that adapted country principles to contemporary political circumstances. By shifting the focus from Toland to his printer, the article suggests that the canonical whig texts were one part of a much broader and more ambitious programme to establish an historic canon of oppositional literature.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Hone J

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: The Historical Journal

Year: 2021

Volume: 64

Issue: 5

Pages: 1257-1280

Print publication date: 01/12/2021

Online publication date: 28/12/2020

Acceptance date: 23/11/2020

Date deposited: 24/11/2020

ISSN (print): 0018-246X

ISSN (electronic): 1469-5103

Publisher: Cambridge University Press


DOI: 10.1017/S0018246X20000606


Altmetrics provided by Altmetric