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The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
Volume X. The Age of Johnson.

XVI. The Literature of Dissent

§ 4. Michaijah Towgood

From the lower ground of mere hand to mouth polemics, Watts’s treatises were also answered by John White in his Three Letters to a Gentleman Dissenting from the Church of England—letters which, in spite of the popularity which they enjoyed with the church party, would be otherwise inconsiderable, were it not that they gave birth to one of the most enduring monuments of the polemics of dissent. White’s Letters were demolished by Michaijah Towgood, presbyterian minister at Crediton. In The Dissenting Gentleman’s Answer to the Reverend Mr. White’s Letter (1746–8), Towgood gave to the world one of the most powerful and widely read pleas for disestablishment that dissent ever produced. So far as the literature of dissent on the subject of toleration and freedom of conscience is concerned, this monumental work is the last word spoken in the period here treated; for the activity of the dissenters’ committee of deputies (a dissenters’ defence board in the matter of civil disabilities) was entirely legal and secular in its motive and expression.