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date: 25 February 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter considers the debate about Anglo-Scottish union that accompanied James VI’s accession to the southern Crown. Through an analysis of David Hume of Godscroft’s De Unione insulae Britannicae and Richard Verstegan’s A Restitution of decayed intelligence, both published on 1605, it argues that the prospective union was far more politically fraught and intellectually significant than commonly recognized. Unionists like Hume urged ethnic erasure through the forging of a common British identity within an integrated British state. Brito-Sceptics like Verstegan stressed ethnic difference to the point of adopting Tacitean racial vocabularies. Precocious historical linguistics underlay each side. Each carried at its center a competing religious agenda. These matrices provide a frame for understanding the contemporary writings of such figures as Richard Hooker, William Camden, and William Shakespeare.

Keywords: David Hume of Godscroft, Richard Verstegan (Rowlands), Anglo-Scottish union, Cymbeline, race, English Common Law, Richard Hooker, William Camden

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