As early as 1300, at Padua, Petrus Aponensis, a notable expositor of medical theories, had betrayed a heterodoxy in faith; and John of Jandun, one of the pamphleteers on the side of Louis of Bavaria, was a keen follower of Averroes, whom he styles a " perfect and most glorious physicist."
For the controversies of the Reformation were conducted by both sides, from kings and prelates down to gutter pamphleteers, in language of the most unseemly violence.
Throughout his work he gives a prominent place to everything which illustrates human progress in moral and religious, as well as political conceptions, and specially to the rise and development of the idea of religious toleration, finding his authorities not only in the words and actions of men of mark, but in the writings of more or less obscure pamphleteers, whose essays indicate currents in the tide of public opinion.
They lived in very different circles, one surrounded by dukes and earls, the other by starving pamphleteers and indexmakers.
That knowledge he had derived partly from books, and partly from sources which had long been closed: from old Grub Street traditions; from the talk of forgotten poetasters and pamphleteers, who had long been lying in parish vaults; from the recollections of such men as Gilbert Walmesley, who had conversed with the wits of Button, Cibber, who had mutilated the plays of two generations of dramatists, Orrery, who had been admitted to the society of Swift and Savage, who had rendered services of no very honourable kind to Pope.