NEAL, DANIEL (1678-1743), author of the History of the Puritans, was born in London in December 1678. He received his early education at Merchant Taylors' School and at a Dissenting academy, after which he went to Holland and studied some time at the universities of Utrecht and Leyden. In 1704 he became assistant-minister of the Independent congregation of Aldersgate Street, London, and in 1706 sole pastor. In 1720 he published in two volumes a History of Hew England, which reached a second edition in 1747. His occasional printed sermons also assisted to increase his reputation among Nonconformists, and it was at the request of several influential co-religionists that he undertook to write a History of the Puritans, the first volume, which commenced with the Reformation in England, appearing in 1732, and the fourth, bringing the narrative down to the Act of Toleration of 1689, in 1738. The History was attacked for unfairness and misstatements by Bishop Maddox, to whom Neal replied in a pamphlet entitled A Review of the Principal Facts objected to the first volume of the History of the Puritans. The conscientious accuracy of Neal is indeed beyond praise, although he was undoubtedly strongly prepossessed in favour of his own side of the question, and it has been somewhat happily said of his representations of the Puritans, that he " blanches them into a sweet and almond whiteness." He died in April 1743.
Neal's History of the Puritans, accompanied with a life of the author, was edited by Toulmin in six volumes, 1793. This edition has been frequently reprinted, and an edition in two volumes, revised and enlarged by John 0. Choules, appeared at New York in 1848.