In telling the story of Jeremiah Joyce's life and work, the author traces the links between his social circumstances and his intellectual outlook. Joyce espoused and aspired to a sense of social respectability, yet it was the very standards of respectability that served to partially alienate him and that created some of the compromises he had to negotiate. For a considerable portion of Joyce's literary production it is possible to identify the tenets of Unitarianism—particularly in his writings for the Unitarian publisher Joseph Johnson and in his last book, Systematic Education. For the publishing world Joyce had been instrumental in securing a freedom which benefited the whole industry. Joyce's writings represent a compromise between his Unitarian views, the requirements of his publishers and the developing market for books. Joyce's personal history had taken him through a period of intense social change and political challenge to the authority of the government.