Copies of the catalogue (with illustrations) can be obtained from Richard Overell
At the moment on 30 January 1649 when the executioner's axe severed the neck of Charles I, the crown of England passed by inheritance to his son, the eighteen-year-old Prince Charles. But the heir was a proscribed exile, and, constitutionally, England was now a republic, later acquiring a Lord Protector, Oliver Cromwell, who performed some regal functions. It was not until May 1660 that Charles II was able to return to his kingdom and begin his effective reign.
Viewed from a royalist perspective, the Restoration was both an attempt to put the clock back to 1641, and a daring experiment in political innovation. In his ceremonial role Charles was an anointed monarch, conferring legitimacy on a mediaeval hierarchy of peers, bishops and judges. His court the source of much important poetry and patronage of poets was a household as well as the headquarters of a national bureaucracy. Yet in his personal views he was a man caught up in the most advanced enthusiasms of his age. He was hedonistic, tolerant, sceptical, sexually permissive, deeply interested in new developments in science and architecture, an admirer of Hobbes, a supreme opportunist in politics, and an enemy of idealism however and wherever expressed.
While meticulously reviving the ceremonial forms of royal rule, Charles made sure that they never acquired much in the way of content. Services at the Chapel Royal were an occasion for practical jokes on the preachers and beating time to elegantly composed anthems with dance-like ritornelli. As soon as he could decently divest himself of the high-minded advisers who had supported him in exile, he surrounded himself with ministers, companions and mistresses who shared his outlook. National wealth was to be secured by the encouragement of overseas trade and by wars which often took the form of state-sanctioned piracy, but otherwise left to bloom under its own disorderly impetus, fertilised by corruption. His reign saw the westward extension of London as a city of terraces, squares and parks including his personal masterpiece, St James's. The older part of the city, having conveniently burned down in 1666, was rebuilt to new, Wren-inspired designs, though (in another conflict of tradition and innovation) still on its chaotic former street plan.
The Great Fire was one of three major disasters of the period. It had been preceded by the Great Plague of 1665, which saw the capital deserted by all who were able to leave, and was followed a little over a decade later by the ugly outburst of public hysteria known as the "Popish Plot" panic, during which numbers of Catholics were sent to the gallows on the evidence of lying witnesses. The reaction against this was strong enough to allow Charles's Catholic brother, James II, to succeed him in 1685 without open opposition; but it only took three years before James was sent into exile and replaced by his daughter Mary and her consort William of Orange. This "Glorious Revolution" of 1688 traditionally marks the end of a period during which every aspect of British politics, government, finance and law had suffered revolutionary changes; in which literature and the arts had made a decisive break with the styles of the past; and in which the physical sciences, under the intellectual guidance of Newton, Boyle and Hooke, had laid solid foundations for their future development. In a significant sense the age had seen the creation of the social and intellectual world which we still inhabit.
The Monash University Library's holdings of writings from the period, while originally assembled to provide a kind of antechamber to its world-ranking eighteenth-century collections, have now taken on an importance of their own which is augmented by the availability of many other sources for the period on microform. Taken together, the rare-books and the microform holdings permit in-depth study of a kind that twenty years ago would only have been possible in a handful of libraries in the northern hemisphere. It is an achievement on which the University has every reason to congratulate itself.
Professor Harold Love,
Scope. The Exhibition concentrates on the reign of Charles II and the period up to about 1700. It does not include material from Queen Anne’s reign as Monash has mounted two exhibitions on Swift and his circle in recent years; copies of the catalogues are still available. There is no emphasis on religious material despite the fact that we have extensive holdings in the area. We are considering a future exhibition on the religious controversies of the period. Although important figures such as Hobbes, Locke and Milton are not represented, we hope nevertheless that we have succeeded in capturing at least some of the flavour of the period.
Histories and Documents
1. Clarendon, Edward Hyde, Earl of, 1609-1674.
The history of the rebellion and civil wars in England, begun in the year 1641 : with the precedent passages, and actions, that contributed thereunto ... and conclusion thereof by the King's blessed restoration ... in the year 1660. (Oxford : printed at the Theater, 1704) 3 vols.
The Restoration of Charles II to the throne after the fall of Cromwell’s Commonwealth was a time of great rejoicing among the English people. However, the scars of the terrible sufferings inflicted on them during the rule of the "saints" were part of the national psyche throughout the reign of the later Stuarts. The excesses of the Civil War were constantly at the back of people’s minds, and could be called up by propagandists for the status quo, during the Exclusion crisis for example, when demagogues such as Shaftesbury seemed likely to disrupt the state. There is a constant refrain, from the conservative side of politics to "Remember ‘41!" Bishop Burnet, writing of 1679, noted that, among his fellow clergymen, "nothing was so common in their mouths as the year forty-one, in which the late wars began, and which seemed now to be near the being acted over again." (History, vol. 1, p. 461)
Clarendon was one of the Royalists gathered around Charles at his court-in-exile. He returned with the royal retinue in May 1660. The description of that event forms the end of the third book of his History.
On Monday he [the King] went to Rochester; and the next day, being the nine and twentieth of May, and his Birth-day, he enter’d London; all the ways thither being so full of People, and Acclamations, as if the whole Kingdom had been gather’d there. Between Deptford and Southwark the Lord Mayor and Aldermen met him, with such protestations of joy as can hardly be imagin’d. The Concourse was so great, that the King rode in a croud from the Bridge to White-Hall; all the Companies of the City standing in order on both sides, and giving loud thanks to God for his Majesty’s presence. He no sooner came to White-Hall, but the two Houses of Parliament solemnly cast themselves at his Feet, with all vows of affection and fidelity to the world’s end. In a word, the Joy was so unexpressible, and so universal, that his Majesty said smilingly to some about him, "he doubted it had been his own fault he had been absent so long; for he saw no body that did not protest, he had ever wished for his Return. (v.3, p. 602)
Clarendon served as Chancellor for Charles II during the early years of the Restoration, until 1667. His account of the Civil War is still one of the most authoritative. The magnificent three volume first edition is one of the finest examples of book production from the Oxford University Press. It is said that money from the sales of this book was used to establish the special imprint of the Clarendon Press.
2. Crowne, John, 1640?-1712.
The misery of civil-war : a tragedy, as it is acted at the Duke's Theatre, by His Royal Highnesses servants. (London : Printed for R. Bentley and Mr. Magnes, in Russel-Street in Covent-Garden, 1680)
This is an example of an admonitory text used to warn people that agitating for civil unrest could precipitate another civil war. John Crowne was a notable Restoration play-wright. He was also a friend of the King and used his dramatic skill in this adaptation of the second and third parts of Shakespeare’s Henry VI to discourage the public from following the Whigs.
The period from 1678 to about 1683 saw the hysteria of the Popish Plot and the Exclusion Crisis.
The Popish Plot was thought by many at the time to consist of an attempt by the Jesuits to overthrow Charles II and place his Catholic brother James on the throne. The Whigs under Anthony Ashley Cooper, Earl of Shaftesbury, sought to capitalise on this to force the King to exclude his brother from the succession and ensure the throne, and the kingdom, remained Protestant. They believed that the King should be brought firmly under the control of Parliament. In 1688, after James II fled England for France, and William and Mary were set upon the throne, many of these popular demands were met.
3. The Solemn mock procession of the Pope, Cardinalls, Jesuits, Fryers etc. through the Citty of London, November the 17th. 1680. (London : Printed for Nathaniel Ponder, at the Peacock near the Stocks Mark[e]t ; Jonathan Wilkins at the Star in Cheapside, next Mercers Chappel ; and Samuel Lee at the Feathers in Lumbard-Street, near the Post-Office, 1680) Description: 1 sheet : ill. ; 43 x 56 cm. folded to 43 x 29 cm. (folio) Illustrated broadside with contemporary hand colouring, in prose with some verse, with a large engraving (plate-mark 265 x 491 mm).
This hand-coloured broadside shows the 1680 Pope-burning procession. It took place on November 17th, the anniversary of the accession of Elizabeth I. Elizabeth was a monarch revered for her staunch Protestant qualities. She had become Queen after the death of the Catholic Queen Mary, "Bloody Mary", who had attempted to bring England back into the Roman Catholic fold.
These processions attracted crowds estimated at an incredible 200,000 people. They wound through London, ending at Temple Bar near the statue of Queen Elizabeth. The climax of the procession was the Pope-burning. The effigy of the Pope, stuffed with live cats, was thrown on to the flames, adding greatly to the sinister effect. These processions were organised by the Whig "Green Ribbon Club" and took place in 1679, 1680 and 1681.
Apart from the Pope and his Cardinals, the Jesuits, and the monks, we see on the floats in the upper panel, Sir Roger L’Estrange with his fiddle (for more information see items 41-45). Next to him is an effigy of Elizabeth Cellier and her meal tub. The "Meal Tub Plot" was an attempt to make the public believe that the Presbyterians were also involved in plotting againts the King. It is usually referred to in pamphlets of the time as a "Sham Plot". Near the head of the procession is a person dressed as a Catholic priest on a horse, carrying the body of Sir Edmundbury Godfrey; the "priest" is brandishing the sword with which he is about to impale the corpse.
4. Charles I, King of England, 1600-1649.
Basilika : the works of King Charles the Martyr : with a collection of declarations, treaties, and other papers concerning the differences betwixt His said Majesty and his two houses of Parliament : with the history of his life, as also of His tryal and martyrdome. 2nd ed. (London : printed for Ric. Chiswell ..., 1687) (fol.)
During the Restoration, Charles II’s father, Charles I was revered as a martyr. After losing the Civil War, he had been executed by the supporters of the victorious Parliamentary side on 30 January, 1649. Throughout the Restoration, and well into the eighteenth-century, 30th January was kept as a day of remembrance for Charles I, and special sermons were preached.
This folio edition of the King’s works includes the well-known, Eikon Basilike, with its special engraved emblematic title-page. This was one of the most popular books during the Commonwealth period. It purports to be the meditations of the King, although it was probably written by John Gauden, one of his chaplains. The first edition appeared the day after his execution, and although they tried to suppress it, the Parliamentary officers were unable to stem the tide of editions which flooded from the surreptitious Royalist presses in response to the public demand. Milton, the official propagandist for the Parliament wrote Eikonoklastes in an attempt to neutralise the effect of the King’s book, but it failed to capture the popular imagination.
The copy on display was formerly owned by Richard Bulstrode, one of Charles II’s diplomats.
5. Blount, Thomas, 1618-1679.
Boscobel, or, The compleat history of the most miraculous preservation of King Charles II, after the battle of Worcester, September the 3d, 1651 : to which is added Claustrum regale reseratum, or, the King's concealment at Trent / publish'd by Mrs. Anne Wyndham. The fourth edition, adorn'd with cuts. With a supplement to the whole. (London : Printed for J. Wilford ..., 1725)
The religious fervour surrounding the image of Charles the Martyr was supplemented by the literature of Boscobel, the Royal Oak, and Charles II’s almost miraculous escape after the Battle of Worcester. The King and one of his courtiers spent twenty-four hours hiding in an oak tree (signified by the number 8 in the centre of the far right of the illustration), in the grounds of Boscobel House near Worcester after the defeat of the Royalist army. Charles eventually managed to escape to France, disguised as one of his subjects, helped by the Catholic priest, Father Huddleston, among others.
6. Pierce, Thomas, 1622-1691.
England’s season for reformation of life : a sermon delivered in St.Paul's Church, London on the Sunday next following his sacred Majesties restauration. (London : Printed for Timothy Garthwait, at the Little North-Door in St. Paul's Church-Yard, 1660)
This is one of many sermons preached on the Restoration. The established Church looked to Charles II as its saviour from the extremes of Puritanism, Presbyterianism and non-conformity.
7. England and Wales. Sovereign (1660-1685 : Charles II)
A common-councell holden the first day of May 1660. [London] : Printed by James Flesher, 1660) At head of title: Aleyn Mayor.
This was one of the official documents issued to mark the Restoration of the King. It includes the text of a letter and declaration from King Charles II to the Court of Common Council, dated from Breda, April, 1660.
8. Heath, James, 1629-1664.
The glories and magnificent triumphs of the blessed restitution of His Sacred Majesty K. Charles II : from his arrival in Holland 1659/60 till this present, comprizing all the honours and grandeurs done to, and conferred by, Him. (London : Printed and are to be sold by N.G., R.H. and O.T. ..., 1662)
Heath was one of those who shared Charles’s exile during the Commonwealth period. After the Restoration he wrote a history of the Civil Wars, and a biography of Cromwell as well as this panegyric on the King.
9. Dryden, John, 1631-1700.
Annus mirabilis the year of wonders, M. DC. LXVI : an historical poem : also A poem on the happy restoration and return of His Late Sacred Majesty Charles the Second, likewise A panegyrick on His coronation : together with A poem to My Lord Chancellor presented on New-Years-Day, 1662. (London : Printed for Henry Herringman, and sold by Jacob Tonson, 1688)
During the inter-regnum, Dryden, who came from a family which supported the Parliamentary side in the Civil War, tried to secure favour from Cromwell and his government. He wrote a poem in praise of the Protector, which was re-published in 1682 to embarrass him during the Popish Plot and Exclusion Crisis, at which time he was writing directly to the King’s orders. Dryden was Charles II’s Poet Laureate and Historiographer Royal from April, 1668. During the crises in the late 1670s and the early 1680s the duties included putting forward the Royalist point of view. Arguably the finest of Dryden’s poems, Absalom and Achitophel, was also his most effective propaganda stroke.
These early poems deal with the Restoration itself, and the year 1666, a year which opened with the plague of 1665 finally abating. The Great Fire of London raged from 2 to 5 September, wiping out much of the city, while at sea Britain was fighting a naval war with the Dutch.
10. Eikon basilike deutera = The pourtraicture of His Sacred Majesty King Charles II : with his reasons for turning Roman Catholick / published by K. James ; found in the strong box. ([London : s.n.], 1694)
This anonymous attack on Charles II has a frontispiece which parodies the famous image of his father in Eikon Basilike. Instead of worshipping God in heaven, Charles II is kneeling in adoration of one of his mistresses. An idea, widely held at the time, was that the King was weak, and too much under the sway of his mistresses, most of whom, except for Nell Gwyn, were French Catholics.
11. Airy, Osmund, 1845-1928.
Charles II. (London : Goupil & Co., 1901)
This volume is on display to show the coloured portrait frontispiece of Charles II.
12. Fox, Charles James (1749-1806)
A history of the early part of the reign of James the Second (London : Printed for W. Miller by W. Bulmer, 1808)
James had been received into the Catholic Church in 1669 by a Jesuit, but his conversion was not public until he ceased to attend Anglican services in 1676. For all that, he was still acceptable as the rightful heir to the throne after his brother’s death. However, by 1688 he had alienated most of his subjects by his heavy-handed attempts to reinstate Catholicism.
Fox was a Whig statesman and his biography is unsympathetic to the King, but it is important in that it prints for the first time the correspondence on English affairs between Louis XIV and his ambassador in London, M. Barillon. It also prints the correspondence between the Earl of Sunderland and Dr. Fell concerning Locke. A manuscript version of this is on display as item 19.
Fox’s work is open at a portrait of James.
13. Rapin de Thoyras, M. (Paul), 1661-1725.
The history of England / written in French by Mr. Rapin de Thoyras; translated into English, with additional notes, by N. Tindal. 3rd ed. : Illustrated with maps, genealogical tables, and the heads and monuments, of the kings, engraven on seventy seven copper plates. (London : Printed for John and Paul Knapton, 1743-47) 4 vols. (fol.)
Rapin was a Protestant Frenchman who served in William of Orange’s army. He was present with the troops who accompanied William to England in 1688 and fought at the Battle of the Boyne.
These volumes of Rapin’s eighteenth-century general history of England are open at portraits of the later Stuart Kings and Queens. Charles II was succeeded by his brother James II. After a disastrous but short reign James was deposed and the throne taken by William and Mary, James’s daughter and son-in-law.
William III came to the English throne mainly to help his country, Holland, in its fight against the French and the Spanish. He was a distinguished soldier and continued to spend much time abroad at the head of his army. He is perhaps best remembered for his victory in 1690 over James II at the Battle of the Boyne. This occurred when James, supported by the French, landed in Ireland in an attempt to regain his throne.
The Monash Rare Book section mounted an exhibition on the Glorious Revolution in 1988. Copies of this catalogue are still available, although it is worth noting that we have acquired a great deal of material on this topic since then.
Queen Anne was the last of the Stuarts. She was Mary’s sister, and after her death the throne went to the Hanoverian line of George I.
14. "A New Plan of the City of London, Westminster, and Southwark" in Stow, John, 1525?-1605.
A survey of the cities of London and Westminster : containing the original, antiquity, increase, modern estate and government of those cities / Written at first in the year MDXCVIII by John Stow...; Since reprinted and augmented by the author; and afterwards by A. M. H. D. and others. Now lastly, corrected, improved, and very much enlarged ... from the year 1633, (being near fourscore years since it was last printed) to the present time, by John Strype ... Illustrated with exact maps of the city and suburbs, and of all the wards; and likewise of the out-parishes of London and Westminster: Together with many other fair draughts of the more eminent and publick edifices and monuments. In six books. To which is prefixed, The life of the author, writ by the editor ... (London : Printed for A. Churchill, J. Knapton, R. Knaplock, J. Walthoe, E. Horne, B. Tooke, D. Midwinter, B. Cowse, R. Robinson and T. Ward, 1720) 2 vols. (Map on display in Vol. 1.)
Stow’s original survey appeared in 1598 and 1603. This edition was updated by John Strype.
15. Burnet, Gilbert, 1643-1715.
Bishop Burnet's History of his own time ... : From the Revolution to the ... Treaty of Peace at Utrecht, ... To which is added author's life, by the editor. (London : Printed for Thomas Ward, 1724-34) 2 vols. (fol.) Edited by his son, Sir Thomas Burnet.
Gilbert Burnet was one of the Whig bishops, but he did not want to identify himself with the rabble-rousing tactics of Shaftesbury and the Exclusionists. When he saw the inevitability of James succeeding to the throne he left for Holland where he attached himself to William’s court. After the 1688 Revolution when William and Mary came to power in place of James, Burnet was made Bishop of Salisbury.
His History of his own time constitutes a valuable account from one of the main participants. He summed up Charles II’s character thus,
He had a very good understanding. He knew well the state of affairs both at home and abroad. He had a softness of temper that charmed all who came near him, till they found how little they could depend on good looks, kind words, and fair promises; in which he was liberal to excess, because he intended nothing by them, but to get rid of importunities, and to silence all farther pressing upon him. He seemed to have no sense of religion: Both at prayers and sacrament he, as it were, took care to satisfy people, that he was in no sort concerned in that about which he was employed. So that he was very far from being a hypocrite, unless his assisting at those performances was a sort of hypocrisy, (as no doubt it was:) ... He said once to my self, he was no atheist, but he could not think God would make a man miserable only for taking a little pleasure out of the way. He disguised his Popery to the last. But when he talked freely, he could not help letting himself out against the liberty that under the Reformation all men took of enquiring into matters of religion: For from their enquiring into matters of religion they carried the humour farther, to enquire into matters of state. (vol. 1, p. 93)
Being a Whig, Burnet was the subject of attacks from the Tory side, as this vignette portrait of him in Dryden’s The Hind and the Panther shows,A Portly Prince, and goodly to the sight,
16. Swan, John, d. 1671.
Speculum mundi, or, A glass representing the face of the world : shewing both that it did begin and must also end, the manner how and time when being largely examined : the whole of which may be fitly called an hexameron, or discourse of the clauses, continuance, and qualities of things in nature : occasioned as matter pertinent to the work done in the six days of the world's creation. The fourth edition, much beautified and enlarged. (London : Printed by J.R. for John Williams, 1670)
The Restoration period saw the end of the theocentric view of the world and the beginning of the rational. Swan’s Speculum Mundi first appeared in 1635, but this 4th edition was revised by the author. It presents all knowledge arranged according to the six days of the Creation.
Among the creatures created on the fifth day we find the mermaid, "the most strange fish in the waters".
Some have supposed them to be devils or spirits, in regard of their whooping noise that they make. For (as if they had power to raise extraordinary storms and tempests) the winds blow, seas rage, and clouds drop, presently after they seem to call. Questionless, nature’s instinct works in them a quicker insight, and more sudden feeling and foresight of these things, than is in man; which we see even in other creatures upon earth, as in fowls, who feeling the alteration of the air in their feathers and quills, do plainly prognosticate a change of weather before it appears to us. (p. 333)
He quotes from Petit’s The Low Country Comonwealth, as translated by Ed. Grimston (1609), a story of a mermaid captured in Holland in 1403.
She suffered herself to be cloathed, fed with bread, milk, and other meats, and would often strive to steal again into the sea, but being carefully watched she could not: moreover she learned to spin, and perform other petty offices of women; but at the first they cleansed her of the sea-moss which did stick about her. She was brought from Edam to Harlem, where she would obey her Mistris, and (as she was taught) kneel down with her before the crucifix, never spake, but lived dumb and continued alive (as some say) fifteen years; then she died. (p. 334)
Swan adds that "Mermen" too have been reported,
in the year 1526 ... there was taken in Norway, near to a Sea-port called Elpoch, a certain fish resembling a mitred Bishop, who was kept alive some few days after his taking. (pp. 334-335)
17. Moreri, Louis, 1643-1680.
The great historical, geographical and poetical dictionary: being a curious miscellany of sacred and prophane history ... / Collected ... out of Lewis Morery ... (London : Printed for Henry Rhodes; Luke Meredith; John Harris; Thomas Newborough, 1694) 2 vols.
Swift had a copy of this book in his library; his name appears in the Subscribers’ List. He is thought to have consulted the entry for "Terra Australis" when writing Gulliver’s Travels. Judging by Moreri’s description the entry does not appear to be an early reference to Australia. After mentioning the "many roots which give extraordinary Tinctures or Dyes not known to the Europeans," he describes the inhabitants,
the People are divided into small towns of 40 to 80 cabins each: that they are docile, and of a good complexion, love their ease, and go half naked, especially the young people, and wear fine cloaks of Mat or Feathers, which some tye round them like Aprons, the Men down to their knees, and the Women to the middle of the leg. Their Arms are a Bow and Arrows, and each Canton has its King very much respected by the Subjects.
Moreri was a Provencal priest, but his encyclopaedia or Grand dictionnaire historique, which first appeared in 1674, is arranged in a purely rational fashion.
In contrast to Swan’s work, Moreri’s does not include reference to mermaids or mermen.
On the botton shelf we have some typical bindings of the period, including a two volume folio Bible in a Queen Anne binding, and some folio volumes of Archbishop Tillotson’s works in panelled calf.
18. "Votes of the Commons from 21 Oct. 80 to Jan 10 80, with severall Speeches in Parliament and 2 Bills.
Except for specific Parliaments in the 1640s and the early 1680s it was not permitted to publish the debates in Parliament during the seventeenth century. However, manuscript accounts of the speeches, sometimes supplied verbatim by the members themselves, were widely circulated. The volume on display includes six printed and six manuscript items detailing speeches etc. from this session of Parliament.
19. "Letters between the Earl of Sunderland & Dr. Fell, Dean of Christ Church College Oxford, concerning the expulsion of Mr. Locke from that College when he was student." ms. copy in the third Earl of Shaftesbury’s manuscript note-book; vellum bound in folio, 18th century.
These letters are dated from 6 to 16 November 1684. Sunderland was the Secretary of State. He wished Locke to be expelled from Christ Church for his adherence to the Earl of Shaftesbury, the leader of the Whigs during the Exclusion Crisis. By this time, Shaftesbury had died, the Tories were in the ascendant, and the succession of James, Duke of York, to the throne was assured. As Dr. Fell notes in his reply to Sunderland dated 8 November, Locke "is now abroad upon want of health". In fact Locke had fled to Holland, where Shaftesbury had also gone before his death. Locke was not to return until after the 1688 Revolution.
20. Burnet, Gilbert, 1643-1715.
"Letter to Charles II, 29 January 1679/80". [early ms. copy]
Burnet tried to bring a moderating influence to bear upon the heated debates surrounding the exclusion crisis and the Popish Plot. His letter to Charles dares to give very frank advice,
I must then first assure you Majesty, I never discover’d any thing like a Design of raising Rebellion among all those with whom I converse; but I shall add on the other hand that most People grow sullen and are highly dissatisfied of You. Formerly your Ministers, or his Royal Highness [i.e. the Duke of York] bore the blame of things that were ungrateful; but now it falls upon your Self; and Time which cures most of her Distempers, increases this. ...
There is one thing, and indeed the only thing in which all honest men agree as that which can easily extricate you out of all your troubles. It is not the change of a Minister or of a Council, a new allyance, or a session of Parliament; but it is (and, suffer me Sir to speak it with a more than ordinary earnestness) a Change in your own Heart, and in your Course of Life. And now Sir, if you do not with indignation throw this Paper from you, permit me (with all the Humilitie of a Subject prostrate at your feet) to tell You that all the distrust your People have of You, all the necessities You are now under, all the indignation of Heaven that is upon You, and appears in the defeating of all your Councils, flow from this that You have not fear’d nor serv’d God, but have given Yourself up to so many Sinful Pleasures.
Such advice must seldom have been given by a clergyman to his King. Charles is said to have screwed up the letter and thrown it into the fire. But Charles was not usually of a vindictive nature, and, although he did not act on the advice, he was quite affable to Burnet when next they spoke.
Wall Case 4
21. Religious Sentances [sic] taken from Burkitt on the New Testament, in an eighteenth century hand in a vellum-bound exercise book.
As Professor Harold Love points out in his book, Scribal publication in Seventeenth-Century England (Oxford : Clarendon Press, 1993), many works continued to circulate in manuscript during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. This was particularly the case with salacious works and works of a politically sensitive nature. But there was also a tendency for people to make manuscript copies of works for their own use; works which may perhaps have been expensive or unobtainable. This example seems to have been a collection of devotional passages extracted and brought together in a common-place book.
William Burkitt’s Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament first appeared in 1700 and went through numerous editions throughout the century.
Charles II’s courtiers were notoriously lax in their morals. Much of what we know of Restoration court-life comes from memoirs such as these. The diaries of John Evelyn and Samuel Pepys were not published until the nineteenth century, and Aubrey’s Brief Lives, although written for Wood to incorporate in his Athenae Oxonsienses, did not appear in full until 1898.
22. Hamilton, Antony, count, 1645?-1719.
Memoirs of Count Grammont / by Count A. Hamilton ; a new translation, with notes and illustrations, embellished with seventy-six portraits, of the principal characters mentioned in the work. (London : printed for S. and E. Harding, )
The Count de Grammont (1621-1707) was at the English court in the 1660s after having been exiled from the court of Louis XIV. He married, under some compulsion, Eliza Hamilton, the sister of Anthony, Count Hamilton. His memoirs were written partly by himself and partly by his brother-in-law and give much detail of the intrigues, and the day-to-day life in the Restoration court. They appeared first in French in 1713, and were translated by Abel Boyer into English for publication in 1714. The account of Frances Stuart, "Miss Stewart", the woman who supplanted Lady Castlemaine as the King’s mistress, is typical of the information which may be gleaned from these memoirs.
At this time  the King’s attachment to Miss Stewart was so public, that every person perceived, that if she was but possessed of art, she might become as absolute a mistress over his conduct as she was over his heart. This was a fine opportunity for those who had experience and ambition. The Duke of Buckingham formed the design of governing her in order to ingratiate himself with the King: God knows what a governor he would have been, and what a head he was possessed of, to guide another; however, he was the properest man in the world to insinuate himself with Miss Stewart: she was childish in her behaviour, and laughed at every thing, and her taste for frivolous amusements, though unaffected, was only allowable in a girl about twelve or thirteen years old. A child, however she was, in every other respect except playing with a doll: Blind-man’s buff was her most favourite amusement: she was building castles of cards, while the deepest play was going on in her apartments, where you saw her surrounded by eager courtiers, who handed her the cards, or young architects, who endeavoured to imitate her.
She had, however, a passion for music, and had some taste for singing. The Duke of Buckingham, who built the finest towers of cards imaginable, had an agreeable voice. She had no aversion to scandal: and the Duke was both the Father and Mother of scandal: he made songs, and invented old women’s stories, with which she was delighted; but his particular talent consisted in turning into ridicule whatever was ridiculous in other people, and in taking them off, even in their presence, without their perceiving it: In short, he knew how to act all parts, with so much grace and pleasantry, that it was difficult to do without him, when he had a mind to make himself agreeable; and he made himself so necessary to Miss Stewart’s amusement, that she sent all over the town to seek for him, when he did not attend the King to her apartments. (pp. 136-137)
She had been brought up in France where her royalist father had lived during the inter-regnum, "and spoke French better than her mother tongue".(p. 107) Grammont summarised her character thus, "It was hardly possible for a woman to have less wit, or more Beauty." (p. 107) Britannia’s face on English coins, is modelled on hers.
For Dryden’s description of Buckingham, see item 50; for his portrait, see item 24.
23. North, Roger, 1653-1734 (ed. [Montagu North ])
Examen : or, an enquiry into the credit and veracity of a pretended complete history; shewing the perverse and wicked design of it, and the many falsities and abuses of truth contained in it : Together with some memoirs occasionally inserted : All tending to vindicate the honour of the late King Charles the second, and his happy reign, from the intended aspersions of that foul pen. (London : printed for Fletcher Gyles, 1740) (4to)
This is an attack on vol. 3 of White Kennett’s Complete history of England. (1706)
Roger North was the younger brother of Sir Francis North, the Chief Justice of Common Pleas from 1675 to 1682, when he became Lord Chancellor. His Examen includes a great deal of privileged information and shrewd character assessments. Here is his summary of Shaftesbury’s career,
He was certainly a true Matchiavellian Politicone, and his skill lay in the English State. He was bred in the air of Change, the rebellious Times, and had an extraordinary Forecast of Alterations; and Reason good, because he was supposed to have had a great hand in making them. He saw the Happy Restauration would be, and perhaps, used it to destroy that sour Sort of People that must fall under it. Besides he knew that Plenty and Luxury in a Court, fresh and jocund as this was like to be, would not be wanting, and exactly agreed with his Genius; so he turned into it and made his Pleasure and Policy meet. What Schemes he wrought upon before I know not, but after the Restauration he had but two. One was to make his Court by blowing full the Prerogative; that was his hot Fit; his cold was holding secret Correspondence with the fanatic Party, and serving them. After this Game broke, the next was emergent upon the Duke of York’s being declared a Papist, and, upon that Foot setting up the Populace, and, therein, besides the ordinary Topics, he had the advantage of the common Tendency of Things to change, which from a Culmen at the Restauration, went continually declining towards the Vale of Bitterness to the Crown: Sedition and Rebellion. His Lordship in this Way went great Lengths, and came very near to his Desires; and nothing but a peculiar, I may say unaccountable, Crisis, on the King’s Part could have crossed him. If the King had been either very peremptory and positive, or very compliant in every thing, his Majesty had been lost; for the whole train against him was directed upon one of those dispositions presumed, and he was of neither: So a middle Course, commonly the worst, in the Conjuncture of that reign proved the best Policy. (pp. 118-119)
North reports a story concerning William of Orange having been preyed upon by his rivals among the other high-ranking Dutch families,
that, in his immature Age, some considerable Persons took care through the means of a Page, and an ill woman or two, that the Prince should not abound in Posterity. to claim the hereditary Stadtholdership, which had also an unfortunate turn upon his Health and Length of Life: and to be rid of his Person, and also make the utmost Advantage to their State of it, they played him upon England: It is likely he was preserved among them mainly for that End. For, by that Means, they might not only remove a Rival in Trade, and secure their Naval Power, but gain positive Advantages of Wealth and Grandeur. (p. 120)
24. Reresby, John, Sir, 1634-1689.
The travels and memoirs of Sir John Reresby, bart. : the former (now first published) exhibiting a view of the governments and society in the principal states and courts of Europe during the time of Cromwell's usurpation; the latter containing anecdotes, and secret history, of the courts of Charles II and James II. (London : Printed for Edward Jeffery, Sherwood, Neely and Jones, and J. Rodwell, by B. McMillan, 1813)
Sir John Reresby was a member of the House of Commons for Yorkshire. He supported both Charles and James, but as a protege of Halifax was careful not to be too closely identified with the royal excesses. As a member of James’s entourage he records an important remark made by the King after news that Oates had been convicted of perjury for his evidence concerning the Popish Plot. Oates had said that he was present at a meeting of the Jesuits at the White-Horse Tavern in London on 28 April 1678, but it was now proven that he had been at the Catholic seminary at St. Omers in France on that date.
This was a grateful hearing to the King, who thereupon observed that, indeed, there had been a meeting of the Jesuits that day, and that all the scholars of St. Omers knew of it, but that it was well Dr. Oates knew no better where it was to be; for, says his Majesty, they met in St. James’s where I then lived, which, if Oates had but known, he would have cut out a fine spot of work for me. (p. 299)
If this had become common knowledge during the uproar surrounding the Plot and the Exclusion Crisis, it could well have changed the course of events. It would have made it almost impossible for Charles to ensure his brother’s peaceful succession to the throne.
Reresby’s Memoirs first appeared in 1734. The copy on display is open at a portrait of the Duke of Buckingham.
25. "James Scot, Duke of Monmouth" engraved portrait in Series I, vol III of Original letters, illustrative of British history including numerous royal letters : From autographs in the British Museum, and one or two other collections / With notes and illustrations by Henry Ellis. (London : Printed for Harding, Triphook and Lepard, 1825-1846) 11 vols. in 3 series.
One of the major figures in the Exclusion Crisis was James, Duke of Monmouth. He was the illegitimate son of Charles II. Shaftesbury put him forward as the preferred successor instead of James, Duke of York, Monmouth being Protestant while the Duke of York had converted to Catholicism. Roger North’s opinion was that, "the Earl [of Shaftesbury] loved and hated both Dukes, York, and Monmouth, alike, and intended them good equally; the one he made a Pretence and the other a Tool, and despised both." (Examen, p. 119)
In 1685 after James II had come to the throne, Monmouth led a rebellion in the western counties of England. This was suppressed, and Monmouth captured. He was executed for treason, as were many of his followers. They were sentenced by Judge Jeffreys in the "Bloody Assizes".
26. Absalom's conspiracy, or, The tragedy of treason. (London : [s.n.], Printed in the year, 1680) 1 sheet.
An allegory referring to the Duke of Monmouth and the Earl of Shaftesbury, this anonymous pamphlet, is important for its depiction of Monmouth as Absalom, and Shaftesbury as Achitophel before Dryden had written his famous poem. (see item 50.)
27. An Account of what passed at the execution of the late Duke of Monmouth on Wednesday the 15th of July, 1685, on Tower-Hill : together with a paper signed by himself that morning in the Tower, in the presence of the Lords Bishops of Ely, and Bath and Wells, Dr. Tenison and Dr. Hooper : and also the copy of his letter to His Majesty after he was taken, dated at Ringwood in Hantshire, the 8th of July. (London : Printed for Robert Horne, John Baker and Benjamin Tooke, 1685)
The execution of the Duke of Monmouth was a notoriously botched affair. The executioner, Jack Ketch had to strike five blows with the axe and "severed not his head from the body till he cut it off with his knife" (Verney Mss., as quoted in DNB). These details are not included in the Account on display, but it does tell us of the conversations which took place; the unsuccessful attempts to have the Duke submit to the doctrine of "non-resistance" to the lawful King, and the ominous exchange with Jack Ketch,
M[onmouth] (To the executioner.) Here are six Guinneys for you; Pray, do your Business well; don’t serve me as you did my Lord Russel; I have heard you struck him three or four times.
The he lay down, and soon after he raised himself upon his Elbow, and said to the Executioner, Prethee let me feel the Ax; he felt the Edge, and said, I fear it is not sharp enough.
Executioner. It is sharp enough, and heavy enough.
Then he lay down again. (p. 3)
28. Tutchin, John, 1661?-1707.
The bloody assizes, or, A compleat history of the life of George Lord Jefferies, from his birth to this present time : wherein, among other things, is given a true account of his unheard of cruelties, and barbarous proceedings, in his whole Western-circuit. Comprehending the whole proceedings, arraignment, tryals, and condemnation of all those who suffer'd in the west of England, in the year 1685 ... To which is added Major Holmes's excellent speech, with the dying speeches and prayers of many other eminent Protestants. None of which were ever before publish'd. Faithfully collected by several West-countrey gentlemen, who were both eye and ear-witnesses to all the matter of fact. (London : Printed for J. Dunton ... and sold by R. Janeway, 1689)
This is an attack on the severity of the punishments meted out to Monmouth’s followers by Judge Jeffreys. It was published after the 1688 Revolution, when it was politic to criticise the suppression of this uprising of a Protestant pretender against a Catholic King.
Jeffreys had been a Judge in many of the Popish Plot trials, and in the trial of Algernon Sidney. After James II came to the throne, he was raised to the peerage. Monmouth was defeated at the Battle of Sedgmoor, and Jeffreys was sent into the west to try the captured rebels. He sentenced 320 to hang, 841 were transported, and many more were imprisoned and whipped. He boasted that he had hanged more traitors than any of his predecessors since the Conquest. After James was compelled to flee at the end of 1688, Jeffreys tried to follow him but was captured, disguised as a sailor, at Wapping. He was consigned to the Tower where he died four months later.
Flat Case 3
29. Filmer, Robert, Sir, 1588-1653.
Patriarcha, or, The natural power of kings / by the learned Sir Robert Filmer, baronet. (London : Printed and are to be sold by W. Davis, 1680)
30. Sidney, Algernon, 1622-1683.
Discourses concerning government / by Algernon Sidney ... Publish'd from an original manuscript; to which is added the paper he deliver'd to the sheriffs immediately before his death, and an alphabetical table. 2nd ed., carefully corr. (London : Printed by J. Darby, 1704)
These works represent the two extremes of the debate over political theory during the Restoration. Filmer is the advocate of divine right while Sidney was a republican. Filmer’s Patriarcha was written during the inter-regnum and circulated in manuscript, until it was printed in 1680 to bolster the Tory argument over the succession to Charles II.
Sidney’s works were not published until after his execution in 1683. He was implicated in the Rye House Plot, a conspiracy to assassinate Charles and the Duke of York, which involved some of the more extreme elements of the Whigs. One of the key pieces of evidence found in his rooms and used in his trial was a manuscript which advocated the subjection of the King to Parliament, and put forward the view that Parliament had the power to depose rulers. This later appeared as the Discourses concerning government. It was originally written as a reply to Filmer’s Patriarcha.
31. Halifax, George Savile, Marquis of, 1633-1695.
The character of a trimmer : his opinion of I. The laws and government, II. Protestant religion, III. The Papists, IV. Foreign affairs / by ... Sir W. Coventry. 2nd ed., carefully corr. (London : Printed for Richard Baldwin, 1689)
Although published under Coventry's name, authorship of the work was acknowledged by Lord Halifax to whom it is generally ascribed.
Halifax has been credited with defeating the Exclusion Bill through his powers of oratory in the Upper House during a marathon debate between himself and Shaftesbury on the 15th November 1680. He was a great enemy of "party" and argued against mindless allegiance to either Whig or Tory.
Halifax was inspired to write this tract as a result of an article by L’Estrange in his Observator, pouring scorn on the "Trimmer",
He has more charity for the transgressors of a law than for the observers of it, more for the offence than for the constitution. When the subject says he cannot yield, the Trimmer says the Government must. He takes away the rule that the people may not break it.
Halifax cheerfully took up this epithet and wrote his Character of a Trimmer in late 1684. It was not printed until 1688, although manuscript copies were widely circulated, one being sent to the King. The ascription to Sir William Coventry arose because the printer used as copy, a manuscript found among Coventry’s papers.
In his pamphlet Halifax compared a Monarchy and a Commonwealth (meaning England as it was under Cromwell) and concluded that England should adopt "a wise mean" but with a bias towards Monarchy, remarking shrewdly,
The Rules of a Commonwealth are too hard for the bulk of Mankind to come up to. That Form of Government requireth such a Spirit to carry it on, as doth not dwell in great Numbers, ... especially in this Age, that let the Methods appear never so much reasonable in Paper, they must fail in Practice. (p. 4)
Monarchy is lik’d by the People, for the Bells and Tinsel, the outward Pomp and the Gilding, and there must be Milk for babes, since the greatest part of Mankind are, and ever will be included in that List. (p. 4)
32. Oates, Titus, 1649-1705.
A true narrative of the horrid plot and conspiracy of the Popish Party against the life of His Sacred Majesty, the Government, and the Protestant religion : with a list of such noblemen, gentlemen, and others that were the conspirators, and the head-officers, both civil and military, that were to effect it : published by the order of the Right Honourable the Lords Spiritual and Temporal in Parliament assembled : humbly presented to His Most Excellent Majesty/ by Titus Otes ...( London : Printed for Thomas Parkhurst and Thomas Cockerill..., 1679)
This has been referred to as the most effective piece of fiction from the Restoration period. It purported to be a detailed account of a plot to overthrow the King but was almost entirely a work of imagination.
Briefly put, the Popish Plot arose from an assertion by Ezerel Tonge that the Jesuits were conspiring to assassinate Charles II and place the Catholic Duke of York on the throne. This was taken up by Titus Oates, but the story had some implausible features and did not appear particularly significant until Sir Edmundbury Godfrey, the Justice before whom Oates had made his statement, was found murdered. The public was seized with hysteria, and several people were arrested. Edward Coleman, at one time private secretary to the Duke of York, was found to have in his possession letters which showed he was in communication with Jesuits in France, the French court, and the Papal Nuncio. During the period when the frenzy gripped the country thirty-five people were executed for treason, but Coleman was perhaps the only genuine traitor to be found as a result of the plot investigations.
The Popish Plot was the subject of an exhibition at the Monash Library in 1992. We have a large collection of material dealing with the matter. Detailed catalogues of that exhibition are still available.
Flat Case 5
33. Sprat, Thomas
Copies of the informations and original papers relating to the proof of the horrid conspiracy against the late King, His present Majesty, and the Government. ([London] : Printed by Thomas Newcomb, and are to be sold by Sam. Lowndes in the Strand, 1685)
The volume is open at a plan of "The Rye House". This plot was an attempt to assassinate the King, and his brother James, the Duke of York, in April 1683, on the road in front of the Rye House, when the two were returning from the races at Newmarket. It was foiled when they returned a week early.
By 1683 the unrest surrounding the Popish Plot had subsided, and the Tories and the court party were once more firmly in control. It seems that some of the more radical elements among the Whigs hatched this plot as a means of ensuring that the succession would not pass to James. When it mis-fired the groundswell of public revulsion against this "Whig Plot" helped smooth James’s path to the throne. Monmouth was implicated and fled to Holland. Sir Algernon Sidney was one of those executed, although it is not clear that he was directly involved.
Flat Case 6
34. Charles II, King of England, 1630-1685.
Copies of two papers written by the late King Charles II ; together with a copy of a paper written by the late Duchess of York. (London : Printed by Henry Hills, printer to the King's most excellent majesty, for his houshold and chappel, 1686)
35. Stillingfleet, Edward, 1635-1699.
An answer to some papers lately printed, concerning the authority of the Catholick church in matters of faith, and the reformation of the Church of England. (London : Printed for Ric. Chiswel at the Rose and Crown in St. Paul's Church-Yard, 1686)
36. Dryden, John, 1631-1700.
A defence of the papers written by the late King of blessed memory, and Duchess of York, against the Answer made to them. (London : Printed by H. Hills, 1686)
The Two Papers said to have been written by Charles II, showing that he had converted to Catholicism, were found in a box in his apartments after his death and published by James II. The papers make it plain that Charles considered Catholicism to be the true faith, but he was much shrewder than his brother and would never have openly acknowledged any conversion, knowing that his subjects would not have tolerated it. It is true that Father Huddleston administered the Catholic sacrament at the King’s death. Father Huddleston was given privileged access to the King as a reward for his service in helping save Charles after the Battle of Worcester.
A note in an early hand in one of our copies of Stillingfleet’s Answer reads,
The Duke of Ormond’s opinion on the 2 Royal papers. "He did not think they were drawn up by the King, who was too lazy to spend any time in that way, but having been composed by some Roman Catholic Priest, his Majesty by way of Penance, or some other occasion, copied them; for they were certainly in his hand writing, as the Duke saw plainly when King James showed them to Him."
Flat Case 7
37. England's happiness in a lineal succession and the deplorable miseries which ever attended doubtful titles to the crown, historically demonstrated, by the bloody wars between the two houses of York & Lancaster. (London : Printed by H. Clark for John Taylor, 1685)
This pamphlet was written to reinforce the public’s acceptance of James II as the rightful King and therefore best for England, despite being a Catholic. The worrying question to James’s subjects was whether or not a Catholic dynasty was beginning.
38. Dryden, John, 1631-1700.
Britannia rediviva : a poem on the birth of the prince. (London : Printed for J. Tonson ..., 1688)
Dryden had converted to Catholicism during James II’s reign. This is his poem written to mark the birth of the Prince of Wales. It is possibly the last poem by a Poet Laureate fully endorsing Divine Right.
Fain would the Fiends have made a dubious birth,
Loth to confess the Godhead cloath’d in Earth.
But sickned after all their baffled lyes,
To find an Heir apparent of the Skyes. (ll 122-125)
39. At the Council-chamber in Whitehall, Monday the 22. of October, 1688. (London : printed by Charles Bill, Henry Hills and Thomas Newcomb, 1688)
This includes testimony of witnesses to the birth of James, Prince of Wales, son of James II and Queen Mary, in answer to those who claimed the child was not their son.
40. Fuller, William, 1670-1717?
Twenty six depositions of persons of quality & worth: with letters of the late Queen, Father Corker, and several others writ by Mary Grey, proving the whole management of the supposititious birth of the pretended Prince of Wales and that the said Mary Grey was barbarously murther'd by the French King's immediate order / by William Fuller ; to which is added a just vindication of himself. 3rd ed., corr. (London : printed for the author and sold by A. Baldwin, 1702)
Although James came to the throne as a Catholic, he was initially a popular King. The people were relieved that the succession took place without any civil unrest, and, as the Queen had had several miscarriages it was generally hoped that he would be succeeded by his daughter Mary who was a Protestant. However, in June 1688 the Queen gave birth to a son. By this time James had made himself generally unpopular, so the prospect of an ongoing Catholic line was alarming. There were many who doubted the genuineness of the new Prince of Wales. It was rumoured that the baby had been introduced into the Queen’s chamber in a warming pan, hence the "Warming Pan Plot." It was unfortunate that the child was born at about the same time as the acquittal of the Archbishop of Canterbury and six of his fellow bishops who had been imprisoned in the Tower for refusing to read from the pulpit the King’s Declaration of Indulgence towards the Catholics. The bonfires organised to mark the birth of James’s heir were shunned in favour of bonfires to celebrate the freeing of the seven bishops.
James Edward, the new Prince of Wales, seems genuinely to have been the King’s son, and after James and his entourage fled to the continent in November 1688, the young Prince grew up to be the "Pretender" to the British throne. His son became the "Young Pretender", or "Bonnie Prince Charlie" as he was known during the 1745 uprising in Scotland.
Small Upright Case
41. L'Estrange, Roger, Sir, 1616-1704.
No blinde guides : in answer to a seditious pamphlet of J. Milton's intituled Brief notes upon a late sermon titl'd, The fear of God and the King : preach’d, and since published, by Matthew Griffith, D.D. ... addressed to the author. (London : Printed for Henry Broome [i.e. Brome], April 20. 1660)
This is an attack on Milton, part of a pamphlet controversy which took place the month before the Restoration. Milton had been the chief propagandist for Cromwell and after the Protector’s death he remained working in that capacity for Richard Cromwell, Oliver’s son. He had been blind since 1652.
Milton is now generally considered as the greatest poet of the Restoration period. Paradise Lost was written by 1663, and published in 1667. Paradise Regained and Samson Agonistes both appeared in 1671. Paradise Lost in particular sold well, and Dryden wrote of the poem as "admirable", and, in his Original and Progress of Satire (1693), referred to "Mr. Milton whom we all admire with so much justice". In 1677 Dryden turned Paradise Lost into an opera, The State of Innocence (see item 60). But not all the Restoration public could forget Milton’s activities during the Civil War and the Commonwealth. William Winstanley possibly came closer to expressing the general opinion when he wrote the entry for his Lives of the Most Famous English Poets (1687),
John Milton was one, whose natural parts might deservedly give him a place among the principal of our English Poets, having written two Heroick Poems and a Tragedy; namely, Paradice Lost, Paradice Regain’d, and Sampson Agonista; But his Fame is gone out like a Candle in a Snuff, and his Memory will always stink, which might have ever lived in honourable Repute, had not he been a notorious Traytor, and most impiously and villanously bely’d that blessed King Charles the First. (p. 195)
42. L'Estrange, Roger, Sir, 1616-1704.
Citt and Bumpkin : in a dialogue over a pot of ale concerning matters of religion and government. (London : Printed for Henry Brome ..., 1680)
L’Estrange was perhaps the most skilful of the Tory pamphleteers. Drama being the most popular literary form of the time, he presented many of his pamphlets and periodicals as dialogues. He was able to write in a variety of styles. Citt and Bumpkin was a reply to Blount’s Appeal from the country to the city, one of the most effective of the Whig pamphlets. The Appeal relates in graphic detail what the populace can expect from a Popish successor. L’Estrange adopts a demotic style in answering such a work. His pamphlet parodies the genre of the letter from the city to the country, putting the message in the mouths of a city dolt and a country dolt, both convincingly ill-informed, discussing "affairs of state" over a pot of ale.
43. Phillips, John, 1631-1706.
A pleasant conference upon the Observator and Heraclitus: together with a brief relation of the present posture of the French affairs. (London : Printed for H. Jones, 1682)
This is an attack on two of L’Estrange’s periodicals, the Observator, and Heraclitus Ridens, both of which he edited in the Tory interest.
44. Towzers advice to the scriblers, forbiding them to come near his kennel, upon pain of being torn to pieces (London : Printed for G.B., 1681) 1 sheet (2 p.)
45. The time-servers, or, A touch of the times : being a dialogue between Tory, Towzer, and Tantivee, at the news of the dissolution of the late worthy Parliament at Oxford. (London : Printed for W.H. and are to be sold by R. Janeway, 1681) 1 sheet ( p.) : ill. Broadside.
Sir Roger L’Estrange (1616-1704) was one of the most prolific pamphleteers of the Restoration period. He was a Royalist during the Civil War, and in 1663 he was made "Surveyor" of the press, in effect, chief censor, with the power to search premises and prosecute booksellers, printers and authors. He was consistently on the side of the court, later the Tory, party, and produced, in addition to his books and pamphlets, the newspapers, the Public Intelligencer, the London Gazette, Heraclitus Ridens, and the Observator.
He was an able viola player and performed in various chamber groups, so he often appears in caricatures with a fiddle. His nick-name was "Towzer", perhaps because he was a faithful dog for the King, though it has also been suggested that it derives from some of the opposition pamphlets which question his morals. We see him in the illustration on the Time-servers broadside, as a dog, saying "Forty-one", with a fiddle tied to his tail. He appears in The Solemn Mock Procession (item 3) standing on one of the floats, with his viola, and a sign reading "Touzer, old Nol’s Fidler".
After the 1688 Revolution he lost his position and had to survive as a translator of the classics. His reputation now rests on his translation of Aesop’s Fables (1699).
46. "The Trial of John Twyn", in A Complete collection of state-trials, and proceedings for high-treason, and other crimes and misdemeanours : from the reign of King Richard II. to the reign of King George I. In six volumes. With two alphabetical tables to the whole. The third edition, with additions. (London : Printed for the undertakers, J. Walthoe Sen. and jun.; Thomas Wotton, Charles Bathurst, Jacob and Richard Tonson, and the representatives of John Darby ... and also for J. Basket ... [and 29 others], 1742) vol. II, pp. 528-538.
John Twyn was a printer who was prosecuted early in 1664 for printing A Treatise of the execution of justice: wherein is clearly proved that the execution of judgement and justice is as well the peoples as the magistrates duty, and that if magistrates pervert judgement, the people are bound by the law of God to execute judgement without them and upon them. It was anonymous, but is thought to have
been written by Roger Jones, a former officer in Cromwell’s army. It advocated deposing Charles, and executing him in similar style to the fate suffered by his father, Charles I. The government was particularly sensitive at the time, because there was an abortive uprising in Yorkshire. Twyn was tried for treason, found guilty and sentenced to be hung, drawn, and quartered. He was offered his life if he informed upon the author. However, Twyn refused to do this, and the sentence was carried out.
47. Rochester, John Wilmot, Earl of, 1647-1680.
Poems, (&c.) on several occasions : with Valentinian, a tragedy / written by the Right Honourable John late Earl of Rochester. (London : printed for Jacob Tonson ..., 1696)
48. Fletcher, John, 1579-1625.
Valentinian : a tragedy / as 'tis alter'd by the late Earl of Rochester, and acted at the Theatre-Royal. Together with a preface concerning the author and his writings / by one of his friends. (London : Printed for Timothy Goodwin, 1685)
An alteration of Fletcher's play on Valentinianus III, Emperor of the West, (d. 455). The preface concerning the Earl of Rochester is by Robert Wolseley.
49. Burnet, Gilbert, 1643-1715.
Some passages of the life and death of the Right Honourable John Earl of Rochester, who died the 26th of July, 1680 / written by his own direction on his death-bed by Gilbert Burnet. (London : printed for Richard Chiswel, 1680)
Restoration poetry is mainly characterised by its satirical or bawdy subject matter. Throughout this period, much of the verse circulated in manuscript, partly to escape the attention of the censors.
Rochester is to many the embodiment of the witty reprobate poet from the Restoration court. His collected works, which first appeared posthumously in 1680 with a false Antwerp imprint, in fact include many works not by him. It is thought that the book represents the contents of a manuscript verse miscellany.
As he was dying Rochester was counselled by Burnet, and died a penitent, asking that all his bawdy verses be destroyed. His dying wish was not complied with however; in any case much of his writing was already circulating in manuscript. He was one of the most popular writers of the 1670s and 1680s, despite the fact that during his lifetime his works did not appear in print. After his death, he was used as a "type" for the hardened sinner recalled to grace.
50. Dryden, John, 1631-1700.
Absalom and Achitophel : a poem. (London : Printed for J.T. and are to be sold by W. Davis, 1681) (First issue of first edition with misprints on p. 5 and 6)
Dryden was the major figure in the literary history of the period. He was the Poet Laureate under Charles II and James II, but was replaced by Thomas Shadwell when William and Mary came to the throne. Ironically, Shadwell is now best-remembered as the butt of Dryden’s Macflecknoe.
Absalom and Achitophel was certainly the Restoration poem which had the greatest effect on events. It was written by Dryden at the suggestion of the King to set the tide against the Whigs during the Exclusion crisis, a purpose it achieved admirably. The opposition tried to counter it with answers such as Azaria and Hushai, but the quality of Dryden’s verse, in particular his characterisation of Shaftesbury, Buckingham and Monmouth ensured the effectiveness of his poem. The copy on display has a manuscript key to the identity of the characters. It was published on 17 November 1681 to coincide with the third of the Whig-organised Pope-burning processions.
Dryden applied the Biblical story of David the King of Israel, Absalom, his son, and Achitophel, the evil counsellor, to current politics. David is meant to be Charles; Absalom, Monmouth; and Achitophel, Shaftesbury. Most of the other characters on the public stage of the period also appear; the portraits of Oates and Buckingham are masterpieces.
The poem begins rather daringly, by showing David as a King "before Polygamy was made a sin", and obvious allusion to Charles’s many mistresses. This is necessary to introduce Monmouth, Charles’s favourite, though illegitimate, son. The portrait galleries of Whigs and Tories are the notable set pieces in this poem, and Achitophel’s exquisitely seductive speeches to Absalom, encouraging him to supplant David, remind the reader of Milton’s Satan.
Dryden’s description of Buckingham as Zimri is one of the best passages,
A man so various, that he seem’d to beNot one but all Mankind’s epitome.
An equally shrewd assessment of Buckingham’s character is found in item 22, and his portrait can be seen in item 24.
Dryden described his approach to satire thus,
How easie it is to call a Rogue and Villain, and that wittily! But how hard to make a Man appear a Fool, a Blockhead or a Knave, without using any of those opprobrious terms! ... There is still a vast difference betwixt the slovenly Butchering of a Man, and the fineness of a stroak that separates the Head from the Body, and leaves it standing in its place. Discourse Concerning Satire (1693)
After 1688 Dryden concentrated on translations of Juvenal, Ovid, and especially Virgil. He also re-worked and modernised earlier English poets such as Chaucer.
51. Waller, Edmund, 1606-1687.
Poems, &c : written upon several occasions, and to several persons. The eighth edition, with additions. To which is prefix'd the author's life. (London : Printed for Jacob Tonson ..., 1711)
Waller is best-remembered now as a lyric poet, but he was known during the Restoration for his "occasional" verse. During the Commonwealth he had written a eulogy on Cromwell, as had Marvell, and Dryden. When Charles returned, Waller wrote a poem of congratulation, "Upon His Majesty’s Happy Return". The King complained that it was inferior to his panegyric on the Protector, to which Waller replied, "Poets, sir, succeed better in fiction than in truth."
52. Savile, Henry (1642-1687) (attrib.)
Advice to a painter, &c. ([London : s.n., 1679?]) (4 p.) (fol.)
The "Advice to a Painter" series of poems originated with Waller’s "Instructions to a Painter, for the drawing of the posture and progress of His Majesty’s forces at sea, under the command of his Highness-Royal: together with the Battle and Victory obtain’d over the Dutch, June 3, 1665."
Waller’s poem was a panegyric upon the Duke of York’s naval prowess, and the conduct of the war against the Dutch in the 1660s. Marvell and other opposition poets took up the genre and created a series of satirical poems in which the supposed "artist" is instructed to paint a much less flattering image of events. Both Waller and Marvell were members of the House of Commons, but on different sides of the House. The Advice to a Painter poems circulated in manuscript in 1666 and 1667. In his Diary, Pepys describes how he acquired his copies.
The concept continued to be used. The example on display deals with the Popish Plot.
53. A Collection of poems on affairs of state : viz. Advice to a painter, Hodge's Vision, Britain and Raleigh, Statue at Stocks-M--, Young statesman, To the K--, Nostradamus Prophecy, Sir Edmondbury Godfrey's Ghost, On the King's voyage to Chattam, Poems on Oliver, by Mr. Driden, Mr. Sprat, and Mr. Waller / by A-- M--l Esq; and other eminent wits. Most whereof never before printed. (London : Printed in the Year, 1689)
This was the first volume of Poems on Affairs of State to be printed.
These are examples of typical Restoration poems. They are mainly satires concerned with political topics. The popular verse miscellanies, often called, Poems on Affairs of State or something similar, were usually circulated in manuscript, It was not until after 1688 that they began to appear in print.
Corridor Wall Case 2
54. Banks, John, (c1650-1706)
The unhappy favourite, or, The Earl of Essex : a tragedy : acted at the Theatre Royal by Their Majesty's servants / written by John Bankes. (London : Printed for Richard Bentley and Mary Magnes, 1682)
The Epilogue and one of the Prologues is by Dryden. This was Banks’s most successful play. He specialised in historical dramas in blank verse. The copy on display is bound in a much more ornate style than one would normally expect of such publications. It has been suggested by one researcher that it is the work of "Queens Binder D".
The play was produced shortly after Charles had dissolved the Oxford Parliament, and, in his Prologue, Dryden defends his King’s decision.
All that our Monarch would for us Ordain,
Is but t’Injoy the Blessings of his Reign.
Our land’s an Eden, and the Main’s our Fence,
While we Preserve our State of Innocence;
That lost, then Beasts their Brutal Force employ,
And first their Lord, and then themselves destroy:
What Civil Broils have cost we know too well,
Oh let it be enough that once we fell,
And every Heart conspire with every Tongue,
Still to have such a King, and this King long.
55. Bedloe, William, 1650-1680.
The excommunicated prince, or, The false relique : a tragedy, as it was acted by His Holiness's servants, being the Popish plot in a play. (London : Printed for Tho. Parkhurst, D. Newman, Tho. Cockerill, and Tho. Simmons, 1679)
This has no connection with the Popish Plot in England, but is the story of Theimuraz, King of Georgia (1629-1634) who was excommunicated by the Pope. It was not even written by Bedloe, one of the notorious informers during the Plot, but by Thomas Walter, an impecunious student. Bedloe’s name appeared on it merely to generate sales.
56. Crowne, John, 1640?-1712.
City politiques : a comedy, as it is acted by His Majesties servants. (London : Printed for R. Bently ... and Joseph Hindmarsh, 1688)
Crowne’s Misery of Civil War is on display item 2. Both plays were written to attack the Whigs during the turmoil late in Charles II’s reign. Crowne was a dramatist who wrote successful plays of all types, a court masque, heroic dramas, comedies, and satires.
57. Behn, Aphra, 1640-1689.
The feign'd curtizans, or, A nights intrigue : a comedy : as it is acted at the Dukes Theatre / written by Mrs. A. Behn. (London : Printed for Jacob Tonson ..., 1679)
This play is dedicated to Nell Gwyn, who was an actress before becoming the King’s mistress. Aphra Behn was the first woman to live by her pen in England. She went to the West Indies as a child and lived there until 1658. Oroonoko, her novel, upon which Southern later based one of his plays, was written as a result of her experiences in Surinam. She married a Dutchman who was dead by 1666. She was engaged as a spy to gather information in Holland, and was able to warn the English of the impending Dutch assault on the Thames. Unfortunately, this was not acted upon by the English Navy authorities, and the attack took place. After she returned to England she became friendly with dramatists such as Ravenscroft and began to write plays. Her first production was a tragi-comedy, The Forc’d Marriage, in 1671. She had a long and successful career as a dramatist as well as writing novels and poems.
58. Pix, Mary, 1666-1720.
The double distress : a tragedy, as it is acted at the Theatre-Royal in Little Lincolns-Inn-Fields by His Majesty's servants / written by Mrs. M. Pix. (London : printed for R. Wellington ... and B. Bernard Lintott, 1701)
Mary Pix was an Oxfordshire vicar’s daughter. Her first play was produced in 1696. In the same year, she wrote a novel, and a farce, The Spanish Wives which enjoyed considerable success. Congreve encouraged her, and she gained a reputation as a writer of comedies. One of the characters in the satire, The Female Wits; or the Triumvirate of Poets (acted 1697, printed 1704), by Mr. W. M., was based on Mary Pix; Mrs. Manley, and Mrs. Trotter being the other two women writers satirised.
59. Buckingham, George Villiers, Duke of, 1628-1687.
The rehearsal : as it was acted at the Theatre-Royal. 2nd ed., (London : Printed for Thomas Dring, 1673)
The Rehearsal is a satire on Dryden, under the guise of Mr. Bayes, a reference to his position as Poet Laureate. It is a play about putting on a play, and, as such, includes a great deal of information on dramatic practices in the period. The famous painting by Jacob Huysmans of Rochester and his monkey shows Rochester about to crown the monkey with the bays, a slighting reference to Dryden as Poet Laureate. There was a tension between the gentlemen authors such as Buckingham and Rochester, and the professional writers such as Dryden during this period. It is suspected that Rochester may have ordered the beating Dryden received from ruffians in Rose Alley on 12 December 1679. This supposedly took place as a result of a slight upon Rochester in the verse manuscript "Essay on Satire" circulating at that time. Ironically, John Sheffield, the Earl of Mulgrave later admitted having written it..
60. Dryden, John, 1631-1700.
The state of innocence, and fall of man : an opera : written in heroick verse; and dedicated to Her Royal Highness The Duchesse. (London : Printed by H. H. for Henry Herringman, 1678)
Although best-known now as a poet, Dryden was to contemporaries, the foremost playwright of his age. His most successful play was All for Love, adapted from Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra. The State of Innocence was not printed until 1677, but it seems to have been written in 1674 for the King’s Company in an effort to counter the success the Duke’s Theatre was enjoying with the revival of his own and Davenant’s operatic version of The Tempest. It proved too costly to mount so The State of Innocence appears never to have been produced. It was an opera based on Milton’s Paradise Lost. Dryden had visited Milton to secure his agreement to the adaptation.
The period is best-known among literary people for the impressive flowering of English drama. We hold a good collection of Restoration plays, many of which were bound in pamphlet volumes by contemporary collectors. The plays appeared in small quarto pamphlets, except for Bedloe’s which was published as a folio, the same format as the Popish Plot pamphlets, an appropriate choice given the intention behind that play.
The witty comedies of manners by Dryden, Wycherley and Congreve are usually considered the best of the Restoration plays, but contemporaries also showed a pronounced taste for heroic dramas, and, during the times of the Popish Plot and the Exclusion Crisis, many plays depended on allusions to contemporary events; Crowne’s Misery of Civil War, and his City Politiques being two of the more obvious.
Speculative and Factual Prose
61. Sprat, Thomas, 1635-1713.
The history of the Royal Society of London for the Improving of Natural Knowledge / By Tho. Sprat ... The third edition corrected. (London : Printed for J. Knapton, J. Walthoe, B. and S. Tooke, D. Midwinter, B. Cowse, J. Tonson, R. Robinson, J. Wilford and S. Chapman , 1722)
The Royal Society was established under the patronage of the King in 1662. It was formed to encourage research in the mathematical and natural sciences. Sprat’s History first appeared in 1667. He advocated a plain unadorned prose style as the best means of conveying the full sense of the writer’s line of reasoning. After giving details of the types of experiments the Royal Society encourages, Sprat added,
there is one thing more, about which the Society has been most solicitous; and that is, the Manner of their Discourse; which, unless they had been very watchful to keep in due Temper, the whole Spirit and Vigour of their Design had been soon eaten out, by the Luxury and Redundance of Speech. The ill Effects of this Superfluity of Talking, have already overwhelm’d most other Arts and Professions; insomuch, that when I consider the Means of happy Living, and the Causes of their Corruption, I can hardly forbear ... concluding, that Eloquence ought to be banish’d out of all civil Societies, as a thing fatal to Peace and good Manners. (p. 111)
He tells us how the Royal Society has acted to correct such excesses. They have adopted,
a constant Resolution to reject all the Amplifications, Digressions, and Swellings of Style; to return back to the primitive Purity and Shortness, when Men deliver’d so many Things, almost in an equal Number of Words. They have exacted from all their Members, a close, naked, natural way of Speaking; positive Expressions, clear Senses; a native Easiness; bringing all Things as near the mathematical Plainness as they can; and preferring the Language of Artizans, Countrymen, and Merchants, before that of Wits, or Scholars. (p. 113)
In 1664 the Royal Society set up a Committee to examine and improve the English language, a project which Swift, despite being a critic of the Society, later tried to promote.
62. Charleton, Walter, 1619-1707.
Chorea gigantum, or, The most famous antiquity of Great-Britain, vulgarly called Stone-heng : standing on Salisbury Plain, restored to the Danes / by Walter Charleton. (London : Printed for Henry Herringman, 1663)
There was an interest in early English antiquities, e.g., Sir Thomas Browne’s Urne-buriall. This interest was to grow in the early eighteenth century.
Charleton’s book was written in reply to Inigo Jones's A most notable antiquity of Great Britain, vulgarly called Ston-Heng ... restored. (1655). Jones had put forward the theory that Stonehenge was originally a Roman temple. Charleton tried to prove that it was Danish. Both theories were wrong. Apart from the early wood-cut illustrations, the book is significant for the commendatory poem by Dryden which appears in the preliminaries.
63. Aubrey, John, 1626-1697.
Miscellanies, : viz. I. Day-fatality. II. Local-fatality. III. Ostenta ... XXI. Second-sighted persons / Collected by J. Aubrey. (London : Printed for Edward Castle ..., 1696)
Aubrey is now best-remembered as the author of Brief Lives. This was a collection of miscellaneous biographical details collected for the use of Anthony Wood when he was compiling his Athenae Oxonsienses. Aubrey was a member of the Royal Society and an assiduous collector of antiquarian information. His Miscellanies, the only one of his works to appear in his lifetime, contains information on a wide range of subjects , and, although an extremely charming work, is perhaps a testament to Aubrey’s credulity. One of the oft-quoted passages occurs in the chapter on "Apparitions",
Anno. 1670, not far from Cyrencester, was an Apparition: Being demanded, whether a good Spirit, or a bad? returned no answer, but disappeared with a curious Perfume and most melodious Twang. Mr. W. Lilly believes it was a Farie. (p. 67)
Lilly was the astrologer and almanac-maker.
64. Head, Richard, 1637?-1686?
Proteus redivivus, or, The art of wheedling or insinuation: in general and particular conversations and trades: together with the several actions, inclinations and passions of both sexes, and of all their professions and occupations ... / compil'd and publish'd formerly by R. H. but now reprinted with additions in every chapter, to almost one half of the book, by the same author. (London : Printed for Tho. Passinger, 1684)
Richard Head was a miscellaneous writer best-known as the author of The English Rogue (1665). He was in some ways, a Restoration equivalent to such Elizabethans as Robert Greene, Thomas Nashe, and George Peele. His Proteus Redivivus is a form of "courtesy book", advising on behaviour, in a rather cynical way. It provides an interesting view of contemporary life, and how to get on in Restoration London. The world it reflects is much the same as that shown in the Restoration comedies of manners. Among the qualities of the "Wheedler", Head notes,
He thinks there is as absolute a necessity of dissembling his words, as saying his prayers, and is never better pleased with them, than when they look like Janus, with two Faces, or like the Devil’s Oracles, with a double construction. (p. 18)
65. La Calprenede, Gaultier de Coste, seigneur de, d. 1663.
Cassandra : the fam'd romance : the whole work, in five parts / written originally in French, and now elegantly rendred into English by Sir Charles Cotterell ... (London : Printed for Peter Parker, 1676) (folio)
Most of the novels from the period were translations from the French, Spanish or Italian. They were usually historical romances, often mingling the love interest with violent battles. The original, of this work, Cassandre, was published in Paris in 1642. A translation of a part of the work, by Cotterell, appeared in London in 1652, and a completed translation by him in 1661. Sir Charles Cotterell was a member of the literary salon Katherine Philips, "the matchless Orinda", gathered around her in London during the Commonwealth and the early Restoration.
66. Halifax, George Saville, 1st Marquis of. (1633-1695)
Miscellanies by the late Lord Marquis of Halifax viz.: I. Advice to a daughter. II. The character of a trimmer. III. The anatomy of an equivalent. IV. A letter to a Dissenter. V. Cautions for choice of Parliament men. VI. A rough draught of a new model at sea. VII. Maxims of state, &c. (London : Printed for W. Rogers [etc.], 1704)
Halifax, an active and high-ranking politician, was also an influential essayist. He seems to have had a pleasant personality, though with a tendency towards facetiousness. He was sometimes accused of atheism, perhaps on the basis of his remark that, "He who sits down a Philosopher rises up an Atheist", but his Lady’s New Year’s Gift, or Advice to a Daughter indicates some religious feelings. This was written for his daughter Elizabeth, mother of the Earl of Chesterfield, the author of the famous Letters. It was first published in 1680 after having been circulated in manuscript. Halifax did not approve of its publication.
It is a useful document for those who wish to study the expectations of an urbane but sensible man for his daughter about to enter society during the Restoration. He has ideals but is very conscious of the temper of the times. The problems for which he offers advice include how to handle difficult husbands. He tells his daughter that, if her husband is unfaithful there is a difficulty in confronting him because it may appear that you have something to hide yourself,
it is so coarse a reason which will be assign’d for a Lady’s too great warmth upon such an occasion, that Modesty no less than Prudence ought to restrain her. ... But it is yet worse and more unskilful to blaze it in the World, expecting it shoud rise up in Arms to take her part: Whereas she will find, it can have no other Effect, than she will be served up in all Companies, as the reigning Jest at that time; and she will continue to be the common Entertainment, till she is rescu’d by some newer Folly that cometh upon the Stage, and driveth her away from it. ... Be assur’d, that in these Cases your Discretion and Silence will be the most prevailing Reproof. ... Besides, it will naturally make him more yielding in other things: And whether it be to cover or redeem his Offence, you may have the good Effects of it while it lasteth. (pp. 18-19)
Horace Walpole tells us that Elizabeth’s husband wrote on the fly-leaf of the family copy of this work,
"Labour in Vain". (Walpoliana, ii. 9)
The Restoration was not an idealistic time and people usually sought practical solutions to their problems. This tendency to ignore, or pay lip-service to, religious considerations increased during the eighteenth century, and was not reversed to any marked degree until the Victorian period.
67. A Collection of voyages : in four volumes ...: illustrated with maps and draughts : also several birds, fishes, and plants, not found in this part of the world : curiously engraven on copper-plates. (London : Printed for James and John Knapton ... , 1729) 4 v. Vol. 1 only on display.
This collection of voyages includes Dampier’s voyage around the world, during the course of which, on 4 January 1688, he landed on the north-west coast of Australia.
New Hollandis a very large Tract of Land. It is not yet determined whether it is an Island or a main Continent; but I am certain that it joyns neither to Asia, Africa, nor America. (vol. 1, p. 463)
Dampier went early to sea, and lived a hard life, often as a buccaneer among the inhabitants of the East and West Indies, and of South and Central America. His oft-quoted description of the aborigines he met in New Holland is an example of plain, unadorned prose,
The Inhabitants of this Country are the miserablest People in the world. The Hodmadods of Monomatapa, though a nasty People, yet for Wealth are Gentlemen to these; who have no Houses and skin Garments, Sheep, Poultry and Fruits of the Earth, Ostrich Eggs, &c. as the Hodmadods have: And setting aside their Humane shape, they differ but little from Brutes. They are tall, strait-bodied, and thin, with small long Limbs. ... Their Eye-lids are always half closed, to keep the flies out of their Eyes; they being so troublesome there, that no Fanning will keep them from coming to one’s face; and without the assistance of both Hands to keep them off, they will creep into ones Nostrils and Mouth too, if the Lips are not shut very close. (vol. 1, p. 464)