The Prose Works of Andrew Marvell, Volume II, 1676-1678

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Andrew Marvell (1621-78) is best known today as the author of a handful of exquisite lyrics and provocative political poems. In his own time, however, Marvell was famous for his brilliant prose interventions in the major issues of the Restoration, religious toleration, and what he called "arbitrary" as distinct from parliamentary government. This is the first modern edition of all Marvell's prose pamphlets, complete with introductions and annotation explaining the historical context. Four major scholars of the Restoration era have collaborated to produce this truly Anglo-American edition. From the Rehearsal Transpros'd, a serio-comic best-seller which appeared with tacit permission from Charles II himself, through the documentary Account of the Growth of Popery and Arbitrary Government, Marvell established himself not only as a model of liberal thought for the eighteenth century but also as an irresistible new voice in political polemic, wittier, more literary, and hence more readable than his contemporaries."This book provides a much needed properly edited, extensively and expertly annotated edition that has been wanting in literary and historical studies for more than a hundred years. An extremely important scholarly achievement."-Nigel Smith, Princeton University

Author Biography: Annabel Patterson is Sterling Professor of English at Yale University and the author of Nobody's Perfect: A New Whig Interpretation of History published by Yale University Press. Martin Dzelzainis is senior lecturer in English, Royal Holloway College, University of London. Nicholas Von Maltzahn is professor of English at the University of Ottawa. N.H. Keeble is professor of English at the University of Stirling.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780300099362
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication date: 11/20/2003
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 528
  • Product dimensions: 6.52 (w) x 9.50 (h) x 1.37 (d)

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VOLUME II 1676-1678
By Andrew Marvell


Copyright © 2003 Yale University
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-300-09936-2

Chapter One


Introduction Annabel Patterson

There can be few publications more richly announced and situated than Marvell's twinned pamphlets, Mr. Smirke; or the Divine in Mode and A Short Historical Essay Concerning General Councils, Creeds, and Impositions, in Matters of Religion. We know exactly what caused him to write them, and the sequence of events that led both up to and down from their publication is unusually fully documented. While the two parts of the Rehearsal Transpros'd can and must be located in the toleration debates of 1668-73, there is perhaps more local information about what provoked Marvell to return to the issue in 1676, providing us with the equivalent ofwhat cultural historians of an anthropological bent have termed thick description, presumably more admirable than thin.

THE CONTEXT The local story began with Bishop Herbert Croft's decision to appeal to the session of parliament that opened on April 13, 1675. The session had opened with a speech by Charles II that Marvell had preemptively parodied, not least because it stated, against all evidence to the contrary, the king's determination to "shew the World [his] Zeal to the Protestant Religion." The session was a heated one, involving attempts to impeach both Lauderdale and Danby, and eventually stymied by the disputes about privilege between the two Houses in the cases of Shirley vs. Fagg and Stoughton vs. Onslow. When not distracted by the latter issue, the Commons pursued "effectual Ways for the Suppressing the Growth of Popery," and in general showed the coercive temper with respect to religious dissent that had forced the retraction of Charles's Declaration in 1673. Croft, bishop of Hereford, having begun as a Roman Catholic, and converted back in the 1630s to ardent Anglicanism, had by the early 1670s become one of the spokesmen for compromise, not for religious toleration or the removal of penalties for those who could not join the national church, but for comprehension within it of as many Protestants as possible by stressing what they had in common rather than the ceremonial points that divided them. In 1667 he had worked with Colonel John Birch and Sir Robert Atkins to introduce a bill for comprehension which never reached the floor of the Commons; and he and Sir Edward Harley, Marvell's friend and correspondent, opposed the new and more rigorous Conventicles Act of 1670. At that time he resigned as royal chaplain. In May 1675, as the Commons floundered about with bills, on the one hand, to prevent "Papists" from sitting in Parliament, and on the other to abolish the medieval statute de Haeretico Comburendo, he and five other bishops attended a meeting of Anglican divines who supported some sort of comprehension, and Croft was nominated to write a pamphlet arguing this position. The result was The Naked Truth: or, the True State of the Primitive Church. Croft must have written it in something of a hurry, trying to reach the parliament before the summer recess. It was an earnest but not particularly impressive piece of argument.

Marvell tells us in Mr. Smirke that Croft arranged for four hundred copies of The Naked Truth to be printed, intending to distribute them to "the Speakers of both Houses, and as many of the Members as [four hundred copies] could furnish." On June 9, however, Charles prorogued the parliament, as being unable to conduct its business properly, until October 13. "The Parliament rising just as the Book was delivering out and before it could be presented," wrote Marvell in the opening pages of his defense, Croft ordered the printer to suppress it until the next session. "Some covetous Printer in the mean time getting a Copy, surreptitiously Reprinted it, and so it flew abroad without the Authors knowledge, and against his direction" (p. 51). Both the authorized and the pirated editions were anonymous, but Croft's authorship was readily guessed. We can deduce from these statements of Marvell's that the pirated impression hit the streets in late summer or early autumn 1675. The authorized version, with a newly humble and apologetic preface, would have appeared during the short session convened on October 13, most likely in November. Between them, they caused a sensation.

John Evelyn reported in his Diary for February 18, 1676, one semiofficial response-a sermon by "Dr. Gunning Bish: of Elie ... Chiefly against an Anonymous Booke called Naked Truth, a famous & popular Treatise against the Corruption in the Cleargie, but not sound as to its quotations; supposed to have been the Bish; Herefords: & was answered by Dr. Turner: it endeavouring to prove an Equality of Order of Bish; & Presbyter: That they were but one, from different Commissions: Dr. Gunning asserted the difference of their functions as divine & absolutely necessarie; implying that their antagonists were Sismatics." Evelyn's entry indicated that there had already been a published answer to Croft by Francis Turner, chaplain to the duke of York. In fact, Turner's Animadversions upon a Late Pamphlet, also published anonymously, though it carried the imprimatur of Henry Compton, newly appointed bishop of London, dated February 23, was advertised for sale in the Gazette for February 3-7 (no. 1066). Since the Gazette was a government organ, containing only one or two advertisements for books in each issue, this meant that Turner's attack on Croft also had support in high places.

Although Mr. Smirke also mentions Gunning's sermon, as well as another anonymous answer that Marvell suspected to be by Gunning, it was written exclusively to confute Turner, whose attack on Croft was quite differently focused than the sermon, and whose authorship, as Evelyn's comment shows, was the same kind of open secret as was Croft's. Self- advertised as Animadversions, Turner's pamphlet tore its victim apart phrase by phrase. It was also personally contemptuous in its tone, and this, along with the fact that Turner was a royal chaplain undoubtedly looking for promotion, brought Marvell into the argument. Marvell could have begun his reply, then, in the second week of February, but another incentive or inspiration was provided on March 11, when George Etherege's new play, The Man of Mode; or, Sir Fopling Flutter was first produced at Dorset Garden.

If these dates in February and early March 1676 conjoin to provide a starting point, a finishing point is indicated by the fact that Marvell refers in Mr. Smirke to "good Mr. Oldenburg" (p. 52) as someone who would be offended if Marvell decided to publish his pamphlet without a license. This teasing gesture of defiance of the unenforceable licensing law was both cryptic and revealing. Not many people would have known that Henry Oldenburg, the distinguished secretary of the Royal Society and friend of Milton, had, for barely three months, in February, March, and April of that year, held a license from Secretary of State Joseph Williamson to review political texts, presumably to enhance his always insucient income. On April 29, however, Oldenburg returned his license to Williamson "because persons have been busy to impress on Williamson's mind disquieting suspicions concerning his affection to the Government, and also because of the tenderness of the employment and the vast expense of time it requires." In other words, the licenser's seat had become too hot. In letters that preceded this one, Oldenburg had been in trouble over "one unhappy amorous romance" he had been asked to license; but perhaps the heat had been further increased by the appearance of Marvell's unlicensed pamphlet, with his own name teasingly highlighted.

At any rate, Marvell must have finished Mr. Smirke before he learned of Oldenburg's resignation. And at the very end of the Essay, there is another internal dating. The London Gazette for May 4-8, no. 1092, advertised Lex Talionis: Or the Author of Naked Truth Stript Naked, and on the last page of the Essay Marvell remarked on "a new Book fresh come out, entitled, the Author of the Naked Truth stripp'd Naked." By May 8, the wardens of the Stationers' Company know of the work and are searching for it. In about two months, therefore, Marvell had put together not only his own refutation of Turner and defense of Croft, on the model of his extremely successful public disputes with Samuel Parker, but also the Essay, for which he had mastered the ecclesiastical history of Christianity from its origins, along with relevant materials, not so easy to locate, from the Church Fathers. Some of this reading he may have done earlier, at the time of the Rehearsal Transpros'd; and, as I shall argue below, the Essay may have been almost finished shortly before Mr. Smirke was quite complete; but the two works were bound, conceptually and bibliographically, too tightly together to permit of the hypothesis that the Essay was a separate project. Marvell was now, of course, comparatively at leisure, since the short session of 1675, convened on October 13, was prorogued by the king on November 22, 1675, not to return to work until February 15, 1677. This hiatus constituted the notorious Long Prorogation.

There is a gap of perhaps two months, then, between the likely appearance of Marvell's twin pamphlets and the famous letter he wrote describing their reception. Marvell had been keeping Sir Edward Harley, Croft's ally, informed about his tolerationist writing for some time. In May 1673, he had written to Harley about the importance, in his own eyes, of the Rehearsal Transpros'd: The Second Part, for which he claimed the status of "a noble and high argument." On July 1, 1676, he wrote again, regaling his friend and fellow-tolerationist with very firsthand gossip:

The book said to be Marvels makes what shift it can in the world but the Author walks negligently up & down as unconcerned. The Divines of our Church say it is not in the merry part so good as the Rehearsall Transpros'd, that it runns dreggs: the Essay they confesse is writ well enough to the purpose he intended it but that was a very ill purpose ... Dr. Turner first met it at Broom's went into a Chamber & though he were to have dined which he seldome omits nor approves of Fasting yet would not come down but read it all over in consequence. The Bp of London has carryed it in his hand at Councill severall days, showing his friends the passages he has noted but none takes notice of them ... I know not what to say: Marvell, if it be he, has much staggerd me in the busnesse of the Nicene & all Councills, but had better have taken a rich Presbyterians mony that before the book came out would have bought the whole Impression to burne it.

This marvelously nonchalant account of his new success, told in the prudential third person, nevertheless indicates that Marvell was alerting Harley to the conceptual daring of the Essay as compared to Mr. Smirke, much as he had signaled the difference in seriousness between the first and the second parts of the Rehearsal Transpros'd. The vignettes of Turner getting hold of a copy of Mr. Smirke at Broome's eating house and forgoing his dinner in order to find out how effective was Marvell's counterattack, and of Compton carrying his copy around trying to get the attention of his colleagues on the Privy Council, are delightful instances of thick description; but the final detail, of a rich Presbyterian attempting to stop dispersal of the pamphlets by buying up the entire stock, alerts us as well to the material life of books and booksellers.

The timing of the events here described, which surely refer to the first edition of his pamphlets, can be reconfirmed by governmental efforts to stop their circulation. In early May the Wardens' Accounts of the Stationers' Company show evidence of intensive searches for them:

May 8 Paid & spent with our master Mr. Norton &c. on a Search, & coach hire to mr. Secrty Coventry &c about Darby & Ponders Pamphlet being part of mr Smirk. 17/0 [17 shillings] May 9 Paid & laid out in another search for the residue of mr Ponders Pamphlett with our master & others. 9/6 [9 shillings, 6 pence] May 10 Paid for going to Whitehall to ye Councell about Ponders business in Coach hire & other expenses. 7s. [7 shillings] May 11 Search at Thompsons & elsewhere 17/6 [17 shillings, 6 pence] May 18 Paid & spent upon a Search at Ratcliffe & Ponders by my Lord of Londons order. 5/8 [5 shillings, 8 pence] June 9 To Whitehall and back to speak to my Lord of London [Henry Compton] 1/-[1 shilling]

These entries tell us several interesting things: first, that both Henry Coventry, the chief secretary of state, and Henry Compton, bishop of London (who had licensed Turner's Animadversions and been ironically forgiven for doing so in Mr. Smirke), were now trying to track down and suppress Marvell's pamphlets; second, that there was a "part of mr Smirk" in which the authorities were particularly interested, almost certainly the Essay; and third, that several printers were suspected of being involved in their production.

Nathaniel Ponder and John Darby were, of course, known to have been responsible for the Rehearsal Transpros'd. Thomas Ratcliffe was described by George Kitchin, in his biography of Sir Roger L'Estrange, as running a "large and Whiggish" printing house and was still in partnership with Nathaniel Thompson, who would soon print The Long Parliament Dissolved. In the event, only Darby and Ponder were arrested. On May 10 Williamson recorded the indictment of Ponder "for printing Marvells Book": "Owned to have had those papers from Mr. Marvell with directions from him to print them. That he, Ponder, gave them out to be printed, that he had no license for the book. Ordered to be committed. Lord Privy Seal opposed it, because the cause is bailable by statute. Lord Chancellor. That for contempt of the order of the Board made against printing without license, for the seditiousness of the matter of it &c he may be committed for it." To the high-ranking officials interesting themselves in this affair, therefore, we can now add Sir Heneage Finch, the lord chancellor, and Arthur Annesley, Lord Anglesey, lord privy seal, who had in 1672 intervened successfully between Ponder and Sir Roger L'Estrange to prevent the suppression of the Rehearsal Transpros'd but was on this occasion overruled.


Excerpted from THE PROSE WORKS OF Andrew Marvell by Andrew Marvell Copyright © 2003 by Yale University. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents


Volume I Introduction by Annabel Patterson....................xi
Chronology: Marvell in the Restoration....................xliv
Abbreviations....................liii REHEARSAL TRANSPROS'D Edited by Martin Dzelzainis....................3
Rehearsal Transpros'd....................41
REHEARSAL TRANSPROS'D: THE SECOND PART Edited by Martin Dzelzainis and Annabel Patterson....................207
Rehearsal Transpros'd: The Second Part....................221
Appendix A: "The Justice of the Swedish Cause"....................441
Appendix B: Suetonius's Life of Caligula....................450
Appendix C: "The King's Speech"....................460
Volume II Chronology: Marvell in the Restoration....................xi
MR. SMIRKE and A SHORT HISTORICAL ESSAY ON GENERAL COUNCILS Edited by Annabel Patterson....................3
Mr. Smirke; or, the Divine in Mode....................35
A Short Historical Essay Concerning General Councils, Creeds, and Impositions, in Matters of Religion....................115
AN ACCOUNT OF THE GROWTH OF POPERY Edited by Nicholas von Maltzahn....................179
An Account of the Growth of Popery and Arbitrary Government in England....................223
REMARKS UPON A LATE DISINGENUOUS DISCOURSE Edited by N. H. Keeble....................381
Remarks Upon a Late Disingenuous Discourse Writ by one T.D. & c....................413
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