The Prose Works of Andrew Marvell: Volume 1, 1672-1673

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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: 9780300099355
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication date: 11/20/2003
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 544
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.40 (h) x 1.50 (d)

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VOLUME I 1672-1673
By Andrew Marvell


Copyright © 2003 Yale University
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-300-09935-5

Chapter One


Martin Dzelzainis and Annabel Patterson


In Gregory, Father-Greybeard (1673), Edmund Hickeringill relates how at the Rainbow-Coffee house the other day, taking my place at due distance, not far from me, at another Table sat a whole Cabal of wits; made up of Virtuoso's, Ingenioso's, young Students of the Law, two Citizens, and to make the Jury full, vous avez, one old Gentleman ... they all laughing heartily and gaping ... I was tickled to know the cause of all this mirth, and presently found, it was a Book made all this sport; the Title of it, The Rehearsal transpros'd. Look you here, says one of them, do not you see, p. 309. how smartly he ferrets the old Foxes, the Fathers of the Church? (as in biting Irony, he calls the old Bishops:).

Intrigued by these exchanges, Hickeringill "resolv'd, though it cost me a shilling, to see what I could find in thismarvellous Book ... readily finding one at the next Stationers." Fictitious though it may be, the scene in the Rainbow (an actual coehouse near the Inner Temple gate on Fleet Street) is nevertheless revealing. Hickeringill's repeated puns on Marvell's name confirm that his authorship of the "marvellous" Rehearsal Transpros'd, published anonymously in 1672, was an open secret (its sequel, The Rehearsal Transpros'd: The Second Part (1673), bore his name on the title page). It is also clear that the book was popular and-despite censorship, as we shall see-widely and cheaply available; that it was communally read and discussed in coffeehouses, a milieu often associated with Marvell; and that it was noted for its mordant antiepiscopal wit. Marvell's prose début, like that of his friend John Milton thirty years earlier, thus took the form of a tract directed against the bishops as the embodiment of a persecuting spirit. The circumstances, however, were very different; whereas Milton's antiprelatical tracts swam with the tide of root-and-branch reform inside and outside the Long Parliament, Marvell faced a resurgent episcopate that was "arguably more confident and more powerful than at any time since the Reformation" and in tune with the instincts of "an Anglican Parliament which believed that Calvinism had destroyed the civil peace and the Book of Common Prayer and should never be allowed the opportunity to do so again." Furthermore, Milton had written against the bishops as prepublication censorship collapsed, whereas Marvell was working in the shadow of the 1662 Press Act that reinstated it.


In the Declaration of Breda (April 1660) Charles II promised "liberty to tender consciences," to be confirmed by legislation once he was restored. No such bill was forthcoming. Instead, between 1661 and 1665 the Cavalier parliament passed a series of repressive laws subsequently known as the Clarendon Code. By imposing political and religious tests, the Corporation Act (1661) barred all but Anglican royalists from municipal office, while the Act of Uniformity (1662) removed from their livings any clergymen who would not subscribe to all the Thirty-Nine Articles and give their "unfeigned consent to all and every thing" in the revised Book of Common Prayer. These measures in themselves left the ejected ministers and the lay population free to worship outside the Church of England. Another act passed in 1662 did prohibit more than five persons (other than the members of a household) from meeting for unauthorized religious purposes, but this applied only to Quakers. It was also unclear whether earlier legislation like the 1593 statute outlawing conventicles of any kind was still in force. Matters were put beyond doubt by the Conventicle Act of August 1664, which universalized the prohibition against Quaker meetings, and the Five Mile Act of October 1665, which banned ejected clergy from coming within five miles of any parish where they had ministered or of any corporate town whatsoever. England was now manifestly a persecuting state, seeking to achieve religious uniformity through coercion.

The Anglican hegemony was less secure than it appeared. Since the Conventicle Act was due to expire three years from the end of the session in which it was passed plus another session (in the event, opinion differed as to whether this meant it lapsed in August 1668 or in March 1669), and the Five Mile Act would arguably fall with it, further legislation was needed. However, the leading ministers in the new government formed after the fall of Clarendon in 1667-Clifford, Arlington, Buckingham, Ashley Cooper (earl of Shaftesbury from 1672), and Lauderdale, whose initials formed the acronym Cabal-were all patrons either of dissent or Catholicism. Among those most closely involved in schemes for modifying the Restoration church settlement from the autumn of 1667 on were George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham (1628-87), widely thought of as "the head of all those parties, that were for liberty of Conscience," and John Owen (1616-83), formerly Cromwell's chaplain and now spokesman for the Independents. Early in 1668, Buckingham sponsored discussions between the moderate Anglican John Wilkins and the Presbyterian divine Richard Baxter (1615-91) about bills for "comprehension" (relaxing the requirements for conformity to the Church of England) and toleration or, as it was more often called, "indulgence" (relief from legal penalties for dissenters who remained outside the Church of England). Sir Matthew Hale drafted a comprehension bill, while the question of indulgence was referred to Owen. In February, however, the Commons blocked the proposals before the king could even ask them to "think of some course to beget a better union and composure" in religion and turned instead to trying to renew the Conventicle Act.

The lobbying outside Parliament was intense. John Humfrey initiated the debate in June 1667 with A Proposition for the Safety & Happiness of the King and Kingdom both in Church and State, followed by John Corbet's Discourse of the Religion of England (1667) and two contributions from Owen, A Peace-Offering in an Apology and Humble Plea for Indulgence and Liberty of Conscience and Indulgence and Toleration Considered (both 1667). Sir Charles Wolseley further developed the dissenting case in Liberty of Conscience upon its True and Proper Grounds and Liberty of Conscience, the Magistrates Interest (both 1668). The response from Anglican divines was immediate: Thomas Tomkins replied to Humfrey, Richard Perrinchief attacked Corbet and Owen, and Herbert Thorndike composed a reply to Corbet as well as a critique of Baxter's proposals for comprehension.

Orchestrating the campaign was Gilbert Sheldon, archbishop of Canterbury since 1663. While there was an intellectually coherent theory of persecution based on Augustine's teachings, Sheldon's views on dissent were more visceral: "Tis only a resolute execution of the law that must cure this disease, all other remedies serve and will increase it; and it's necessary that they who will not be governed as men by reason and persuasions should be governed as beasts by power and force, all other courses will be ineffectual, ever have been so, ever will be." Persecution was necessary, and it worked. Accordingly, Sheldon approved of Simon Patrick's Friendly Debate series (1668, 1669, 1670), which, in defiance of its title, savaged the nonconformists. But the most extreme version of the case for persecution was articulated by Samuel Parker (1640-88), who, like Tomkins, was a chaplain to Sheldon and who, in common with Patrick, sought to thwart comprehension and indulgence and to promote measures against dissent. In rapid succession, Parker produced a trio of Sheldonian polemics: A Discourse of Ecclesiastical Politie: Wherein the Authority of the Civil Magistrate Over the Conscience of Subjects in Matters of Religion is Asserted; The Mischiefs and Inconveniences of Toleration are Represented. And All Pretenses Pleaded in behalf of Liberty of Conscience are Fully Answered (1670, actually 1669), which as its title suggests was a kind of summa of the debate to this point; A Defence and Continuation of the Ecclesiastical Politie (1670); and an edition of Bishop Bramhall's Vindication of Himself and the Episcopal Clergy From the Presbyterian Charge of Popery, As it is managed by Mr. Baxter in his Treatise of the Grotian Religion. Together with a Preface Shewing What Grounds there are of Fears and Jealousies of Popery (1672). As soon as the Discourse appeared, John Locke made a set of hostile notes. Owen urged Baxter to reply to it and when he declined did so himself in Truth and Innocence Vindicated (1669). The prolific John Humfrey meanwhile took on both the Discourse and Patrick's Friendly Debate in A Case of Conscience (1669) before addressing the Preface to Bramhall in The Authority of the Magistrate, About Religion (1672). And then there was Andrew Marvell's The Rehearsal Transpros'd; Or, Animadversions Upon a late Book, Intituled, A Preface Shewing What Grounds there are of Fears and Jealousies of Popery (1672).

From one angle, Marvell was just a late contributor to a debate that had already run for five years. But in the meantime the ideological landscape had been transformed by two events. The first was the renewal of the Conventicle Act in 1670, this time on a permanent footing. In Marvell's brutal phrase, it was "the Price of Money"; that is to say, extorted from the king by the Cavalier parliament and the bishops in return for supply. The Lords tried to mitigate the bill's provisions and make it temporary and also inserted a controversial clause (subsequently watered down) to the effect that nothing in the act should invalidate the king's ecclesiastical supremacy or indeed any of his or his predecessors' prerogatives. Like Baxter, Marvell suspected that, since "it is & will be in his Mtys power to dispose with the execution of the whole bill," the intention was to reduce dissenters to a state of dependence on royal favor, and, as if to drive this message home, the legislation was promptly followed by a bout of persecution.

The second event was the king's exercise of his supremacy in issuing the Declaration of Indulgence on 15 March 1672, two days before the Third Dutch War began. This suspended legal penalties against nonconformists and Catholics, though only the former had the right (under license) to public worship. The older generation of Presbyterians still sought comprehension within the national church rather than a sectarian existence outside it, while the Quakers would have nothing to do with indulgence at all. Nevertheless, hundreds-including Baxter-applied for licenses, while Marvell's bookseller, Nathaniel Ponder, was active in procuring them for nonconformist clergy in Northamptonshire and elsewhere. Others were uneasy at sharing indulgence with Catholics, an anxiety heightened by the strident Anglican campaign against popery, though Marvell for one was completely unimpressed (see p. 174). Reservations were also voiced about the legality of exercising the prerogative in this way. As Richard Tuck has observed, however, the readiness of the Cabal "to elevate monarchical power, if by doing so they undermined the power of the Church" made political sense given that "throughout the seventeenth century in England there was an Anglican, Tory majority in the country, and anyone who wanted toleration would be pretty sceptical about Parliaments." The policy of using royal power to break the Anglican hegemony was both coherent and attractive, and "a constellation of Puritans and future Whigs backed the crown," including Owen, John Locke, Algernon Sidney, and Marvell.


The Rehearsal Transpros'd is the Cabal's literary memorial: the most brilliant defense of its keynote policy of religious toleration. Like the regime itself, Marvell's work is a hybrid. Its most visible generic debt is to Buckingham's burlesque play The Rehearsal, performed in December 1671 and published in the summer of 1672. Marvell partly took his cue from an exchange between Parker and Owen on the propriety of the dialogue form used in Patrick's Friendly Debate. When Owen adduced Aristophanes' attack on Socrates in The Clouds to illustrate the destructive use of comedy for "personating" an opponent, Parker replied that Jonson's anti-Puritan satires in The Alchemist and Bartholomew Fair would have been a more apt-though still inapplicable-comparison. Appended to the Defence was an unsigned twenty-six-page letter from Patrick rebutting Owen's account of Aristophanes and dismissing his threat of retaliation in kind; indeed, had Owen replied "in the same form of writing that I used, it had, in my poor judgment, been more for his reputation." Marvell, however, eschewed canonical works in favor of Buckingham's successful assault on the conventions of heroic drama, the chief exponent of which, John Dryden, was satirized as Bayes.

In showing how Bayes and Parker "do very much Symbolize" each other (p. 51), Marvell aimed to demonstrate that, as N. H. Keeble puts it, "Parker's priestcraft is of a piece with Bayes' stagecraft; his pronouncements on ecclesiastical policy deserve no more respect than do Bayes' pronouncements on dramatic technique." More than this, Marvell's text was a tissue of often fragmentary allusions to The Rehearsal, an act of appropriation which allowed him to couch ecclesiastical controversy in an idiom that would accommodate it to a variety of milieux otherwise unsympathetic to it: coffeehouses, theaters, the Inns of Court, and the Court itself. Above all, it was a signal that Marvell might expect the patronage and protection of Buckingham, one of a group of influential peers sympathetic to nonconformity, including Anglesey, Shaftesbury, Carlisle, and Wharton, on whom Marvell could and did rely.

The "animadversions" of Marvell's subtitle was the workhorse genre of seventeenth-century religious and political controversy. It typically consisted of point-by-point refutation in the form of quotations from the adversary's text followed by commentary. The main drawback of the method was its inflexibility in that those replying to a given work had to accept its arrangement of topics and arguments as a template for their own. Complaints about being forced to attend to the vagaries of the opposing case were a conventional feature of the genre, as were various ploys for evading this obligation. One of the most important of these was to search out contradictions between the work under scrutiny and the author's other writings and play o these texts against each other. Alternatively, one could stick to the text in question but focus on seemingly incidental features of it such as solecisms, unwitting innuendoes, and stylistic mannerisms, the aim being to demonstrate that these lapses were in fact indicative of larger intellectual and moral failings. Finally, the point of the attack could be switched entirely from the text to its author, seeking to destroy his ethical standing and with it his case. Marvell could hardly avoid being familiar with this repertoire of techniques given their ubiquity as a way of conducting arguments in print, but he was particularly aware of the models provided by his friend John Milton in his antiprelatical tracts and Latin defenses. Also like Milton, he turned for guidance on the ethics of literary controversy to Francis Bacon's influential Wise and Moderate Discourse, Concerning Church-Affaires (1641). And, in fitting out Parker with a mock-heroic persona, he was specifically indebted to Owen's Truth and Innocence Vindicated for a number of tactics.


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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