Andrew Marvell, the Critical Heritage

By Elizabeth Story Donno | Go to book overview

24.

Three eighteenth-century historians comment

post 1706, 1718, 1730

Roger North (1663-1734) wrote his Examen (pub. 1740) to vindicate Charles II and to answer a ‘Cloaca of Libels, ’ that is, the third volume of the Complete History of England by White Kennet, politically a Whig. He describes Kennet’s sources as ‘scandalous Libels of the Time, wrote in dark Corners and sent out among the common People to delude the unthinking Part of Mankind…. Of this Sort are the Growth of Popery, first and second Parts [in reference to The Second Part of the Growth of Popery, 1682, by Philo-Veritas, that is Robert Ferguson, which was paginated to follow Marvell’s work]…whereof the Authors in their Time, as sometimes Thieves, by lying hid, escaped due Punishment’ (p. vi).

Laurence Echard (?1670-1730), politically a Tory, published his three-volume history between 1707 and 1718.

John Oldmixon (1673-1742), a ‘virulent Party-writer for hire, ’ according to Alexander Pope, published the first volume of his history in 1730.

(a) Extract from North’s Examen: Or, an Enquiry Into the Credit and Veracity of a Pretended Complete History, 1740, pp. 140, 141-2.

Now observe, in the Passage cited out of our Author, that he is so addicted to the Libels of that Time, that he has stole the Title of the worst of them, that is, Growth of Popery, to make good his Reflection here. And that very Libel was generally made Use of, by the Party, as Instructions, or a Repertory of Slanders and Misconstructions, to throw out against the Court, and, for that Purpose, was calculated proper for Use in Clubs and Coffee-houses; and therefore better deserves the old Title of An Help to Discourse, changing only the last Word for Sedition.

-89-

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