Fairfax and the Battle of Naseby, 1645
Joshua Sprigg, 1618-1684.
Anglia rediviva; England's recovery: being the history of the motions, actions, and successes of the army under the immediate conduct of his excellency Sr. Thomas Fairfax . . . Compiled for the publique good.
London: Printed by R. W. for John Partridge, 1647. Rebound.
The conflict between King Charles I and Parliament broke into open warfare in August 1642, with the Royalist forces centred on Oxford and the Parliament strength centred in London. The turning point for the eventual triumph of the Parliament's New Model army came with the Battle of Naseby on June 14th, 1645, under the leadership of Sir Thomas Fairfax (1612-1671). Of especial interest in this adulatory contemporary account is the fold-out "Table of the Motion and Action of the Army . . . April 1645-August 1646," detailing each engagement. Milton addressed a sonnet to Fairfax in 1648:
Fairfax, whose name in arms through Europe rings . . .
Thy firm unshaken virtue ever brings
Victory home, though new rebellions raise. . .
The Battle of Naseby, June 14th, 1645
"The Description of the Armies of Horse and Foot of His Majesties, and Sir Thomas Fairfax his Excellency . . . at the Battayle of Nasebye,"
Printed for John Partridge. "Place this map between fol. 32 & 33." Mounted on linen.
Detached from Joshua Sprigg, Anglia rediviva, London: R. W. for John Partridge, 1647.
Presented by A. F. McKissick, per J. Rion McKissick, 1939.
The Battle of Naseby was a turning-point in the English Civil War of the 1640s. This contemporary engraving shows the disposition of the Parliamentary New Model Army, under Fairfax, Oliver Cromwell (on the right of the map), and Henry Ireton (on the left), and their Royalist opponents commanded by King Charles (centre top) and Prince Rupert (on the Royalist right wing, off the left top of the map as displayed). Naseby was an overwhelming victory for Fairfax and the New Model Army, who captured over a thousand Royalist prisoners and most of the Royalist artillery.
The rule of the Saints
Richard Vines, 1600?-1656.
The happinesse of Israel. As it was set forth in a sermon preached to both . . . Houses of Parliament . . . upon a solemne day of thanksgiving, March 12th 1644.
London: Printed by G. M. for A. Roper, 1645.
Milton was not directly involved in the War. He spent the war years in the Parliamentary stronghold of London, aware that the war could quickly turn to affect non-combatants as well as soldiers. He wrote to a friend in the Parliamentary forces:
Captain, or colonel, or knight in arms,
Whose chance on these defenceless doors may seize,
If deed of honour did thee ever please,
Guard them, and him within protect from harms.
This sermon evokes the relief with which Londoners viewed any Parliamentary victory. Vines, Cambridge-educated and episcopally-ordained, was nonetheless a member of the Westminster Assembly and closely involved in the 1640s in Parliamentary plans for church reformation. Later, he would be one of the Puritan clergy assigned to persuade King Charles to accept reform, and in 1649 he was ejected from the mastership of Pembroke College, Cambridge, for refusing allegiance to the new Commonwealth, but nonetheless permitted to become minister of a London parish. This copy of Vines's sermon bears on the first leaf the autograph signature of Oliver Cromwell.
The trial and execution of the king, 1649
from John Rushworth, 1612?-1690.
Historical collections. The Fourth and Last Part, containing the Principal Matters which happened from the Beginning of the Year 1645, to the Death of King Charles the First 1648 . . . Impartially Related. Setting forth only Matter of Fact in Order of Time, without
Observation or Reflection. Volume VII.
Second edition. London: for J. Walthoe and others, 1721.
King Charles I was taken prisoner in 1647. Following Colonel Pride's purge of moderates from Parliament, Charles was put on trial for treason on January 20th, 1649, before a special court of Judicial Commissioners," condemned after seven brief days of hearings, and beheaded at Whitehall three days later, on January 30th, 1649. His last speech proclaiming his innocence and declaring himself "the martyr of the people" became the basis of underground resistance to Parliamentary rule and the seed of the eventual cult of him as an Anglican quasi-saint, the Blessed Charles King and Martyr.
From Commonwealth to Protectorate
A declaration of the Parliament of England, in vindication of their proceedings, and discovering the dangerous practices of several interests against the present government, and peace of the commonwealth, together with the resolutions of the Parliament thereupon.
London: Printed by John Field for Edward Husband, Printer to the Parliament of England, 1649.
With the triumph of Parliament, and the King's execution, England became a republican Commonwealth, under a Council of State, until in a bloodless coup in 1653 the toughest of the Parliamentary military leaders, Oliver Cromwell, dissolved Parliament and took over as Lord Protector. This pamphlet, threatening death to anyone suspected of resistance to the new government, illustrates its increasing repressiveness as Parliament and the Puritan clergy struggled to control the lingering pockets of Royalists and growing numbers of radical sectaries.
The Image of the (Martyred) King, I
Charles, I, King of England, 1600-1649 [John Gauden, 1605-1662, attrib.],
Eikon basilike, the pourtraicture of His Sacred Maiestie in his solitudes and sufferings.
[N. p.: n.p.], 1648.
First edition. Bookplate of Joseph Halle Schaffner. Morocco gold decorated binding by Riviere.
This little book of saintly meditations, published only ten days after the King's execution, was accepted at the time as being by Charles himself, though in fact it had been ghosted by Gauden. It was an instant success in establishing the image of the King as a religious martyr, going through a reputed forty-seven editions.
The Image of the King, II
J. Phinn, engrv.,
frontispiece in The works of that great monarch, and glorious martyr, King Charles I.
Aberdeen: printed by J. Chalmers for William Coke, 1766. Vol. II. From the library of Yates Snowden.
This eighteenth-century fold-out, typical of Stuart iconography, shows the martyr-king kneeling at prayer, while in the background is the tempest-tossed ship of state.
The Royal Image Smashed
Eikonoklastes, in answer to a book intitl'd Eikon basilike, the portrature of His sacred Majesty in his solitudes and sufferings. The author I. M.
London: Printed by M. Simmons, 1649.
First edition. "Published by authority." Bookplate of Rev. H. Randolph. Contemporary sprinkled
With the Parliamentary victory, Milton recognized that "The truth, which had been defended by arms, should also be defended by reason." He had already written one pamphlet, his Tenure of Kings and Magistrates, asserting the power of Parliament "to call to account a Tyrant, or wicked KING, and after due conviction, to depose, and put him to death." In March 1649 he had been appointed Latin Secretary to the Council of State, and one of his first tasks was to write this rebuttal to the popular Eikon basilike. In his words, "A book appeared soon after, which was ascribed to the king, and contained the most invidious charges against the parliament. I was ordered to answer it . . . .I did not insult over fallen majesty, as is pretended; I only preferred queen Truth to king Charles."
European criticism of the new English republic
Claudius Salmasius, 1588-1653,
Defensio Regia pro Carolo I ad Serenissimum Magna Britannia Regem Carolum II. Filium natu majorem, Heredum & Successorum legitimum.
[Lugduni Batavorum: B. & A. Elzevirius] 1649. Vellum, with later stamping from the SouthCarolina College Library.
Exiled to Holland, Charles's heir, the future King Charles II, commissioned a leading French scholar (who was then a professor at Leyden) to write this attack on the legitimacy of the new English commonwealth, with a defense of his father's rule.
Milton's Defense of the English People
Ioannis Miltoni Angli Pro populo anglicano defensio, contra Claudii anonymi, alias Salmasii, Defensionem regiam.
Londini: Typis Du Gardianis, 1650. Contemporary calf.
Milton was again commissioned to write an answer on behalf of the English government, and his Latin response to Salmasius was (at least during his life-time) the most frequently-reprinted of all his works. Though he was writing as a government agent, he strongly rebutted the inevitable accusation that he was simply a paid propagandist like Salmasius: "I was publicly solicited to write a reply to the Defense of the royal cause. . . .Nor was I ever prompted to such exertions by the influence of ambition, by the lust of lucre or of praise; it was only by the conviction of duty and the feeling of patriotism, a disinterested passion for the extension of civil and religious liberty." The dispute became bitterly personal; Salmasius asserted that Milton's blindness was divine retribution for his attack on kingship, while on Salmasius's death in mid-controversy Milton asserted a similar divine punishment for his opponent's resistance to republicanism. Bound with Milton's Defensio here are his follow-up, Defensio secunda pro populo, Hagæ-Comitum, 1654 (important for the long autobiographical section in which Milton defended his own integrity), and his further self-justification, Pro se defensio contra Alexandrum Morum, Hagæe-Comitum, 1655. Thomas Cooper Library also has editions of Pro populo anglicano from 1651 and 1652. This 1650's edition is actually a contemporary pirated reprint, which used the earlier date in error because publication was at the break between years in the old-style calendar.
This English translation of Milton's Defense, by Joseph Washington, appeared significantly soon after the Revolution of 1688 had again asserted the right of Parliament to depose an unacceptable King.
The English political scene in the 1650s
Thomas Hobbes, 1588-1679,
Leviathan; or, The matter, forme, and power of a common-wealth, ecclesiasticall and civill.
London: Printed for A. Ckooke, 1651. Contemporary blind-tooled calf.
The displacement of the radical enthusiasm of the 1640s by a sterner, more realistic political scepticism is perhaps best exemplified by the Baconian political philosopher Thomas Hobbes. Displayed here is Hobbes's bitter assessment that, without government, "the life of man is solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short." The two men were poles apart politically. Milton thought Hobbes "a man of great parts, a learned man," but "did not like him at all," while Hobbes would write in his Behemoth (1679) of Milton'sDefensio that it was "very good Latin" but "very ill reasoning." In addition to the "Bear" edition ofLeviathan shown here, Thomas Cooper Library also has a copy of the "ornaments" edition, from the library of Alfred Chapin Rogers.
The perspective of the Restoration, I
Edward Hyde, Earl of Clarendon, 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 the happy end, and conclusion thereof by the king's blessed restoration, and return upon the 29th of May, in the year 1660.
First edition, 3 vols. Oxford, Printed at the Theater, 1702-1704.
The new English constitutional experiment did not long outlast the death of Cromwell in 1659. Though Milton himself published further pamphlets advocating republican government and church reform, the political void left by Cromwell was filled by the return of Charles II from exile and the restoration of both monarchy and episcopacy. Clarendon was Charles's Lord Chancellor, both in exile and on his return, though he fell from favor in 1667. His manuscript history, begun in exile, and presented to the University of Oxford after his death, was a resounding success, and the profits established the university press that still bears his name.
The perspective of the Restoration, II
Thomas Skinner, 1629?-1679.
The life of General Monk: duke of Albemarle, containing, I. A faithful account of his unparallel'd conduct. II. A particular relation of that most memorable march from Coldstream to London. III. Many mistakes committed by our historians Particularly the Earl of Clarendon) rectified.
Second edition. London: for J. Graves, 1724. Contemporary panelled calf.
The major role in bringing back the monarchy had been played by a Parliamentary general, George Monck (1608-1670), soon ennobled as Duke of Albemarle. Monck's brother-in-law and the Puritan poet Andrew Marvell were among the members of parliament who intervened to protect Milton after the Restoration. Interestingly, both Clarendon and Albemarle were rewarded with royal grants as two of the original Lords Proprietors of South Carolina.
The perspective of the Restoration, III
The Book of common prayer.
London: printed by John Bill, & Christopher Barker . Engraved title-page with undated imprint, by David Loggan. Contemporary red morocco by Samuel Mearne , for Charles II, and bearing his royal cypher.
The return of Charles II restored not only the monarchy, but also the Prayer Book, which now prescribed special services of national repentance each January 30th, lamenting how "our late martyred Sovereign . . . had fallen "into the hands of violent and blood-thirsty men, . . . barbarously to be murthered by them." The pages are shown here from Thomas Cooper Library's fine folio 1662 Common Prayer, with the Loggan title-page, bound in red morocco by Samuel Mearnes for Charles II and bearing his cypher.