The 1660 edition of Lucius Cary’s Discourse of Infallibility (first published in 1646 ) is my latest book scan. There’s more interest these days in Cary’s mother, Elizabeth (1585–1639), the first woman writer known to have written a play. Elizabeth Cary’s literary career isn’t really relevant here, but she plays a part in the complex web of relationships and discussion that shapes the book by virtue of having converted to Catholicism in 1634.
Cary rejects his mother’s adopted faith on the grounds that the Catholic Church contradicts itself on several points and that it is therefore impossible to “prove by any fallible way, the Infallibility of the Church of Rome” (sig d4v).
Two discourses on episcopacy, one by Cary himself and the other by William Chillingworth, who waspart of Cary’s Great Tew Circle, are included in this edition.
The Great Tew Circle included such Churchmen and men of letters as Jeremy Taylor and Abraham Cowley. Thomas Hobbes, Ben Jonson and other well-known figures of the time are also associated with it and it can be roughly categorized along with the Little Gidding Community and the Cambridge Platonists as one the reformist Christian humanist groups of the 17th century, while also espousing rationalism and fomenting scientific method and empirical enquiry.
Wentworth’s path from Lord Deputy of Ireland to the executioner’s axe is well enough known in its broad outlines, but with so many twists and nuances that it is hard to evaluate.
The decisive change in his fortunes came when the king, Charles I, recalled him from Ireland and charged him with putting down the revolt in Scotland (the Bishops’ Wars), along with making him Earl of Strafford.
He soon found himself the target of both sides in the dispute, but was persuaded to hang on in there by Charles, who promised him protection and then threw him to the wolves when Parliament impeached him.
If you want something a bit more meaty than the usual potted biographies there’s a chapter in Alan Orr, Treason and the State that’s worth taking a look at.
But the reason I’m posting this is because I’ve just finished scanning two thick volumes of Stafford’s collected letters, edited by William Knowler from the originals held by Strafford’s great grandson and published in 1739.
I did post a little tidbit a while back about Laud supposedly eating the puritan William Prynne’s ears, but the twist of fate that subsequently led Prynne to be the gaoler and prosecutor of his persecutor is one of the darkest tales of the seventeenth century and deserves a more prominent place on these pages.
Although this work was published many years after the events it describes, and its main content is reprinted, it also contains the first printing of a number of letters relating to the plot.
It is not a scarce work, and there is at least one other online copy (in the HathiTrust digital collection), but the margins are frustratingly narrow, making it difficult to scan.
I’ve done my best to scan each page fully, and the book can be viewed HERE. As with my other text-searchable PDF scans, the page may take some time to load. If it refuses to load at all on one browser, try opening it on another. I’m working on dividing these PDFs into smaller, more easily loaded, sections, but it all takes time!
Click HERE for a bit more detail about the book and its contents.
This full-page frontispiece is prefaced by the following poem:
These lines speak for themselves, describing “Albion” as “Three Nations doom’d t’eternal slavery”, symbolized by the figures crushed under the wheels of the hellish chariot that represents the Interregnum and Cromwell’s Protectorate.
That gives a pretty clear idea of where this book is coming from. The proceedings of the trial are taken from the official records, but accompanied by a lengthy introduction and copious commentary, leaving the reader in doubt but that the whole thing was nothing short of a heinous murder.
For a text-searchable scan of the whole book, click HERE.
For related texts and further details, click HERE.
This week’s book scan is a bit different from my usual fare. It’s a manuscript, it’s from the 15th century, it’s not primarily related to suffering and – because of the limitations of OCR (optical character reader) software – it’s not text-searchable.
But if you have any interest in this kind of thing I think you’ll find it’s worth taking a look! Here are a few sample pages, just to whet your appetite…
For a “guided tour” of this Book of Hours, click here. To see scans of the entire book, click here.
It’s a common enough tale, I suppose. Young man goes to Cambridge, studies law, goes to the inner Temple to complete his training, gets converted to Catholicism and ends up being hanged, drawn and quartered at Tyburn.
Maurus Scott was one of some 355 Catholics who were either put to death or died in prison during the early modern period, 40 of whom were subsequently canonized, while a further 242, of whom Scott was one, were beatified.
I don’t have anything in particular to say about him. The little that is known can be gleaned easily enough from Wikipedia or other sources, and I created a short entry for him on the Discourses of Suffering website.
I’d like to say dive over there, everyone, and get the lowdown on Maurus Scott, but Narratio mortis in odium fidei Londini in Anglia illatæ R.A.P. Mauro Scotto is in Latin, which limits its readership somewhat. I made a start on translating it, and I uploaded that too, but I haven’t got very far and (let’s be honest!) I probably won’t have the stamina to work right through it.
The OCR works reasonably well, though – in addition to the problems of early modern spelling conventions – there are occasional misreadings (“o” and “e” sometimes get misread as “c”, for example).
There’s already a copy of this available in Google Books (with many of the same problems when it comes to scanning), but the more online copies the merrier!
The blog of the book, Pain, Pleasure and Perversity: Discourses of Suffering in Seventeenth-Century England