Mercurius Politicus

A blog (mostly) about early modern history

Tag: charles i

Books with names but no bodies

In recent days I have been enjoying Adam Smyth and Gill Partington’s edition of Critical Quarterly on missing texts. As the title of their introduction asks, what is the material history of books with names but no bodies?

As it happens there is one particular book for whose body I have been searching recently: To Your Tents, O Israel by Henry Walker. The events which prompted its writing are well-known: on 4 January 1642, Charles I had made famous attempt to arrest five leading opponents in the House of Commons: arriving at Parliament only to find, in his own words, that ‘all the birds are flown’. Charles was determined to track down the rogue MPs, and believing that they were still in hiding in the capital, he decided to confront the Corporation of the City of London.

At about ten o’clock the following, Charles was taken by coach up the Strand towards the Guildhall. By the time he got there, a substantial crowd had assembled to meet him. After addressing the Corporation, Charles dined with London’s Sheriff, George Garrett, at his house in Aldermanbury Street next door. After their lunch was finished, he emerged and made his way back to his carriage. At this point the crowd surged and shouts went up of ‘privilege of Parliament’. This was the moment that Henry Walker, a 29-year old ironmonger turned writer and bookseller decided to throw a self-penned text into Charles’s coach.

The text has become known as To Your Tents, O Israel because of the passage in scripture it is supposed to have alluded to: 1 Kings 12:16, which told the story of King Rehoboam’s tyrannical rule over Israel. Rehoboam was a tyrant who imposed heavy taxes and harsh punishments on his people. In response, the ten northern tribes of Israel rebelled and formed their own nation. In alluding to these events, Walker was making a fairly heavy handed comparison to the extra-Parliamentary taxation that Charles had introduced under his period of Personal Rule in the 1630s.

However, it’s not actually clear if To Your Tents, O Israel was the title, or even if the text had a title. Nor is it clear what form the text took. It is described variously in contemporary accounts as a “Pamphlet”, “Petition”, “Paper” and “Sermon”. No copies survive and it’s not clear how many were made. We do know, though, that it was printed rather than hand-written. The only direct account we have of the text’s production is by a hostile witness, John Taylor:

He plotted and contrived with a Printer, the said night before to write and print a perrillous Petition to his Majesty, and borrowed the Printers wives Bible, out of which he tooke his Theame out of the first of Kings, Chap, 12. ver. 16 part of the verse; To your Tents O Israel. There was writing and printing all night, and all the next day those Libels were scattered, and when his Majesty had dined, and had taken Coach to returne to White-Hall, Walker stood watching the Kings comming by amongst the Drapers in Pauls Church-yard, and having one of his Pamphlets in his hand meaning to have delivered it to his Majesty, but could not come at him by reason of the presse of People, insomuch as Walker (most impudently sawcy) threw it over the folkes heads into his Majesties Coach.

John Taylor, The whole life and progresse of Henry Walker the ironmonger, E.154[29].

However, details in this account can be checked and verified. The printer was Thomas Payne, whose shop at the sign of the sugar loaf in Goldsmith’s Alley was a stone’s throw from Walker’s establishment in Butler’s Alley in St Giles Cripplegate. It was Payne who, having thought better of his role, shopped Walker to the authorities. In 1650 he received a belated reward of £20 from the Commonwealth’s Council of State ‘‘as a gratuity for his sufferings by printing a book for the cause of Parliament, written by Mr. Walker”. So it does seem clear that the text was in printed form, although it whether it was a book or a sheet is open to question. And it was written and printed overnight, which suggests it cannot have been that long or had a significant print run.

Something which may help resolve the question of what form of printed text it was is a reference two and a half years later in another of Walker’s works: an edition of his newsbook Perfect Occurrences for 30 August to 6 September 1644. At this point Walker was not acknowledging himself as the author of Perfect Occurrences, hence the references in the third-person:

Here followeth a true copie of Master Walkers petition to the king, for which he suffered.

To the Kings most Excellent Majestie.

Humbly beseecheth that your most Excellent Majestie, would be graciously pleased to meditate on that place of Scripture written, 1 Kings. 12. 15. 16. Wherfore the King hearkned not unto his people, for the cause was from the Lord, that he might perform his saying, which the Lord spake by Ahijah the Shulanite, unto Jeroboam, the Son of Nebat, So when Israel saw that the King hearkened not unto them, the people answered the king saying, what portion have we in David, Neither have wee portion in the son of lesse: To your tents O Israel, now see to thine own, &c. The Lord blesse guide and direct your gratious Majestie, and encrease the number of your faithfull loyall Subjects. Amen.

Perfect Occurrences, 30th August-6th September 1644, E.254[28].

So if we can trust Walker’s reprint, it seems that the text was more akin to a printed version of the manuscript petitions that were common for the king and Parliament to receive at the time. And a text of this length would barely take up half a side of quarto, so it seems unlikely that it was a pamphlet or other book: more likely, a single sheet with some copies taken to distribute to the crowd or paste up on walls, and which Walker was fortunate enough to have the chance to thrust upon Charles.

And so this particular missing text is perhaps not as missing as it seems. A version of it turned up, and is still extant, in a later text – and even if it is a summary or rewrite of the original, it does give some suggestions about what the text said and what form it took. Similarly, an apparently unreliable account in a work by one of Walker’s enemies turns out, when checked against other evidence of the London print trade, to have more in it than first appears. There is something quite satisfying about the fact that it is the material traces of other texts that allows at least a partial reconstruction of another text.

Dirty book

In 1647, the bookseller George Thomason was asked to lend a book to Charles I. Thomason wasn’t sure at first, but eventually decided to loan it to his king. Charles – not unlike a few of the people I lend my books to – didn’t look after it as well as he might have, and ended up dropping it in some mud.

Years later, in the early 1660s, Thomason took stock of his collection of almost 23,000 tracts from the civil war period and began binding them into nearly 2,000 volumes. The 100th volume – shelfmark E.95 under the British Library ordering – starts with a handwritten note by Thomason, recalling the incident:

Memorandum that Col Will Legg and Mr Arthur Treavor were imployed by his matie K. Charles to gett for his present use, a pamphlet which his matie had then occasion to make use of, and not meetinge with it they both came to me, havinge heard that I did imploy my selfe to take up all such things, from the beginning of the Parlement, and findinge it with me told me it was for the kinges owne use. I tould them all I had were at his matis command & service, and withal tould them if I should part with it, & loose it, presuming that when his matie had done with it, that little accompt would be made of it, and yet if I should loose it, by that losse a limbe of my collection, which I should be very loth to see, well knowinge it would be impossible to supplie it if it should happen to be lost, with which answer they returned to his matie at Hampton Court, (as I take it) and and tould him they had found that peece he much desired and withall how loath he that had it was to part with it he much fearing its losse; wheruppon they were both sent to me againe by his Mâtie to tell me that upon the worde of a kinge (to use their own expressions) he would safely returne it, thereuppon immediately by them I sent it to his matie who having done with it and having it with him when he was going towards the Isle of Wight (11-13 Nov. 1647) let it fall in the durt, and then callinge for the two persons before mentioned (who attended him) delivered it to them with a charge, as they should answer it another day, that they should both speedily and safely return it to him, from whom they had received it, and withall to desire the partie to goe on and continue what had begun, which booke together with his Matie signification to me by these worthy and faithfull gentln I received both speedily and safely. Which volume hath the marke of honor upon it, which noe other volume in my collection hath, and very diligently and carefully I continued the same, until the most hapie restoration & coronation of his most gratious Matie Kinge Charles the Second whom God long preserve.

Geo. Thomason.

The “marke of honor” was the mud stains which the pamphlet was left with.

There seems to be some doubt about which pamphlet Charles actually wanted to borrow. The tract which follows Thomason’s annotation is The Reasons of the Lords and Commons why they cannot agree to the Alteration and Addition in the Articles of Cessation offered by his Majesty. With His Majestie’s gratious Answer thereunto, printed onApril 4, 1643. The version on Early English Books Online doesn’t appear to have any mud stains, though – but apparently there is a different version in the British Library which does. I have come across another account which thinks it was the pamphlet at the end of the volume, A remonstrance of the right honourable Iames Earle of Castlehaven and Lord Audley, which was the one dropped. The entry on EEBO for this says that it has been “reviewed, corrected, and augmented” – perhaps implying that mud stains have been digitally removed – but doesn’t give any further information. [NB – it has subsequently been pointed out to me that this is a quote from the title page rather than a bibliographic description, and that The Reasons of the Lords and Commons was the pamphlet Thomason dropped. See this post at EEBO Interactions for more details].

However, my understanding is that Thomason only bound his volumes when he came to catalogue them in the 1660s. His note talks about lending a pamphlet, not a volume of them. So it must have been an individual tract which was dropped in the mud, not a collection of them. Logically, then, only one pamphlet in this volume should have mud stains.

My suspicion is that The Reasons of the Lords and Commons was Charles’s choice of reading. The reference to Hampton Court dates this incident to between August and November 1647, when Charles was under house arrest by the New Model at that palace. He had moved there after his failure to engage with the army’s Heads of Proposals. In September he turned down a further set of negotiations, closely based on the Newcastle Propositions of 1646. It seems plausible that Charles might have wanted to consult previous records of negotiations with Parliament, to remind himself of previous statements they had made.

(The image above is a composite made up of the two sides of paper on which Thomason wrote his annotation – the left hand side is from the verso of one page, the right hand side from the recto of another page).

Initially yours

I’ve been reading Kevin Sharpe’s excellent Reading Revolutions, and came across a footnote drawing attention to a woodcut initial on an early proclamation by Charles II. Sharpe contrasts the imagery it uses with what had come before it during the Commonwealth:

Proclamation 1660

It reminded me of another footnote about another royal proclamation, this one by Charles I, in John Adamson’s Noble Revolt. Most royal proclamations from 1640 to 1642 have plain, ornamental woodcuts, such as this ‘W’ typically used for ‘Whereas’.

W proclamation

However, A proclamation for the attendance of the members in both houses in Parliament used this woodcut initial:

Proclamation H

It shows Hercules battling the many-headed hydra, something that becomes significant when you consider that the proclamation was issued on 12 December 1641 – just after the printing of the Grand Remonstrance (Parliament’s appeal to the people against Charles I), at a time when crowds were massed outside Westminster and a flurry of popular petitions were arriving at Parliament. To many political grandees, the danger of the many-headed monster would have foremost in their minds. Sir Edward Dering famously objected that ‘I did not dream that we should remonstrate downeward, tell stories to the people, and talke of the King as of a third person. Sir John Culpeper wrote in his diary that ‘this is a Remonstrance to the people. Remonstrances ought to be to the king for redress…. Wee [are] not sent to please the people’.

There are a few other examples of initials being paired appropriately with their content. Here is the woodcut from A proclamation prohibiting the payment and receipt of customes, and other maritime duties upon the late pretended ordinance of both Houses of Parliament:

Proclamation maritime

There is also one which I lack sufficient knowledge of emblems to interpret – it appears to show a woman with two doves in her lap, and a man reclining in a tree – or a cloud? – above her. It was the initial for A proclamation for a generall fast thorowout this realme of England.

Proclamation H two

I think Sharpe and Adamson are undoubtedly right to point out how contemporaries would have created meaning from these woodcuts. They were part of the message itself as well as the medium through which it was delivered. Where it gets more fuzzy is in the intentions behind the creation of meaning. Not much seems to be known about the process of drawing up and printing proclamations. Who wrote them? Who agreed them? Who took them to the printers? How much scope did the printers have to choose the iconography – was it discussed between printer and author, or did the printer happen to alight on what they thought would be an appropriate woodcut? Was it just the nearest woodcut initial that happened to be at hand?

What is both fascinating and frustrating is the question of the extent to which the state might have deliberately used the typography and iconography – not just the text – of proclamations and other official printed documents to influence the reading public. Fascinating because it could tell us a lot about the use of print by the state during this period: and frustrating because we will probably never know the complete answer.

Choosing sides

I found this while doing some research on the Militia Ordinance and the Commission of Array of 1642 (attempts by Parliament and Charles I respectively to require local grandees to muster forces in case of conflict). It’s part of a letter from Thomas Knyvett to his wife on 18 May 1642:

I would to God I could write thee any good news, but that is impossible so long as the spirit of contradiction ranges between king and parliament higher still than ever. And ’tis to be feared this threatening storm will not be allayed without some showers (P ray God not a deluge) of blood. The one party now grows as resolute as the other is obstinate… Oh sweet heart, I am now in a great straight what to do. Walking this other morning at Westminster, Sir John Potts, with Commissary Muttford, saluted me with a commission from the Lord of Warwick, to take upon me (by virtue of an ordinance of parliament) my company and command again. I was surprised what to do, whether to take or reguse. ‘Twas no place to dispute, so I took it and desired some time to advise upon it. I had not received this many hours, but I met with a declaration point blank against it by the king. This distraction made me to advise with some understanding men what condition I stand in, which is no other than a great many men of quality do. What further commands we shall receive to put this ordinance in execution, if they run in a way that trenches upon my obedience against the king, i shall do according to my conscience, and this is the resolution of all honest men that I can speak with. In the meantime I hold it good wisdom and security to keep my company as close to me as I can in these dangerous times, and to stay out of the way of my new masters till these first musterings be over.

B. Schofield (ed.), The Knyvett Letters (Norfolk Record Society, 1949), pp. 101-103.

Knyvett eventually sided with the king.

Van Dyck and Britain

I finally got round to visiting Tate Britain for its Van Dyck and Britain exhibition on Friday. It’s a very well put together collection. The exhibition starts with a look at English portraiture before Van Dyck’s arrival in London, leading through into portraits of Charles I and his family and of Charles’s court. As well as the familiar portraits – Charles on horseback, Henrietta Maria in all her finery,  the young Charles II in armour – it has some less well-known works like this amazing portrait of Lucy Percy, Countess of Carlisle:

0218_vandyck

It then moves from the public to the private to focus on Van Dyck’s personal life. The highlight here is undoubtedly the famous double portrait of  Van Dyck and his friend Endymion Porter:

endymion-porter

For me one of the best parts of the exhbition was the section on the impact of Van Dyck. I was really pleased that the Tate had got hold of engravings by Pierre Lombart inspired by Van Dyck’s portrait of Charles I on horseback. Here is the first, showing Oliver Cromwell as Lord Protector and produced at some point after 1655:

cromwell-horseman

AN150548001, © The Trustees of the British Museum

It is a straight lift from Van Dyck’s portrait of Charles I on horseback with M. de St Antoine:

charles-horseback

Alongside the Cromwell engraving, the Tate had a subsequent impression of the plate, this time with Cromwell’s head scratched out and Charles I’s head put in:

charles-horseman

AN150545001, © The Trustees of the British Museum

But I thought the Tate missed a trick by not showing the intermediate plate, which has become known as the Headless Horseman:

headless-horseman

AN150541001, © The Trustees of the British Museum

There was also a wonderful portrait by John Singer Sergeant of the Earl of Dalhousie, which owes a debt to Van Dyck’s portrait of Lord John Stuart and his brother Lord Bernard:

singer-sargent-dalhousie250px-sir-anthony-van-dyck-lord-john-stuart-and-his-brother-lord-bernard-stuart

Talking to a few other visitors, it seems that most people there on Friday afternoon were struck by how well Van Dyck captured the fashions of the 1630s: the flowing hair, the sumptuous fabrics. But walking out of the Tate, I realised that what had inspired me most wasn’t the emblems and accessories in the portraits – flawlessly executed as they are – but the simpler portraits, where the sitter’s expression is what conveys their power. The picture I kept coming back to, above all others, was Van Dyck’s portrait of the earl of Strafford with Sir Philip Mainwaring.

van_dyck_thomas_wentworth_earl_of_strafford_with_sir_philip_mainwaring_1639-40

As a painting this is sparsely detailed compared to many of the martially- or mythologically-inspired grand portraits of Charles’s court.  But Van Dyck has captured Strafford’s mix of charisma and utter ruthlessness perfectly. Walking out onto Millbank it was Strafford’s steely gaze that I took away with me.

Images of regicide

With the 360th anniversary of the execution of Charles I coming up on Friday, I thought I would have a look at what the internet has to offer on images of the regicide.

While Charles’s reputation has been the subject of immense debate, pictures of his execution have tended to be remarkably consistent over the years. Immediate reactions to the regicide – mostly printed abroad, for obvious reasons – tended (like the frontispiece of the Eikon Basilike) to emphasise Charles as martyr. Here, for instance, is an etching from a Dutch broadside of 1649, Historiaels verhael… Carolvs Stvarts, Coningh van Engelandt, Schotlandt, en Yerlandt.

etching

AN257700001, © The Trustees of the British Museum

It’s fairly gruesome: you can see Charles’s body spurting blood from its severed neck. From left to right you can see Thomas Juxon, Colonel Francis Hacker, Colonel Matthew Tomlinson and the executioner. But in the apotheosis scene above, you can also see Charles’s spirit ascending to heaven.

Very similar, but without the apotheosis, is this German engraving from 1649, Endhauptung der Konigs in Engelandt.

an00151032_001_l

AN151032001, © The Trustees of the British Museum

This kind of image persisted and was reinforced after the Restoration. Below is A lively Representation of the manner how his late Majesty was beheaded uppon the Scaffold, which probably dates from around the execution of various regicides in the early 1660s. At the top of the etching, Charles waits in dignity for his fate, while below one of the regicides is hanged, drawn and quartered.

an00260225_001_l

AN260225001, © The Trustees of the British Museum

For much of the eighteenth century this kind of representation of Charles’s execution persisted. While Whigs and Tories battled over the history of the civil wars and rewrote and redeployed the key events and figures of the period to suit their ideologies, for the most part Jacobites seem to have resurrected the martyr cult while most orthodox Whigs remained horrified by the actual execution. But the more radical were still happy to celebrate the anniversary of the regicide: The True Effigies of the Members of the Calves Head Club from 1735 shows a mob gathering around a bonfire outside the Golden Eagle tavern in Suffolk Street, near Charing Cross, to celebrate.

an00079523_001_l

By the end of the eighteenth century, though – fuelled in part by events in France – depictions of the regicide were becoming more unstable. Here is a print by James Gillray from 1790, Smelling out a rat; or the atheistical-revolutionist disturbed in his midnight “calculations”.

smellingarat

The figure at the desk is Richard Price, a radical dissenter. He sits below a portrait of the execution of Charles, writing an essay called “On the Benefits of Anarchy Regicide Atheism”.  Smelling him out is a caricature of Edmund Burke carrying a crown in one hand and a cross in the other. On one level the meaning is straightforward: the painting of Charles is labelled “Death of Charles I, or the Glory of Great Britain”. But Burke doesn’t exactly come out of the print wonderfully, either.

Still, even in the Victorian era Charles’s execution was often seen even by those who sympathised with Cromwell as an understandable but regrettable step. Great efforts were made to explain the actions of Cromwell and other regicides as a temporary blip in constitional propriety, prompted more by the evil of royalist enemies than by a failure of character by Cromwell. Radical and nonconformist images of the civil wars seem to have focused on more positive rehabilitations of Cromwell than on debunking the idea of Charles as a martyr king. I haven’t seen any images from the nineteenth century that go down this route. What I have found is some wonderful images of martyrdom:

execution_29693_lg

Illustration from Charlotte M. Yonge Young Folks’ History of England (Boston: D. Lothrop & Co., 1879)

c

Painting by Ernest Crofts of Charles being led to his execution.

Closer to the present, no account of images of the regicide would be complete without the moving – pun intended – images of the execution in Ken Hughes’s 1970 film Cromwell. If you studied this period at school in England during the 1980s, then probably the mere mention of the phrase “a ciiii-vil war?” will be enough to transport you back to Proustian memories of the film, but if you haven’t seen it here is a clip I found on Youtube of the climactic scene. Alec Guinness as Charles goes resignedly to his fate, while Richard Harris as Cromwell looks moody. But if nothing else it shows the persistence of images of Charles as martyr.

John Taylor, Charles I and the royal touch

In the autumn of 1648, the poet and waterman John Taylor made a pilgrimage to the Isle of Wight to visit his king.

At this point, Charles I was on parole from his confinement at Carisbrooke Castle to negotiate with Parliamentary commissioners in the town of Newport. It would not go well; but for Taylor, Charles’s parole gave him one last chance to see his king.

Taylor recounted his pilgrimage in Tailors travels from London to the Isle of VVight, vvith his returne, and occasion of his iourney [EEBO ]. I’ve plotted the route Taylor took from London to Newport in Google Maps. Unfortunately WordPress.com can’t do inline Google Maps, so I will have to make do with pointing you towards the link . Below are the steps Taylor took on his journey:

  • 19 October. Taylor took the Southampton coach from the Rose at Holborn Bridge. He went along St Giles to Brentford and then on to Staines, where he stayed the night at the Bush Inn .
  • 20 October. Taylor left Staines and went through Bagshot and Blackwater, before reaching Alton where he stayed in the White Hart.
  • 21 October. From Alton, Taylor reached Southampton where he ate at the Dolphin. From there Taylor sailed to Cowes, where he stayed in the Feathers.
  • 22 October. Taylor travelled by horse to the town of Newport, where Charles was in the midst of negotiations. Here he was received by his monarch.

What is interesting about Taylor’s account is how close he got to his king. In the period before the civil wars, Charles withdrew from his public. There was little circulation of images of the monarch; an attempt to regulate access to court; and a studied decision to withdraw from proactive royal propaganda on the grounds that it opened up the arcana imperii to the public eye. Even touching for the king’s evil, where Charles is often presented as an exemplary practitioner, and where he certainly promoted his power to do so, was subject to many more prohibitions than before.

Compare this with Taylor’s easy access to Charles:

Thus having overpast this soule disaster,
I went to see my suffring Soveraigne Master:
Which sight to me was all my Earthly blisse,
He gave me straight his Royall hand to kisse,
Which grac’d me much in all the publique sights
Of Commons, Gentles, and brave Lords and Knights.

There is also already a hint of Charles martyredly rising above his circumstances – a studied pose of suffering kingship:

His Majesty, with an Heroick and unconquered patience, conquers his unmatchable afflictions, and with Christian constancy, expects a happy deliverance out of all his troubles.

Compare it also to one of the most fascinating parts of Taylor’s account, his description of Charles I touching for the king’s evil and other diseases. Below are Taylor’s eye-witness accounts:

1. At a Towne called Winburne , (or Wimborne ) in Dorcetshire , there dwels an [Note: For testimony of the truth of this there is one Iohn Newbery , a Clothworker, who dwels in Newport in the streete called Castle Hole, this man did come over the water with her, and did see her lame, and cured. ] Ancient woman, the Wife to a Clothier (whose name I could not know by enquiry) this Woman had a long time been so lame that she could not goe, 11 and she hearing that the King was lodg’d in Carisbrook Castle in the Isle of Wight , she was perswaded in her minde that His Majesty could cure her, in which beliefe she made towards the Island, and with horse or Cart, or both, or otherwaies, she was brought to Hurst Castle in Hampshire by land, from whence she was carried into a Boat in mens armes, which Boat brought her to Newport , from whence she was carried a mile to Carisbrook , where His Majesty did touch her, and her lamenesse ceased in three dayes space, so that with thankes to God, and prayers for the King, she departed from the Island, and went home 20. miles on foot. This was before the Treaty began, much about the midst of August last.

2. Mistresse Elizabeth Steevens of Durley in Hampshire , came from her borne to Winchester , and from thence to the Island to His Majesty to be cured of the evill, whereof she had been blinde of one Eye 16. daies and could not open her Eye by any meanes, and after the King had touched her, her Eye opened and she saw immediatly, with a clear and perfect sight. This was about the seventh of October.

3. Elizabeth Gage of Southampton (being 3 yeares of age) was exceeding lame, and in great paine, she came to his Majesty, and he touched her, whereby (through Gods blessing) she was presently cured.

4. Ioane Mathewes, aged 15. yeares, a Braziers Daughter one William Mathewes , dwelling in Newport in the Isle of Wight , she had been long time painefully lame, and had been at the Bathe , and used many medicines in vaine; she came to the King on Thursday the 19. of October, He toucht her, and she had present ease, and every day shee goes better then other: myselfe saw her and spake with her, and I left her able to go reasonable well.

5. A Souldier in Calshot Castle in Hampshire , had 2. sore issues in his thighes, to which he did frequently apply medicines which eased him, but cured him not: This man 12 went to the Island to His Majesty, who did touch him, and he did after that use his former medicines, which were wont to give him ease, but then the said application did most grievously vex and torment him; so that he was perswaded to forbeare to use the said Oyles, Emplasters, and Unguents, and then he was suddenly cured.

6. Mistresse Elizabeth Paine of Bristell was blinde, and such a Rhewmatick defluxion did dayly fall from her eyes, which did wet two or three large hancherchiefes every day; she came to the King on Sunday last, the 5. of this November, His Majesty did touch her eyes, the Rhewme ceased; so that she went away presently with a cleere and perfect sight; and two houres after she came to the King againe, and gave him thanks upon her knees; His Majesty bade her give thanks to God; so she with giving God praise, and prayers for the King, went from the Island to Bristoll with exceeding joy for her recovery.

7. Margaret Hezden , aged 73. yeares, dwelling in Newport in Chayne lane, was not able to stir but as she was lifted from bed to chaire, and from chaire to bed, touched by His Majesty, and cured, so that with one crutch she did goe about her house, and drew 5 or 6. pots of Ale for me, and my company.

Taylor’s pamphlet account of his journey gives us an interesting insight in to Charles’s change of tactics. In the civil wars and beyond, Charles’s public persona became a vital tool in rallying support and in stressing his positions as God’s anointed representative. There is also a suggestion from many contemporaries that Charles could not only heal his subjects, but heal the political nation too.

Sadly for Charles and for Taylor, that was not to be. But Taylor’s account gives us a good insight into what could have been – and into, as Edward Vallance’s recent post makes clear , what actually was under Charles’s son in the 1660s and beyond.

Taylor’s account of his journey is also interesting for his sales technique. Like a number of his pamphlets, Taylor tried to sell it by subscription, getting sponsors to pledge a minimum of 6 pence (above the market rate for a short quarto pamphlet) in return for an account of his journey when he returned. But Taylor follows the usual tactic of the early modern pamphleteer in simultaneously admitting and denying base commercial motives. Taylor’s pamphlet is "no Mercury (with scoffs, and jeeres) to raise debate, and set us by the eares"; it is not like "old Currantoes , in the daies of Yore". But as well as a mission to see his sovereign, Taylor admitted that he "travelled with an intent to get some Silver in this Iron Age, (for pleasure and profit should be the reward of honest and harmelesse paines taking)".

The photo is of a bust in the Chapel of St Charles the Martyr at Carisbrooke Castle, taken by Loz Flowers and used under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike license.