The Jacobite Milton: strategies of literary appropriation and historiography.
On a merely technical level, the Bill against Occasional Conformity, as Geoffrey Holmes has explained, was designed as a means to prevent what had become a common practice among dissenting laymen in their attempts to attain civic office. By simply taking the sacrament in an Anglican Church once during the twelve-month period before elections (and receiving a letter from the local vicar attesting to that fact), impediments to public service were thereby removed. (4) Occasional conformity, however, was not simply perceived as a technical loophole. For dissenters and their "moderate" allies--avatars of the newly emergent latitudinarian orthodoxy--the practice (which they persistently defended throughout the crisis over the Bill) became a means not only for claiming political legitimacy for themselves, but for the political sensibility and worldview which they were actively promulgating. (5) For Jacobites and High Churchmen, the practice of occasional conformity was rather, as Holmes explains, "an abominable hypocrisy." (6) Such an appellation, however, not only served to reflect Jacobite and High Church disdain for the individuals who embraced the practice, but also for the cultural sensibility it was purported to represent. Jacobites, that is to say, saw in the ostensible "hypocrisy" of the particular practice of occasional conformity a symbolic manifestation of the more general values of what they would call the culture of dissent.
Jacobites themselves, after so many years in the political wilderness under William, saw finally, with the ascendancy of Queen Anne, the opportunity of not only re-establishing the Stuart Monarchy (she was, after all, the granddaughter of Charles I), but of re-establishing the monarchy on Stuart principles. While Jacobites were intent upon reinvoking the worldview which the Stuart line--and especially the "Blessed Martyr Charles"--had come to represent, the practice of occasional conformity was seen as undermining the very principles of "Old England." Jacobites thus were intent on re-establishing, to paraphrase Peter Laslett, the world which had been lost, while moderates and dissenters, by their own lights, were firming the ground for an emergent modern liberal democracy. (7) The controversy surrounding the Bill Against Occasional Conformity became one of the polemical battlegrounds in which competing visions of Britain's future would contend.
Reinvoking the cultural and political landscape of an earlier Stuart culture meant, for Jacobites, reasserting the hierarchies which had been so cataclysmically undermined with the execution of Charles I. The proponents of latitudinarian culture advocated principles of political moderation, and argued for what we might call, in Jurgen Habermas's register, the rational or neutral public sphere. (8) Jacobites, by contrast, from the 1690s through the first decade of the next century, were eager to show continuities between the culture of contemporary dissent and the culture of the regicides. (9) While moderates claimed to occupy a kind of rational space in the ostensibly neutral public sphere, a High Church figure such as Mary Astell would argue that such supposedly moderate political persona masked very particular ideological commitments and affiliations-which all claimed their origins in the 1640s. (10) To be sure, in some sense, Astell was not a typical Jacobite; her radical attitudes toward gender marked her off from those contemporaries with whom she may have shared a vision of politics. (11) Yet the historiographical impulses which informed her work--especially her representation of the 1640s--evidence a characteristic Jacobite stance. Against Whig and latitudinarian attempts to deny the genealogical roots of contemporary moderation, Astell would persistently elicit the parallels between dissenting doctrines and practices and those of the 1640s. In her A Fair Way with the Dissenters, for example, a response to Daniel Defoe's Short Ways with the Dissenters (both published in the early part of 1704), Astell turned to those whom she called Defoe's "great Forefathers" of the 1640s, as a means of imputing the practices of contemporary dissent. The year 1641 was "never to be forgotten," she would write, because the "great Advocates for what they term Moderation," will "not suffer us to forget it, since they repeat its Methods every day." While, as Patricia Springborg has suggested, the presence of Charles I is registered on almost every page of Astell's political tracts, so are the writings of various "regicides"--including Baxter, Coleman, and, of course, Milton himself. (12) In A Fair Way, Astell would make the parallel explicit, observing that just as the 1640s "had their Pryns, Burtons, and Bastwicks," so "we have our Tutchins, Stevens and Defoes." (13) To be sure, Astell's historiographical observations were not so much designed as a means of constructing the past; they were the means rather of reinvoking the political models of the 1640s in order to diagnose, and then reject, the practices of contemporary dissent.
The energies employed by Astell and other High Church figures to link contemporary dissent with the 1640s point to a strange historiographical paradox: while revisionist historians of the last generation (J. C. D. Clark and J.G.A. Pocock the most prominent among them) had sought to curb the excesses of liberal (and indeed Marxist) historiographies which had asserted narrative continuities between different phases in a "progressive" English history, it was sometimes actually Jacobites, and not Whigs, who would assert most strenuously the connection between the 1640s and the 1690s and early 1700s. Some of the most persistent and earliest advocates of what Herbert Butterfield would call the "Whig Interpretation of history" were the High Church Tory set of the beginning of the eighteenth century. (14) Indeed, moderates and dissenters themselves would go to great lengths to deny historical continuities, and to argue for a public sphere based upon the newly created latitudinarian principles of toleration. It would be rather moderates--that is, whigs--who would emphatically deny the continuity between the 1640s and contemporary history. In his Moderation Still a Virtue, for example, James Owen, one of the genuine apologists for moderation, would lament how Jacobites continually "harangue us" with their "tedious Narratives of the late Civil Wars," imputing all contemporary ills to "the present Dissenters." Owen would assert the radical discontinuity between 1649 and 1704, for as he argued, most dissenting contemporaries had no firsthand knowledge of the 1640' for they were "then unborn." (15) The approach of Edmund Hickeringill, Rector of All-Saints in Colchester, on the other hand, was much simpler as he implored, "Let me hear no more hereafter of Forty One, Forty One!" (16)
Against what moderates framed as a Jacobite obsession with history, and political identity based upon history, Defoe, in 1703, would assert the essential equivalence between all of the different parties and the irrelevance of history. "Where now," he asked, "is the Difference between Church Loyalty and Whiggish Loyalty, Round-head or Cavalier, Churchman or Dissenter, Whig or Tory? Jacobite and Dissenter?" (17) Since "they are all alike," Defoe continues, "they might all be Friends together." Jacobites were busy reviving political identities based upon the models of the 1640s; Defoe's arguments on behalf of moderate dissent, however, were designed to reject those earlier models as entirely irrelevant to the contemporary scene. To be sure, Defoe's assertion of such an equivalence was presupposed upon his own advocacy of political party and a politics based upon compact, anticipating--if not helping to found--a liberal public sphere of tolerated differences. In such a framework, neither Jacobite nor Dissenter could claim any special status: they had shared common histories; had been similarly "Persecuted and Oppress'd"; and should thus share a common interest based upon a "mutual Compact" which would guarantee a "Civil Peace" founded on principles of toleration. (18) Defoe's rhetoric entailed an implicit appeal to a liberal universalism grounded in enlightenment principles. Jacobites themselves would foreground the ways in which this ostensible universalism entailed a polemical attack on the authentic culture of England represented in the figure of Charles. Defoe's conception of politics, in fact, contained an explicit rejection of any claims to de jure authority: different parties could elaborate narratives of their own justification, but they would be based upon political and not metaphysical principles (which is to say, that Defoe himself knew full well that his own arguments for universalism had a very sharp polemical edge). Jacobites would employ historiographical argument as a means to invoke the political landscape of the 1640s--specifically the authority of the version of history represented in the image of the "martyr Charles." In such historiographical constructions, moderates figured not as universalist advocates of toleration, but rather as incarnations of an earlier regicide culture. As Charles Leslie put it, dissenters and moderates were simply "wolves in Shepherd's clothing," rearticulating the older doctrines and practices of the regicides. (19)
While Defoe would celebrate a world without the metaphysical signposts of an earlier era, Jacobites would do everything in their power to reassert the very differences which Defoe's tract had sought to undermine. In pursuit of such a demarcation, Jacobites resorted not only to historiography and the invocation of the political typologies of the 1640s, but to some paradoxical literary appropriations as well. Indeed, in order to frame the political and cultural map on their own terms, and to assert the distinction between Jacobite and dissenter history, indeed between the Good of Stuart authority and the Evil of rebellious dissent, Jacobites would enlist that unlikely literary antecedent, John Milton.
While as Howard Weinbrot has observed, "renewed interest in Jacobitism is among the many fruits of contemporary eighteenth-century studies," most of the scholarly interest in the languages of the Jacobite High Church has been channeled through canonical literary figures such as Defoe, Swift, and Dr. Johnson. (20) Though attention to the occasional conformity crisis will necessarily lead, as already shown, to Defoe, it will entail a consideration of noncanonical texts as well. That the tracts central to this study, The Pillory in Fashion (1703), The Devil Turn'd Limner (1704), and Moderation Display'd (1704) were all published anonymously, does not necessarily entail a new historicist celebration of the marginal, nor does it entail a valorization of what Howard Troyer called in 1943 "sub-literary London." (21) For the tracts, all published during the height of the crisis over occasional conformity, center around the main players in the polemical debate of the period, Charles Leslie, Daniel Defoe, and John Tutchin, as well as invoke the literary sensibilities and cultures of an earlier era. Seen together, they attest to the Jacobite strategies--historiographical and literary--employed against the culture of moderates and dissenters.
To assert an affiliation between Milton and the Jacobites may seem problematic, especially insofar as it entails contending with the obvious counterclaim: that Milton was almost universally reviled by Jacobites and High Churchmen. By 1704, Milton would occupy a central position in the regicide culture which Jacobites abhorred. He was not only, as author of the Eikonoklastes, habitually attacked by Jacobites in the 1690s for his role in Eikon Basilike controversy, but he was more generally figured as one of the archetypal representatives of regicide culture. The 1688 folio edition of Paradise Lost may have been instrumental, as Nicholas von Maltzahn has argued, in establishing Milton's appeal to a wider audience. (22) However, after the attempted revival of the Good Old Cause in the 1690s, and especially John Toland's publication of Milton's prose in 1698 (with an introduction which celebrated both Milton's life and politics), Milton would cut a less likely figure for nonpartisan admiration. (23) Indeed, in many ways, Milton was seen to be one of the key figures behind the revival of the Good Old Cause in the 1690s. Seth Ward's detailed descriptions of the ostensible rituals of the Calves Head Club would only come to further underline this primacy: Milton was not only said to be one of the club's founding members, but contemporary devotees of the club were reported to declare their allegiance to the Good Old Cause in a ritual which reached its climax in the declaration of an oath over Milton's Defense of the English People . (24)
Notwithstanding Milton's reputation as a regicide villain, the hell of Paradise Lost and the satanic host which populated it would, even in the 1690s, come to feature prominently in Jacobite arguments. Sharon Achinstein has demonstrated the ways in which Milton's own epic strategies were themselves informed through the shifting figure of the devil invoked in political tracts of the civil war period. (25) Notwithstanding the civil war antecedents, as well as the antiquity of the battle between angelic and satanic hosts, Milton would distill images from centuries of Christian and literary sources--ranging from Revelation to medieval mystery plays--into his own distinctive version of warring angels. (26) Jacobites, at the turn of the eighteenth century, would come to appropriate the opposition between the warring angelic hosts which Milton had in some sense himself appropriated from his Royalist predecessors and contemporaries. Despite their vilification of Milton, the Jacobites shared his belief in a binary universe governed by divine providence and plagued by a satanic host of enemies. By invoking the battles between the warring angels of Paradise Lost, Jacobites were not gesturing back simply to a poetic antecedent, but rather to a literary monument to a worldview--of Divine Goodness and satanic evil-which was slowly receding from the horizon. (27) This Miltonic view of the cosmos would, paradoxically, provide the means for the High Church to defend against the proponents of liberal toleration and difference.
The Jacobite turn to Milton as an antecedent involved a strong--if not violent--gesture of appropriation. While Miltonic texts have been employed for a variety of political causes, the Jacobite use of Milton's epic entailed a radical overturning of Milton's own political and theological principles. For where Milton's angelic host advocated the principles of a puritan iconoclasm, Jacobites appropriated that realm for the defenders of the High Church cause. Jacobites turned to Paradise Lost as a means of invoking an older universe structured, both cosmically and morally, upon the principles of Good and Evil. To this point only, however, they remained faithful to the worldview of Paradise Lost, for, in their polemical use of Milton's work, they completely undermined both the theological and political principles which informed his epic.
Indeed, though Blake famously argued that Milton "was of the devil's party without knowing it," it would be Jacobites who would now thrust Milton himself, and the culture which he represented, into the hell of his own making. Indeed, in Jacobite appropriations and representations of the Miltonic hell, Jacobites themselves would inhabit the role of the loyal angels, while Milton and the regicide culture which he represented would be cast in the role of the satanic opposition. (28) Just as Jacobites (such as Astell and Leslie) would turn to historiography to reinstate the opposition between regicides and royalists, so also they would turn to the battles of Milton's Grand Epic, Paradise Lost.
Leslie, for example, who spared no condemnation for what he called "the Gall of Milton's Amanuensis" (which had overflowed, as he put it into the arguments of his own moderate contemporaries), nonetheless would employ both the trope of warring angels and the landscapes of Paradise Lost in his 1695 History of Sin." Leslie's defense of High Church orthodox theology against theological dissenters of all varieties had been explicitly fashioned in accordance with the epic battles of Paradise Lost. Where, during the 1690s, the arguments of enlightenment and latitudinarian theologies were drifting in the direction of deism (especially with the rise of Socinianism) and tending toward pluralism, Leslie would reinstate, through an invocation of Paradise Lost, a simpler moral compass of good angels championing orthodoxy and rebel angels advocating heresy. (30)
Leslie had sought out, as he writes, to "give a more Serious Representation of that War in Heaven" than Milton himself had done "in the 5th. Book of his Paradice Lost" [sic]. (31) The determination to outdo Milton's war in heaven proceeds from Leslie's desire to show how contemporary heretics, who rejected orthodox Trinitarian doctrine (and the corollary High Church political doctrines), should replace Miltonic devils as the true and original inhabitants of hell. In particular, the Socinian denial of the divinity of Jesus, according to Leslie, opened the way up to a multiplicity of different religious practices, much in the same way that dissenting arguments would open the way up to the multiplicity which would inform the emergence of party politics. To protect High Church orthodoxy against the threat of an emergent enlightenment toleration of theological differences, Leslie invoked the Miltonic landscape as a means of reasserting the primacy of High Church theology. Dissenters and Socinians were not merely articulating an alternative (and therefore acceptable) set of religious practices; they were, according to Leslie, heretics, and their proper place would only be hell. In Leslie's argument, Jacobites and their High Church allies are angels, while contemporary heretics--including among them, the Archbishop of Canterbury--with all of their various antecedents in the 1640s (Milton, of course, included) are the "Rebel-Angels." (32) Socinians, anticipating the political strategies of Defoe, sought to level theological distinctions onto a horizontal plane of tolerated differences; Leslie would thus turn to the warring angels of Milton's Paradise Lost as a means of reinstating the vertical-and dualistic--hierarchy between orthodoxy and heresy.
William Baron, another High Churchman, took on the cause of Charles I in numerous attacks against republicans in the 1690s at the height of the controversy over the authorship of Eikon Basilike. Baron, himself a nonjuring minister, had intervened to defend the provenance of the Eikon, lamenting the insinuations of the "Commonwealth Party" who, to his mind, had once again, as he put it, "Perted up very much." (33) Like Leslie before him, Baron, in his Regicides No Saints nor Martyrs, would employ the locale of hell as a means of at once constructing and condemning the "commonwealth" opponents of Stuart authority and authenticity. Where Leslie had used hell as a means of condemning theological heretics, Baron would himself condemn regicides and republicans to a Miltonic netherworld. According to Baron, it was the old "Sanhedrin at Westminster"--as he refers to the Parliament of 1642--which "seem'd studiously to Copy that Hellish Original" in the pursuit of their "unnatural Rebellion." In this hell, Edmund Ludlow, whose name had resurfaced in the 1690s around the Eikon Basilike controversy (though he was in fact already, by this time, dead), is singled out as a Monster of a Regicide who had "fell from High" like "the bad Angels." The worst attacks, however, are reserved for John Toland, the recent author of the Life of Milton who himself earns the epithet "Milton junior," and who is singled out for pursuing what Baron calls "Milton's Malice against Monarchy." In the imaginative registers of Baron's tract, itself an attack upon Toland and the regicide culture he is seen to embody, Toland meets in hell the "gruff Ghost" of Milton himself who reprimands him for "managing the Knave's Part so like a Fool." (34) Not only are the cast of regicides to be found in hell, but in Baron's attack upon regicide culture, it is Milton's "gruff ghost" who is their guiding infernal spirit, a fallen angel in a Jacobite hell. Toland, simply a later manifestation of the Miltonic original, becomes a caricature, playing his part, like a "fool," unable to please his devilish Miltonic master.
Descriptions of voyages of hell were, indeed, commonplace throughout the early modern period. The Scribler's Doom or the Pillory in Fashion of 1703, for example, similarly invokes the landscape of hell, relegating not Milton, but Daniel Defoe and Titus Oates to the "dark dominions" of the infernal landscape. (35) The invocation of Cerebrus within the dreamlike hellish landscape of this anonymous tract may, however, owe as much to the revival of Lucianic satire as it does to any concrete debt to Milton. (36) The tracts of Leslie and Baron, however, leave no doubt about the link within the High Church imagination, between Milton, the regicides, and hell. Similarly, The Devil Turn'd Limner, another anonymous tract published in 1704, evidences the strong presence (if not influence) of Miltonic sources, again used in the service of the High Church at the height of the crisis over occasional conformity. While this tract could easily be dismissed (and indeed has been ignored) as a species of polemical invective supplemented by poetic doggerel, the Devil, in many ways, brings together the strategies of both literary appropriation and historiography employed by the High Church in response to the culture of latitudinarian "moderation." Generically, the Devil is a hybrid, combining in its twenty pages poetic satire, primitive biography, and epistolary prefaces. Although the nominal target of the attack of the tract is John Tutchin (the "Celebrated Villain" referred to in its subtitle), the disparate parts of the tract all work toward foregrounding Jacobite convictions about the fraudulence and deceit of dissenting culture (itself a function of the practice of occasional conformity), as well as the origins of that deceit in the culture of the regicides. Today, Tutchin may seem like an unlikely candidate to be singled out for such heights of villainy; among his greatest crimes was his defense of Defoe (with whom he was often associated) for his Shortest Ways. (37) In the event, Tutchin served as a kind of pointman for attacks upon Jacobite and High Church "priestcraft": in April of 1702, he began issuing what would be the bi-weekly paper The Observator with its persistent condemnations of Tory politics and culture (to which Leslie would later found his Rehearsal as a High Church response).
For the anonymous tract, however, Tutchin stands as a living manifestation of the evils of dissenting deceit. Indeed, within the rhetoric of the tract, in an explicit reference to occasional conformity, Tutchin is cast as "one that holds none in true Faith, but those that receive the Sacrament without Reverence." Tutchin's political convictions themselves reflect what Astell and others would view as typical of the dissenting personality: ruled by "Falshood and Dissimulation," Tutchin's "canting and superficial Sanctity," as well as his "strained Sighs and Groans," are merely "the Mask and Vizard," the tract avers, "for his Avarice, Ambition, and Interest." (38) For the anonymous author of the tract, the attack on Tutchin is more than merely ad hominem, providing as it does the opportunity to produce a more general typology of the dissenting personality.
At the end of the central of the three sections of the Devil Turn'd Limner (which itself contains the caustic personal attack on Tutchin's character), Tutchin is figured as "having learnt all he can" in this world, and thus makes his way to "Hell" where he is said to attempt "to learn more."" Indeed, in the Devil, the attack upon Tutchin as representative of the culture of dissent is enabled through the invocation of an underworld with specifically Miltonic associations. For in this final section of the tract, separately titled "A Satyr Against Loyalty," Tutchin is himself situated within the hellish domains of the 1640s such that strategies of historiography and literary appropriation overlap. "Spoken" by the "ghost" of Richard Bradshaw (the presiding justice at the trial of Charles) to the "Observator" (that is, Tutchin) as well as "Legion" (named as "Pierce," but more than likely Defoe, the author of Memorial's Legion of 1701), the poem of 186 lines delineates Tutchin's hellish and regicide origins. The poem, in fact, opens with Bradshaw's invocation, providing a clear account of Tutchin's genealogy:
By all the Wrath of Hell! your brave Intent, To glorious Faction, and Rebellion bent, On the behalf of our Infernal Cause Merit Eternal Credit and Applause, Renowned T--n! my beloved Friend, Whose Lineage does from Belzebub Descend ... (1-6). (40)
Not only a descendant of Belzebub, Tutchin is praised for adopting the very same "Fopp'ry" and deceit as employed when "Satan did in Eden shamn, / Blind Eve" (30-31). Milton's Satan provides the primordial origin for deceit; Tutchin, however, provides the most contemporary manifestation of the practice. While Tutchin is commended in the discernibly Miltonic lexicons of hell for following in the line of both Belzebub and Satan, Bradshaw proclaims himself to be in "all the Torments" of his "sulph'rous Pain"--the primary and "brave Example" for "scorning Universal Monarchy" (39, 42-43). Though there may have been others in England who, fearing "not to Rebel / Stand all Recorded in the Lists of Hell," Bradshaw's own "Exploit in Blood" had exceeded all of the deeds of his infernal predecessors:
Witness my Pow'r, perform'd of later Time, Usurps the Glory of the greatest Crime, In Judging Charles the First, and dooming Fate, To stop his Breath, before his Palace Gate; What nobler Sacrifice than that, cou'd be A Precedent for future Villainy? (59-60; 63-68)
Bradshaw's own actions come to rival even those of the satanic host.
In "A Satyr's" rendition, however, the "greatest Crime" is not Miltonic Luciferan pride, but the regicide of Charles, which serves as the model for all future transgressors. Indeed, as Bradshaw acknowledges, his own "Conspiracy" would provide the precedent for "those Dissenters," whom he declares, "shall next Rebel" (78). The regicide takes central stage, emerging as not only the central historical, but the central metaphysical event as well. As the Bradshaw of the poem himself attests, the
noble Act of mine does equal all The Crimes which made Rebellious Angels fall; For by that noble Deed I broke the Pole, On which the Orb of Monarchy did roul. (71-74)
The act of regicide thus has not only political, but cosmological significance, as the regicides displace the cosmic pole of the "Orb of Monarchy," associated not only with earthly, but with heavenly Kings. The fallen angels in this poem are those who, in rebelling against Charles, had in fact rebelled against God as well. All future acts of "Rebellious Wickedness" are judged against the benchmark of regicide. The priority of the Stuart version of history is thus reasserted, even in political defeat, as the regicide becomes the means by which either angelic or satanic forms of "loyalty" are affirmed. (41)
Throughout the poem, Tutchin and his companions are figured as looking back toward the model of Bradshaw, hoping to emulate his demonic precedent. As in previous Jacobite tracts, the contemporary advocates of dissent are seen as providing mere imitations of their civil war antecedents: Toland in Baron's account--"Milton junior"--is a failed imitation of the Miltonic original. Likewise, Tutchin, in "A Satyr," is figured as head of his "mischievous Crew" and "Spawn of Hell," who simply mimics the "disloyal Feats" and "Crimes of Forty One" (169-72). Dissenting schemes, what "Bradshaw" describes as part of their "magnanimous Design," entails merely imitating and repeating the actions of their demonic predecessors: "Boldly to smite the Scepter-bearing Arm, / That yawning Death might with our Foe be fed, / And gorged with another Crowned Head" (124-26). Tutchin thus merely repeats the events of the 1640s, promising to deliver yet "another Crowned head"; the same moral compass employed to pass judgment on the regicides is here employed to condemn the dissenting enemies of the Jacobites.
Although the character of Bradshaw calls out to Tutchin, affirming that "the Glory still is thine," Bradshaw nonetheless remains the central character in this Miltonic hell of disloyal angels. So great is Bradshaw's "Power" that he threatens to displace even the current "Regents of eternal Gloom," as if to assert that his own exploits outstrip those of his Miltonic predecessors (101-2). His own success would be guaranteed, however, Bradshaw continues, not only against the angelic host, but God himself, if he were assured of the help of "such Tools" as Tutchin and his compatriots to "Libel Heav'n in Prose and Factious Verse" (106).
"A Satyr" here telescopes the images of Milton's war in heaven, the regicide execution of Charles, Bradshaw's own self-proclaimed "Civil War" on heaven, and Tutchin's later dissenting attacks on Stuart culture. As disparate as the various sets of images may be, they all revolve around the central act of regicide--the breaking of the cosmic "Pole" of monarchy. The warring satanic angels of "A Satyr"--Belzebub, Satan, Bradshaw, and Tutchin-are united in their attack against kingship, both earthly and divine. In the account of "A Satyr," the dissenting culture, for which Tutchin is the representative, not only evidences allegiances to Milton's hell but also emerges as a failed imitation of its regicide original in the 1640s.
The hell of Milton's Paradise Lost not only provides the cosmic antecedent for the anonymous Devil, but that cosmos, as it did in Milton's epic itself, informs an epistemological hierarchy as well. The implied distinction between a Jacobite heaven and a dissenting hell finds a parallel in the Miltonic original where the "plotting" invention of the demonic host would fruitlessly challenge the epistemological superiority of the providential narrative represented in God's unwavering "Sentence." For Milton, the war in heaven not only enabled "the expulsion" of God's "Foes," but it also helped to distinguish between Satan's "calumnious Art / Of counterfeited truth" and God's true providential plan. (42) Similarly, in Jacobite constructions, dissenters would be figured as proferring their own "plots" against a providential narrative anchored in the truth of Stuart history and culture." The inveterate falsehood, counterfeit, and invention of Tutchin and his contemporaries do not simply provide local instances of deceit, but they figure within the cosmic drama between warring Miltonic angels as a symbolic manifestation of their distance from divine Truth.
Indeed, the Miltonic epistemological distinction adopted within Devil places the dissenting practice of occasional conformity within a larger cosmological frame. Artifice and hypocrisy are not only political principles, but, as the opening of the tract reveals, external manifestations of the Satanic fallenness which are more graphically represented in the tract's last section. Invoking a letter ostensibly written by the regicide Hugh Peters "from Hell," the tract, in fact, begins by detailing how a certain "Doctor F--don," having been lately married, had adorned his infernal abode with the "most curious Pieces of Michael Angelo's, Ruben's," and "Van Dyke's." In the continued elaboration of the strange scenario, the doctor is represented as unsatisfied with his hellish collection of images, and is thus determined to satisfy his "fancy" and "to have a set of Villains drawn to the Life." His pantheon of regicide villains, though already including portraits of the likes of Prynne, Ireton, and the Quaker James Venner, was not, however, complete without that of the "Celebrated Villain," Tutchin himself. After the "grand Villains" of the "Infernal Nation" had sat "for their pictures," the doctor received permission to "send an industrious Devil to the upper World, to draw Jack T--n to the Life." (44) The tract--with this strange epistolary opening--thus asserts the continuity between the demonic regicides and aesthetic imitation. Not only then are the regicides in the tract relegated to a Miltonic hell inhabited by the likes of Belzebub and Mammon, but they are doomed to a realm of artifice and imitation, the same epistemological realm to which Satan and his cohorts had themselves been relegated in Paradise Lost. For both Milton and the Jacobites, the charge of "plotting" was a means of attributing falsehood, inauthenticity, and disloyalty to political enemies.
Where Satanic imitation and invention in Milton's epic would reveal the fallen state of the satanic host, so the artifice of dissenting designs in Devil would reveal their own counterfeit, that is, their distance from the authenticity represented in the Stuart narrative of history. Moderates and dissenters, during the Occasional Conformity crisis, would claim to be authors to themselves, claiming, like Defoe, to escape the historical categories and constraints of a previous era and the de jure narrative of history implied therein. Against the universalist tolerance of difference promulgated by the likes of Defoe, the Devil would reinstate that narrative of Stuart history through invoking the cosmological and epistemological hierarchies of Milton's epic, revealing what for Jacobites entailed the Satanic origins of dissent and moderation. Those who would oppose that Stuart narrative are likened, in the rhetoric of the tract, to the ever-plotting Miltonic archangels, who attempt to pursue the impossible, the displacement of the providential master plot, with scheming counterfeits of their own design. Within the imagination of Milton's Paradise Lost, God is the only original; the warring satanic angels provide only a hellish imitation. In the service of their own vision of history against the one promulgated by dissenters, Jacobites would appropriate the Miltonic distinctions between good and bad angels, between truth and counterfeit, between divine master plot and satanic invention. God, from the perspective of the High Church imagination, would likewise stand in righteous opposition to the counterfeit claims of contemporary Satanic imitators. But for Jacobites, unlike, of course, for Milton himself, God would remain what he always was: a Jacobite.
William Shippen's three works, Faction Display'd (1704), Moderation Display'd (1704), and Moderation Further Display'd (1705), as well as the response they elicited, provide an appropriate coda to the issues which emerge around The Devil Turn'd Limner. Shippen, who would in 1707 be elected to Parliament, began his career with an attack upon the "moderation" espoused by the defenders of occasional conformity. Published in the same year as Astell's Moderation Truly Stated and Owen's Moderation Still A Virtue, the second of Shippen's tracts, with its poetic invocation of the muse, reveals the extent to which he himself had already become practiced in a genre of political polemic steeped in the languages and gestures of Paradise Lost:
Again, my Muse--Nor fear the steepy Flight, Pursue the Fury thro' the Realms of Night, Explore the Depth of Hell, the secret Cause, Whence the New Scheme of Moderation rose.
It may be true that Shippen outdoes the awkward poetry of polemic of the Devil, but he is still no Milton. In the event, however, Shippen adopts a discernibly Miltonic lexicon as he invokes his own poetic muse in the invocation to his polemical poem. Not only does Shippen echo the language of Paradise Lost, but his netherworld is inhabited by Moloch, Belial, and Mammon, who, once plotting against Milton's God, were now at large to pursue their "New-Moderation-Policy." While Moloch would solicit "Toleration's Aid," wielding the weapon of "Occasional Conformity," Belial, "th' Atheist's Patron," and Mammon, "the Coutrier's God, would join in the battle to destroy "Albion's Church." The "Fiends," "Seditious Shades," and "plotting Deamons" who inhabit Shippen's "Infernal Dreary Mansions" come to oppose and disrupt "Anna's gentle Reign"--while Satan, Prince of the Fanatick Train, looks on approving their "Scheme." (45) Thus the language and landscape of Paradise Lost is adopted in Shippen's own polemic against occasional conformity.
Shippen's sequel poem, Moderation Further Display'd, provides another Miltonic invocation of the Muse, whose "Powerful Verse" comes to measure the "further Plots" and "Wily Arts" of the Cause of Moderation. Like the Devil, as well as, of course, the Miltonic precursor, Shippen's satanic host is associated with artifice, scheming, and disloyalty. Yet this poem, strikingly, in its own gesture of literary appropriation, calls upon a very different precursor to oppose the Miltonic culture of plotting and artifice:
Were Dryden here--but 'tis in vain to ask, Dryden should reassume the Heav'nly task; Scourge of all Rebels, fearless of their hate, He shou'd their New Born Crimes enumerate, ... all their Arts expose, And warm'd with Noble Rage, their Frauds disclose.
Following the poet's lament, as if heeding his call, a figure appears, "just then Arriv'd from Albion's weary Coast." In this account, the "fix'd undaunted Shade," the poetic--and angelic--counterpart in the Jacobite imagination to that "gruff ghost" Milton, warns his Satanic Foe, "Yes, Hated Fiend, 'twas I thy Plots decry'd; / I did thy little Arts, and Tricks deride." Dryden had been able once before to discern the plots against Stuart Kingship. In some sense, Dryden's own Miltonic appropriations in Absalom and Achitophel (1682) provide a precursor to the strategies employed by Shippen. (46) Dryden's appearance in Shippen's poem of 1704, to oppose the apologists for occasional conformity, attests, he warns, to the certainty of his having been sent by a higher power:
... nor had'st thou beheld, My hated Face, but by some Pow'r compell'd; Some unknown Power in his Native Skies, Beyond the reach of deep Enquiries: Gave me in Charge these Sable Realms to gain ...
In the Jacobite version of the cosmology of Paradise Lost, Milton could not play the role of guardian or "attendant spirit." It is rather Dryden who would take up such a role. Dryden's appeal to a power beyond the reach of enquiry demonstrates the Jacobite belief that the providential hand of God was still active, and it would empower a culture based upon Dryden's sensibility to conquer the dissenting--that is regicide--culture for which Milton was the representative. Tellingly, however, Dryden's command over the "confusion" and "Anarchy" of hell remains only temporary. As the narrator of the poem recounts,
While Hell was thus regardlessly inspir'd Silent and unperceiv'd the Shade retired; Leaving unfinish'd what he'd yet to say; To Realms of great Peace he to hie [sic] way.
Despite having earlier evidenced the confidence that Dryden's presence signaled God's defense of the Jacobite cause, in the end, the poet withdraws, leaving his hoped for conquest "unfinish'd." The very depiction of God as unknown and removed, as well as Dryden's premature withdrawal, may in fact reveal Shippen's anxiety about the continued viability of Jacobite claims about God's continued providential involvement with their cause. With the departure of Dryden, the defender and guarantor of the Jacobite narrative of history, all that remained were those "Swarthy Fiends" of a Miltonic regicide Hell pursuing their "deep invented schemes." Shippen had opposed the sensibility of Milton against the sensibility of Dryden, and reluctantly, Shippen himself seems to acknowledge, Milton had won. (47)
Of course, Milton had not won, though it would seem so from the perspective of Shippen's binary Jacobite imagination. If there had been, or would be, any winners, it would be Defoe and the culture of moderation which he championed. A measure of this victory can be found in an anonymous response to Shippen's later tract. While the dissenting response does not refrain from reversing the oppositions of Shippen's tract, giving to Jacobites the title of the "Dear Tory Devil Faction," the anonymous author seems to quickly lose enthusiasm for terms of the Jacobite argument. (48) For Shippen's "chiefest Art," the tract explains, "lies in calling all Men Factious and Seditious that are not of his own Kidney; but by his Pardon, since all Societies are distinguish'd by the Word Faction, as the Church Faction, the Phanatick Faction, the Court and Country Faction ... 'tis not such heinous Crime to be of a Party ." (49)
Rather than continue to abide by the dualistic scheme of Jacobite history (enforced by the Miltonic precedent of devils and angels), the tract abandons the Jacobite, and indeed Miltonic, dichotomy for the now acceptable multiplicity of faction and party. Indeed, in this reading, party is neither a sign of angelic nor satanic loyalty, but just the state of things as "all Societies are distinguish'd by the Word Faction." (50) To resist finally the Miltonic model of warring angels was a way of simply pointing to the irrelevance of the Jacobite model, and the irrelevance of the models, both political and cosmological, of the 1640s: the dualism of competing devils and angels had given way to a multiplicity of competing interests. Nonetheless, at the time of the Crisis over Occasional Conformity, Jacobites would demonstrate their resilience and their rhetorical ingenuity, as they tried to stem the tide of the latitudinarianism which would soon evolve into early modern liberalism. By adopting a vision of the cosmos based upon Paradise Lost--with its competing loyal and disloyal angels--Jacobites would nostalgically pursue their own vision of divine and earthly hierarchies in which contemporary politics might be seen through the generic lens of Miltonic epic. In such a vision, Jacobites and High Churchmen played the part of Milton's loyal angels, and dissenters and moderates their satanic counterparts. In this way, High Church strategies of literary appropriation dovetailed with their historiographical strategies. The obsessive invocation of the 1640s served the same function as the appropriation of the cosmological and moral hierarchies of Paradise Lost--the assertion of older political and cultural hierarchies against the universalist models promulgated by the avatars of faction and party. Paradise Lost, however, could only serve the polemical aims of the early eighteenth-century High Church through a process of aggressive appropriation. By turning the values of Milton's epic upside down, Milton's God would thus become, however briefly, an advocate of the High Church cause.
Bar-Ilan University Ramat-Gan, Israel
(1.) On the history of these various appropriations, see my Milton's Warring Angels (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1997).
(2.) Thomas N. Corns, " 'Some Rousing Motions': the Plurality of Miltonic Ideology' in Literature and the English Civil War, ed. Thomas Healy and Jonathan Sawday (New York: Cambridge UP, 1990), 140.
(3.) See John Milton, Paradise Lost (London, 1732); for an account of Bentley's appropriation of Milton, see "Those Grand Whigs" in Kolbrener, Warring Angels, 107-32.
(4.) Geoffrey Holmes, Religion and Party in Late Stuart England (London: Historical Association, 1975), 15-17. For more on the history of the campaign against Occasional Conformity, see Holmes, The Making of A Great Power (London: Longman, 1993), 362-63.
(5.) Paula R. Backscheider, "No Defense: Defoe in 1703," PMLA 103 (1988):274.
(6.) Holmes, Religion and Party, 17.
(7.) For an introduction to the phenomenon of Jacobite and High Church political culture, see Paul Kleber Monod, Jacobitism and the English People: 1688-1788 (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1989); Gordon Rupp, Religion in England: 1688-1791 (Oxford: Oxford UP, 1986), 5-28; and Kenneth Hylson-Smith, High Churchmanship in the Church of England (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1993), 71-82. See also the earlier work of Thomas Lathbury, A History of the Nonjurors (London: Pickering, 1845).
(8.) Jurgen Habermas, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere, ed. Thomas Berger (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1989), 18.
(9.) For the distinctions, however, between dissenters and their latitudinarian-that is, more moderate allies, see Richard Ashcraft, "Latitudinarianism and Toleration: Historical Myth Versus Political History" in Philosophy, Science, and Religion in England: 1640-1700, ed. Richard W. F. Kroll, Richard Ashcraft, and Perez Zagorin (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1992), 155, 160.
(10.) See Mary Astell, Moderation Truly Stated (London, 1704).
(11.) Other Jacobite historiography, such as that implicit in Samuel Grascome, The Mask of Moderation Pull'd Off (London, 1704), argued High Church "Plain Truth" against the artifice of the "Rebellion begun in 41." Beneath the "fine Words" and "fine Cloaths" of the "glorious Description" of contemporary Whig culture, Grascome discovers, not "a real Beauty," but rather "a nasty Slutt" (5, 8). For the interplay between Astell's Jacobite politics and feminist commitments, see my " 'Forc'd into an Interest': High Church Politics and Feminine Agency in the Works of Mary Astell," 1650-1850: Ideas Aesthetics, and Inquiries in the Early Modern Era (forthcoming, 2004).
(12.) Mary Astell: Political Writings, ed. Patricia Springborg (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1996), 87; Astell, Moderation Truly Stated, 70ff.
(13.) Mary Astell, A Fair Way with the Dissenters (London, 1704), 20.
(14.) Herbert Butterfield, The Whig Interpretation of History (New York: Norton, 1930). For an account of the historiographical debates, see J. C. D. Clark, Revolution and Rebellion (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1986), 6-44.
(15.) James Owen, Moderation Still A Virtue (London, 1706), iii.
(16.) Edmund Hickeringhill, The Survey of the Earth in its General Vileness and Debauch (London, 1706), 47.
(17.) Daniel Defoe, A New Test of the Church of England's Loyalty (London, 1703), 410
(18.) Defoe, 416, 412. On Defoe's particular "rhetoric of Jacobitism," see Manuel Schonhorn, "Defoe and the Limits of Jacobitism," ELH 64 (1997): 871-86.
(19.) Charles Leslie, The Wolf Stript of His Shepherd's Clothing (London, 1704).
(20.) Howard D. Weinbrot, "Johnson, Jacobitism, and Swedish Charles," ELH 64 (1997): 45. The volume in which Weinbrot's article appears is devoted to "Jacobitism and Eighteenth-Century English Literature," focusing almost entirely on canonical literary figures and texts.
(21.) Howard William Troyer, Ned Ward of Grubstreet: A Study of Sub-Literary London in the Eighteenth Century (Cambridge: Harvard UP, 1946).
(22.) Nicholas von Maltzahn, "Wood, Allam, and the Oxford Milton" in Milton Studies XXXI, ed. Albert C. Labriola (Pittsburgh: Duquesne UP, 1994), 169.
(23.) Toland published his A Complete Collection of the Historical, Political, and Miscellaneous Works of John Milton in 1698, part of his personal campaign to publish a republican canon of texts which included the works of Ludlow, Harrington, and Denzil Holles.
(24.) Seth Ward, Secret History of the Calves Head Club (London, 1705), 19; Ward's Secret History went through several editions, including six in the first decade of the eighteenth century.
(25.) See Sharon Achinstein, Milton and the Revolutionary Reader (Princeton: Princeton UP, 1994), 182-93.
(26.) See Robert Hunter West, Milton and the Angels (Athens: Georgia State UP, 1955), and Stella Revard, The War in Heaven: Paradise Lost and the Tradition of Satan's Rebellion (Ithaca: Cornell UP, 1980).
(27.) For the view of Milton's epic as providing a final manifestation of a pre-enlightenment worldview, see Bachalandra Rajan, Paradise Lost and the Seventeenth Century Reader (London: Chatto and Windus, 1962).
(28.) A whole "camp" of so-called "satanic" critics since Blake actually have placed Milton's own real allegiances with the devil's party. For my own view of the controversy, much too large to elaborate upon here, see my Warring Angels, 1-10.
(29.) Charles Leslie, The New Association of those Called Moderate Church-men with the Modern-Whigs and Fanaticks (London, 1702), 7.
(30.) For an introduction to the role of the Socinians in England, see John McLachlan, Socinianism in Seventeenth-Century England (Oxford: Oxford UP, 1951), Maurice Wiles, Archetypal Heresy: Arianism through the Centuries (Oxford: Oxford UP, 1996), 62ff., and William Kolbrener, "The Charge of Socinianism: Charles Leslie and the High Church Defense of 'True Religion'" Journal of the Historical Society 3 (2003), 1-23.
(31.) Leslie, History of Sin (London, 1705), a2v, 5.
(32.) For Leslie's attack upon Tillotson, see his Charge of Socinianism against Dr. Tillotson (London, 1695).
(33.) William Baron, A Just Defence of the Royal Martyr K Charles, 2.
(34.) Baron, Regicides No Saints nor Martyrs (London, 1700), 29, 136, 139.
(35.) The Scribler's Doom; or, The Pillory in Fashion Being a New Dialogue Between Two Loop-Hole Sufferers, William Fuller and De Fooe, In their late Converence concerning Pilloring (London, 1703), 2.
(36.) For more on the role of hell in the genre of the early modern dream vision, see Benjamin Boyce, "News from Hell: Satiric Communications with the Nether World in English Writing of the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries," PMLA 58 (1943): 402-37.
(37.) The association with Defoe, however, was not always justified. For while Defoe was a thoroughly Modern Whig, the "Whiggery of Tutchin," as Nicholas Phillipson has pointed out in his "Politics and Politeness: Anne and the Early Hanoverians" in The Varieties of Political Thought: 1500-1800, ed. J. G. A. Pocock (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1993), was that of "a True Whig," with his emphases on both "ancient liberty" and the "ancient constitution" (217-18). For Tutchin's defense of Defoe in the Shortest Way controversy, see his Dialogue between a Dissenter and the Observator concerning the "Shortest Ways with the Dissenters" (London,1703).
(38.) The Devil Turned Limner (London, 1704), 6-7. See also Samuel Grascome, The Mask of Moderation Pull'd off the Foul Face of Ocassional Conformity (London, 1705)
(39.) Devil, 8.
(40.) A Satyr comprises pages 12 to 16 of Devil; line numbers to the poem are cited within the text.
(41.) Devil, 13-14.
(42.) Paradise Lost in John Milton: Complete Poems and Major Prose, ed. Merrit Y. Hughes (New York: Macmillan, 1985), VI 780, V 770-71. For satanic plotting in the epic, see II 193, V 240, VI 901. On questions of satanic imitation, see Edward Tayler, Milton's Poetry (Pittsburgh: Duquesne UP, 1979), 96-97, as well as my Warring Angels, 148-49, 152-53.
(43). Leslie, in his The Wolf Stript would lash out at contemporary moderates and dissenters for the "craft and artificial Management" of what he called their "little plots" (46). So frequent were Leslie's appeals to dissenting plotting, that his polemical opponent, the moderate James Owen, Moderation A Virtue, remarked that Leslie's tract was itself a mere "Romantic History of Plots," and that Leslie himself was never "so much in his Element" as when he "harangues upon Plots" (78).
(44.) Devil, a2r; I have not been successful in establishing the identity of "Doctor F--don."
(45.) William Shippen, Moderation Display'd: A Poem (London,1705), 1,5,18,21-23.
(46.) In Absalom and Achitophel, Dryden had decried those "plots" which would "raise up common-wealths, and ruin kings" (John Dryden, Poetical Works, ed. James Kinsely [Oxford: Oxford UP, 1958], 183-84, 219). On Dryden's relation to Milton (and other appropriations of Milton in the long eighteenth century), see Dustin Griffin, Regaining Paradise (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1986), esp. 137-54; see also Anne Ferry, Milton and the Miltonic Dryden (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1968).
(47.) William Shippen, The Sequel: or Moderation Further Display'd (London, 1705), 1, 2, 13, 16, 20.
(48.) The author of Moderation Display'd Answer'd Paragraph by Paragraph (London, 1705) would actually take up the Miltonic scheme, reversing its Jacobite inflection. In this poem, Mammon, for example, is "the Idol of the Priest-Craft Train," that is, a Jacobite, who raises "Rebellion" against an angelic "Moderation Unity" (12).
(49.) Moderation Vindicated in an Answer, Paragraphy by Paragraphy, to A Late New Poem, Intituled Moderation Displayed (London, 1705), 9.
(50.) Moderation Vindicated, 9.
William Kolbrener, a senior lecturer in the English Department at Bar Ilan University in Israel, writes widely on the literature, philosophy, and theology of seventeenth-century England. "The Jacobite Milton" is part of a book-length project tentatively entitled Authority Without Mystery: Authenticity, Kingship, and History after 1689.
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