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The Republication of The Excellencie (1767) - Marchamont Nedham, Excellencie of a Free-State 
Excellencie of a Free-State: Or, The Right Constitution of a Commonwealth, edited and with an Introduction by Blair Worden (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2011).
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The Republication of The Excellencie (1767)
The republication of The Excellencie in 1767 has its context too. Behind it there lies a story that goes back about seventy years to 1698-1700, a decade or so after the Revolution that deposed James II and brought William III and Mary II to the throne. In those years a group of radical Whig writers and publicists, of whom the most active was the deist John Toland, revived the republican arguments of the Cromwellian and Restoration eras by publishing or, in most cases, republishing books that had advanced them. Writings by John Milton, Algernon Sidney, James Harrington, Henry Neville, and Edmund Ludlow were brought or brought back into print.
It was a brave venture.97 Since the Restoration the memory of the regicide, and of the military and sectarian anarchy that followed it, had discredited republican arguments. In the 1690s two rival views of the midcentury convulsion emerged among the Whigs. Mainstream Whigs were eager, in the face of Tory accusations of seditious purpose, to demonstrate their affection for the established constitution. They dwelled on the memory not of 1649 but of the Revolution of 1688, which had brought them to power and which had preserved rather than destroyed the monarchy. To radical Whigs, by contrast, 1688 had been a missed opportunity to reassert the principles that had brought Charles I to account and to achieve the radical curtailment, possibly even the elimination, of the monarchy. So long as the post-Revolutionary regime of William III was fighting for survival against France, which had taken up the cause of the exiled Stuarts, the radical case was only intermittently advanced. After the Peace of Ryswick in 1697 it was boldly articulated. The Peace handed an inflammatory issue to republicans. They castigated the determination of the Whig ministry to retain an army in peacetime, a move, they alleged, that recalled the military rule of Cromwell. As in the 1650s, it was implied, so in the 1690s: a regime that had claimed to replace a tyranny had acquired its own tyrannical properties.
Of the republican writers who had had roles in the civil wars and whose works were published or revived at the end of the century, one name is conspicuously absent: Nedham’s. The omission not only confined his tract to obscurity but also restricted the impact of the edition of 1767. By that time the republican writings that Toland and his allies did publish had become well known, so much so that it would be difficult for Nedham’s writing to add much to them. But if Toland and his allies never mentioned Nedham’s name, they did make silent use of him. In 1697 one of the principal tracts of the standing army controversy, apparently written by Toland in association with Walter Moyle and John Trenchard, appropriated, without acknowledgment, paragraphs in which Nedham had sung the praises of citizen militias, the republican alternative to standing armies.98 In 1698 a separate contribution to the standing army debate by Toland, his tract The Militia Reform’d, borrowed briefly from the same passage by Nedham.99 The material on which Toland, Moyle, and Trenchard drew had appeared both in Politicus and in The Excellencie, and it is impossible to be certain from which of the two sources the passage was taken. The likely answer is Politicus, a work that had been drawn to public attention in 1692 in a biographical account of Nedham by the antiquary Anthony Wood—although Wood’s text does not name The Excellencie among Nedham’s other publications. Wood also mentions Nedham’s authorship of Politicus, but again does not refer to The Excellencie, in his brief life of Milton, in which Nedham figures as a friend of the poet. Wood’s descriptions of Nedham lodged themselves in the public mind. Thanks to them, Politicus would be much more widely known about than The Excellencie until the republication of the tract in 1767.100The Excellencie itself seems to have come close to disappearance between the Restoration and the republication of 1767.101 Toland’s circle may not have been aware of its existence. Toland did, however, republish a work that had been closely connected to Nedham’s republican writings: The Grounds and Reasons of Monarchy (1650) by John Hall, who had been a contributor to Mercurius Politicus. It was included in the edition of the works of James Harrington published by Toland in 1700. In the original version the authorship had been indicated solely by the initials “J.H.” Perhaps Toland, when he decided to reprint the tract, supposed that Harrington was the author, or else believed that the status of the work would be enhanced if it could be passed off as his. If so, he must have withdrawn the attribution before publication. The preface to the volume acknowledges that the work is not Harrington’s but does not say what it is doing in an edition of Harrington’s works.102
The spirit and energy of Hall’s tract, and the vigor and candor of its republicanism, would have appealed to Toland. So would the liveliness of Nedham’s prose. But even if Toland did know of The Excellencie, would he have considered publishing it? Nedham’s social radicalism, though it might have had some appeal to Toland himself, would have gone against the grain of the political and social thought of the late seventeenth century, when radicals felt either inclined or obliged to acknowledge the dependence of liberty on the power of magnates with the wealth to sustain the independence of the crown.103 Further and perhaps stronger reasons against the republication of The Excellencie would have been supplied by the immediate political context in which, and the political purpose for which, Toland worked. The proposal to maintain the army in peacetime provoked a reaction not only among radical Whigs but among Tories. Toland’s patron Robert Harley, a statesman with a Whig past and a Tory future, saw in the issue an opportunity to create a “country” alliance, drawn from both parties. It would be united by opposition to the recent expansion of the executive and of its resources of patronage, developments that, it was alleged, had weakened both the virtue and the independence of Members of Parliament. The country party would attack not only the potential of a standing army to oppress the nation but the accompanying corruption and venality of the government and the court. Toland wanted to present his heroes of the civil wars not as incendiary figures but as men—preferably landed men—whose virtue and constancy had been impervious to corruption by either Charles I or Cromwell.
Like Nedham (and like Henry Neville) before him, Toland diluted a radical message to broaden its appeal. Yet, again like Nedham (and Neville), he did so with the purpose of luring moderate opinion toward radical solutions. The champions of liberty in the civil wars, Toland invites readers to infer, had not been firebrands. Solemn and responsible reflection had convinced them that only by bringing tyranny to account, or by fundamental constitutional change, could the freedom of the subject be achieved or maintained. He made the views of those heroes seem the natural companion to their uprightness of character. By taking huge editorial liberties he transformed Ludlow’s personality to bring it into line with “country” values.104 It would have been impossible to do the same with Nedham. The account of his life that Wood published in 1692 had brought the venal mutations of “this most seditious, notable and reviling author” to public attention. It is no surprise that the writers of the tract that five years later appropriated Nedham’s arguments for citizen militias concealed their source. In the following year Toland’s laudatory biography of Milton absorbed material from the earlier lives of the poet by Wood and by Milton’s nephew Edward Phillips, but omitted the recollection of those writers that Nedham had been among Milton’s friends.105
In the eighteenth century the editions of seventeenth-century writers that Toland and his friends did bring into print—Milton, Sidney, Harrington, Neville, Ludlow—were the dominant works in what Caroline Robbins, in her seminal book The Eighteenth-Century Commonwealthman half a century ago, called a “sacred canon” of “Real Whig” texts.106 Their long-term influence, especially their place in “the ideological origins of the American Revolution,” is now widely recognized.107 But by the mid-eighteenth century the impact of Toland’s publications, in England at least, had begun to fade. Toland had sought to merge republicanism with hostility to corruption. Under the first two Georges, hostility to corruption intensified, but republicanism was in retreat.108 The revival and the renewed impact of the canon were the achievement of a second series of publications, this one spread over a longer period. Two men were responsible for it: Richard Baron and Thomas Hollis. It was they who achieved the republication of The Excellencie in 1767. Although they had their allies and sympathizers, they can hardly be said to have led a movement. Hollis’s “dissemination of ideas,” as Caroline Robbins remarked, “was a strictly private enterprise.”109 Although he had many connections in the antiquarian and bookselling worlds, his allies in the promotion of his program were very few.110 There is something of the eccentric loner about both him and Baron. There is also a streak of over sensitivity, perhaps of paranoia. And there is an absence of guile, a feature that sharply distinguishes both men from their predecessor in the field, Toland. Hollis was called by Horace Walpole “as simple a soul as ever existed”111 and by Dr. Johnson “a dull, poor creature as ever lived.”112 Yet by his own lights his labors on liberty’s behalf had far-reaching results.
We know much less about Baron113 than about Hollis. Born at Leeds and educated at Glasgow, Baron was an impecunious writer, plagued by ill health and family misfortune, a man of artless and uncompromising idealism and of impetuous and splenetic temperament. In his youth he was a devotee of Thomas Gordon, the author, with John Trenchard, of Cato’s Letters.114 In 1751 Baron began the revival of the “sacred canon” by producing new editions of the Memoirs of Edmund Ludlow and the Discourses of Algernon Sidney.115 His views on seventeenth-century history were notably outspoken. In the Ludlow edition, which enabled the reader, explained Baron, to admire the “principles” on which “those men acted, who passed sentence on King Charles I,”116 he included the speech which John Cook, whom the Rump had appointed to conduct the prosecution of Charles I, had planned to deliver at the trial. In 1752 Baron edited a collection of tracts, The Pillars of Priestcraft and Orthodoxy Shaken (London, 1752), which included a sermon delivered in New England two years earlier by Jonathan Mayhew that had famously applauded Charles’s execution. In 1753 Baron produced a new edition, in two volumes, of Milton’s prose works.117 In 1756 he published a hitherto unknown second edition, from 1650, of Milton’s attack on the recently executed Charles I, Eikonoklastes. Baron announced his own principles and purposes in a preface, where he explained that the edition was designed to “strengthen and support” “the good old cause.” “The good old cause” was the label that seventeenth-century regicides and commonwealthmen had claimed for themselves. It was also the ideal, announced Baron’s preface, “which in my youth I embraced, and the principles whereof I will assert and maintain whilst I live.”
He presented a copy of the publication to “my much honoured and esteemed friend, Thomas Hollis.”118 Hollis was born in 1720 and died in 1774, six years after Baron (whose year of birth is unknown). Like Baron he had Yorkshire connections, but his background was otherwise quite different. He was rich, Baron poor. Hollis, though he lived in London, had estates in Dorset. Maintaining that the political corruption of the age ran so deep as to incapacitate virtue at Westminster, he decided not to seek a seat in Parliament. Instead he sought to influence opinion through the publication and republication of works in “the cause of liberty” or “the cause of truth and liberty.” Thus would he champion—in the phrase he highlighted when remembering the martyrdom of Algernon Sidney, who had been executed for treason after a rigged trial in 1683—“the OLD CAUSE.”119 The canon, and the values it represented, would be profoundly indebted to Hollis’s munificence. He subsidized expensive editions of canonical works. He had handsome copies, individually bound and inscribed, sent to individuals and libraries in Britain; in North America (where the principal beneficiary was the library of Harvard College);120 and on the European Continent, where they reached the Netherlands,121 Sweden, France, Germany, Russia, Italy, and Corsica. “Books of government,” he explained, were what he “delighted most to send,” for “if government goes right all goes right.”122 He arranged and financed the publication of excerpts from the canonical works in the gazettes. He had fresh editions of Ludlow and Harrington printed; he planned new ones of Milton and Neville; and he tried to get the political works of Andrew Marvell republished. Although Hollis normally left the bulk of the editorial work to others, there were two significant exceptions. In 1761 he produced his own edition of Toland’s life of Milton, together with Amyntor, the sequel Toland had published in 1699.123 Then, in 1763, came the most laborious and perhaps the most influential of his publishing ventures, his loving edition of Sidney’s Discourses, which he had undertaken, as he recorded in his diary, “without a single bye view, and ALONE for the love I bear to liberty and his memory” and for “the benefit of my countrymen and mankind.”124 The editions of Sidney and Toland carried extensive annotations that reinforced the texts with pleas for liberty extracted from other works, often from other times.
When Baron’s edition of Eikonoklastes appeared in 1756, his friendship with Hollis, warm as it evidently was, was of recent origin.125 At least by 1759, when Hollis’s diary begins and we can follow its course, the relationship had become close.126 The two men would meet frequently and at length, sometimes at Hollis’s chambers in Lincoln’s Inn, sometimes near Baron’s home at Blackheath. They found much common ground in their dismay at the condition of “the times”—a favorite lament of Hollis.127 They were appalled by the crown’s treatment of the American colonies, and went out on a limb in their ardent support for the colonists’ cause.128 Jonathan Mayhew, whose explosive sermon of 1750 had been reprinted by Baron and invoked by Hollis,129 became Hollis’s principal contact with the American movement of resistance.130 In the colonists’ cause he “found himself,” as Robbins wrote, “slowly but inexorably cast in the new role of interpreter to England of American sentiments.”131 His American ally Andrew Eliot told him that, were it not for the information sent over by him, “we should be quite ignorant of what is said either for us or against us” in England.132 There was much else to unite Hollis and Baron. Both men, preoccupied by the venality of contemporary English politics, looked to the abolition of borough constituencies as the sole means to end it.133 The political radicalism of the two friends was partnered by a vigorous and vigilant antipathy, on which a rounded account of their lives would have much to say, to clericalism and to ecclesiastical and doctrinal intolerance, evils of which they likewise discerned a revival in their own time. Both men presented themselves as assertors of “civil and religious liberty,”134 a phrase Hollis liked to inscribe in presentation copies of the books he promoted. They were dismayed not merely by the political and religious tendencies of the age but by its moral character and by the degeneration of public and private virtue. They were scandalized by the appeal of novels and romances to young men who preferred reading them to the strenuous study of the texts of liberty.135
Their closest bond, however, was the hold of the seventeenth century on their minds. They sought out scarce tracts from the period. Hollis, who also tracked down civil-war manuscripts, compiled a large collection of pamphlets of that time. He made selections from them available to two historians whose writings on the seventeenth century he did what he could to assist: Catharine Macaulay, the author of a prodigiously successful History of England, and Hollis’s own friend William Harris, the biographer of Cromwell and Charles II.136 Hollis took Baron’s edition of Eikonoklastes to his heart. He inserted his own extensive annotations between the leaves of copies of the work. In a copy he sent to Harvard he also inserted a copy of Charles I’s death warrant, which had been printed by the Society of Antiquaries in 1750.137 He delighted in the intended speech of John Cook that Baron had reprinted. He heavily annotated Cook’s tract of 1652, Monarchy No Creature of God’s Making, which vindicated, as Hollis exultantly remarked, “that famous piece of justice of January 30 164,” the regicide, “in which we have great cause to rejoice.” He drew attention to other vindications of the king’s execution and publicized the desire of the regicide Thomas Scot, as recorded in Ludlow’s Memoirs, to have inscribed on his tomb the words “Here lieth one who had a hand and a heart in the execution of Charles Stuart late King of England.”138
Hollis sighed to remember the courage, and the vigilance for liberty, that in the seventeenth century had emboldened men to bring a tyrant to account. It dismayed him to compare those elevated figures with their “progeny,” the men of his own time, who had “arrived” “to such a comfortable pitch of inattention and insensibility, to such a total extinction of the public spirit.”139 Not only were freedom and virtue now insufficiently valued, but the principles that had sustained the Stuart tyranny were reasserting themselves. The overthrow of the Whig ascendancy after the accession of George III in 1760 provoked many comparisons between the king’s favorite minister, the Earl of Bute, and the Duke of Buckingham under Charles I;140 many anxieties about the return of “the Laudean-times”;141 many fears that divine-right or patriarchal theories of government were returning. “The rod of oppression,” it was remarked, “may as well be held over [the people’s] head by a Charles as a George.”142 Since the Restoration, church and law had commanded the annual remembrance of the blasphemous execution of Charles I on 30 January 1649 and the happy enthronement of Charles II on 29 May 1660. The commemorations, which often brought public controversy, seemed to Hollis to be arousing worrying new sentiments. In the mid-1760s, noticing the “great singularity and boldness” with which “Jacobites and Papists” had come to celebrate each 29 May, he feared that the mood would escape public control.143 He himself liked to draw public attention to the two anniversaries, but in an opposite spirit: 30 January was for him a day for reverential memory, 29 May one for national shame.144 His view of the Restoration commanded a wider potential appeal than his admiration for the regicide, for since 1688 the ruling order had hesitated or declined to defend the reign of Charles II, when corruption, degeneracy, and arbitrary tendencies in government were held to have prevailed. Likewise there were many readers who, while they might have been horrified to remember the killing of Charles I, would have taken no pleasure in the royalist response to it, Eikon Basilike (1649), an advertisement for the divine authority of kingship that, as Hollis liked to remember, John Toland had effectively attacked.145 To land had also exploited the embarrassment within conventional opinion at the memory of the hideous executions of the regicides in 1660-62. Hollis played on the same sentiment by placing on the title page of his edition of Sidney’s Discourses the line of Samson Agonistes in which Milton had alluded to those “unjust tribunals under change of times.”
Like Baron’s, Hollis’s republication of seventeenth-century writings was designed to instruct and animate the eighteenth. As his memorial-ist Francis Blackburne would recall in 1780, Hollis aimed “to stem the pernicious current and apprise the men of England of their danger, by referring them to those immortal geniuses Milton, Sidney, Locke, &c. for instruction upon what only solid foundation the preservation of their rights and liberties depends.” “It never was more necessary,” added Blackburne, “than it has been” in the seventeen years since the republication of Sidney’s Discourses in 1763 “to let such men as Sydney speak for themselves.”146 Against the background of the Tory reaction of the 1760s, Hollis viewed the prospects of his edition of Sidney with pessimism.147 It had been planned in the last years of George II,148 but it was published, as Blackburne would recall, “at that critical period when it began to be visible that the management of our public affairs was consigned into the hands of men known to have entertained principles notoriously unfavourable to liberty,” principles “upon which those men acted who sacrificed Sydney without law or justice, to the tyranny of a profligate and licentious court and ministry.”149 Tories struck heavy blows at Sidney’s reputation, and at those of other members of the canon, in the years and decades following the appearance of Hollis’s edition.150 John Adams, the future president of the United States, recorded in his Thoughts on Government in 1776 that “a man must be indifferent to the sneers of modern Englishmen, to mention in their company the names of Sidney, Harrington, Locke, Milton, Nedham, Neville, [Gilbert] Burnet, and [Benjamin] Hoadly. No small fortitude is necessary to confess that one has read them.”151
That, however, depended on the company one kept. The Tory revival of the 1760s provoked its own reaction, which succored Hollis’s projects. He was ready to brave Tory jibes. In 1763 a newspaper article, probably written by him,152 asked “Men of England . . . what is become of the noble spirit of your ancestors! Where are your Pyms, your Hampdens, your Ludlows, your Sydneys, and all the illustrious spirits of forty-one ! Suffer not the noble memorials of them longer to be defaced by moths and cobwebs in your libraries. Bring them forth to action. . . .”153 In 1768 he caused extracts from Harrington’s Oceana to be printed in the gazettes so as to bring its “exciting, just and valuable ideas” into current political debate.154 But it was the beliefs and characters of “the divine Milton”155 and Algernon Sidney, the two seventeenth-century authors whom he most intensely admired, that he, like Baron, most zealously promoted. “All antiquity,” proclaimed Baron’s preface to Eikonoklastes, “cannot shew two writers equal to these.” Hollis reproduced that statement in his edition of Sidney’s Discourses and, with it, the observation in the same preface that “Many circumstances at present loudly call upon us to exert ourselves. Venality and corruption have well nigh extinguished all principles of liberty.”156 Though the Sidney edition was the product, as Hollis recalled, of “considerable expense” and “ great and continued labor,”157 he readily acknowledged its limitations. In light of them he commissioned a revised version, which was published in 1772 by a new editor whose improvements he handsomely acknowledged.158
Despite their shared commitments, the friendship of Hollis and Baron withered and died. By the autumn of 1760 Baron’s behavior to Hollis, as Hollis reported it, was becoming “shameful” and “most strange, extravagant, and ungrateful.”159 Perhaps two men so readily hurt by disagreement were bound to fall out. Still, Hollis knew the ability and usefulness of Baron, that “thorough friend to liberty,” and was anxious not to alienate him.160 Baron for his part depended desperately on Hollis’s largesse and on payment by him for editorial work. So the working partnership survived the friendship. In 1763, following Hollis’s republication of Sidney’s Discourses, he and Baron worked closely together on a new edition of John Locke’s Two Treatises of Government, which would be published the following year. Hollis had acquired, and Baron prepared for publication, a copy of the text that contains manuscript corrections in the hand of Locke’s amanuensis Pierre Coste.161 On its publication in 1764 Hollis presented the text to Christ’s College Cambridge, where it would attract modern scholarship that has revolutionized the study of Locke’s political thought.162 In 1764 Baron and Hollis collaborated again, now on an edition of Locke’s Letters onToleration, which would be published in 1765. Baron, having compiled the text, wrote the preface, which he and Hollis “revised” and “altered” during long discussions.163
The preparation of The Excellencie for the press followed the same pattern. We cannot say whether it was Baron or Hollis who discovered the tract or first mooted its republication. But again it was Baron who did the donkeywork. The text was ready by the close of 1766, when its forthcoming publication was announced in the press.164 Baron had drafted the preface by 1 January, the date given to it in the publication. But the next day it was “altered” and “settled” in a discussion between him and Hollis that lasted nearly four hours. They discussed it again on 13 January, and again the next day, when, recorded Hollis, it was “altered in several respects, much I think for the better, and finally settled for the press.”165 As in the case of the preface to the edition of Locke, the reader may wonder that so brief a document called for such prolonged conversation. (The preface is printed in appendix B.) The book was published on or around 19 February.166
Though Hollis, who liked his exertions on liberty’s behalf to be anonymous, was happy to see the preface, and thus the edition, carry Baron’s name alone, he had his own interest in Nedham. He possessed at least some issues of Mercurius Politicus, that “celebrated journal,” “that remarkable State newspaper in favour of the Commonwealth,” as he called it.167 He transcribed an extract from one issue of the news-book (no. 56, 26 June-3 July 1651) into a copy of Baron’s edition of Eikonoklastes, as he did a passage from an issue of Nedham’s MercuriusPragmaticus.168 Hollis’s interest in Nedham took other directions too. He tried to arrange the republication of a tract of his of 1649, a plea to the Rump’s council of state to tolerate the printing of dissenting political opinion.169 Though written in the royalist cause, the pamphlet seemed to Hollis a kindred spirit of Milton’s Areopagitica. Hollis delighted to discover Nedham’s translation and edition of John Selden’s Of the Dominion of the Seas, which had been published in 1652.170 In it he found testimony to the assertion of England’s might in the 1650s, an achievement that again shamed the present, and that inspired him to applaud the naval and foreign exploits of the Rump,171 the government under which Nedham’s edition of Selden was compiled. He cited Nedham’s description of that regime as “the most famous and potent republic this day in the world.”172
In the spring of 1767 Hollis was planning fresh editions of works by Milton, Marvell, and Locke. He hoped that Milton’s prose works would appear in a version superior to Baron’s hastily compiled edition of 1753, and would be adorned, like Hollis’s editions of Sidney and of Toland’s life of Milton, with extensive annotations and quotations. Nedham would have been one of the authors cited.173 Hollis wanted Baron to compile the texts of the Marvell and Milton editions, but after “much discourse” Baron judged himself “not equal to the task, for want of anecdotes, [and] did not seem inclined to undertake” the Marvell project, while the plan for a new edition of Milton’s prose works foundered after a quarrel, involving both Hollis and Baron, with the prospective publisher, Andrew Millar.174 It was Millar who, alone or with others, had published the eighteenth-century editions of Baron and Hollis—that is, Baron’s editions of Ludlow and Milton in the 1750s, Hollis’s editions of Milton and Sidney in the early 1760s, and The Excellencie in 1767.
In January 1768, a year after the preparation of The Excellencie for the press, Baron died. The Excellencie seems to have been his last production. Hollis, deprived of his assistance, was dismayed by the demise of “an old acquaintance, once a friend, of great genius and infirmities.”175 He assisted Baron’s distressed family and, “from regard to his memory,” supported his wife “although, as often informed, a drunken, bad hussey.”176 Hollis’s own labors were beginning to wilt. In 1770 he would retire to his Dorset estates,177 where he now named farms or fields after friends of liberty, Nedham among them.178
The preface of 1767 concedes the inferiority of The Excellencie to the “incomparable writings” of Milton, Harrington, Sidney, and Locke. It nonetheless commends the book as one of “many lesser treatises on the same argument” that “deserve to be read and preserved,” and it describes Nedham as “a man, in the judgement of many, inferior only to Milton.” It looks forward to the prospect of further republications of second-rank seventeenth-century works if opportunity should arise. Yet no such volumes appeared. In Hollis’s publishing activities The Excellencie had a low priority. The humble octavo form of the edition of 1767 distinguishes it from the handsome and costly editions, in folio and quarto, of his other republications from the seventeenth century. On only one subject, the commendable practice of classical antiquity in revering the slayers of tyrants, does he ever seem to have quoted The Excellencie in writing of his own, and even then not in print.179 Since he republished the book, we must suppose that he approved the thrust of its arguments, or anyway judged that their reappearance would be of public benefit. The virtues and histories of the classical republics had supplied his earliest lessons in liberty.180 Of the “lesser” seventeenth-century books that he might have republished, it was The Excellencie, that innovative analysis of the Roman republic, that he singled out. Why then did he not promote the publication more widely and more boldly?
Perhaps his admiration for the tract was tempered by unease. For one thing, there were the belligerence and candor of Nedham’s republicanism. Francis Blackburne called Richard Baron “a high-spirited republican,”181 which he likely enough was. The little we know of Baron suggests that he at least is unlikely to have had any qualms about the content of The Excellencie. But Blackburne was careful to defend Hollis’s memory from the imputation of republicanism, which had fallen on Hollis when he republished Sidney’s Discourses.182 Hollis could hardly have complained of the charge, since the edition, as well as commending the exploits of the English republic abroad, had described Sidney as “both by inclination and principle, a zealous republican” and had invoked the parliamentary declaration that vindicated the abolition of monarchy in March 1649.183 Hollis loved to remember examples of republican virtue and heroism and courage and to publish the evidence for them.
But there were lines to be drawn. The spirit of past republics, even their forms of rule, could be openly admired across a wide range of eighteenth-century opinion, so long as authors did not call for kingless government in the present day. Nedham’s tract is a polemical demand for the elimination of the forms and spirit of monarchy. Hollis did, it is true, feel able to press on the public’s attention, in words he took from Toland, the scheme of republican government that had been proposed in Harrington’s Oceana, which “for practicableness, equality and completeness” was “the most perfect model of a commonwealth that ever was delineated by ancient or modern pen.”184 But Harrington’s proposals, which were advanced without the aggression that marked Nedham’s writing, had lost their revolutionary sting by the eighteenth century. Writers had learned to detach from his nonmonarchical framework the principle of constitutional balance that he had advanced, and to portray it as the guiding premise of the post-Revolutionary constitution.185
When, before the civil wars, authors critical of the conduct or character of monarchical rule had appealed to Roman example, they had done so not in order to propose a republican alternative, but with one or both of two different purposes: to remark on the oppression that follows when single rule degenerates into tyranny, or to commend the examples of courage or probity or prudence of those Romans who had challenged that trend or had found honorable ways of enduring it. Under the English republic, Nedham’s candid republicanism had broken with that approach. With the Restoration, monarchical assumptions returned. In the later seventeenth century Algernon Sidney, Henry Neville, John Toland, and others, all drawn in their various ways to classical republican practice, found ways of combining that admiration with outward respect for England’s monarchical constitution. They won more support by their opposition to tyranny than by their republicanism.186 The same was still more true of the eighteenth-century impact of the same authors.187 Nedham’s standing suffered from his omission from the canon created by Toland’s circle, which had published works that had followed in Nedham’s wake. The Excellencie had advanced too few arguments that, by the time of its republication, had not become familiar from those other writings, so that what now chiefly distinguished the book was its unpalatable republicanism. In 1697 John Toland and his friends had silently appropriated a passage from Nedham that bore on the evils of standing armies and the virtues of citizen militias. That remained a live issue in the later 1760s.188 Hollis, to whom “our trained bands are the truest and most proper strength of a free nation,” reminded readers of the pertinence of other seventeenth-century writings to the subject.189 In one of the two copies of The Excellencie that he sent to Harvard he marked (as well as other passages) Nedham’s praise of citizen militias.190 Yet he did nothing else to exploit Nedham’s discussion of the topic, which by 1767 had little to add to public thinking. It could scarcely have competed with the autobiography of Edmund Ludlow, which Toland’s editorial exertions had turned into a vivid warning against standing armies, and which had a wide and deep influence on eighteenth-century thinking on the subject, both through the circulation of Toland’s text and through excerpts from it in pamphlets.191
Hollis consistently portrayed himself as a champion of “the most noble, the most happy Revolution,” the “ever-glorious Revolution,” of 1688. He thrilled to remember the “glorious struggles” that had “obtained” the Revolution and had produced the Act of Settlement in 1701.192 He was distressed by the “subversion” of “Revolution principles,”193 which by George III’s reign, as he often remarked in exclamatory style or punctuation, were “waning” or “ruining” fast.194 Not only had they been threatened from the outset by the prospect of invasion and rebellion and conspiracy in the Jacobite and popish causes,195 they had been undermined by the corruption of ministries and of public spirit and by the unconstitutional aspirations that such corruption had fostered. Even so, he remained pledged to “the rights of the House of Hanover,” to “the Protestant Revolution family,” and to “liberty and King George the Third.” He longed for George to become a second King Alfred or a patriot king.196 Hollis’s perception of the Revolution of 1688, it is true, was not a mainstream one. Like Toland before him, he saw it as a continuation of the valiant cause of 1649. It was the radical Whigs of the decades after the overthrow of James II whose memory he honored: Toland himself, “a man of great genius and learning, a staunch asserter of liberty”;197 Toland’s close and incendiary political ally the clergyman William Stephens, whom Hollis associated with the “OLD WHIG” cause;198 Lord Molesworth, to whose “political creed” Hollis was “a subscriber”;199 John Trenchard, “that magnanimous gentleman,” “the last great Englishman!”200 Those writers, heirs to the republican thinkers of the civil wars and the Restoration, had constituted a second wave, even stronger than the first, of the “ideological origins of the American Revolution.”201 Some of them had given hints of pure republicanism, yet they had been careful never to embrace it openly, at least not without qualification. They had tended to use the term “free government” rather than “free state” and had remembered to equate free government with “the constitution of the English monarchy.”202 Their caution was heightened as the Tory reaction of the beginning of the eighteenth century advanced.
Hollis took the same path. He was an adversary of tyranny, but not, as Nedham had been, of kingship. What he applauded about the execution of Charles I was not that it prepared the way for republican government but that it asserted the principle, of which he saw Milton and Sidney as heroic exponents, of the right or duty of resistance to tyrants. He likewise revered the sixteenth-century thinkers who had proclaimed the same tenet: Christopher Goodman, John Ponet, François Hotman, Hubert Languet, and the “master-patriot” George Buchanan.203The Excellencie vindicated the principle too, but that was not the main concern of the tract, which added nothing of substance or eloquence to other vindications. Echoing some earlier critics of the Stuart monarchy, Hollis insisted that it was only because Charles I had destroyed “the ancient form” of the English government that men such as Milton, who as Hollis says elsewhere “commends” it, were driven to replace it.204 When Hollis sent copies of his publications of Sidney and Milton to Harvard he was glad to inscribe them with descriptions of himself as a “lover of liberty, his country and its excellent constitution, so nobly restored at the happy Revolution” of 1688.205 The streak of ancient constitutionalism discernible in both writers may have seemed to Hollis to lend aptness to the sentiment. He informed prospective readers of Milton in America that “we owe the most noble, the most happy Revolution to his principles.”206 But the animating theme of Nedham’s The Excellencie is the need to renounce the ancient constitution and to create anew. Can Hollis, in a copy of the tract that he sent to Harvard, have inscribed the tribute he there pays to “the wonderful restoration of the constitution” in 1688207 without a sense of discordance?
In Hollis’s eyes what properly characterized that constitution was “the harmony of the three estates.”208 Nedham’s apologia for the unicameral Rump was remote from that ideal. Hollis was equally far from sharing Nedham’s aggressive populism, which, like the belligerence of his republicanism, distinguished his writing from the canonical publications of 1698-1700. There were, it is true, writers in the canon, higher in Hollis’s esteem, who believed that constitutions should have democratic components. Harrington and Sidney and Neville were at their fore. Their writing, however, was more accommodating toward aristocratic or gentle outlooks and interests. The eighteenth century looked for gentility, or anyway for respect for it, in political thinkers. Baron’s hero Thomas Gordon, in translating Tacitus, commended the Roman historian for having “the good sense and breeding of a gentleman.”209 Hollis liked to invoke James Harrington’s observation that in the leadership of a commonwealth “there is something” that “seems to be peculiar unto the genius of a gentleman.”210 Nedham was no gentleman.
Perhaps there was a further question mark in Hollis’s mind about The Excellencie, one that Toland and his circle would have understood. An approving but lukewarm reviewer (apparently the only reviewer) of the republication declared that “the rights of the people are well explained and vindicated” by the book, but complained that “the strongest argument . . . in favour of national freedom, is not sufficiently enforced, which is the tendency it has to promote the happiness in society upon moral principles.”211 In conventional thinking of the later eighteenth century, political thought was morally improving or it was nothing. If there is a single moral quality for which the eighteenth century looked to political heroes it was “disinterestedness”: an impregnable immunity to the claims of reward, faction, and corruption. In accord with the spirit of the age, Hollis liked his heroes to be “inflexible.”212 It was for their sturdy and stoical refusal to compromise with power or corruption that Sidney and Ludlow won admiration from eighteenth-century readers who would never have endorsed their revolutionary political deeds. Like Toland, Hollis dwelled as much on the characters as on the opinions of the seventeenth century’s republicans. A favorite adjective of his was “honest.” His own “honest views” were fortified by the examples of “honest Ludlow” and “honest Andrew Marvell” in England, or by “honest Lucan” in ancient Rome.213 “Sidney, Milton and honest Ludlow are my heroes,” he told Jonathan Mayhew in 1769.214 By commissioning engravings and wax impressions he made such men into figures of immovable Roman integrity. They became the modern counter parts to Brutus and Cassius, with whose nobility of spirit Hollis also liked to associate his own character.215 But how could he have made a stoical or incorruptible Roman of the venal Nedham? Hollis searched assiduously for biographical information about Milton and Sidney and eagerly communicated it to the public. By contrast the preface to The Excellencie gives no account of Nedham’s life and no sense of his personality, save to remark defensively that Wood’s sketch of his character, which still pursued Nedham, was “drawn in bitterness of wrath and anger.”216 Even if paintings or drawings of Nedham had survived, would Hollis have reproduced them? Francis Blackburne, writing in 1780, judged the impact of Hollis’s republication of The Excellencie to have been limited, and related its failure to the moral reputation of its author. The book, he pronounced,
is well written, and upon sound principles; but was attended with the common fate of the works of all such writers as Nedham, who had been a sort of periodical hackney to different parties; and when a man has lost his reputation for steadiness and consistency, let him write and speak like an angel, he reaps no other reputation from his abilities but that of being a graceful actor on the political stage; an useful admonition to some of our modern renegado patriots, and others who have changed their party through disgust and disappointment.217
Nedham’s ill reputation persisted.218 It undermined the republished version of The Excellencie and mocked Hollis’s publication of him. Hollis was wont to proclaim selfishness, or “self,” to be the underlying evil of the times. When, in 1784, some words from Nedham’s preface to his translation of Selden were delivered as the “Invocation” in a public concert, a reporter of the event remarked that Nedham had been “driven by the abject selfishness of his principles” to his changes of side. “The treachery of such miscreants,” added the reporter, “creates apprehensions even against fidelity, and hinders the deceived from trusting those who merit truth.”219
[97. ]I have described this venture, and the political setting and purposes of the republications, in Blair Worden, Roundhead Reputations: The English Civil Wars and the Passions of Posterity (London: Allen Lane, Penguin Press, 2001) and in “Whig History and Puritan Politics: The Memoirs of Edmund Ludlow Revisited,” Historical Research 75 (2002): 209-37.
[98. ]Compare An Argument, Shewing, that a Standing Army is inconsistent with a Free Government (London, 1697), pp. 7-9, with p. 90. Nedham’s wording was altered, but the debt to him is clear and extensive. See too the passages that recall Nedham’s wording in Moyle’s treatise of 1698, An Essay upon the Constitution of the Roman Government. Caroline Robbins, ed., Two English Republican Tracts (London: Cambridge University Press, 1969), pp. 235, 239-40.
[99. ]John Toland, The Militia Reform’d (London, 1698), p. 72. The interest of Toland’s circle in Nedham is suggested, too, by bookseller Richard Baldwin’s 1692 republication of a previously anonymous tract, Christianissimus Christianandus (1678), with Nedham attributed as author. Baldwin, a central figure in the publishing community that produced the canonical texts of the late 1690s, identifies Nedham as the author. There were other anonymous editions: 1691 (published as The German Spie), 1701, and 1707. For Baldwin see Edmund Ludlow, A Voyce from the Watch Tower, ed. Blair Worden (London: Royal Historical Society, 1978), pp. 18-19, 25, 34n, 54, and Worden, “Whig History and Puritan Politics,” pp. 211-13.
[100. ]A biweekly paper of political commentary by J[ames] Drake was published as Mercurius Politicus in 1705, and another periodical with the same title, launched by Daniel Defoe, ran from 1716 to 1720.
[101. ]Copies of the 1656 edition very occasionally appear in eighteenth-century book catalogs. When Thomas Hollis presented a copy of the 1656 text to Christ’s College Cambridge in 1768 (HD, 14 December 1768), his inscription described it as “ rarissima, ” though he seems to have acquired at least one other copy. See London Chronicle 6 October 1772; Blackburne, Memoirs, pp. 659, 772-73.
[102. ]James Harrington, The Oceana of James Harrington and his Other Works, ed. John Toland (London, 1700), p. xxviii. Some eighteenth-century readers, coming across the tract in that edition or in the ones that followed it, and missing the prefatory disclaimer, would suppose it to be Harrington’s. It was sometimes attributed to him in book catalogs, as it was in John Milner, Virtue the Basis of Publick Happiness (London, 1747), p. 32n.
[103. ]Wootton, Republicanism, pp. 183-86.
[104. ]Worden, Roundhead Reputations, chaps. 1-4.
[105. ]Helen Darbishire, ed., Early Lives of Milton (London: Constable, 1932), pp. xxxviii, 44-45, 74.
[106. ]Caroline Robbins, The Eighteenth-Century Commonwealthman (1959; repr. New York: Atheneum, 1968), pp. 4-5.
[107. ]On the American side the seminal work was Bernard Bailyn, The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1967).
[108. ]Worden, Roundhead Reputations, chaps. 5-6.
[109. ]Caroline Robbins, “The Strenuous Whig, Thomas Hollis of Lincoln’s Inn,” in Absolute Liberty: A Selection from the Articles and Papers of Caroline Robbins, ed. Barbara Taft (Hamden, Conn.: Archon, 1982), p. 173. The material in Taft’s selection, particularly this essay, remains the best introduction to Hollis and his work.
[110. ]D. P. Sainsbury, Disaffected Patriots: London Supporters of Revolutionary America, 1769-82 (Kingston and Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 1987), p. 12; Bridget Hill, The Republican Virago: The Life and Times of Catharine Macaulay, Historian (Oxford, U.K.: Clarendon Press, 1992), p. 164.
[111. ]Bernard Knollenberg, “Thomas Hollis and Jonathan Mayhew: Their Correspondence, 1759-1766,” Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society 69 (1956): 102-93, at p. 103.
[112. ]W. H. Bond, Thomas Hollis of Lincoln’s Inn: A Whig and His Books (Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 1990), p. 1.
[113. ]The best sources for Baron are Blackburne, pp. 61-63, 75-76, 145-46, 356, 361-65, 391, 492-93, 516, 721; HD; The Protestant Dissenter’s Magazine 6 (1799): 166-68; Sylas Neville, The Diary of Sylas Neville 1767-1788, ed. Basil Cozens-Hardy (Oxford, U.K.: Oxford University Press, 1950); see, too, Hill, Republican Virago, s.v. “Baron.” The brief article in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography is not reliable.
[114. ]John Trenchard and Thomas Gordon, Cato’s Letters: Essays on Liberty, 2 vols., ed. Ronald Hamowy (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1995).
[115. ]He, and the promotion of the canon, were indebted to the editorial labors of the antiquary Thomas Birch, whose cautious politics were disliked by Baron and by Hollis’s circle, but whose contribution they intermittently acknowledged.
[116. ]Memoirs of Edmund Ludlow (London, 1751), p. xii.
[117. ]The Works of John Milton, Historical, Political, and Miscellaneous, 2 vols., ed. Thomas Birch (London, 1753).
[118. ]Blackburne, p. 62. Another presentation copy, given by Baron to a Mr. Trueman, is in the Bodleian Library, Oxford: Vet A5 c. 100. It may be that only a small number of copies were printed, for distribution to Baron’s friends: see the flyleaf of the copy of the second edition, of 1770, in the Bodleian, classmark 22856 e. 124. Hollis was probably responsible for the second edition and probably also arranged for the second edition, in 1768, of Baron’s The Pillars of Priestcraft and Orthodoxy Shaken, 4 vols. (London, 1768) (HD, 11 June 1767).
[119. ]HD, 2 May 1764; Robbins, “Strenuous Whig,” pp. 171, 186; Sidney, Discourses Concerning Government, ed. Thomas Hollis (London 1763 ed.), p. 40. In my references to this edition of the Discourses, page numbers will be those of the Introduction, which is separately paginated.
[120. ]Caroline Robbins, “Library of Liberty,” in Absolute Liberty, pp. 206-29. William H. Bond’s study, From the Great Desire of Promoting Learning: Thomas Hollis’s Gifts to Harvard College Library (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2010), appeared after this introduction was written.
[121. ]Kees van Strien, “Thomas Hollis and His Donation to Leiden University Library, 1759-70,” Quaerendo 30 (2000): 3-34.
[122. ]Charles W. Akers, Called unto Liberty: A Life of Jonathan Mayhew, 1720-1766 (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1964), p. 145.
[123. ]John Toland, The Life of John Milton . . . with Amyntor, or, A Defense of Milton’s Life (London, 1761).
[124. ]HD, 31 March 1763.
[125. ]Blackburne, p. 61.
[126. ]I am most grateful to David Womersley for lending me microfilms of the diary.
[127. ]HD, 26 June 1764, 6 December 1766, 15 September 1768; Hollis to Timothy Hollis, 23 February 1771, MS Eng. 1191/1/1, Houghton Library, Harvard University.
[128. ]HD, 6 December 1766; for the eccentricity of their position see Sainsbury, Disaffected Patriots, p. 13.
[129. ]Toland, Life of John Milton, p. 248; Blackburne, pp. 73, 92-93, 763; HD, 2 April 1764; Robbins, “Strenuous Whig,” p. 190.
[130. ]Blackburne, p. 81; Akers, Called unto Liberty, s.v. “Hollis.”
[131. ]Robbins, “Strenuous Whig,” p. 186.
[132. ]7 September 1769, MS Am. 882.5F, Houghton Library, Harvard University.
[133. ]Blackburne, pp. 321-22; HD, 28 May 1770.
[134. ]Blackburne, pp. vi, 27, 66, 76, 81, 362 (compare pp. 470, 577); Bond, Thomas Hollis, p. 121; HD, 28 March 1765; 21 June, 5 November 1766; 23 August 1767; 28 January, 24 December 1768. Compare Political Register, June 1768, p. 405, and another publication in which Hollis was involved: Collection of Letters and Essays in Favour of Public Liberty, 3 vols. (London, 1774), title page and 1:253.
[135. ]Milton, Eikonoklastes, ed. Baron (London, 1756), preface, and Hollis’s annotations on p. iv of the preface in the copy in the Houghton Library, EC75.H7267. Zz756m3 (hereafter “Houghton Eikonoklastes ”); Sidney, Discourses (1763 ed.), p. 45; Blackburne, p. 377.
[136. ]Hill, Republican Virago, explores the relationship of Hollis and Macaulay. Mutually admiring letters between them are in the Houghton Library, MS Eng. 1191/2. Hollis’s diary provides information about his communications with, and admiration for, both Macaulay and Harris.
[137. ]Houghton, Eikonoklastes; Blackburne, pp. 759-60.
[138. ]Cook, Monarchy No Creature of Gods Making (1652; EC75. H7267. Zz652c, Houghton Library), esp. p. 131; Blackburne, pp. 749-78; Sidney, Discourses (1763 ed.), pp. 8-13, 45.
[139. ]Blackburne, p. 61.
[140. ]Baron was ready to defend Buckingham’s assassination by John Felton in 1628. Neville, Diary, p. 23. A similar enthusiasm was professed in The Political Register (July 1767, p. 138), a periodical in which Hollis arranged the publication of “pieces in favour of public liberty.” HD, 10 April, 2 May 1769; 1 May 1770.
[141. ]Political Register, September 1769, p. 145; May 1770, p. 270; June 1770, pp. 320, 324-25.
[142. ]Ibid., April 1770, p. 226; compare Neville, Diary, p. 23.
[143. ]HD, 29 May 1766; compare Collection of Letters and Essays in Favour, 1:33-36, 232-41, 2:140; Sidney, Discourses (1763 ed.), p. 10.
[144. ]HD, 6 February, 4 June 1769. For celebrations on 30 January see, too, Neville, Diary, pp. 90, 91, 149, 301.
[145. ]Blackburne, p. 237; compare HD, 25 July 1761; Collection of Letters and Essays, 1:33-36, 234-35.
[146. ]Blackburne, pp. 148, 188. Compare Political Register, November 1768, p. 280.
[147. ]HD, 25 April 1763.
[148. ]Blackburne, p. 97.
[149. ]Ibid., pp. 186-87; compare Peter Karsten, Patriot-Heroes in England and America (Madison, Wisc.: University of Wisconsin Press, 1978), p. 49.
[150. ]See Blair Worden, “The Commonwealth Kidney of Algernon Sidney,” Journal of British Studies 24 (1995): 1-40, at pp. 32, 35.
[151. ]Charles S. Hyneman and Daniel S. Lutz, eds., American Political Writing During the Founding Era, 1760-1805, 2 vols. (Indianapolis: Liberty Press, 1983), 1:403.
[152. ]Compare it with the injunction by Hollis to “Men of New England” quoted in Akers, Called unto Liberty, p. 145.
[153. ]Blackburne, p. 318.
[154. ]HD, 8 June 1768, 18 February 1769.
[155. ]Blackburne, pp. 60, 93. Hollis was echoing, as many others did, a phrase of the poet James Thompson.
[156. ]Sidney, Discourses (1763 ed.), p. 45.
[157. ]HD, 31 March 1763; compare ibid., 27 October 1761; Blackburne, p. 186.
[158. ]Blackburne, pp. 447-49.
[159. ]HD, 8 October, 1 December 1760; compare 11 July, 2 September 1767.
[160. ]Ibid., 26 October 1763.
[161. ]Ibid., 26 October, 9 November 1763; 17 April, 2 May 1764; John Locke, Two Treatises of Government (London, 1764); John Locke, Two Treatises of Government, ed. Peter Laslett (Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 1960), p. 23.
[162. ]HD, 20 April 1764; Locke, Two Treatises, ed. Laslett. There is another Hollis presentation copy in the Bodleian Library, Radcliffe e.271. For other donations by Hollis to Christ’s see HD, 7 April 1762, 28 May 1765.
[163. ]HD, 8 May, 26 June, 21, 30 October, 6, 9, 10, 16 November 1764.
[164. ]London Chronicle, 30 December 1766; compare Lloyd’s Evening Post, 2 January 1767; Public Advertiser, 22, 29 January 1767. For Hollis and the London Chronicle see also HD, 14 April 1769.
[165. ]HD, 2, 13, 14 January 1767; compare 12, 13 December 1766.
[166. ]London Chronicle, 19 February 1767; Public Advertiser, 20 February 1767.
[167. ]Hollis’s notes on the copy of Nedham’s edition of John Selden’s The Dominion of the Seas in the Houghton Library, EC65. H7267. Zz6525 (hereafter “Houghton Selden”); London Chronicle, 6 October 1772. Politicus is described as “that celebrated state-paper” in the preface to the 1767 edition of The Excellencie, a phrase we can ascribe to Hollis.
[168. ]Blackburne, pp. 760, 773. At a few points the text of The Excellencie of 1767, which is otherwise mostly faithful to the version of 1656, effects slight alterations that bring the wording into line with the passages of Politicus from which Nedham had reproduced it in 1656 (pp. 130-31). Most of these changes correct obvious misprints and would likely have been made whether or not Baron or Hollis had access to the corresponding issues of the newsbook. It is, however, hard to decide whether that explanation can be extended to the other alterations. Various runs and separate issues of the newsbook survive. I owe to Moses Tannenbaum the information that a run of Politicus from 1650 to 1655 in the Cambridge University Library belonged to John Moore (1646-1714). The same library has a run from August 1651 to September 1652, roughly the period of the sequence of editorials reproduced in The Excellencie. Copies of Politicus travelled to America, where in 1799 Noah Webster’s A Brief History of Epidemic and Pestilential Diseases (Hartford, Conn.; pp. 189-90) drew on what looks to have been a run of the newsbook at least from 1652 to 1656.
[169. ]Blackburne, pp. 269, 358; Certain Considerations tendered in all humility, to an Honorable Member of the Council of State (London, 1649).
[170. ]Blackburne, p. 357; Sidney, Discourses (1763 ed.), p. 14; Houghton Selden.
[171. ]Sidney, Discourses (1763 ed.), pp. 17-21.
[172. ]Ibid., pp. 12-13. Hollis likewise commended the foreign exploits of Cromwell, whose “spirit” in war and diplomacy he admired even as he denounced what he thought of as the protector’s “shocking usurpation.” Ibid., pp. 43-44; Blackburne, pp. 92-93; Houghton Eikonoklastes, pp. vi, vii; Toland, Life of John Milton, ed. Hollis, p. 98; HD, 30 September 1759, 29 December 1763. Compare Political Register, November 1767, p. 45; London Chronicle, 9 June 1768, p. 551; 30 June 1768, p. 620.
[173. ]Blackburne, p. 366.
[174. ]Ibid., pp. 356-67.
[175. ]HD, 23 February 1668.
[176. ]Ibid., 2 January 1769.
[177. ]Robbins, “Strenuous Whig,” p. 184.
[178. ]Idem, “Thomas Hollis in his Dorsetshire Retirement,” in Absolute Liberty, p. 244.
[179. ]Blackburne, pp. 772-73.
[180. ]Robbins, “Library of Liberty,” p. 212.
[181. ]Blackburne, p. 61; and see Hill, Republican Virago, p. 169.
[182. ]Blackburne, pp. iii-iv, 117-18, 186, 210, 449.
[183. ]Sidney, Discourses (1763 ed.), pp. 2, 10-11, 13; but see also ibid., pp. 40-41.
[184. ]Blackburne, p. 306; Darbishire, ed., Early Lives of Milton, p. 174.
[185. ]H. F. Russell Smith, Harrington and His “ Oceana”: A Study of a Seventeenth-Century Utopia and Its Influence in America (1914; repr. New York: Octagon, 1971), pp. 145-48.
[186. ]Wootton, Republicanism, chap. 4.
[187. ]Worden, Roundhead Reputations, chaps. 5, 6.
[188. ]See, for example, Political Register, May 1768, p. 326; July 1768, pp. 6-18; Neville, Diary, p. 55.
[189. ]Blackburne, pp. 660, 799; Sidney, Discourses (1763 ed.), pp. 13, 30; Houghton Eikonoklastes, p. 440; Toland, Life of John Milton (ed. Hollis), p. 104; HD, 5 June 1768, 10 April 1769; compare Andrew Eliot to Thomas Hollis, 29 September 1768, MS Am. 882.5F, Houghton Library. Hollis’s alertness to the topic complicated his perception of the civil wars, for his admiration for the regicide was accompanied by a dislike of the new model army as a standing force, which had carried it out in so unconstitutional a manner. Houghton Eikonoklastes, p. [vi]; Blackburne, pp. 92-93. Jonathan Mayhew had the same difficulty with the regicide: see his A Discourse concerning Unlimited Submission and Non-Resistance to the Higher Powers (Boston, 1750), pp. 44-48.
[190. ]EC75. N2845 656eb, pp. 114-15, Houghton Library.
[191. ]Worden, Roundhead Reputations, s.v. “standing armies”; Robbins, Eighteenth-Century Commonwealthman, p. 48. See, too, the annotations in the copy of the edition, sponsored by Hollis, of Ludlow’s Memoirs of 1771 in the Elham collection of publications in Canterbury Cathedral Library; and Critical Memoirs of the Times, 10 Febuary 1769, p. 125. This was another periodical in which Hollis involved himself (e.g., HD, 14 April 1769).
[192. ]HD, 15 September 1768; Sainsbury, Disaffected Patriots, pp. 8-9.
[193. ]HD, 6 March 1769.
[194. ]Ibid., 24 November 1767; 15 April, 7 October, 19 December 1768; 2 January, 4 February, 14 April, 20 October 1769; 18 January, 14 April 1770.
[195. ]Bond, Thomas Hollis, p. 9.
[196. ]HD, 25 October 1760; 24 October, 3 November 1763; 24 November 1767; 19 December 1768; 4 March 1769; 2 May 1770; compare Sidney, Discourses (1763 ed.), pp. 31-32.
[197. ]Blackburne, p. 236.
[198. ]HD, 18 February 1770; Sidney, Discourses (1763 ed.), p. 40.
[199. ]Blackburne, p. iii. Compare Blackburne, pp. 236-37, 659; Toland, Life of John Milton, ed. Hollis, p. 248; HD, 28 September 1760.
[200. ]HD, 24 February 1769. Anthony Collins was another figure from the period who attracted Hollis. HD, 26 June 1764; Blackburne, p. 660; Toland, Life of John Milton, ed. Hollis, p. 255. Henry Booth, Lord Delamere and Earl of Warrington, was one more radical Whig admiringly remembered in Hollis’s time. Political Register, December 1768, pp. 352-54.
[201. ]Bailyn, Ideological Origins, pp. 35-40.
[202. ]Thus see An Argument, Shewing, title page.
[203. ]Robbins, “Library of Liberty,” pp. 223-26; Blackburne, pp. 659, 750-51, 771; HD, 27 December 1764, 4 January 1765, 29 June 1768, 7 June 1770; compare Collection of Letters and Essays, 1:115-16.
[204. ]Blackburne, pp. 92-93. Milton’s state letters, which Hollis admired, provided support for that view. LP, p. 230.
[205. ]EC75. H7267. Zz763s2 (Sidney), EC65. M6427. 3753wa (Milton), Houghton Library.
[206. ]Blackburne, p. 93.
[207. ]EC65 N2845 656eb, Houghton Library.
[208. ]Toland, Life of John Milton, ed. Hollis, p. 248.
[209. ]The Works of Tacitus, 2 vols., trans. and ed. Thomas Gordon (Dublin, 1728-32), 1:27.
[210. ]HD, 8 June 1768 (compare ibid., 18 February 1769); London Chronicle, 11, 14 June 1768; Toland, Life of John Milton, ed. Hollis, p. 243.
[211. ]Monthly Review, January 1767, p. 39.
[212. ]Worden, Roundhead Reputations, especially chap. 6; compare Blackburne, pp. 118, 144.
[213. ]Blackburne, pp. 66, 188; HD, 8 September 1760; 18 April, 25 July 1761; 19, 23 February 1768; Sidney, Discourses (1763 ed.), p. 33.
[214. ]Knollenberg, “Thomas Hollis and Jonathan Mayhew,” p. 116.
[215. ]Bond, Thomas Hollis, pp. 23, 33; HD, 30 August 1765; Hollis to Timothy Hollis, 20 May 1771, MS 1191.1/2, Houghton Library; Worden, “Commonwealth Kidney,” p. 31.
[216. ]Houghton Selden, sig. G2v.
[217. ]Blackburne, p. 357.
[218. ]Horace Walpole, The Yale Edition of Horace Walpole’s Correspondence, 48 vols., ed. W. S. Lewis et al. (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1937-83), 16:5. An earlier condemnation of his character is found in Daily Gazetteer, 5 May 1737.
[219. ]Public Advertiser, 20 May 1784; compare Diary or Woodfall’s Register, 16 May 1792.