‘Hot and eager in courtship’: representations of court life in the parliamentarian press, 1642-9
University College London
Jason Peacey. "‘Hot and eager in courtship’: representations of court life in the parliamentarian press, 1642-9". Early Modern Literary Studies Special Issue 15 (August, 2007) 2.1-36<URL: http://purl.oclc.org/emls/si-15/peaccour.htm>.
this place, which should have been the well-spring and fountain of learning, is now become the spring and fountain of all profaneness and uncleanness. Here are lewd strumpets […] they lie with the great commanders, sometimes with one, and sometimes with other (Mercurius Civicus. 7: 53).It was with both providentialist and prurient glee that Henry Walker reported that the disastrous Oxford fire of October 1644 had been caused by the carousing of royalists, following a ‘merry meeting at a fiddler’s house near the Red Lion in the Fish Market’ (Perfect Occurrences. 9: sig. I4). Here they ‘met with their wenches’ to indulge in ‘musick, drink and tobacco’, and in ‘cursing and swearing’, as well as in drinking toasts to the king, to parliament’s defeat, and to London’s destruction (Perfect Occurrences. 9: sig. I4). Walker returned more than once to stories of royalists ‘drinking and roaring all night’ with their ‘wenches’ in tow (Perfect Occurrences. 24: sig. Aa2v). If such tales tended to relate to royalist soldiers, others clearly concerned members of the court. Journalists repeatedly highlighted the activities of the renowned sexual predator, John ‘Prince’ Griffith, which certainly involved indecent assaults, and more probably ‘rapes and the like’ as well (Perfect Diurnall. 18: 4; Perfect Occurrences. 15: sig. P2v; Perfect Passages. 25: 196; Perfect Occurrences. 82: sig. Mmmm4v). Among the female courtiers, attention was drawn to Lady Dalkeith, governess of Princess Henrietta, who was supposed to be ‘mistress to Prince Rupert and also to Colonel [Sir John] Berkeley, governor of Exeter’ (Perfect Occurrences. 31: sig. Ff4v).
we question not His Majesty’s desires, but we are sorry he hath no power in his hand to accomplish any desire. We hope His Majesty desires to settle his dominions in peace, but you will not suffer; we hope he desires to take the late covenant with his kingdoms, but you detain him; we hope he desires to extirpate popery and to continue his Parliament, but you forbid him; we hope he desires to spill no more innocent blood in his kingdom, nor to stain his throne for his posterity, but you keep the sword in his hand; we hope he desires a reformation of our church and state, but for her majesty […] We hope his desires are good, but there are too many mingled in his actions, and it is pity that his desires are obstructed by so many [Sir Francis] Cottingtons and Nicholases and [Endymion] Porters and [Sir George] Ratcliffs. His desires are suffocated with ill counsels (Mercurius Britanicus. 17: 129).Subsequently, Nedham claimed that ‘[e]veryone can point out the evil counsellors now… and how they keep His Majesty still out of the clear sunshine of the Gospel, stumbling up and down in the twilight of popish protestant religion’ (Mercurius Britanicus. 55: 431). Men such as Digby were described as ‘seducers of princes’ (Parliament Scout, 54: 433).
The continual watchings of the Oxford juntos have tired out the moderate party, and they had as good be absent […] as remain but cyphers there [...] But Sir John Culpeper hath so powdered the mungrel members, with a brinish speech of the hopes they have from Ireland, as makes them yet content with their rotten and tainted condition, which doth so offend the nostrils of the well affected (Perfect Occurrences. 32: sig. Ii).Nedham highlighted frustration within the Oxford Parliament that the king followed Digby’s advice rather than their own, and argued that it was the Oxford council and not Parliament which had ‘brought their sovereign into a fine pickle’ (Mercurius Britanicus. 104: 926; Mercurius Britanicus. 70: sig. Bbbb4v). Britanicus asked of the king: ‘how long will your majesty believe three councillors before three kingdoms?’ (Mercurius Britanicus. 51: 400).
 Roy ‘The Royalist Army’, Hutton, Smith, Malcolm, Carlton, Young. The best and most balanced biography is Cust.
 de Groot, McElligott and Smith.
 See Peacey ‘The Exploitation’.
 See Underdown.
 See Adamson.
 See Sumner, Roy 1998.
 See also Mercurius Britanicus. 102: 905; Mercurius Britanicus. 104: 925. For Digby’s letters, see Peacey ‘The Exploitation’.
 See Peacey ‘The struggle’.
 For Berkenhead see Thomas.
 See Smith.
 See Peacey ‘The counterfeit’.
 See also Mercurius Britanicus. 101: 897-8, 904.
 See also Mercurius Britanicus. 62: 488; Mercurius Britanicus. 64: 503-4.
 See also Perfect Diurnall. 216: 1733.
 See Alberge. For the Moderate, see Brewster and Howell, Diethe.
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© 2007-, Matthew Steggle (Editor, EMLS).