Download this PDF file

Download this PDF file

- ^^ 4 - The Forbes Collection^ 1610 - 1660 Michael Finlayson In the previous article, in which we considered the quite small number of items in...

526KB Sizes 0 Downloads 7 Views



4 -

The Forbes Collection^ 1610



Michael Finlayson In the previous article, in which we considered the quite small number of items in the Forbes Collection published in English prior to 1610 we were able to suggest only faint signs of a pattern that suggested that the man whose tastes In this article we shall extend formed the Library was an Independent minister» the analysis to include the very much larger number of titles that were published both on the Continent and in England between 1610 and 1660, It may be as well to make an apology at this early stage for the arbitrary nature of the period chosen. It proved to be convenient, in the light of both the tripartite nature of this journal and the extent of my commitments to divide It happened that the most convenient the balance of the Collection into two parts» point at which the division could be mader, for historical reasons as well as because This, however, has had the unfortunate effect It halved the Collection, was 1660» of dividing some of the most important series of titles within the collection, in particular the 61 Baxters and the 2^' CXirenso In the course of this article we shall refer in detail only to those works that were actually published during the prescribed period but, where relevant, will draw attention to those works published latere

In all there are, in the Forbes Collection, 680 titles published either on the Continent or in England, between I6l0 and I660o The following tables provide us with a very general idea of the overall character of this portion of the Collectiono

To tal Noo of Titles


Total Noo published on Continent in Latin 1^0 in English 3 1^3


Total Noo published in England and Scotland^ Latin 85 in English A-52






Place of Publication

Date of Publication

Continent 1610 - 20 1621 - 30 1631 - 40 1641 - 50 1651 - 60 No date



Land and Scotland 28 23


103 134 245 4



18 21 29

As I feel scarcely equipped to comment on the Continental works included in the Collection, the remainder of these remarks will refer to those which comprise the major portion \*ithin this category, those published in England, mostly in EngOf the Continental works suffice to say ish, and mostly written ty Englishmen» hat the European writers most amply represented are Johann Heinrich Alsted, of 1

whose works there are not less than thirteen volumes, and Johanes Hoomheeck, ten of whose Yoliimes were in the possession of Forbes, five having been published before 1660" and five after the Restoration» Of the 53? titles published in England and Scotland between lélO and 1660 there are 63 that may be described as primarily secular in tone;, the balance;, k7^^ being, in general terms, religious» The following tables attempt to provide an indication of the general character of the seculaJP works, together with a reference to their date of publicationo Content Analysis of the Secular Works Rhetoric, Logic, Grammar Parliamentary papers, petitions etco Metaphysics History Natural History Political Theory Contemporary political polemic Political speeches Classics, text or commentary

19 10 7 6 5

k k 3 5


Bate of Publication 1610 - 20 1621 - 30 1631 - ^+0 16^1 - 50 1651 " 60

3 2

11 20 27 63

Into the largest category, comprising a substantial part of the reference of a schoolmaster, falls Thomas Blundeville* s Th e Arte of Logic , Johannes BuchleT'S Sacrarum p rofanarumq phrasium poetica rum thesaurus. Franco Burgersdyck's Institutionum l ogica rum l lbr i dug. a and Charles Butler's Rhetoric libri duo . It is worth noting that Forbes possessed two copies of each of these last three titles» There is also a work by the "leading classical scholar of his generation" (See D.NoBo), Thomas Farnaby"s Phrases oratoriae elegantiores , Eilhard Lubin's Clavis Graecae linguae and Henry Cockerams The English Dic tionary. library-

In the second category fall the Representation, Remonstrance and Petition delivered by Sir Thomas Fairfax respectively in 1647» '^8 and '49, ttJo Petitions Parliament from the Lord Mayor of London, of 1646 and 1648; and three Parlia:-en*;ary Ordinances of 1646 -80 Among the published speeches to Parliament in the Collection are one by John Pym in 1641, one by William Hakewil, The Libertie of the Sub.j ect against the Pretended Power o f Impositions , published in 1641, thou^ delivered to the I6IO Parliament» and OllTer Crom:well's Speech to his first Protectorate Parliament in January 1655» ^


Amongst the general metaphysical and philosophical works are the Scottish



6 -

divine Rolaert Baron's Metaphysica generalis Meric Casaubon's a Treatise nnnns-mingEnthusiasm , and Christopher Scheibler's Metaphysica duohus libriSo ,

The histories bought by James Forbes include Nathaniel Bacon's Constitutional history, An Historicall discourse of the uniformity of the government of England, the first part published in 16A-7 and its Continuation following four years later. Then there is the Royalist HamonL' Estrange' s The Reign of King Charles and William London's The Civil wars of France during the Bloody Reign of Charles the ninth» The natural history that is most familiar to us, though it is far from being its author's most important work, is Francis Bacon's Sylva Sylvarum , and anthology of scientific experiments. The other works in this category are somewhat more There is removeTi from the mainstream of seventeenth century scientific thought» AlexarràTeT RosB s Arcana microcosmi , a treatise designed to undermine some of the novelties being popularized by Bacon and Harvey. This is the first of a number of works in the Collection ^irritten by Scotsmen, many of them teaching at Forbes' alma mateT, the University of Aberdeen, Finally there is Pedro Mexia's The Rarities of the t/oTldo On the basis of the collection Forbes appears to provide us with at least one example of a puritan \irho treats the seventeenth century scientific revolution \T±th something less than complete respect» '

The proportion of the Collection dedicated to political theory is equally There is the Paraenesis ad aedificatores imperii in imperio by Louis du Moulin, Reader in History at Oxford, together with its Corollarium , published the follDT;v±rrg- year, in 1657; another reactionary work by Forbes' compatriot, Alexander Ross, Lgviathan dra-tm out with a Hook, and Samuel Rutherford's famous treatise. Lex Rex; the Law and the Prince» spars'e»

Looking at the secular titles in the collection as a whole, 47 of which were published during the period of the revolution, they are clearly academic and bookish, there being very few titles referring to contemporary political events» Almost the only titles in this category are by the Royalist divine, Michael Hudson, The Royal and Royallist's Plea the anonymous King's Cabinet Opened, and Francis Osborne's A Persuasive t o mutuall compliance under the j^Te-RP-m ^n^r^i^m^-^ This is cleaïly the library of a scholar, a minister, and a schoolmaster, a man who took little interest in contemporary political events - always assuming, as we must, that we have here the library as it ;iras in 1660» The absence of any of the works of political theory that abounded during this period, perhaps the most fertile in the history of English political thought, is surprising and revealing» The parliamentary theorists of the early 1640 's, the radicals^ like Lilbume, Walwyn and Overton, later in that decade, and the republicans under the Commonwealth, are all unrepresented» It remains to be seen whether Forbes was equally unmoved by the Exclusion crisis of the next generation» ,


Obviously the significance of the collection aS an index to the formation and character of the mind and interests of an Independent puritan and later nonconformist lies in what comprises its major portion, the religious titles published in Britain, upon which we shall now focus oui attention» The following two tables provide a rough guide to this segment of the collection as a whole» The first attempts some sort of content analysis of the 474 works, while the second lists all those authors whose books fall in this category and who are represented by at least three volumes.


- 7


Content Analysis of 4?^ works in Forbes Collection, religious in character, published in England and Scotland between 1610 and 1660» lo

Published before 16^1, or published later in a first or subsequent edition, and puritan in tone» a„

bo Co

Doctrinal, anti-Catholic polemic. Exegetical Bibles, Commentaries

96 22 6

124 2o

Written in defence of the Established episcopal church


Written and published, l6kl


Civil War Sermons



Mainly concerned with intra-puritan disputes, frequently ecclesiological



1641 - 60 Exegesis





60, puritan in tone.

45 153



Authors represented by 3 or more titles»

Richard Baxter Jeremiah Burroughes Richard Vines John Preston Thomas Gataker Anthony Burgess David Dickson Thomas Jackson Thomas Taylor Robert Bolton John Otiren Obadiah Sedgvirick Edward Leigh William Twisse James Ussher John Weemes Thomas Fuller Samuel Rutherford John Saltmarsh Andrew Willet Henry Ainsworth John Ball Paul Baynes William Bridge Nicholas Byfield John Davenant Christopher Eake John Goodwin


Noo of titles

published 1610-60 19 17 11 (mostly sermons) 14 9 8 7

Total Noo of Titles in Collection 61 18 13 14 9 8


7 7

7 6

9 6













4 4 4 4


3 3 3 3 3 3 3 2


4 4 3 3 3 3 3 3 3


Henry Hickman William Lyford Thomas Manton William Perkins William Prynne Ed\ra,rd Rayner Nehemiah Rogers



3 2


3 3 3 3

3 3 3 3




Strikingly apparent within the collection is the considerahle hody of sermons and doctrinal works delivered or written during the two generations hefore the Civil War though often published or republished later» Such, for example, are the sermons of Henry Smith, delivered in St» Clement Danes to his late Elizabethan congregation, and published by Thomas Fuller in l6$7o Haller has referred to these sermons as "something like a household book for Sunday reading"» [W, Haller, The Rise of Puritanism (New York, 1957)» p. 30»] There are no less than fourteen titles of the sermons and works of John Preston, puritan courtier and Master of Emmanuel College, Cambridge, until his death in 1628, as well as the three volume collection of the Works of William Perkins and seven volumes, mostly sermons, of another great preacher, Thomas Taylor, and three volumes of each of John Ball, Paul Baynes and Henry Ainsworth» While there are a number of omissions it would be true to say that this section of the Forbes Collection provides strong support for William Haller' s thesis concerning the importance of the Puritan brotherhood that thrived in the underground church in England 1590-1640, ana whose influence was largely -vcrought by their sermons. Most of the prominent puritan preachers who flourished in England during the two generations prior to the War were to be found on the shelves of James Forbes, attesting to the influence of their loritten as well as their spoken wordo The significance of the presence in the collection of this considerable body of puritan brotherhood literature together with the obviously religiously radical character of the Civil War tracts is underlined by the relative absence of works in defence of the established church» It is interesting to note that of the approximately 45 titles in this category half were actually ^/ritten by bishops of the church» These range from Thomas Cranmer's Reformatio legum ecclesiasticarum, a volume of sermons' delivered by Lancelot AndreweSç, The Pattern of catechistal doctrine at large ^ three volumes by the Bishop of Salisbury, John Davenant, two by George Do^mame^ Bishop of Derby and one each by Patrick Forbes, Bishop of Aberdeen and by William Forbes, Perhaps Bisla^p of EdinbuDgh, and four works of the Archbishop of Armaghj James Ussher» it is significant that the Bishop most represented in the collection was USsher, whose scheme for a reduced episcopacy could conceivably have led to a settlement of the ecclesiastical issue in 1641 since it comprised the basis of the presbyterian's position at the Savoy Conference which followed the Restoration» One must, of course, aliirays be irary of superficial generalisations since the collection also houses the Works of the leading Laudian defender, Joseph Hall, Bishop of Non^ich, and also Peter Heylyn's The Undeceiving of the People in the point of the Tithes»


- 9 -

While Haller-s thesis concerning the existence and influence of the Puritan brotherhood ap^rears unquestionahle and is supported "by the Forhes Collection he is on less solid ground when he \\n:ite8 that "the disagreements that rendered Puritans into preshyterians, independents, separatists and baptists were in the long run not so significant as the qualities of character of mind and of imagination;, which kept them all [Haller, Opo cito p» 17 o] alike Puritan"» c,

I believe that it can be argued that the differences between the "Puritans and the "Puritans of the left" were no less "fundamental" than those right" of the That "puritans" prior to 1641, distinguished the Puritans from the Anglicans o which, from that alleged 1660 stems less "Dissenters" after mostly became hue of whatever ecclesiological disputes over which made movement of the intrinsic "homogeneity" questions mere trifles than from the peculiar circumstances surrounding the ecclesiastical settlement of I66O-I0 [This whole question has been argued in greater detail in my unpublished PhoDo dissertation at the University of Toronto Library, "Independency in New and Old England, 1630-1660: An Historiographical and Historical Study".]

To this question the Forbes Collection is marginally relevant» After all, Forbes \m8 an Independent minister for 50 years after 1654, albeit an atypical one» Almost 300 voliimes in this Collectionr were written and published during the period 1640-1660 [out of a total number of approximately 22,000 titles published and collected during this period by the newsagent George Thomason]» These were the formative years of Forbes' life^ between the ages of 11 and 31> when he took the remarkable step of emigrating from Royalist, Presbyterian Scotland to become an Independent minister to a gathered congregation at Gloucester under the Protectorate» The majority of these nearly 300 volumes were actually t/ritten by ministers who came to be ejected from the Church of England in the purges of 1660-2, though to label them all "puritan" or, after the Restoration, "nonconformist" is to oversimplify a gtoup which is rather more heterogeous» The most Conspicuous name that falls within this, the largest single category, is that which comes most nearly to dominate the whole colleôtionj namely Richard Baxter, who was responsible for no less than nineteen titles that fall within this period, and 61 overall» There seems little doubt that during this early period and for the remainder of hie life Forbes vae profoundly impressed by the minister from Kidderminster» Yet ve also know from his involvement in the Savoy Conference of 1658 that Forbes identified himself with the cause of Independency» Hence we must infer that he attributed a great deal of importance to what is central to Independency, namely the attempt to combine a belief in a sectarian and voluntarist type of church with acceptance of a national church, united on fundamentals» On this question of church government, thought by Haller to be peripheral to the puritan mainstream, yet regarded by contemporaries as lather more important, Forbes clearly dissociated himself from the views of Baxter» Forbes' adherence to the Independent polity expresses itself in the Collection though, again, we must be careful of draining too firm conclusions on the basis of what is rather intangible circumstantial evidence» Bearing in mind their numerican insignificance - ten out of 121 members of the Westminster Assembly of Divines dissented from its generally presbyterian recommendations - the works of Independent ministers are perhaps disproportionally present in the Collection» Jeremiah Burroughes, one of the Dissenting Brethren at the Westminster Assembly has 18 titles in the catalogue, while the name of John Owenp Cromwell's principal theological adviser, occurs 2k times, though only 6 of these books had been published by I66O» In fact, all five of the Dissenting Brethren who were responsible for the Apologetical Na rration in 164A-, Thomas Goodwin, Philip Nye, William Bridge, Jeremiah Burroughes, and Sydrach Simpson



were represented in the Collection^ though it is noteworthy that the seminal tract is missing» These five together who with John Ch^en, comprise the leadership of Independencjr tefore the Restoration, were responsible for 58 volumes in the Collection, In addition to the works of the English some of themj, of course, falling beyond 1660» Independents in the Collection, there are also some by New EnglanderSj whose involvement in the ecclesiastical controversies in England in the lé'+O's has often been underestimated by historians,, John Cotton^ the principal theorist of the New England Way, is represented by two volumes, though not by his work in church government but by an Exegesis of Sto John's First Epistle, and A Modest and Clear Answer to Mr» Ball's Discourse of Also included in the collection is Richard Mather's influential Set Forms of Prayer » Church- government and church-covenant discussed, Massachusetts did provide, after all, the model for the Independent Way: thus it is not surprising that their two principal theorists of ecclesiastical polity should be knoxm to and read by Forbes» At the same time, of course, and here we catch the limitations of this approach to an historical problem, we must recognize that most works in this category were actually i\rritten by divines who between 16^0 and 1660 came to identify with the cause of"Presbyterianism"o Not that this is surprising since of the approximately 2000 divines ejected at the Restoration, the proportion of "Presbyterians" to "Independents"

was about 7 si» The whole question of tracing intellectual influences is never clear-cut; for every volume, elaborating upon the Independent polity or dealing \/ith more general theological or inspirational themes by Independents, one could name five by divines adopting a position to the left or right» To the left there are, for instance, four volumes by the radical secretary, John Saltmarsh, several more ^y Walter C^addock, and a defence of Fifth Monarchy by John Archerp The personall raigne of Christ upon On the right there is the large collection of Ik titles, mostly sermons, to earth» the House of Commons, by Richard Vine, nine volumes by Thomas Gataker,and eight volumes, mostly doctrinal, by a third and equally moderate, i»eo presbyterian, member of the Westminster Assembly;, Anthony Burgess»

The Forbes Collection does not provide us with so refined a tool that we may plumb the depths of his mind during these crucially formative years of his life» Yet it does provide an index to his major pre-occupations» In addition to the works of feSkfegesis, the sermons and the doctrinal and inspirational ^vritings one expects to find in a clergyman's library^ we find a relatively large number of books relating tb ftcclesiological subjects, anyv/here from +he conventional presbyterian solution tot^Ounded by John Bumsley to the radical questions of Edward Burroughs, He certainly '.thsii^es the ecclesiological concerns of his generation and the shape of his library Mt only makes his involvement in the Savoy Conference unsurprising;, but also^ suggests that the question of church- government was more vital than Wm» Haller was prepared to ÔônOede» It remains to be seen whether this is peculiar to the Civil War period or Continues beyond the Restorationo




§0) •H ^4

0) \>


O oj




a 0) fn

O «H «H •H -P



-P 3^ !> •H •H «H +3 +>


^^ a>


-H H§P^H





O g S U M p .


p p!


o -ci o % p

ri 0)


I -P