A Political Biography of Henry Fielding

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A Political Biography of Henry Fielding

Eighteenth-Century Political Biographies Series Editor: J. A. Downie Titles in this Series 1 Daniel Defoe P. N. Furb

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A POLITICAL BIOGRAPHY OF HENRY FIELDING

Eighteenth-Century Political Biographies Series Editor: J. A. Downie

Titles in this Series 1 Daniel Defoe P. N. Furbank & W. R. Owens 2 Jonathan Swift David Oakleaf 3 Delarivier Manley Rachel Carnell

Forthcoming Titles Alexander Pope Pat Rogers Richard Steele Charles Knight Eliza Haywood Kathryn King John Arbuthnot Angus Ross Joseph Addison Alexander Pettit John Toland Michael Brown

A POLITICAL BIOGRAPHY OF HENRY FIELDING

by J. A. Downie

london PICKERING & CHATTO 2009

Published by Pickering & Chatto (Publishers) Limited 21 Bloomsbury Way, London WC1A 2TH 2252 Ridge Road, Brookfield, Vermont 05036-9704, USA www.pickeringchatto.com All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise without prior permission of the publisher. © Pickering & Chatto (Publishers) Ltd 2009 © J. A. Downie 2009 British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data Downie, J. A. ( James Alan), 1951– A political biography of Henry Fielding. – (Eighteenth-century political biographies) 1. Fielding, Henry, 1707–1754 – Political and social views 2. Authors, English – 18th century – Biography 3. Satirists, English – 18th century – Biography I. Title 828.5’09 ISBN-13: 9781851969159 e: 9781851966806



This publication is printed on acid-free paper that conforms to the American National Standard for the Permanence of Paper for Printed Library Materials. Typeset by Pickering & Chatto (Publishers) Limited Printed in Great Britain at MPG Books Group.

CONTENTS

Acknowledgements Author’s Note

vii ix

Introduction 1 ‘So Dissipated, Though Well Born and Well-Educated a Youth’ 2 ‘Unshap’d Monsters of a Wanton Brain!’: 1728–1731 3 ‘Court Poet’?: 1732–1735 4 ‘Dramatick Satire’: 1736–1739 5 ‘Writ in Defence of the Rights of the People’: 1739–1741 6 The Political Significance of The Opposition. A Vision 7 ‘There are Several Boobies who are Squires’: 1742–1745 8 ‘A Strenuous Advocate for the Ministry’: 1745–1748 9 ‘A Hearty Well-Wisher to the Glorious Cause of Liberty’: Tom Jones and the Forty-Five 10 ‘This Botcher in Law and Politics’: 1749–1754 Conclusion

1 13 21 55 69 89 111 125 147 173 185 203

Notes Works Cited Index

209 247 261

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

My first eighteenth-century encounter was when I read Tom Jones as an A-level text in the sixth form at Carlisle Grammar School. After the first hundred pages or so I found it utterly absorbing, and towards the end I couldn’t put it down. As a teenager in the 1960s I found it every bit as much of a page-turner as its original readers had done. When I became Editor of the Eighteenth-Century Political Biographies series I was also involved in organizing Henry Fielding In Our Time: A Tercentenary Conference which took place at Senate House, University of London, from 19–21 April 2007. The temptation to put two and two together and write the Fielding political biography myself proved too strong to resist, more especially as I didn’t think those who had written about his politics had got them quite right. I should like to thank those who took part in the tercentenary conference, especially its ‘onlie begetter’, Henry Fielding Thoresby. While working on Fielding’s politics, I have been fortunate enough to enjoy the friendship and assistance of a number of eighteenth-century experts. Cindy Wall and J. Paul Hunter have helped in ways that go far beyond the concerns of scholarship. Paul generously read drafts of the Introduction and Chapters 2 and 3 also. Bill Speck read the Introduction in draft as well, putting me right yet again about one or two aspects of the political world of the early eighteenth century. In addition, Robert D. Hume, Kathryn R. King, Thomas Lockwood, Tim Parnell and Frederick D. Ribble have been kind enough to give me advice and assistance on specific points.

– vii –

For Lizzie

AUTHOR’S NOTE

I think a political biography of Fielding should attempt two interrelated tasks: first, to offer an account of his life which concentrates on the political aspects of his career in all its twists and turns, including his various and varying political allegiances; second, to trace the development of his political ideas – his political ideology, if you will. It is a commonplace of Fielding’s biography that he has left comparatively little behind him in the form of manuscript remains. Of the seventy letters from Fielding printed by Martin C. Battestin and Clive T. Probyn in their edition of The Correspondence of Henry and Sarah Fielding, twenty-six are to his friend, James Harris. Insightful though these are, they shed relatively little light on his politics. Of the rest, fifteen are to Robert Butcher, the agent of his great patron and protector, the Duke of Bedford, although only six are addressed to Bedford himself; three to the Duke of Newcastle; two to Lord Chancellor Hardwicke; but only a single extant letter, dating from August 1750, to George Lyttelton, his other great patron and friend, to whom, according to the Dedication to Tom Jones, Fielding ‘partly owe[d]’ his ‘Existence during great Part of the Time which I have been employed in composing it’.1 As for Fielding’s other supposed political associates, Bolingbroke, Chesterfield, Pelham, Pitt, not to mention the Great Man himself, Sir Robert Walpole, not a single letter survives to clinch the connection. In the absence of documentary evidence, therefore, the temptation is to make assumptions about Fielding’s relations with various contemporary politicians, especially those among the ranks of the Opposition who between 1736 and 1742 were rumoured to be his patrons, Lyttelton and Chesterfield in particular. It is a temptation which I have tried my best to resist. Fielding may have been intimate with Lyttelton, Chesterfield et al. in the 1730s and early 1740s but it is an intimacy which remains to be documented. Paradoxically, we know more about his relations with Walpole, although much of this evidence is ambiguous and not readily susceptible of interpretation either. It is not to Fielding’s surviving correspondence, then, that we must turn for evidence of his political opinions, but to his published writings. As paraphrasing

– ix –

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what he has written brings with it the danger of misinterpretation or misrepresentation, I have preferred wherever possible to quote Fielding’s own words so that I can at least try to explain why I think he means what I say he means. Extensive quotation raises issues of its own, and therefore I generally quote from the original editions of his plays, pamphlets, political journalism and prose fiction rather than from The Wesleyan Edition of the Works of Henry Fielding. As an academic who lives and works in London I am of course fortunate to have the resources of the British Library, including the Burney newspaper collection, on my doorstep, as it were. Almost all of the eighteenth-century books and newspapers I cite are however available on-line either through ECCO or EEBO or British Newspapers 1600–1900.

INTRODUCTION

When a Nation is divided into two opposite Political Parties … the generality of the people, consisting of unlearned and undesigning persons, are very liable to be imposed upon by the pretences and practices of the most eminent in those Parties. Grub-Street Journal, 22 April 1736

Fielding failed to articulate any straightforward statement of his political beliefs in propria persona. Perhaps the nearest he came to doing so was in pamphlets such as A Serious Address To the People of Great Britain in which he explained how the doctrine of ‘an indefeasible Right to the Crown hath been justly exploded’ because ‘the Legislature of the Kingdom have unanimously declared against any such Principle’. ‘The Reverse of it is Law’, he went on, ‘a Law as firmly established as any other in this Kingdom; nay, it is the Foundation, the Corner-Stone of all our Laws, and of this Constitution itself; nor is the Declaration and Confirmation of this great Right of the People one of the least of those Blessings, which we owe to the Revolution’. This not only appears to make his sentiments on the subject of parliamentary sovereignty perfectly clear – supreme power lies in ‘the people’ as represented in Parliament – it also strongly suggests that he firmly adhered to the range of ‘Revolution Principles’ upon which the Hanoverian Succession was established because, as he painstakingly explained, whatever ‘tends to the Shaking of this fundamental Right, doth of itself introduce an opposite System of Government, and changes not only the King, but the Constitution’.1 When in Tom Jones, therefore, he describes Tom as ‘a hearty Well-wisher to the glorious Cause of Liberty, and of the Protestant Religion’,2 we would be justified in assuming that these predilections were shared by Fielding himself. In Fielding’s lifetime, those who subscribed to Revolution Principles were usually called Whigs. However, existing accounts of Fielding’s politics are insufficiently aware, it seems to me, not only of the structure of British politics in the first half of the eighteenth century, but of the ways in which the various strands of Whig political ideology developed during the sixty years following the Revolution of 1688. Partly this is to do with historiographical developments which have taken place over the past fifty years. When Martin C. Battestin published his –1–

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seminal essay on ‘Fielding’s Changing Politics and Joseph Andrews’ at the beginning of the 1960s,3 the influence of Sir Lewis Namier’s monumental The Structure of Politics at the Accession of George III (2nd edn, 1957) still held sway not only over approaches to the politics of the 1750s and 1760s, but to eighteenth-century British politics tout court. Three years earlier, in his highly Namierite study of the Pelham administration, John B. Owen had explained that there was in the eighteenth century, as Sir Lewis Namier has shown, a complete absence of ‘party’ as we know it to-day, or even as it existed in the nineteenth century. The Opposition, like the Administration, was a thing of shreds and patches. In a House of Commons composed for the most part of independent self-returning country gentlemen it could hardly be otherwise. ‘Administration’ and ‘Opposition’ then served merely to distinguish between those members who for the time being gave a general support to the measures of the existing ministry, and those who for various reasons saw fit to maintain a reasonably consistent attitude of disapproval towards those same measures. In neither case was there anything of the clear-cut unity and discipline that characterizes the modern descendents of these highly amorphous groups.4

The assumption that there was ‘a complete absence of “party”’ in the first half of the eighteenth century was challenged head-on in 1965 by J. H. Plumb in his Ford lectures, subsequently published as The Growth of Political Stability in England, 1675–1725 (1967), by Geoffrey Holmes in British Politics in the Age of Anne (1967), by W. A. Speck in Tory and Whig: The Struggle in the Constituencies 1701–1715 (1970) and, most pertinently for my purposes, by Romney Sedgwick in his Introduction to The House of Commons 1715–1754 (1970), the opening sentence of which reads: ‘Between the Revolution and the Hanoverian accession a two-party system developed’.5 That Namierite interpretations of mid-eighteenth-century British politics continue to inform studies of Fielding’s politics right down to the present day can perhaps best be appreciated simply by quoting from the work of such recent commentators as W. B. Coley and Thomas R. Cleary. In questioning the validity of Battestin’s account of Fielding’s changing politics in ‘Henry Fielding and the Two Walpoles’, Coley drew attention to the ‘[r]ecent historical approaches into the party structure of the period’ represented by Owen’s The Rise of the Pelhams and Archibald S. Foord’s His Majesty’s Opposition 1714 to 1830 (1964). ‘A more modern reckoning [than Battestin’s]’, he continued, ‘would have us discriminate among the Pulteney-Carteret bloc of Whig malcontents, the coterie still centering around the Prince of Wales, Argyll and his Scots, Shippen and his Tories, “the Boys” of the Cobhamite alignment, and mercurial, almost centripetal figures like Chesterfield and Bolingbroke’.6 Coley repeated this thesis, with only minor modifications, in 2002 in the Introduction to his Wesleyan edition of Fielding’s Contributions to The Champion and Related Writings, which includes that key text for any consideration of his politics, The Opposition. A Vision.7 Cleary’s thesis about Fielding

Introduction

3

and the ‘Broad-Bottoms’,8 on the other hand, seems to have sprung virtually fullyformed from Foord’s outdated and (to use a favourite term of Fielding’s) ‘exploded’ Namierite study, and more especially from Foord’s various confusing, misleading and anachronistic references to ‘Bolingbroke and the “broad-bottoms”’.9 As far as Fielding’s politics are concerned, two principal distortions have resulted from the uncritical application to the first half of the eighteenth century of Namier’s conclusions about the politics of the 1750s and 1760s. First, in assuming that during Fielding’s lifetime ‘the basic political unit was the group or connection, often called a party, formed under the leadership of a successful politician’,10 critics writing under the influence of Namierite historians are always in danger of downplaying, if not discounting altogether, the importance of Whig and Tory to an understanding not only of the everyday working of Parliament, but of politics nationally. Not only is it the case that ‘the ideological stereotypes and suspicions which underpinned Whig and Tory party divisions lived on into the 1750s’,11 surviving division lists convincingly bear out Linda Colley’s contention that between 1715 and 1760 the tory parliamentary party retained ideological identity, a capacity for concerted political action, and considerable economic power during its proscription; and that consequently the current orthodoxies about pre-1715 political instability, about political stability between 1715 and 1760, and about the rapidity and novelty of political change after 1760 need to be substantially modified.12

After 1715, the Tory party remained a unified political grouping at Westminster and in the constituencies. It was, in fact, the failure of the Tories to cooperate en bloc with the various groups of disaffected Whigs in the House of Commons until after the General Election of 1741 which meant that Walpole’s position was never seriously threatened, even in the aftermath of the Excise Crisis of 1733, because the government was able to count on the support of independent Whigs to secure an overall majority. Conversely, despite the best efforts of opposition propagandists to argue that because ‘Liberty and Property are neither Whig, nor Tory’, ‘the Names of Whig and Tory have been happily laid aside’,13 the mere existence of deep faultlines between the principles of Whigs and the principles of Tories was sufficient to allow Walpole, in turn, to demand ‘whether the present contention for power is between Whigs and Whigs, or between Whigs and Jacobites’.14 Second, by depending on outmoded notions about parliamentary, let alone extra-parliamentary politics, during the years Walpole was de facto Prime Minister and Fielding was writing his plays and political journalism, critics have not only failed to appreciate the extent to which party divisions continued to dictate political activity, they have also overstated the importance, especially to Fielding’s own politics, of ‘the group or connection, often called a party, formed under the leadership of a successful politician’. Thus, while it is true that at vari-

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ous periods of his life Fielding was indebted to or connected with not only fellow old Etonians such as George Lyttelton and William Pitt, but also wealthy peers such as the Earl of Chesterfield and the Duke of Bedford, it does not necessarily follow that he was privy to their policies, let alone that he wrote to their orders. Yet in the case of Pasquin and The Historical Register in particular that is what some critics have suggested,15 even though documentary evidence of Fielding’s relations with either Chesterfield or Cobham and his ‘cubs’ in the middle of the 1730s has yet to be presented. It would be unwise to place too much weight on the dedications of The Miser, Don Quixote in England, and The Universal Gallant to the Duke of Richmond, the Earl of Chesterfield, and the Duke of Marlborough, respectively. As Trapwit observes in Pasquin: ‘I have dedicated so many Plays, and received nothing for them, that I am resolved to trust no more’.16 Playwrights tended to dedicate plays to prominent men in hopes of financial reward, not necessarily because they were already personally connected to them, let alone that they shared their political opinions, and of course Fielding, notoriously, dedicated The Modern Husband to Walpole. A further consequence of applying Namier’s thesis about the structure of politics at the accession of George III to the politics of Fielding’s lifetime is that, in addition to discounting the significance of party, it virtually rules principle out of court also. As Namier and his disciples believed that, above all, politics were about power, they paid little attention to political ideas in describing ‘a world in which issues and principles were subordinated to manœuvre and tactics’.17 Critics tend to take differences in contemporary political ideologies insufficiently into consideration in discussing Fielding’s politics. Namier’s lingering influence can even be detected, it seems to me, in the recent insistence that Fielding ‘was certainly no political thinker’, and that he did not ‘write often or even very well about “straight” or serious politics’.18 On the contrary, it can be argued that from his identification in 1737 of ‘a general Corruption’ as ‘one of the greatest Evils … our Constitution is subject to’,19 right through to An Enquiry Into the Causes of the late Increase in Robbers, &c. (1751) and beyond, Fielding paid more attention to constitutional issues than any other major writer of the period. While a good deal of attention has been paid to his outspoken criticism of Walpole and the government in his plays and early political journalism, those who have written about Fielding’s politics have had comparatively little to say about the burden of the Preface to An Enquiry Into the Causes of the late Increase in Robbers, even though it opens by considering the very meaning of ‘this Word, The Constitution’, and concludes by arguing ‘that the Constitution of this Country is altered from its antient State’.20 Fielding’s explanation of the way this alteration had taken place seems to be fundamental to any attempt to describe his political ideology. First, it is imperative to recognize that his insistence that ‘From the Original of the Lower House of Parliament to this Day, the Supreme

Introduction

5

Power hath been vested in the King and the Two Houses of Parliament’21 is not only perfectly in line with Revolution Principles, it is also in accordance with the more radical views articulated by Locke in Two Treatises of Government. Arguing that ‘the first and fundamental positive Law of all Commonwealths, is the establishing of the Legislative Power’, Locke insisted that: ‘This Legislative is not only the supream power of the Commonwealth, but sacred and unalterable in the hands where the Community have once placed it’.22 Judging not only from what he has to say in the Enquiry, but in his earlier political writings, it is unlikely that Fielding would have had any trouble subscribing to Locke’s political opinions. On the contrary, the version of Whiggism apparent in his Champion essays and A Serious Address To the People of Great Britain appears so extreme that some critics have questioned his authorship of some of the essays which have been attributed to him. They feel uncomfortable about passages such as the following: The Government of England is limited; and therefore limited, because the People have a Reserve of Power, which they execute by their Representatives. The Government is a Mixture of the Monarchical, Aristocratical, and Democratical … That the original Power is in the People hath been so often and so well proved, and is of itself so clear to the Eye of Reason, that I might well take it for granted … To omit Recognitions, and other Examples, I come to that Period when, by the Abdication of James II. the Throne became vacant, and the whole legal Power devolved to the People, who then disposed the same to the Prince of Orange and the Princess Mary jointly for Life, with successive Remainders in Tail to the Princess Mary, the Princess Ann, and the Prince of Orange. Now that the whole Power is originally in the People, must appear from the following Considerations … Whence I draw the following Conclusions. First, As the People have the whole Power, they have the only Right of disposing it. Secondly, They may dispose of it under what Limitations, that is to say, create what Particular Estate in it, they please. Thirdly, When that Estate expires, or ceases, it naturally reverts to the People. Fourthly, That by the Abdication of King James, this Estate in it ceased, and the whole devolved to the People. Fifthly, That they had a Right to dispose of it again, in what Manner pleased them, and, consequently, that the Entails above-mentioned, and that afterwards, to the Princess Sophia, as Heir of whose Body his present Majesty claims, were as just and lawful Conveyances as were ever executed between Man and Man.23

Not only is this a clear statement of Revolution Principles, it appears almost to echo the conclusion of Locke’s Two Treatises, which explained that if the ‘Supreme Power, in any Person, or Assembly … is forfeited; upon the Forfeiture of their Rulers … it reverts to the Society, and the People have a Right to act as Supreme, and continue the Legislative in themselves, or place it in a new Form, or new hands, as they think good’.24

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By the 1730s, it was perfectly orthodox Whiggism to argue that power lay in the people. This was regarded as axiomatic even by Walpole’s journalists. When during the aftermath of the Excise Crisis the London Journal devoted an essay to the consideration ‘Of Rights, Natural and Civil’, it acknowledged that ‘all Right comes from the People; that there is no just Power but what is derived from them, and ought in every Instance to be exercised for their Good’. As the London Journalist went on to exemplify, however, differences of opinion arose over the nature and extent of the people’s power: ‘it does not follow, that when a Government is settled even by Consent, that the People have a Right (while the Constitution is preserved) to exercise Authority and Power over the Government by Threatning, Ordering, &c.’.25 While Walpole’s journalists sought to articulate a version of Whiggism according to which ‘the Crown’s influence over Parliament was the best guarantee that the balanced constitution would be preserved’,26 the more radical Whig view was that, on the contrary, in order to safeguard the free proceedings of the House of Commons from overweening ministerial corruption, it was essential that ‘the Represented ought to have an Influence, Power, and Authority over their Representatives’. And it was this version of Whiggism that the London Journalist was at pains to contradict. ‘This new Democracy, or Government of the People’, he maintained, ‘may, if encouraged, come to Tumults, Insurrections, and open Rebellion’.27 The large question with regard to Fielding’s politics is whether he subscribed to the version of Whiggism Walpole’s journalists were eager to propound, or whether he was more in sympathy with the radical Whiggism usually associated with writers such as ‘that founding father among Commonwealthmen’, John Trenchard.28 Some recent commentators have found Fielding’s complimentary references to James Harrington’s Oceana and Algernon Sidney’s posthumously-published Discourses Concerning Government (which had not yet been sanitized for mainstream Whig consumption) difficult to accept, and have therefore questioned his authorship of An Address to the Electors of Great Britain (1740). Yet when Fielding refers to Sidney, as he does on several occasions in his other writings, it is invariably with approval. Thus he not only lists Sidney among ‘the Champions of Liberty and of the Protestant Religion’,29 he cites him as an example of a patriot who had sacrificed his life attempting to defend the nation from the consequences of the excesses of the Stuarts: ‘It was James Duke of York, who whetted the Axe which beheaded Algernon Sidney, for writing a Book in Defence of our Liberties’.30 In this context, critics have not always appreciated that, despite the apparent influence of Harrington on their political thought, in some important respects the ‘Old Whigs’ or ‘Real Whigs’ as epitomized by Trenchard were more reactionary than their mainstream counterparts. As their privileging of the rights of the nobility and gentry over those of ‘men bred behind counters’ clearly insinuates, the authors of Cato’s Letters sought to uphold a society in which ‘the first

Introduction

7

principle of all power is property’. They had absolutely no intention of either levelling men’s estates or empowering the unpropertied. On the contrary, among the reasons put forward in Cato’s Letters for believing it ‘certain, that the distribution of property in England is adapted to our present establishment’, was that the ‘birth and fortunes’ of the gentry ‘procure them easy admittance into the legislature; and their near approach to the throne gives them pretences to honourable and profitable employments, which create a dependence from the inferior part of mankind; and the nature of many of their estates, and particularly of their manors, adds to that dependence’.31 Not only does this correspond with Fielding’s notoriously ‘conservative social outlook’ – according to which what is expected from ‘the inferiour Part of Mankind’32 is simply the sort of ‘absolute Submission to our Superiors’33 recommended in conduct books like The Whole Duty of Man – it also goes a long way towards explaining those reactionary aspects of his social pamphlets which modern liberal commentators find so unsettling. ‘One looks in vain for any sign of dissatisfaction with the traditional structures of society’, bewails Malvin R. Zirker. ‘What one finds is acceptance of fixed social roles, of class privilege and class inequalities, and approval of an antiquated and often brutal criminal code, a code which Fielding, unlike many of his contemporaries, wished to apply vigorously’.34 It would be misleading to transfer our own political prejudices on to Fielding, however, especially as a significant number of his contemporaries, including those who are still confusingly described as ‘the Tory satirists’, appear to have subscribed to very similar political opinions. In considering ‘that territory in which the opposition of court and country has to be interwoven with that of Whig and Tory, and to which the historiographical catchphrase “the rage of party” is peculiarly applicable’, J. G. A. Pocock perceptively notes that this is also the territory ‘in which the categories Old Whig and Tory begin to penetrate one another’.35 Even though, as far as I can gather, Pocock does not apply this interpenetration to the political opinions of the so-called ‘Tory satirists’, it is potentially of great significance as far as Fielding’s politics are concerned. First, given Fielding’s outspoken denunciation of ‘a general Corruption’ as ‘one of the greatest Evils … our Constitution is subject to’,36 it is interesting that, as Trenchard demonstrated in Cato’s Letters, ‘[t]his polemic could be Old Whig as easily as it could be Tory’.37 As Fielding himself put it in the Prologue to Pasquin … our Author, rumaging his Brain, By various Methods try to entertain; Brings a strange Groupe of Characters before you, And shews you here at once both Whig and Tory; Or, Court and Country Party you may call ’em: But, without fear and favour he will maul ’em.38

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Second, the printed versions of The Author’s Farce and Tom Thumb were attributed on their respective title-pages to ‘Scriblerus Secundus’, and the annotations to The Tragedy of Tragedies to ‘H. Scriblerus Secundus’.39 This strongly suggests that, for whatever reason, Fielding was hoping to imply a broad solidarity of target with the Scriblerian satirists, Swift, Pope and Gay. Finally, as Pocock also points out, a significant proportion of Trenchard’s later writing ‘was directed against the alliance of Whig politicians with the established church and was anticlerical’.40 Apparently because he believes there was ‘a significant overlap’ between the ideas of latitudinarians and deists, Ronald Paulson has recently argued that ‘Fielding had both libertine and, with it, deist leanings’. It is certainly true that, as Paulson puts it: ‘The agency of reason was the premise of both Latitude Men within the Church of England and deists without’.41 As the latitudinarians defined Christianity as ‘a largely moral religion based on reason’, it is scarcely surprising that, as Isabel Rivers explains, ‘to its opponents it was subversive, dangerous, and opened the way to Socinianism, deism and atheism’.42 However, that did not – and does not – mean that latitudinarians discounted revelation. On the contrary, ‘there was a profound if elusive difference between a “rational religion,” however undogmatic, that supported the Whig latitudinarian ideal of a rational piety practiced within society and amenable to its authority, and a “religion of reason,” or worse still “of nature,” that offered to make the bold spirit master of its thinking in this world and denied the separateness of the next. The latter smacked of republicanism … and of enthusiasm’.43 While Fielding’s latitudinarianism was undoubtedly based on reason, he was most certainly neither a deist, nor a Socinian, nor an atheist. On the contrary, he not only believed in revealed religion, he ridiculed ‘that Man ... who, by dipping in a Tindal and Bolingbroke, feels himself animated by a strong Impulse to subvert the Religion of his Country’.44 In deriding the writings of deists, such as Matthew Tindal’s Christianity as Old as the Creation (1730), or Henry Dodwell’s Christianity Not Founded on Argument (1741), he stated unequivocally that ‘Christianity has taught us something beyond what the Religion of Nature and Philosophy could arrive at; and consequently, that it is not as old as the Creation, nor is Revelation useless with Regard to Morality’.45 At the heart of Fielding’s latitudinarianism was the doctrine of good nature which runs through his writings, especially Joseph Andrews and Tom Jones, and he maintained that ‘this excellent Doctrine … if generally followed, would make Mankind much happier, as well as better, than they are’. He even opened the series of essays which he entitled ‘The Apology for the Clergy’ by referring to the ‘Awe which the wiser and better Part of Mankind have of the Supreme Being, and consequently of every Thing which seems more immediately to belong to his Service’.46

Introduction

9

Given that he goes out of his way to insist on his belief in the central tenets of Christianity, even in the very essays from the Champion used by Paulson to suggest he had ‘deist leanings’, the argument that what has hitherto been recognized as a latitudinarian strain in Fielding’s thought actually smacks of deism seems difficult to sustain. Were we to explore the link between Fielding’s alleged anti-clericalism and the republican strain in his political thinking, however, it might lead us to question not his Christianity so much as what has always been assumed to be his mainstream Whiggism. Critics have neglected to explore this implicit linking of radical Whiggism and anti-clericalism, even though, as Dickinson explains: ‘The most Erastian and anti-clerical literature of the age emanated from radical Country Whigs, most notably John Trenchard and Thomas Gordon’.47 In these circumstances, what we should be trying to do is explain – rather than explain away – those troublesome references to Hampden, Harrington and Sidney which are to be found scattered throughout his writings. In interrogating Fielding’s political ideas, it is neither desirable nor necessary to impose upon them an implausible consistency which cannot be documented. As Swift put it: ‘If a Man would register all his Opinions upon Love, Politicks, Religion, Learning and the Like; beginning from his Youth, and so go on to old Age, What a Bundle of Inconsistencies and Contradictions would appear at last?’48 In seeking to account for the numerous attacks on Fielding’s integrity, Brian McCrea regards his ‘rapid changes in political allegiances during the 1730s’ not only as an indication of his profound ‘political uncertainty’, but also as the reason he was charged with ‘political equivocation’ by his contemporaries – ‘a charge which recent scholarly works have echoed, and with which any study of Fielding’s politics must deal’.49 There are two major problems with this approach, however. First, it simply assumes, rather than demonstrates, that Fielding actually did change his political allegiances in the 1730s. Second, it fails to interrogate the reasons why his contemporaries might wish to charge him with apostasy. In approaching Fielding’s political journalism and pamphleteering in particular, we should keep in mind the important distinction made by John Brewer between what an argument is, and what it does.50 It was clearly in the interests of Fielding’s journalistic adversaries to besmirch his character, and one of the readiest and easiest ways of doing this was to impugn his integrity. While McCrea’s monograph purports to chart Fielding’s progress from the ‘political uncertainty’ of the 1730s to the point at which he committed himself with certainty to ‘the Whig establishment’,51 Thomas R. Cleary has discovered to his own satisfaction that the key to Fielding’s politics lies in his recruitment in 1735 to ‘the faction he would support for the rest of his life’ – ‘the BroadBottom (or Cobhamite or Young Patriot) faction’.52 Unfortunately, a number of Fielding heavyweights appear to have been persuaded by Cleary’s thesis. ‘One of the most helpful contributions of Cleary’s book is his persuasive argument that

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A Political Biography of Henry Fielding

the apparent inconsistencies in Fielding’s political career can be accounted for as the effects of his unswerving loyalty to George Lyttelton, his boyhood friend at Eton and, after 1735 presumably, his patron’, Battestin has written. ‘Cleary is doubtless right in seeing the “Boy Patriots,” and particularly Lyttelton, as the key to understanding Fielding’s political loyalties for years to come, and their presence among the ranks of the Opposition helps to explain his continued association with the Craftsman’.53 While we have Fielding’s own testimony in the Dedication to Tom Jones not only that Lyttelton was his ‘Patron’ but also that ‘I partly owe to you my Existence during great Part of the Time which I have been employed in composing it’,54 documentary evidence has yet to be produced to demonstrate that Lyttelton’s patronage stretches back before this period of his life. Recently, Thomas Lockwood has convincingly argued against Fielding’s involvement in the Craftsman,55 while it is seriously misleading to apply the term, ‘Broad Bottom’, to Cobham and his ‘cubs’ in the 1730s. ‘Broad Bottom’ was in fact ‘a cant word … adapted from the concluding sentence of the Duke of Argyll’s speech’56 at ‘a great Meeting of Noblemen and Gentlemen, Members of both Houses of Parliament to the Number of 300, at the Fountain Tavern, in the Strand’, held on 12 February 1742 in the immediate aftermath of Walpole’s resignation ‘to consider of what was expedient to be done in the present critical Conjuncture’.57 As Horace Walpole remarked a few days later: ‘now one hears of nothing but the Broad Bottom; it is the reigning cant word, and means, the taking of all parties and people, indifferently, into the ministry’.58 By this point, as we now know, after reaching an arrangement with Walpole ‘upon very advantageous Terms’,59 Fielding had published The Opposition. A Vision, his swingeing satire upon the political impotence and incompetence of the very men he had hitherto been extolling as true patriots. While this might readily be viewed as yet another example of his political opportunism, it is difficult to see how it can be interpreted as evidence of his lifelong commitment to ‘the Broad-Bottom (or Cobhamite or Young Patriot) faction’. On the contrary, The Opposition. A Vision ridiculed the very notion of what Horace Walpole described as ‘Broad Bottom’ – ‘the taking all parties and people, indifferently, into the ministry’. ‘The Whigs are the dupes of this, and those in the Opposition, affirm that Tories no longer exist’, he explained. ‘Notwithstanding this, they will not come into the new ministry, unless what were always reckoned Tories are admitted’.60 Thus Cleary’s insistence that, after 1735, Fielding supported ‘the Broad Bottom faction’ ‘for the rest of his life’ is demonstrably unfounded. From 1745 onwards into the 1750s, Fielding wrote on behalf of Whigs in government, whatever their complexion. He remained loyal not to the ‘Broad Bottom faction’, but to Whigs in power. That Fielding should have supported successive Whig ministries after the fall of Walpole should surprise no-one. After all, throughout his career his commit-

Introduction

11

ment to Whig ideas was unswerving. Regardless of his early attempt to associate some of his writings with the cultural agenda of the Scriblerian satirists, Swift, Pope and Gay, or the notion which some critics have entertained that he was attracted by, if not sympathetic to, the plight of the Jacobite Young Pretender, Bonnie Prince Charlie, Fielding defended Revolution Principles in no uncertain terms. According to Fielding, ‘we are a free People, who have recovered our Liberties by the Revolution, and have confirmed and secured them by an Establishment of the Throne in the House of Hanover’.61 During the Forty-Five itself, therefore, he explained that: ‘As the preserving the present Royal Family on the Throne, is the only Way to preserve the very Being of this Nation, a true Patriot will use his most ardent Endeavours, even at the Hazard of his Life, to extinguish a Rebellion which so greatly threatens the Destruction of Both’.62 While Fielding’s most fundamental political principles were those of a Whig committed to the Revolution, what is less immediately apparent, as I have intimated, is the version of Whiggism to which he would have subscribed had he been left entirely to his own devices.63 It is for this reason that, in the course of charting his career as a writer in this political biography, I propose to explain, and to illustrate, what ‘being a Whig’ meant to Fielding.

1 ‘SO DISSIPATED, THOUGH WELL BORN AND WELL-EDUCATED A YOUTH’

Our immortal Fielding was of the younger branch of the Earls of Denbigh, who drew their origin from the Counts of Hapsburg, the lineal descendants of Ethico, in the seventh century, Duke of Alsace. Far different have been the fortunes of the English and German divisions of the family of Hapsburg. The former, the knights and sheriffs of Leicestershire, have slowly risen to the dignity of a peerage; the latter, the emperors of Germany and kings of Spain, have threatened the liberty of the old, and invaded the treasures of the new world. The successors of Charles the Fifth may disdain their brethren of England; but the romance of Tom Jones, that exquisite picture of human manners, will outlive the palace of the Escurial and the imperial eagle of the house of Austria. Memoirs of the Life of Edward Gibbon1

Gibbon’s prediction that Tom Jones would outlive the Austrian House of Habsburg has been borne out by the passage of time. But even if the fanciful notion that Henry Fielding was descended from the royal family which provided numerous Holy Roman Emperors has now been discredited, the myth is not without significance to the biographer. As J. Paul Hunter rightly observes: ‘Fielding came from more patrician stock than any other major English writer in the eighteenth century’.2 When considering his various satirical portraits of degenerate peers and booby squires, it is worth bearing in mind that Fielding was himself descended on his father’s side from members of the English and Irish nobility, and on his mother’s from stolid representatives of the Somersetshire gentry. While one might not wish to go along with the suggestion of his first biographer, Arthur Murphy, that Fielding actually yearned, in all seriousness, to be nothing more than a private landed gentleman living on his country estate, it is important to identify his social background with accuracy. On both sides of his family, he was descended from the ranks of the nobility and gentry which together made up the English ruling elite. Murphy’s assertion that Fielding was born on 22 April 1707 at Sharpham Park in Glastonbury, the country seat of his maternal grandfather, Sir Henry Gould, after whom he was named, has been confirmed by the Battestins.3 Descended – 13 –

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A Political Biography of Henry Fielding

from Somersetshire yeoman stock, bred to the law, and knighted in 1694, Sir Henry was elevated to the bench five years later. Fielding’s paternal grandfather, John Feilding (as the family name was spelt at the time), also married into the Somersetshire gentry. His father was the son of an Irish peer who, in turn, was the son of William Feilding, the first Earl of Denbigh. These genealogical considerations are important not only because of the way Henry’s spendthrift father, Edmund, appears to have been influenced by what he considered to be his heritage, but also because they have a bearing on Fielding’s own sense of his political and social status. Throughout his writing career he made great play of his gentle birth and his education at Eton. Unlike those ‘Writers of Libels’, his adversaries, who were ‘not, nor cannot be Gentlemen; but must be sought after (if any one hath so mean a Curiosity) only amongst the lowest Dregs of the People, who are destitute of all Advantages of a liberal Education’,4 Fielding was an author with aristocratic pretensions. However much it might offend modern liberal sensibilities, therefore, it must be stated at the outset that Fielding believed unconditionally in the array of paternalistic practices that underpinned a strictly hierarchical society. He recognized that while ‘the Nobleman will emulate the Grandeur of a Prince; and the Gentleman will aspire to the proper State of the Nobleman; the Tradesman steps from behind his Counter into the vacant Place of the Gentleman’. Given the way in which this particular passage continues, it is difficult to deconstruct Fielding’s disapprobation into irony. ‘Nor doth the Confusion end here’, he complained: ‘It reaches the very Dregs of the People, who aspiring still to a Degree beyond that which belongs to them, and not being able by the Fruits of honest Labour to support the State which they affect, they disdain the Wages to which their Industry would intitle them’.5 While attention has rightly been drawn to ‘the thoroughgoing aristocratic, institutionalized, conventional, social attitudes expressed in Fielding’s pamphlets on the poor’,6 it is essential to grasp that although the loaded language he employs in An Enquiry Into the Causes of the late Increase of Robbers plumbs the depths of his social conservatism, there can be little doubt that he believed implicitly in a hierarchical social structure in which the nobility and gentry governed, the tradesman remained behind his counter, and the ‘very Dregs of the People’ – ‘whose Birth or Fortune gives them no Title to be above the Terrour of the Laws, or the Censure of their Betters’ – not only recognized but accepted their place in society, displaying due deference if not absolute submission to their superiors. Biographers are fond of pointing out the resemblance between Sharpham Park and Paradise Hall, Mr Allworthy’s house in Tom Jones. Thus Donald Thomas suggests that the landscape described by Fielding ‘corresponds to the view of Wedmore from Sharpham, or indeed from Glastonbury Tor’, and that the ‘wild mountains’ in the distance are actually Welsh hills across the Bristol Chan-

‘So Dissipated, Though Well Born and Well-Educated a Youth’

15

nel – the Brecon Beacons, presumably.7 More important for my purposes is that Allworthy’s conduct as landlord and magistrate is at the heart of Fielding’s social conservatism. The doctrine of benevolent paternalism to which he subscribed was one in which those who had been providentially placed in positions of wealth and authority had duties and responsibilities to their dependents which they were to discharge by offering not merely protection, but moral and spiritual guidance also. Thus, while he satirized the failings of those in positions of authority, Fielding also sought to uphold what he took to be the traditional ‘Customs, Manners, and Habits of the People’. These, along with ‘the original and fundamental Law of the Kingdom, from whence all Powers are derived, and by which they are circumscribed; all legislative and executive Authority; all these municipal Provisions which are commonly called The Laws’, were, as far as he was concerned, subsumed within ‘The Constitution’.8 As Fielding came from a line of nobility and gentry who had been magistrates – a line in which his scapegrace father was included – it can be argued that magistracy was in his blood, and that he accepted and expected the sort of deference and submission to authority which Parson Adams sought to inculcate in his poorest parishioners. It is therefore scarcely surprising that from his first play, Love in Several Masques, right through to An Enquiry Into the Causes of the late Increase of Robbers and A Proposal for Making an Effectual Provision for the Poor, the social pamphlets he published at the very end of his career, his writings display an implicit belief in authority. In this respect, his conforming in middle age after a misspent youth can be viewed more as a reversion to type rather than as a case of poacher turned gamekeeper. Indeed, it is significant that, even in his fiction, blood will out. Joseph Andrews turns out to be a gentleman’s son, rather than the offspring of that ‘comical sly old Fellow’, Gaffar Andrews, who is more ready to accept ‘that this Boy doth not belong to us’ than that Fanny Goodwill is actually his daughter (IV. xv).9 The same device is employed in Tom Jones, only this time it is further developed by Fielding. Tom may be nothing more than ‘a poor Parish Bastard bred up at a great Squire’s’ (VII. x) as far as the plot is concerned, but ‘his natural Gallantry and Good-nature’ greatly distinguishes him ‘from the boisterous brutality of mere country squires’ (IV. v).10 It seems to me, therefore, that those who have drawn attention to the legal consequences of Tom’s being a bastard largely miss the point: regardless of the circumstances of his birth, Tom’s blue blood means that he is indeed a gentleman descended from ‘a great Squire’. Given these circumstances, it is entirely appropriate that he turns out to be Allworthy’s nephew and ends up being his heir. While Fielding’s own birth was attended with none of the romantic circumstances of his fictional creations, Lady Gould subsequently maintained that her daughter married Edmund Fielding in 1706 ‘without the consent of her … father or mother and contrary to their good liking’.11 Although he claimed that he

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A Political Biography of Henry Fielding

was ‘afterwards well approved of and received by the family’, relations between Edmund and the Goulds appear always to have been strained. When Sir Henry Gould made his will a few weeks before Fielding was born, bequeathing the sum of £3,000 to be held in trust for his daughter’s ‘sole and separate use’, he not only stipulated that ‘her husband shall have nothing to do with it’, but also that in the event of Sarah’s death the income from the estate was to be held in trust for the benefit of her children as tenants in common.12 True, shortly before he died unexpectedly in his chambers in London on 16 March 1710, Sir Henry agreed to buy a farmhouse and several hundred acres at East Stour in Dorset for £4,750. Fielding’s father maintained that Sir Henry, having equipped him with the ‘stock and utensils of husbandry’, meant (like Squire Western, perhaps) to spend part of each year there. More importantly, Edmund also insisted that Sir Henry had himself intended to pay for the farm in its entirety. When the sale was finally completed in 1713, however, Sir Henry’s executors adhered strictly to the terms of his will, and Edmund was obliged to contribute £1,750 towards the purchase price – money which, at this juncture, he could ill afford to spend. In signing the deed of conveyance, he also apparently agreed not to ‘intermeddle with the rents and profits of the said estate’, but to ‘permit and suffer’ Sarah and the trustees to receive them ‘quietly and peacefully’ for the benefit of his wife and children. Given that, on marriage, a woman’s property legally became her husband’s, this was a distinctly unusual arrangement. The estate at East Stour proved to be a bone of contention between Fielding’s father and the Gould family long after Sir Henry’s death. Although Edmund was now a landed gentleman as well as a magistrate in his own right, his circumstances as a half-pay officer in the army were severely straitened, so that by the end of 1714 he had been reduced to borrowing money from his housekeeper – perhaps the first of the many debts he accumulated – in order to support his wife and children. A considerable proportion of the difficulties he experienced appears to have been a consequence of the style of living he attempted to maintain as squire of East Stour. In addition to employing a bailiff and a steward, he kept an extraordinarily large establishment of servants for a gentleman with an estate yielding only around £150 a year. This included not only his housekeeper, to whom the housemaids would have reported, but also a nursery-maid, a working man, and (presumably) a cook and kitchen staff. As he apparently intended in due course to send his daughters off to boarding school ‘to be educated, & to learn to work & to read & write & to talk French & dance & to be brought up as Gentlewomen’, he also employed a French governess, Anne De La Borde. Quite clearly, Edmund Fielding was living beyond his means – a trait in which he was to be closely imitated by his son on numerous occasions throughout his adult life. Worse was soon to follow. A few days before his eleventh birthday, Henry’s mother died. Edmund left for London shortly afterwards, leaving his children at

‘So Dissipated, Though Well Born and Well-Educated a Youth’

17

East Stour in the care of their grandmother, Lady Gould, and their great-aunt, Katherine Cottington. His objective, apparently, was to acquire a new commission to alleviate his financial embarrassment. This he succeeded in doing when he was commissioned colonel of a new Regiment of Invalids on 11 March 1719. However, he also found the time and inclination to court a Roman Catholic widow called Anne Rapha with several children of her own. This did little to endear Edmund to Lady Gould, more particularly as he continued to receive the income from the East Stour estate in direct contravention both of her late husband’s will and the deed of conveyance. Whether the source of the rabid antiCatholicism of Fielding’s writings can be identified in the fears of his Gould relations that all of Edmund’s children would be brought up as Catholics, it was one of the reasons cited by Lady Gould in her Bill of Complaint when she sued him in Chancery early in 1721 for their custody, and for their rights as tenants in common to what was left of the East Stour estate which Sir Henry Gould had purchased for his daughter’s ‘sole and separate use’. The deciding factor leading to Lady Gould’s taking this grave step appears to have been Edmund’s selling part of the East Stour estate, ‘together with lands in the adjacent parish of West Stour’, in August 1720. Although Battestin points out that Fielding’s uncles, Davidge Gould and George Fielding, ‘were parties to the transaction, and one would like to assume that the property Edmund thus disposed of was that part of the estate which he had paid for himself ’,13 Lady Gould seems to have interpreted affairs rather differently. The substance of her Bill of Complaint was a petition that Edmund Fielding, Davidge Gould and William Day should appear in Chancery to make full and proper answer to the charges she brought against them. Were the trustees to continue to refuse to discharge their responsibilities in accordance with the terms of her late husband’s will, then she requested that the Court appoint others to do so in their stead. Finally, Lady Gould petitioned that Edmund be prevented from receiving the rents from East Stour estate, and from removing his children from her care lest they be brought up as Papists rather than Anglicans. Matters had been coming to a head ever since Fielding’s father returned with his new wife to East Stour in August 1719, taking the keys to the house out of the hands of the housekeeper, Mary Bentham, and giving them to a servant of the new Mrs. Fielding, Mary Howard, who apparently was to ‘govern the Family’. According to the French governess, Anne De La Borde, Edmund’s new wife treated the children of his first marriage after a most barbarous cruel & inhumane manner & did not allow them necessaries. That in about six weeks after the said Papist Wife and servant came they made or caused such bread to be made that the said Children could not eat it but she made better bread for themselves which the said Children were not admitted to eat but gave them stinking whey butter which no person could well eat & then caused their

18

A Political Biography of Henry Fielding Father to beat & abuse them for not eating it & the Small Beer was so intolerably bad that the Children nor this Deponent could not drink it nor had they any other Beer or other sort of Liquor allowed them to drink but were forced to drink water for several days together.14

Negotiating a path between the claims and counter-claims made by the various parties who gave evidence in the suit almost three centuries after the events took place is an impossible task. Anne De La Borde’s assertion was vigorously contested by another witness, who not only denied that there were ‘2 sorts of Small Beer Bread or Butter used in that family’, but also asserted that ‘there was a very good table kept at which the said Children constantly dyned with their Father & his Lady where never was less than 2 very good dishes thereat often times 3 or 4 or more besides desserts or fruit & other things’.15 It is clear nevertheless that circumstances at East Stour had changed abruptly when Edmund arrived with his new wife. Lady Gould moved to Salisbury, where she was soon joined by Henry’s infant brother, Edmund, and his four sisters who, on 24 August 1719, were entered at a school run by Mrs Mary Rookes. Henry did not follow them, however, as by this time, allegedly incited by his great-aunt, Katherine Cottington, ‘to be rude & doe mischief ’, he had succeeded in distinguishing himself by his unruly behaviour. As a consequence, he was separated from his brother and sisters, taken to London by his father, and then packed off to Eton in the autumn of 1719. Henry’s travails did not end there. Eighteen months later, just before his fourteenth birthday, he ‘eloped’ from Eton, taking refuge with his grandmother and great-aunt at Salisbury. It was perhaps no coincidence that this took place shortly after Lady Gould had appealed to the Lord Chancellor in his capacity as ‘the Supreme Guardian … of the Infants of Great Britain’ for custody of her late daughter’s children. When Edmund sent his servants to fetch his children and bring them to him in London, Mrs Rookes ‘Utterly refused to deliver or send up to their Father his said 4 daughters’, while Lady Gould barricaded herself into her Salisbury house and similarly declined to hand over Henry and Edmund.16 As in the case of the wards in Jarndyce, custody of the issue of the union between Edmund Fielding and Sarah Gould was decided by the Lord Chancellor. In 1722 Lady Gould was given custody of the said children, who were not only to continue at their present schools, but ‘upon any breaking up at the usual times’, they were to ‘go and reside with Lady Gould their grandmother that they be not under the influence of the defendant Fielding’s wife’. Although he was compensated for the contribution he had made to the purchase of the estate at East Stour, Edmund was forced to surrender all future claim to the income and, since according to the deeds of conveyance this was to spent on the maintenance and education of the children of his union with Sarah Gould, to account for the income from the estate accrued since the death of his wife. On 22 November

‘So Dissipated, Though Well Born and Well-Educated a Youth’

19

1723 the trusteeship of the East Stour estate was transferred at the Lord Chancellor’s request to Lady Gould and Mrs Cottington, and a debt of £700 which Edmund owed the latter was to be put towards the purchase of lands for the benefit of his late wife’s children. Although biographers have dwelt upon the fact that Fielding was acquainted in later life with old Etonians such as William Pitt and George Lyttelton (to whom he was to dedicate Tom Jones) no first-hand information about his experiences at Eton has survived. In any case, his formal education came to an abrupt end in 1725 when he turned eighteen. During that summer he lived in a house his father rented for him in a village he described in the comic verses published in the first volume of his Miscellanies entitled ‘A Description of U[pton] G[rey], (alias Hog’s Norton) in Com. Hants’: As the dawb’d Scene, that on the Stage is shewn, Where this Side Canvas is, and that a Town; Or as that Lace which Paxton Half Lace calls, That decks some Beau Apprentice out for Balls; Such our Half House erects its mimick Head, This Side an House presents, and that a Shed. Nor doth the inward Furniture excel, Nor yields it to the Beauty of the Shell[.]17

The next we hear of Fielding is on 21 September 1725 when evidently he was ‘violently assaulted’ in Lyme Regis by a certain Joseph Channon who, ‘without any provocation’ gave him ‘two several blows in the face and other part of his body’. Presumably Channon had been incited to offer violence to Fielding by one Andrew Tucker, who was the uncle and joint-trustee of the estate of a fifteenyear-old beauty called Sarah Andrew, to whom Fielding was paying ‘the most assiduous attention’. Tucker was reportedly ‘opposed to a connection with so dissipated, though well born and well-educated a youth’. Matters came to a head on 13 November, when Fielding and his servant, Joseph Lewis, allegedly tried to abduct Sarah Andrew by force on her way to church. He was haled before the Mayor of Lyme and, according to the Lyme Regis Register Book: Andrew Tucker, Gent., one of the Corporation, caused Henry Fielding, Gent., and his servant or companion, Joseph Lewis – both now for some time past residing the borough – to be bound over to keep the peace, as he was in fear of his life or some bodily hurt to be done or to be procured to be done to him by H. Fielding and his man. Mr A. Tucker feared that the man would beat, maim, or kill him.18

Thwarted in this pursuit of Sarah Andrew, Fielding resorted to nailing the following notice – the earliest extant example of his hand – to a door in Lyme:

20

A Political Biography of Henry Fielding November 15 1725 This is to give notice to all the World that Andrew Tucker and his Son John Tucker are Clowns and Cowards Witness my hand Henry Fielding19

Thus ended this unsavoury chapter in Fielding’s life.

2 ‘UNSHAP’D MONSTERS OF A WANTON BRAIN!’: 1728–1731

Little is known of Fielding’s activities between his ill-fated attempt to elope with Sarah Andrew from Lyme Regis in November 1725 and the publication early in 1728 of both his satirical poem, The Masquerade, and his first play, Love in Several Masques. The timing of Fielding’s entrance into London life was, however, hugely significant on several counts. ‘The new plays of the early and mid-1720s largely continue the modes established around the turn of the century’, Robert D. Hume wittily remarks. ‘A Rip Van Winkle who saw The Beaux Stratagem and fell asleep in 1707 would not have found great changes had he awakened in 1727’.1 The première of Love in Several Masques on 16 February 1728 followed on immediately from the brilliant run in January of Vanbrugh and Cibber’s The Provok’d Husband at the theatre in Drury Lane. Perhaps of even more significance to Fielding’s subsequent career as a dramatist, it actually coincided with the beginning of The Beggar’s Opera’s record-breaking run at the theatre in Lincoln’s Inn Fields. That Fielding’s first play lasted four nights should perhaps in the circumstances be viewed as a minor triumph. However briefly, the series of events triggered by the unprecedented success of The Provok’d Husband and The Beggar’s Opera transformed the theatrical world. ‘The success of The Beggar’s Opera demonstrated conclusively that London had a large, hitherto almost untapped audience’, Hume explains. ‘The play pulled into the theatre not only a multitude of repeat attenders but also a large group of potential and occasional theatre-goers who could perhaps be persuaded to attend regularly’.2 Moreover, Gay’s burlesque opera encouraged theatrical managers to risk staging more experimental drama, rather than the tried-and-tested old favourites with which they had persevered prior to 1728. Of equal importance to Fielding’s subsequent career as a playwright, The Beggar’s Opera was immediately talked up by the opposition press as ‘the most venomous allegorical Libel against the G[overnmen]t that hath appear’d for many Years past’ in which ‘satirical Strokes upon Ministers, Courtiers and Great Men, in general, abound in every Part of this most insolent Performance’.3 That Gay’s play contained political innuendo was apparent from the opening air sung – 21 –

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A Political Biography of Henry Fielding

by Peachum, a character clearly meant to call to mind the real-life thief and thieftaker Jonathan Wild who had been hanged in 1725: THROUGH all the Employments of Life Each Neighbour abuses his Brother; Whore and Rogue, they call Husband and Wife: All Professions be-rogue one another. The Priest calls the Lawyer a cheat, The Lawyer be-knaves the Divine; And the Statesman, because he’s so great, Thinks his Trade as Honest as mine.

And just in case the audience failed to make the connection between criminals and politicians, Peachum proceeded to refer to a member of Macheath’s gang by a series of aliases which were transparent allusions to the Prime Minister, Sir Robert Walpole: ‘Robin of Bagshot, alias Gorgon, alias Bluff Bob, alias Carbuncle, alias Bob Booty’.4 ‘Does W[alpole] think you intended an affront to him in your opera’, Swift asked Gay. ‘Pray God he may, for he has held the longest hand at hazard that ever fell to any Sharper[’]s share and keeps his run when the dice are changed’.5 This was Swift’s way of referring to Walpole’s unanticipated continuation in office the previous year on the accession of George II. Although he had been consolidating his position as George I’s first minister from the moment he succeeded in restoring a measure of public confidence in the nation’s financial institutions after the debacle of the South-Sea Bubble, Walpole had not been expected to remain in power after the King’s sudden death in June 1727. That he had done so was a source of intense irritation to the opposition of Tories and disaffected Whigs ranged against him. ‘Perhaps no minister in English history’, according to Isaac Kramnick, ‘would be so virulently and consistently assaulted by intellectuals as Walpole was in the years 1726–8, during which time Bolingbroke’s Craftsman, Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels, Gay’s Beggar’s Opera, and Pope’s Dunciad appeared, all of which works were, at least in part, intent upon maligning Walpole and his system’.6 Swift’s correspondence offers corroboration. ‘The Beggers Opera [sic] hath knockt down Gulliver’, he wrote to Gay on 28 March 1728: ‘I hope to see Popes Dullness [i.e. The Dunciad] knock down the Beggers Opera, but not till it hath fully done its Jobb’.7 Gulliver’s Travels, a ‘bold’ and ‘general’ political satire which also included ‘particular reflections’ on individual politicians,8 had been published on 28 October 1726. The Craftsman, an organ explicitly devoted to what it called the exposure of political craft, was launched just over a month later. It quickly established itself as the mouthpiece of a newlyorganized opposition centred around Henry St John, Viscount Bolingbroke, whose strategy to topple Walpole was the construction of a platform strong enough to support a coalition of disaffected Whigs and Tories. The Craftsman’s ‘engage[ment] in a general design of correcting vice, and exposing fraud’ was a

‘Unshap’d Monsters of a Wanton Brain!’

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transparent attempt to exploit the topicality of Swift’s satire on the state of the nation under Walpole.9 Fielding’s attitude to and relations with first, Walpole, ‘the Poet’s Foe’, and second, Swift, Pope and Gay – the Scriblerian satirists – constitute two of the most vexed issues in his political biography. Interestingly, not only was Fielding’s earliest extant work, The Masquerade, advertised in the Craftsman on 27 January 1728, the title page claimed that it was written by Lemuel Gulliver, Poet Laureate to the King of Lilliput. While the verses themselves contain little to indicate Fielding’s political allegiances at this early stage in his career, the octosyllabic couplets are quite clearly written in the manner of Swift. And the next time Fielding used a pseudonym, in the published versions of his Haymarket plays in 1730 and 1731, it was either ‘Scriblerus Secundus’ or, in the case of the preface and annotations to The Tragedy of Tragedies, ‘H. Scriblerus Secundus’. How seriously should we take this overt attempt on Fielding’s part to position himself alongside Swift, Pope and Gay so early in his career? If The Masquerade was written in the manner of Swift, his serious verse-essays ‘can, in truth’, as Henry Knight Miller remarks, ‘be reasonably described as Fielding’s attempt to articulate some of his central concerns in the poetic voice of Alexander Pope’.10 ‘Much of Fielding’s earliest work may be seen as an application for admission into the Augustan circle, for he took his notions of what literature had to be from their precepts and examples’, J. Paul Hunter observes. ‘Their values seemed to be his values. Their sense of the tradition was also his, and he felt goaded by it’.11 Pat Rogers agrees that ‘Fielding began his writing career very much under the influence of the Scriblerian group’,12 while Fielding’s most recent biographer, Ronald Paulson, refers unambiguously to ‘his literary (Scriblerian) inheritance’.13 Unfortunately, Swift, Pope and Gay are still commonly described as ‘Tory satirists’, while Fielding’s politics are uncompromisingly Whig. This causes problems for critics who discern clear congruities between Fielding’s political ideas and those of his Scriblerian influences. One way of getting round the difficulty is to argue (with Claude Rawson) that Fielding (and Chesterfield) ‘were in fact of the class of Whigs who agreed with Pope and Swift on some specific issues’.14 We should be wary, however, of applying retrospectively what we think we know about Fielding’s mature political outlook to the opinions he might have held in his early twenties. This can be misleading both with regard to Fielding’s ultimate description of Walpole as ‘one of the best of men and of ministers’,15 and the seriousness with which he sought a broad solidarity with the values and interests of the members of the Scriblerus Club when he decided to describe himself as H. Scriblerus Secundus. We now know that he took money from Walpole at least once – probably more than once – in return for undertaking not to ridicule him in print.16 Moreover, one of his earliest extant writings, part of a long, unpublished holograph poem found among the papers of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, actually eulogizes the Hano-

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A Political Biography of Henry Fielding

verian royal family in the process of satirizing the motives of Bolingbroke and the literary opposition in attacking Walpole.17 At the same time, while it would be idle to pretend that there is a scholarly consensus on the controversial subject of Swift’s politics, his repeated insistence that he ‘was always a Whig in Politicks’ is now taken rather more seriously than it used to be.18 Above all, we must never forget that Fielding was a young man trying to make his way in the world. Understandably, biographers are fond of quoting the remark attributed to him by Arthur Murphy, that he had been promised an allowance of £200 per annum by his father ‘which any body might pay that would’.19 In these circumstances, it is not unreasonable to assume that Fielding turned to writing simply in order to live. On 23 September 1727, the British Journal carried a notice announcing new plays to be produced during the coming winter season: We are assur’d, that the Town will be oblig’d with Four new Plays this Winter; Polyxena, written by Mr. Smith; the Provok’d Husband, by the late Sir John Vanbrug[h]; Love in Several Masks, by Mr. Fielding; and a Comedy of Shakespear[e]’s, never yet publish’d. All of them will be acted at the Theatre in Drury Lane.20

Love in Several Masques, as I have already noted, opened on 16 February 1728 and ran for four nights, appearing in print a week later. Fielding, not yet twentyone, boasted in the Preface ‘that none ever appeared so early on the Stage’. Given the circumstances which prevailed in the London theatres in the 1720s, his achievement merely in persuading the theatrical managers at the theatre in Drury Lane to consider his playscript is remarkable. The difficulties in getting a play staged at the time were such that some biographers have sought an explanation for the ‘civil and kind Behaviour, previous to its Representation’,21 of the theatrical managers, Colley Cibber and Robert Wilkes, finding it to their satisfaction in the supposed intervention of the play’s dedicatee, Lady Mary Wortley Montagu. According to the printed dedication, ‘this slight Work … arose from a Vanity, to which your Indulgence, on the first Perusal of it, gave Birth’.22 And in an early, undated letter to his distinguished cousin, Fielding says that he is sending Lady Mary ‘a Copy of the Play which you did me the Honor of reading three Acts of last spring: and hope it may meet as light a Censure from Ladyship’s Judgment as then: for while your Goodness permits me (what I esteem the greatest and indeed only Happiness of my Life) to offer my unworthy Performances to your Perusal, it will be entirely from your Sentence that they will be regarded or disesteem’d by Me’.23 It is by no means certain, however, that this undated letter refers to the manuscript of Love in Several Masques,24 and doubt has been cast on the assumption of Lady Mary’s involvement in Hume’s authoritative account of Fielding’s dealings with the London theatre. ‘That Lady Mary exercised significant influence in

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getting the piece staged is quite unlikely’, he explains. ‘She was not a professional playwright; nothing in her letters suggests theatrical involvements; and Drury Lane did not work that way’.25 That Fielding was hard at work writing during 1727, however, is suggested not only by the notice in the British Journal, but also by the advertisement on 10 November of The Coronation. A Poem. And an Ode on the Birthday. By Mr. Fielding. Printed for B. Creake in Jermayn-street; and sold by J. Roberts near Warwicklane. Price 6d.

Unfortunately, although a ‘tantalizingly close’ correspondence has been drawn between Fielding’s ‘first appearance as an aspiring young author’ and the account of Julian the Apostate in A Journey from This World to the Next whose ‘first Composition after [he] left School, was a Panegyric on Pope Alexander IV’, no copy of either of these poems has survived.26 Perhaps Fielding, like Julian the Apostate, ‘expected great Preferment as [his] Reward’, and was ‘cruelly disappointed’.27 Fielding was later to praise ‘this benign Prince the Father of his People’, George II, as ‘the most merciful Prince who ever sat on any Throne’,28 and these poems were clearly written in celebration of the King’s recent coronation and birthday. As the earliest examples of Fielding thrumming his venal lyre of which we are aware, they are not without political significance. They suggest his willingness to write for money, even if his attitude toward his subject was not necessarily straightforward. While Fielding appears to have been a staunch Hanoverian throughout his life, there are indications that he had reservations about George II on a personal level, and an explanation for this might be sought in the failure of this early attempt to write in hopes of a reward. Neither The Masquerade nor Love in Several Masques is an overtly political piece, and it is of course merely a coincidence that the former, according to the advertisement in the Craftsman, was published on the very day on which Gay’s Beggar’s Opera opened at the theatre in Lincoln’s Inn Fields. A social satire of almost 400 lines which could have been the work of a writer of virtually any political persuasion, it not only passes itself off as the work of Lemuel Gulliver, but also punningly refers to Swift: Britain may hence her knowledge brag Of Lilliput and Brobdingnag: This passion dictated that voyage, Which will be parallel’d in no age. ’Twas this which furl’d my swelling sails, And bid me trust uncertain gales; Gave me thro’ unknown seas a lift, And, spight of dangers, made me Swift.29

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Given the political atmosphere generated by Gulliver’s Travels, it is tempting to interpret the self-conscious dedication to Heidegger as a covert dig at the brazen politician Walpole. ‘Another gift of nature, which you seem to enjoy in no small degree, is that modest confidence supporting you in every act of your life. Certainly, a great blessing! for I always have observed, that brass in the forehead draws gold into the pocket’.30 Not only were the words ‘brass’ and ‘brazen’ often used as code for Walpole,31 but Fielding’s innuendoes on foreheads of ‘Corinthian Brass’ extended throughout the 1730s and into the 1740s.32 Perhaps the most striking of these occurs in an exchange between Marplay senior and Marplay junior in the revised version of The Author’s Farce: Mar. jun. What do you think of the Play? Mar. sen. It may be a very good one, for ought I know; but I am resolv’d, since the Town will not receive any of mine, they shall have none from any other. I’ll keep them to their old Diet. Mar. jun. But suppose they won’t feed on’t. Mar. sen. Then it shall be cramm’d down their Throats. Mar. jun. I wish, Father, you wou’d leave me that Art for a Legacy, since I am afraid I am like to have no other from you. Mar. sen. ’Tis Buff, child, ’tis Buff – True Corinthian Brass: And Heav’n be prais’d tho’ I have giv’n thee no Gold, I have giv’n thee enough of that, which is the better Inheritance of the two. Gold thou might’st have spent, but this is a lasting Estate that will stick by thee all thy Life.33

The full complexity of Fielding’s innuendo in this scene has not hitherto been appreciated, and it might serve as an early indication of the recondite way in which contemporary allusions to Walpole worked. In his famous fourth Drapier’s Letter, Swift hit upon an ingenious and memorable rhetorical device when he remarked ambiguously that ‘Mr. Walpole will cram his Brass down our Throats’,34 and Fielding seems to be going out of his way to remind his audience of Swift’s resounding phrase. The reference to ‘Corinthian Brass’, on the other hand, presumably alludes to lines written about Colley Cibber printed in Fog’s Weekly Journal for 11 January 1729: And now thinking to hide thy Brazen Face, Hast wisely mask’d it with Corinthian Brass.35

Perhaps Fielding recalled these lines later on in the year when he linked Heidegger and Cibber and brass in his spoof on The Dunciad: Had I a thousand Tongues of sounding Brass As that of H— ’s or of C— ’s Face[.]36

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What is even more striking is that, as Thomas Lockwood notes, Mist’s Weekly Journal for 20 January 1728 ‘reflected upon Cibber, in transparent allusion to Sir Robert Walpole’.37 It therefore seems not at all far-fetched to suggest that Fielding might have been using the same tactic nine days later in remarking upon the brass in Heidegger’s forehead, and it is noteworthy that he uses exactly the same formulation in Love in Several Masques when Merital responds to Sir Positive Trap’s enquiry whether his estate lies ‘in Terrâ Firmâ, or in the Stocks?’. ‘In a Stock of Assurance, Sir’, he replies. ‘My Cash is all Brass, and I carry it in my Forehead, for fear of Pick-pockets’.38 While Love in Several Masques is not primarily a political, much less a partypolitical play, the political significance of a scene such as this is not readily apparent to a modern reader. While Sir Positive, ‘an old precise Knight, made up of Avarice, Folly, an ill-bred Surliness of Temper, and an odd, fantastick Pride built on the Antiquity of his Family, into which he enrolls most of the great Men he ever heard of ’,39 is clearly a comic figure – the first in Fielding’s long line of booby squires – he is not the only country gentleman to appear in the play. Fielding’s satire is more complicated – and more topical – than previous critics have allowed. As well as the inevitable contrast between the artificiality of the town and the innocence of the countryside to be found in Joseph Andrews and Tom Jones, a pointed comparison is also being made between the traditional values of the landed gentleman, and the modern manners of a character such as Lord Formal, who disparages ‘those barbarous Insects the Polite call Country-Squires’.40 While Sir Positive’s indignation at any suggestion that either his family or his title are new-fangled is humorous, it also articulates one of the principal complaints against the system of Walpole. ‘Upstart, quotha! Sir Positive Trap an Upstart! I had rather be called Knave. I had rather be the first Rogue of a good Family, than the first honest Man of a bad one’, he blusters. ‘The first of my Family! The whole World knows, that neither I, nor my Father before me, have added one foot of Land to our Estate; and my Grand-father smoaked his Pipe in the same easy Chair that I do’.41 Interestingly, Fielding returned to the subject over a decade later in the second number of the Champion in a passage which is a dig at Walpole, as the reference to sturdy scrubs makes clear I have often wondered how such Words as Upstart, First of his Family, &c. crept into a Nation, whose Strength and Support is Trade, and whose personal Wealth (excepting a very few immense Fortunes) is almost entirely in the Hands of a Set of sturdy Scrubs, whose chief Honour is to be descended from Adam and Eve. For my Part, I am at a Loss to see why a Man, who has brought 100,000l. into his Country by a beneficial Trade, is not as worthy and honourable a Member of the Community, as he who hath spent that Sum abroad, or sent it thither after French Wines and French Foppery.42

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The attitude of country squires such as Sir Positive, whose abhorrence of innovation extends to disparaging the pretensions of the peerage on the grounds that ‘a Lord’ is ‘A Title of Yesterday! an Innovation!’,43 offers a useful gloss on Fielding’s observation. However ludicrous they may seem, such remarks are not entirely innocent. In Tom Jones, Squire Western ‘hate[s] all Lords’ because ‘they are a Parcel of Courtiers and Hannoverians, and [he] will have nothing to do with them’ (XVI. ii).44 Satire of this sort plays off the widespread belief that the rights and privileges of the old, established landed families ‘had been usurped by upstart monied men led by Walpole himself, who had ousted the traditional rulers and governed entirely for their own self-interest’.45 Thus when Fielding exploits Sir Positive’s excessive veneration for the antiquity of his family in order to make a number of apposite comments about ‘upstarts’, it is not without political significance: Your right Honour [he explains] is not to be bought nor obtained, it is what a Man brings into the World with him. He is as much an Upstart who gets his own Honour, as He who gets his own Estate. Take it for a Maxim, Child, no one can be a great Man unless his Father had been so before him. Your true old English Honour, like your English Oak, will not come to any Maturity under a hundred Years: It must be planted by one Generation for the Good of another.46

In the political climate of 1728, an apparently innocent reference to ‘a great Man’ could readily be taken as an allusion to Walpole. Whether, when he came to publish his play on 23 February, Fielding was canny enough to take advantage of it by following his later practice of ‘tinkering and improving’ the original playtext,47 The Beggar’s Opera was making political capital out of precisely this sort of innuendo at the theatre in Lincoln’s Inn Fields. As the Craftsman had explained less than a week earlier, Macheath in The Beggar’s Opera ‘is often called a Great Man, – particularly in the two following Passages, viz. It grieves one’s Heart to take off a Great Man. – what a moving Thing it is, to see a Great Man in distress; which, by the Bye, seems to be an Innuendo that some Great Man will speedily fall into Distress’.48 Mild though it may have been, Sir Positive’s insistence that ‘no one can be a great Man unless his Father had been so before him’ might well have been applied by a contemporary audience as satire at the expense of that ‘upstart’, Sir Robert Walpole.

Fielding’s Earliest Relations with Walpole In the preface to the published version of Love in Several Masques, Fielding observed that few Plays have ever adventured into the World under greater Disadvantages than this, First, as it succeeded a Comedy, which, for the continued Space of twenty eight

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Nights, received as great (and as just) Applauses, as were ever bestowed on the English Theatre. And Secondly, as it is cotemporary with an Entertainment which engrosses the whole Talk and Admiration of the Town.49

Fielding’s competent but sadly derivative début was unable to compete with Gay’s runaway success, which probably put paid to any hopes he might otherwise have had of Love in Several Masques being revived at a Drury Lane which had ‘clearly been traumatized by The Beggar’s Opera’. ‘The blunt truth’, Hume tersely observes, ‘is that, as far as we can tell, no one was making a living by writing plays in the mid-1720s’.50 Having enjoyed his benefit night the third time it was performed, and having published the playtext, there was no prospect of Fielding wringing any additional income out of Love in Several Masques. Whether it had been his intention all along, or whether the decision was made for him when the play of which he was so proud ran for only four nights, Fielding enrolled as a student at the University of Leyden a bare month after its première. When he was called to the bar on 20 June 1740, Fielding ‘produced a Certificate of his being twelve years Standing in the University of Leyden’.51 He was not in attendance as a student for very long, however. Although his movements between enrolling on 16 March 1728 (new style) and the opening of The Temple Beau at the theatre in Goodman’s Fields on 26 January 1730 are unclear, Fielding returned to England in the summer of 1728,52 at which time, presumably, he wrote the two poems published in 1743 in the first volume of Miscellanies, ‘A Description of Upton Grey’ and ‘To Euthalia’, which were said to have been written in that year. Battestin has taken this assumption one stage further in suggesting that ‘in the summer of 1728 Fielding first tried his hand at political journalism with a pair of highly entertaining pieces’. ‘Both were published in Opposition papers’, he continues, ‘and both are mildly satirical of the Prime Minister, Sir Robert Walpole’.53 The attributions of the ballad, ‘The Norfolk Lanthorn’, published in the Craftsman for 20 July, and the essay on ‘the Benefit of Laughing’ published in Mist’s Weekly Journal for 2 August 1728, are based entirely on internal and circumstantial evidence, and the conclusions drawn from them are troubling. According to Battestin, the essay – ‘Fielding’s first published work in prose’ – ‘is important not so much for anything it may reveal about his politics of the time, but for its place as a kind of overture to the comic masterpieces to come’. While deeply suspicious of this sort of biographical backstory-filling, I am more concerned about Battestin’s decision to use ‘The Norfolk Lanthorn’ as ‘the clue we have needed to fit together the pieces of a puzzling contemporary account of [Fielding’s] early relations with Walpole’.54 When Fielding was writing the Champion, he was accused of ‘Ingratitude to the Ministry, as he lies under the strongest Obligations to Sir R[obe]rt W[alpo]le, whom he now treats with a Strain of Insolence and Scurrility superior to any

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other Paper ever went before’. The anecdote offered as a ‘strong Instance’ of the ingratitude of ‘one F[ieldi]ng, Son to a General Officer of that Name’ by ‘Marforio’, the pseudonym adopted by the author of An Historical View of the Principles, Characters, Persons, &c. of the Political Writers of Great Britain, must be quoted in its entirety: I have some Reasons to know particular Obligations he lies under to the Minister, who once generously reliev’d him by sending him a considerable Supply of ready Money when he was arrested in a Country-Town some Distance from London, and must have rotted in Prison had it not been for this Generosity in the Minister. Soon after he libelled him personally in a Satyr, and next Week had the Impudence to appear at his Levee. Upon Sir R[ober]t’s taxing him with his Ingratitude, and asking him why he had wrote so and so; he answered very readily, that he wrote that he might eat. However Sir R[ober]t still continued his Generosity to him, till he grew quite abandon’d to all Sense of Shame. He then set up for a Play-Writer, and push’d his natural Turn for Ridicule and Satyr so far, that, upon the Ministry getting into their Hands a Play, in Manuscript, wrote by him, it was thought proper to pass the Act by which the Stage was subjected to a Licenser, who was to grant a License for every Piece that should appear upon the Theatre.55

Unmistakably, Marforio is referring to the notorious ‘Vision of the Golden Rump’ of 1737 which, though never performed, had apparently been adapted for the stage.56 The reason this allegation needs to be carefully considered in relation to the attribution of ‘The Norfolk Lanthorn’ to Fielding is not on account of his possible authorship of some ephemeral verses at the Great Man’s expense. As Battestin concedes, little is to be learnt about the politics of the author of lines concluding: Now let us all pray (though its not much in Fashion) That this Lanthorn may spread such an illumination, As may glare in the Eyes of the whole British Nation. Which nobody should deny.

The danger is that our interpretation of his subsequent relations with Walpole might be conditioned by attributing the poem to Fielding. His reconciliation in 1741 ‘to ye great Man, & as He says upon very advantageous Terms’,57 is unlikely to have been the first time he received money from Walpole, and Fielding was sufficiently embarrassed by the accusation of ingratitude to feel obliged to respond in print. In the Preface to his epistle to George Bubb Dodington, Of True Greatness, reprinted in the Miscellanies but first published separately in 1741, he complained that besides the Imputation of Vices (particularly Ingratitude) which my Nature abhors, as much at least as any one Man breathing, I have been often censured for Writings which I never saw till published, and which if I had known them, and could have prevented

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it, never should have been published. I can truly say I have not to my Knowledge, ever personally reflected on any Man breathing, not even One, who has basely injured me, by misrepresenting an Affair which he himself knows, if thoroughly disclosed, would shew him in a meaner Light than he hath been yet exposed in.58

‘Marforio’ had clearly touched a raw nerve, although it is not entirely clear whether Fielding is actually accusing Walpole of wrongly injuring his reputation here. I shall return to this exchange in a subsequent chapter, but it indicates the issues surrounding the proposed ante-dating of Fielding’s earliest known satires of Walpole. Our knowledge of Fielding’s later assaults on Walpole’s reputation and integrity should not be allowed to colour our reading of the earliest writings known to be his. After all, even if the anecdote recounted by ‘Marforio’ were accurate, there is no reason to assume that the incident it relates should have taken place in the summer of 1728. By then, Fielding had already ‘set up for a Play-Writer’ on the première earlier in the year of Love in Several Masques. If we were to take ‘Marforio’ at his word, then we need look no further for the ‘libel’ on Walpole than, say, the implicit comparison made in The Masquerade between the First Minister and Heidegger, ‘the first minister of masquerade’. If, on the other hand, ‘Marforio’ was referring to the period before Fielding succeeded in establishing his reputation as a playwright in 1730 with the staging in rapid succession of The Temple Beau, The Author’s Farce, Tom Thumb and Rape upon Rape, then his alleged ingratitude to Walpole could have occurred at any time up till then. The reason Battestin wishes it to have taken place in 1728 is because the author of ‘The Norfolk Lanthorn’, published on 20 July, says he has ‘just returned from a Journey into N[orfolk]’. ‘[S]o, too, may Fielding have done’, he suggests, ‘if he returned from Holland for a fortnight or so in early July 1728’.59 But if he disembarked from Holland at Harwich, he would have had to travel a considerable distance out of his way to the north, across country, to visit Houghton en route to either Salisbury or Upton Grey via London. According to ‘Marforio’, Fielding, arrested ‘in a Country-Town some Distance from London’, repaid Walpole’s generosity by libelling him ‘personally in Satyr’, after which, the following week, he ‘had the Impudence to appear at his Levee’. Fielding opened a set of verses addressed to Walpole dated 1731 in the first volume of his Miscellanies thus: Great Sir, as on each Levée Day I still attend you – still you say I’m busy now, To-morrow come; To-morrow, Sir, you’re not at Home. So says your Porter, and dare I Give such a Man as him the Lie?60

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Nowadays, critics are chary of suggesting that Fielding was stridently anti-ministerial from his earliest days as a writer, and with good reason. That he continued to court Walpole at least until at least 1732, when he dedicated The Modern Husband to him, is not surprising when poems such as ‘To the Right Honourable Sir Robert Walpole, (Now Earl of Orford) Written in the YEAR 1730’ are taken into account: If with my Greatness you’re offended, The Fault is easily amended. For I’ll come down, with wond’rous Ease, Into whatever Place you please. I’m not ambitious; little Matters Will serve us great, but humble Creatures. Suppose a Secretary o’ this Isle, Just to be doing with a While; Admiral, Gen’ral, Judge or Bishop; Or I can foreign Treaties dish up. If the good Genius of the Nation Should call me to Negotiation; Tuscan and French are in my Head; Latin I write, and Greek I – read. If you should ask, what pleases best? To get the most, and do the least, What fittest for? – you know, I’m sure, I’m fittest for a – Sinecure.61

The danger in attributing anonymous pieces of contemporary journalism such as ‘The Norfolk Lanthorn’ to Fielding entirely on internal or circumstantial evidence is that, in addition to misrepresenting his political attitudes, we could end up looking for political implications in his earliest plays which are simply not there. ‘Walpole was more recognizable than anyone else’, Hume perceptively remarks, ‘and because the party in power almost always presents the more inviting target, topical/politicized plays tend to snipe more at the ministry than at the opposition’.62 Add to this the potency for a contemporary audience of any of the numerous nicknames applicable to Walpole, let alone catchphrases such as ‘Great Man’, and political innuendo can readily be detected in any of Fielding’s plays from Love in Several Masques to The Tragedy of Tragedies; or the Life and Death of Tom Thumb the Great. As a character in The Historical Register for the Year 1736 observes, it was necessary only to ‘name’ ministers ‘to set the audience a-hooting’.63 Prompted by the opposition press, contemporary audiences were likely to have found political applications in the most unlikely places. It would be wrong, however, to assume on the basis of a handful of allusions of a potentially topical nature that Fielding’s political purpose in his earliest writings was to attack the system of Walpole.

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On the contrary, compelling evidence exists to suggest that on his return from Leyden in 1729 Fielding initially sought to court, if not the Great Man himself, then certainly his well-connected cousin, by attacking at once the literary lights of the opposition and Bolingbroke’s political integrity. An unfinished holograph poem in Fielding’s hand, written in imitation of The Dunciad discovered by Isobel Grundy among the papers of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu and first published in 1972,64 not only turns the table on Pope by representing him as Codrus, the favourite son of Dulness, it also scathingly satirizes Swift and Gay. While previous biographers have variously described the verses as ‘a verse pastiche of Pope’s satiric style in three cantos, turning the attack against Pope himself ’,65 or ‘mock-heroic verse done in imitation of Pope’s Dunciad’,66 it seems to me that the seriousness of Fielding’s assault on the political integrity of the Opposition has been insufficiently stressed. At the beginning of the extant fragment, Codrus (Pope) is being addressed by the goddess: – O to look over the old Records of Time The Monkish days! those glorious Days of Rhime! When not a Bard durst draw his lab’ring Quill Unbid by me – ungovern’d by my Will[.]67

While this quite clearly refers to Pope’s preference for heroic couplets rather than blank verse, of more importance than any literary satire is the link which is made between dulness and Popery: But soon as Reformation first prevail’d My cause and Popery’s together fail’d Popery still my nearest dearest Friend To the same purpose both our Efforts tend To lull the Mind in that severe Repose Which those who think or those who study lose[.]68

Although on one level this merely echoes Pope’s allegorical use of the Goddess Dulness who, ‘Laborious, heavy, busy, bold, and blind … rul’d, in native Anarchy, the mind’,69 in Fielding’s hands the satire is aimed specifically at the supposed threat posed by Roman Catholicism. It is Caleb (Bolingbroke) who is made to explain that: ‘Were Popery once Master of the Ball / How soon must Learning, Wit, and Knowledge fall’. Spelling out how, ‘should the Star of Popery arise / The star of Liberty must quit the Skies’, Caleb (Bolingbroke) concedes that this will not be allowed to happen: But ah! it labours to ascend in Vain By G— depress’d beneath an Iron Chain[.]70

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Yet by insinuating that British liberty is providentially protected, Fielding gives credence to his earlier (otherwise unconvincing) celebration of ‘That hated Sun arisen in the West:’ Look up, my Son, and see it’s [sic] Glories shine See Pallas boast the Smile of Caroline While George and She Wit’s brightest Patrons reign Vain all our Efforts! All our Hopes are Vain!

After such a resounding endorsement of King George and Queen Caroline, Fielding’s eulogy of the entire Hanoverian royal family comes as no surprise: Never shall England more my God head own While such a Race expect the British Throne Never to wear my heavy Chains submit Till on it’s Throne see Drowsy Monarch sit To whom or whose a Monument to raise Shall be beyond the very God of Lays Till fix’d upon some Brow it’s Crown shall be Learn’d, witty, pious, noble, great as thee.71

The most damaging feature of Fielding’s assault on the integrity of the Opposition was not the simple inversion of the thrust of Pope’s satire in The Dunciad, however. Years later, in the Champion, Fielding was to write: ‘I have heard a Story of some great Man or Prime Minister some where or other, who whenever he was attacked for his Misbehaviour, used to answer with a Sneer, that his Enemies only wanted his Place’.72 Paradoxically, this was precisely the ploy he adopted in 1729 when he spelled out the alleged hidden agenda behind the campaign to discredit Walpole: Oh! that great Caleb would my power Confess His Nonsense and his Lies in Metre dress W[alpole] himself might then be taught to fear And England view her fancied dangers near Charm’d with sweet Sounds the world might give the Praise (Which they deny his Politicks) – t’his Lays[.]73

Suggesting at once that Opposition propaganda had hitherto failed to damage Walpole, and that Opposition concerns about the state of the nation were groundless, Fielding proceeded to outline Caleb/Bolingbroke’s supposed strategy to replace him: For Scandal by the disaffected Mouth Is Sown and Scatter’d like the Gree[cian]’s Tooth Wherever thrown it finds a friendly soil And not one grain deludes the Sower’s Toil

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These to sow thick be all our Care and Pain W[alpole] thy Services shall all be vain Thy Place shall be our certain Prize – for that You know, my Friends, I’m chiefly aiming at[.]74

By representing the discussion about strategy between Bolingbroke, Pope, Swift and Gay – ‘the Chiefs in Council’ – resemble the fallen angels’ debate in Pandaemonium in Book II of Paradise Lost,75 Fielding drives home the serious point he is making by equating dulness with Popery. Thus Ochistes (Swift) outlines what would happen with the restoration of the Empire of Dulness: Ochistes then – O mighty Bards Give diff ’rent Talents different rewards To Caleb’s Lot P[rime] M[inister] is due But Poet L[aureate] shall devolve on you [Codrus] Our Self the S[ee] of C[anterbury] fills Physician [Arbuthnot] to the Poet read in Bills Ilar and Fog – shall Sec[retarie]s be D[uke] W[harto]n will with C[hancello]r agree.76

Fielding’s mock-Dunciad not only turns the rhetorical thrust of Pope’s poem on its head by representing George II, Queen Caroline and (by implication) Walpole not as the patrons of the ‘Smithfield Muses’ but as ‘Wit’s brightest Patrons’, it also cleverly links the threat of a Jacobite restoration to the allegorical restoration of the Empire of Dulness. This, in turn, serves to promote Walpole as ‘the bulwark of our liberty against Jacobitism and Popery’,77 thus reaffirming the sort of government black propaganda which smeared all Tories, indeed all opposition activity, as ultimately Jacobitical in inspiration. The biographical significance of Fielding’s unfinished, unpublished poem is not only that it complicates his relationship to the cultural politics of the Scriblerian satirists, it offers unimpeachable evidence that, on his return from Leyden, he was still prepared to seek Walpole’s patronage, and renders redundant any simple description of his early politics as anti-ministerial or anti-Walpole. In particular, it throws into doubt the suggestion that, throughout his adult life, Fielding’s politics were indebted to ‘the great theoretician of Broad Bottom’,78 Henry St John, Viscount Bolingbroke.

‘Setting up for a Play-Writer in Earnest’ It has been suggested that Fielding may have taken the opportunity to travel around the continent for some months before returning to London at the start of the theatre season, apparently carrying drafts of plays with him.79 Be that as it may, on his return to England he offered the ‘Sketch’ of a play called Don Quixote in England to the managers of the theatre in Drury Lane where Love in Several Masques had been premièred in February 1728. According to the preface

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to the 1734 edition: ‘This Comedy was begun at Leyden in the Year 1728, and after it had been sketched out into a few loose Scenes, was thrown by, and for a long while no more thought of ’. Whatever reason Fielding had for thinking of it again – almost certainly lack of money – he was disappointed when he was ‘dissuaded’ by Booth and Cibber ‘from suffering it to be represented on the Stage’.80 Whether, after this rebuff, he even bothered offering them the draft of The Wedding Day, ‘the third Dramatic Performance I ever attempted’, the play was not staged until 1743. In recounting (in the Preface to the Miscellanies) the circumstances which finally led to its production by Garrick, Fielding pointedly referred to ‘the Theatrical Politics, of never introducing new Plays on the Stage, but when driven to it by absolute Necessity’.81 Given these circumstances, it is by no means certain that The Temple Beau was ever offered to the managers of Drury Lane. Out of necessity, Fielding turned to what we might call ‘the fringe’. On 26 January 1730, the première of The Temple Beau took place far away from the fashionable West End at Goodman’s Fields, Thomas Odell’s little theatre in Whitechapel. ‘How Fielding got The Temple Beau accepted at Goodman’s Fields, or by whom we do not know’, Hume observes. ‘It was the first new play staged there and it achieved a very respectable run of nine nights (plus four more performances later in the season)’.82 Giving performances of established favourites by such writers of the previous generation as Congreve, Farquhar and Centlivre, Goodman’s Fields had opened its doors without patent or licence on 31 October 1729. Why Odell chose to change this successful strategy by producing a new play we do not know, although Fielding’s five-act intrigue comedy would scarcely have been out of place alongside the plays in the repertory of Goodman’s Fields. As its title suggests, instead of studying law at the Inns of Court where he has been sent by his father, the central character of The Temple Beau spends his time in fashionable pursuits. Apart from occasional references to ‘fiery Partizans of State’, ‘Courtier[s]’, and ‘the South-Sea’,83 The Temple Beau was, however, innocent of topical political significance. For whatever reason, only one play of Fielding’s was produced at Goodman’s Fields. On 30 March 1730, barely two months after the première of The Temple Beau, The Author’s Farce opened in the West End, albeit at neither of the patent theatres. Over the next three weeks it was acted intermittently before being performed on 24 April with Tom Thumb as an afterpiece. From then onwards, as Fielding enjoyed his first major success as a playwright, The Author’s Farce and Tom Thumb were paired together night after night throughout the rest of April, May and most of June. As Thomas Lockwood observes, the pairing ‘makes it a little hard to judge the performance appeal and success of The Author’s Farce independent of Tom Thumb’. This is an important consideration not only as far as Fielding’s career as a dramatist is concerned, but also with regard to his politics. The Author’s Farce opens as a comedy of manners satirizing the plight

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of would-be authors, but ends with a ‘Puppet-Show’ satirizing the state of contemporary theatre, and ‘it was the Act III “Pleasures of the Town” that mattered most at the box office, as that early reprogramming of it might suggest’.84 That this had been at least part of Fielding’s thinking all along is strongly suggested by contemporary notices such as the one which appeared in the Daily Post on 18 March 1730: ‘We hear there is now in Rehearsal at the New Theatre in the Hay-Market, and will shortly be perform’d there, A New Comi-Farcical Opera, call’d The Pleasures of the Town; being a Satirical Representation of all our late noted Publick Performances’. In The Author’s Farce itself, the central character, Harry Luckless, the master of the puppet-show, wishes that it ‘may expel Farce and Opera, as they have done Tragedy and Comedy’, while the Player enquires ‘what is the Design or Plot? for I could make neither Head nor Tail of it’.85 As the first indication of Fielding’s moving towards the ‘plotlessness’ of his later, overtly political plays, this is potentially of huge significance, although it must be stressed that The Author’s Farce, like Tom Thumb, the brief afterpiece burlesquing contemporary tragedy, is a satire on contemporary letters rather than contemporary politics. Compelling evidence that this is the case is offered by the diary entry of the insightful Earl of Egmont, who attended the first night The Author’s Farce was performed with Tom Thumb as an after-piece: Afterwards I went to the Haymarket playhouse, and saw a play called ‘The Author’s Farce and the Pleasures of the Town’, with an additional piece called ‘The Tragedy of Tom Thumb’. Both these plays are a ridicule on poets, and several of their works, as also of operas, etc., and the last of our modern tragedians, and are exceedingly full of humour, with some wit. The author is one of the sixteen children of Mr. Fielding, and in a very low condition of purse.86

This is an important consideration, because the ‘first open slur Fielding ever made at the Walpole’s ministry, equivocal though it is’, has been detected in the exchange in The Author’s Farce between Scarecrow and Bookwright: Scare. Sir, I have brought you a Libel against the Ministry. Book. Sir, I shall not take any thing against them (for I have two in the Press already.) [Aside. Scare. Then, Sir, I have another in Defence of them. Book. Sir, I never take anything in Defence of Power.87

As Bertrand A. Goldgar remarks, ‘it is difficult to see how such conventional ridicule of party writing of any kind can be construed as a slur on the government’.88 On the contrary, dialogue such as this could just as easily be read as a satire on the opposition press along the lines of Fielding’s unpublished mock-Dunciad, and of course ‘[t]he idea for a dramatized scene at the Court of Nonsense was

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unquestionably prompted by the Court of Dulness in The Dunciad’. As Lockwood perceptively remarks about The Author’s Farce, ‘the topics of this famously topical play belong as it were to the time than the moment’.89 Fielding’s satire was largely at the expense of those contemporaries who figured in the puppet-show, ‘The Pleasures of Town’, such as ‘Don Tragedio’ (Lewis Theobald), ‘Sir Farcical Comick’ (Colley Cibber), ‘Dr. Orator’ ( John Henley ), ‘Monsieur Pantomime’ ( John Rich), and ‘Mrs. Novel’ (Eliza Haywood). Perhaps it was because the objects of his satire were the sort of targets habitually ridiculed by the Scriblerian satirists, rather than any overt attempt to situate himself alongside the opposition to Walpole, which led Fielding to claim on the title page of the printed version of The Author’s Farce; and the Pleasures of the Town. As Acted at the Theatre in the Hay-Market that it was ‘Written by Scriblerus Secundus’. ‘As in The Dunciad’, Peter Lewis suggests, ‘the condition of scholarship and the theatre is symptomatic of the state of culture and civilization and indicative of a decline in moral standards’.90 There are, in addition, lines which a contemporary audience might have taken as jibes at Walpole’s expense, such as the suggestion that Luckless should ‘get a Patron, be Pimp to some worthless Man of Quality, write Panegyricks on him, flatter him with as many Virtues as he has Vices’, or Marplay’s observation – reminiscent of similar remarks in The Beggar’s Opera – that ‘Interest sways as much in the Theatre as at Court’, or, above all, Air VIII, sung to the tune of Lillibulero, which ends in the Goddess of Nonsense ‘Repeating in an Ecstacy’: ‘When you cry he is Rich, you cry a Great Man’.91 All these in their various ways are, I think, susceptible of being construed as political innuendo at the ministry’s expense. But to argue that Fielding is ‘intimating that Walpole’s England is not unlike a puppet show’, or that Punch and Joan ‘undoubtedly satirize Walpole’, as Sheridan Baker has done,92 is to detect political significances which apparently escaped Fielding’s original audience. If attempts to interpret The Author’s Farce as an anti-ministerial play appear fraught with difficulty, they pale into insignificance beside efforts to sustain a political reading of Tom Thumb. ‘With the motif of the “great man,” the topos of greatness’, Paulson asserts, ‘Fielding implicitly connected Tom Thumb with Walpole, the “Great Man”’.93 However, it should be noted that the mock-heroic name of ‘Tom Thumb the Great’ was only added when the play was revised and enlarged as The Tragedy of Tragedies. And while it is always possible to argue that the diminutive size of the hero inversely parallels the massive bulk of Walpole, the ‘Great Man’, the possible allegorical significance of Tom being eventually swallowed by a cow ‘of larger than the usual Size’,94 as in the play’s fairytale source, entirely escapes me. Perhaps King Arthur, Queen Dollalolla and Princess Huncamunca allude to the Hanoverian royal family in some way also not readily apparent, but I remain to be convinced that Tom Thumb is a political play.

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If it is important to assert the literary burden of Fielding’s satire in The Author’s Farce and Tom Thumb over the political, it is equally important not to read political motives into his move to the Little Theatre in the Haymarket, let alone to argue that his subsequent shifts between the Little Theatre and Drury Lane ‘reveal his literary and, ultimately, political uncertainty’.95 Such arguments have been traced back to Wilbur L. Cross’s biography of Fielding. ‘When Fielding was forced to turn to the Little Theatre in the Haymarket’, Cross explained, ‘it was of course necessary for him to drop for a time comedy for farce and burlesque in order to please his new audience’.96 In this way, assumptions are made not only about the reasons for Fielding’s ‘move’, but about the taste of the theatre-goers who frequented the Little Theatre. While it is undoubtedly true that a burlesque rehearsal play like The Author’s Farce was decidedly different from the repertory of classics offered at Goodman’s Fields, the Little Theatre, which had benefited from the unprecedented success of The Beggar’s Opera, staged a much higher proportion of new plays than either of the patent theatres. Hurlothrumbo, in particular – the mad, nonsensical play by Samuel Johnson of Cheshire – enjoyed an astonishing run of twenty-nine nights at the Little Theatre early in 1729. ‘If you must write’, Witmore admonishes Harry Luckless in The Author’s Farce, ‘write Nonsense, write Opera’s, write Entertainments, write Hurlo-thrumbo’s’. It is unnecessary to labour the similarities between the central character and Fielding the aspiring but hitherto unsuccessful playwright, let alone the fact that Harry was the contemporary diminutive for Henry, in order to recognize that The Author’s Farce is indeed a satire on the state of contemporary letters, ‘when Party and Prejudice carry all before them, when Learning is decried, Wit not understood, when the Theatres are Puppet-Shows, and the Comedians Ballad-Singers’.97 Part of the problem has been to do with a lack of understanding, stemming ultimately from a lack of information, about the Little Theatre in the Haymarket. Hume, who is ‘convinced that it was always a road house’, points out that it is wrong to assume that ‘there was a permanent acting company at the Little Haymarket, a company run by someone’. On the contrary, it seems to have been rented night by night. ‘We simply do not know how the “extended company” (if we may call it such) that used the house most often chose plays, bargained with authors, and made casting decisions’. As we simply do not know how Fielding managed to get The Author’s Farce produced either, or on what basis, it seems otiose to speculate whether he was required to experiment with a different kind of drama when he was ‘forced to turn to the Little Theatre in the Haymarket’. ‘When he writes The Author’s Farce and Tom Thumb’, Hume continues, ‘Fielding is suddenly expressing his own views – his animus against the Drury Lane management; his disdain for heroic tragedy; his reactions to being a hackney writer’.98 While it is obvious that he had changed direction, turning from the more tradi-

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A Political Biography of Henry Fielding

tional comedies of manners with which he had begun his career to the ‘irregular’ forms – ‘rehearsal’ plays, ballad operas and burlesque – which began to appear on the stage following the success of The Beggar’s Opera and Hurlothrumbo, with which he seems more comfortable, and certainly was more successful, once again we must be careful not to over-state the case. There is a good reason to countenance caution. When the consecutive run of The Author’s Farce / Tom Thumb pairing ended on 22 June 1730 after thirtytwo performances, a new play by Fielding was premièred the very next night, Rape upon Rape; Or, The Justice Caught in his own Trap. Interestingly, Rape upon Rape reverted to the traditional five-act comedy-of-manners format. The first of Fielding’s plays to have an overtly political component, it was emphatically not a party-political play. Basically an intrigue comedy with a twist, the plot of Rape upon Rape turns around a character so wrapped up in politics and political speculation that he fails appropriately to discharge his responsibilities as a father. As a consequence, his daughter, separated late at night from her companion, finds herself accosted in the streets, cries rape, is apprehended by the constable, and hauled before the corrupt magistrate, Justice Squeezum. The character of Politick can be traced back if not quite all the way to Ben Jonson’s Sir Politick Would-be then certainly to the opening number of the Tatler in which Steele wryly claimed that the journal was ‘principally intended for the Use of Politick Persons, who are so publick-spirited as to neglect their own Affairs to look into Transactions of State’.99 Fielding’s Politick, who is more concerned about the health of the Dauphin than the fate of his own daughter, is clearly of this type. If one feature of the incidental satire of Rape upon Rape can be confidently traced back to the ridicule of coffeehouse politicians started in the Tatler and developed in the Spectator, a vital aspect of its plot is taken from The Beggar’s Opera. Lockwood identifies a number of ‘earlier stage justices’ as ‘precedents more than sources, as the scope and development of the Squeezum character are beyond anything to be found in these other examples’.100 One of the ways in which Fielding elaborates upon the concept of the corrupt justice is to implicate Squeezum in a system in which money is extorted from those taken up for rape. Not only might these insinuations of bribery and corruption in the justice system have been compared by a contemporary audience to bribery and corruption in government, there was enough in the way Fielding presented his material to remind theatre-goers of the satiric thrust of The Beggar’s Opera. When Mrs Staff, for instance, says that ‘I have often wished my Husband would live by the Highway himself, instead of taking Highwaymen’,101 she renews the connection made by Gay between thieves and thief-takers and, implicitly, between highwaymen and politicians. One topical allusion in particular stands out. In April 1730 Colonel Francis Charteris who, two months earlier, had been convicted of raping his maidserv-

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ant, was pardoned by George II. Goldgar convincingly argues that ‘there can be little doubt that audiences at the Haymarket in June would have immediately connected Fielding’s Rape upon Rape with the Charteris affair’.102 As it happens, there are only accusations of rape, rather than actual rape, in Rape upon Rape. While this might serve as a paradigm for modern critical discussions of his early plays, in which critics have detected to their own satisfaction a series of anti-ministerial political innuendoes of varying plausibility that appear to have eluded contemporary audiences, in this case, as Goldgar argues, Fielding seems quite deliberately to be making a satirical point about the Charteris case. Thus when Isabella remarks that ‘our Laws, Brother Worthy, are as rigorous as those of other Countries, and as well executed’, Justice Worthy begs to differ. ‘That I wish they were’, he replies; ‘but Golden Sands too often clog the Wheels of Justice, and obstruct her Course: The very Riches which were the greatest Evidence of his Villany, have too often declared the Guilty innocent; and Gold hath been found to cut a Halter surer than the sharpest Steel’.103 Given the timing of Fielding’s observation on the ability of wealth to obstruct the execution of justice, it is hard to believe that it would not have been applied by a contemporary audience to a rape which was such a cause célèbre. Rape upon Rape, ‘which is liberally stuffed with topical allusions but does not systematically attack either the ministry or the opposition’, is offered by Hume as an example of what he calls a politicized play in contradistinction to a partisan play – what I would describe as political and party-political plays, respectively.104 In this instance, the key word is ‘systematically’ and, paradoxically, Rape upon Rape is an exemplary play for my purposes because the lack of contemporary comment on its topicality speaks volumes. Not only had Charteris been pardoned by the King, the opposition press was quick to link him to the Great Man himself. There appears to have been substance in the Craftsman’s allegation that Walpole was the wealthy Charteris’s ‘Friend, Confident, and Patron’ and, like Walpole, Charteris was soon given a nickname of his own. Walpole had long been known as the ‘Skreenmaster-General’, therefore Charteris became the ‘Rape-Master General of Great Britain’, and the two were linked in verse.105 Yet despite all this, Rape upon Rape patently was not regarded as a party-political play, or even as a play which could be represented as an allegorical attack on the ministry. If it had been, as in the case of The Beggar’s Opera, then the opposition press would have been full of such applications. Perhaps it had to do with the lack of success of Fielding’s play. Admittedly, this is to confound cause and effect, but Rape upon Rape was a failure, at least in comparison with The Author’s Farce / Tom Thumb pairing. It ran for only eight nights in June and July, and flopped completely when it was revived at Lincoln’s Inn Fields in December as The Coffee-House Politician.

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It is worth considering whether the comparative failure of a play containing such fairly obvious political overtones led Fielding to contemplate abandoning the topical allusions he had introduced into The Author’s Farce and Rape upon Rape. Although we know as little about Fielding’s movements during 1730 as we do about those of any of his early years, in September he was evidently in London. According to the Craftsman for 19 September ‘the Town will shortly be diverted by a Comedy of Mr. Fielding’s call’d, the Modern Husband, which is said to bear a great Reputation’.106 Given that when The Modern Husband finally was staged and subsequently published almost eighteen months later in February 1732 it was dedicated ‘To the Right Honourable Sir Robert Walpole’ – a circumstance I shall consider in more detail in due course – it seems distinctly odd that it should have been puffed by the most prominent opposition journal. We do not know why there was a delay in the play’s production. However, it is clear not only from the Prologue to The Modern Husband which insisted that the stage was ‘design’d … to divert, instruct, and mend Mankind’, but from a letter of his to Lady Mary Wortley Montagu dated 4 September, that Fielding was deliberately attempting something different both from the more traditional fiveact comedies with which he had begun his career, and the ‘low Farce’ with which he had been successful in the spring of 1730: I hope your Ladyship will honour the Scenes which I presume to lay before you with your Perusal. As they are written on a Model I never yet attempted, I am exceedingly anxious least they should find less Mercy from you than my lighter Productions. It will be a slight compensation to the modern Husband, that your Ladyship’s Censure will defend him from the Possibility of any other Reproof, since your least Approbation will always give me a Pleasure infinitely superiour to the loudest Applauses of a Theatre. For whatever has past your Judgment, may I think without any Imputation of Immodesty refer Want of Success to want of Judgment in an Audience.107

If, as I have argued, nothing Fielding had written so far for the stage could have been construed as unequivocally anti-ministerial, the implication of this change from farce to ‘a Model I never yet attempted’ is nonetheless of political significance, if only in a negative sense. That is, in his determination in The Modern Husband to forsake the ‘unshap’d Monsters of a wanton Brain’ with which his youthful career as a playwright had commenced, Fielding was not attempting to move away from a politically-allusive drama which had been well-received. On the contrary, despite the box-office success of The Author’s Farce and Tom Thumb, he still aspired to write ‘serious’ comedy. In the light of Fielding’s output during the winter season of 1730–1, this is an important consideration. Whether, despite the utter absence of contemporary evidence, Rape upon Rape was regarded as a ‘political’ play, it flopped when it was revived as The Coffee-House Politician at Lincoln’s Inn Fields in December. We do not know why it transferred from the Little Theatre, nor why Field-

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ing changed the title of the play, although the published version is otherwise identical to the printed text of Rape upon Rape, and Fielding returned to the Haymarket for his next productions. The Tragedy of Tragedies; Or the Life and Death of Tom Thumb the Great opened on 24 March 1731 and was published on the same day ‘With the Annotations of H. SCRIBLERUS SECUNDUS’. It clearly sought to cash in on the popularity of Tom Thumb, but it was a very different play. Not only was it much longer, many of the added lines were taken from heroic plays, and annotated to accentuate their bathos. While Tom Thumb worked by travestying heroic tragedy, therefore, in The Tragedy of Tragedies a preponderance of burlesque elements can be detected. It is questionable, however, whether The Tragedy of Tragedies is any more of a ‘political’ play than its predecessor. Originally paired with a new three-act comedy by Fielding innocent of political significance called The Letter-Writers which bombed, from 22 April 1731 onwards The Tragedy of Tragedies was provided with a new afterpiece entitled The Welsh Opera. Interestingly, the introductory exchange between Scriblerus and a Player is interrupted apparently with the sole purpose of allowing the audience to be alerted to the fact that the two plays were connected: 2d. Player. Sir, Mr. Davenport will not go on without a Pair of white Gloves, and Mrs. Jones who play’d Huncamunca, insists on a Dram before she goes on, for Madam ap Shinken; as for Mrs. Clark, the King has fall’n so heavy upon her that he has almost squeez’d her Guts out, and it’s a Question whether she will be able to Sing or no. Scrib. Pox on ’em, bid ’em begin any way, – I’ll burn my four dozen of Opera’s and six dozen of Tragedies, and never give ’em another. Player. Good God’s! what a Fury is an incens’d Author.108

Given this exchange, members of that first-night audience could have been forgiven for anticipating that what they were about to see was another literary, or rather dramatic, satire in the manner of The Tragedy of Tragedies. If so, they were in for a big surprise. Perhaps Fielding’s most audacious political satire in The Tragedy of Tragedies was to be found not in the body of the play itself, but in the character summaries included in the ‘Dramatis Personæ’ of the printed version. Thus not only is Lord Grizzle described as being ‘Extremely jealous for the Liberty of the Subject’, Noodle and Doodle are ‘Courtiers in Place, and consequently of that Party which is uppermost’, while Foodle is ‘A Courtier that is out of Place, and consequently of the Party that is undermost’. Although this type of general political satire was pretty inoffensive, what Fielding wrote about King Arthur, ‘A passionate sort of King. Husband to Queen Dollallolla, of whom he stands a little in Fear’, was stronger meat. Stronger still was his description of Queen Dollallolla herself: ‘Wife to King Arthur, and Mother to Huncamunca, a Woman entirely fault-

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less, saving that she is a little given to Drink; a little too much a Virago towards her Husband, and in Love with Tom Thumb’.109 Clearly satire of this kind was directed at the royal family rather than at the Walpole ministry, yet it was arguably the most outspoken political commentary so far published by Fielding. In that ridicule of King George and, in particular, Queen Caroline was taken considerably further in The Welsh Opera: Or, The Grey Mare the better Horse, it is hard to resist the conclusion that a contemporary audience would have been encouraged to make a connection between the thrust of the main play and its afterpiece. If King Arthur ‘stands a little in fear of his Wife’, the same is true of Sir Owen Apshinken, ‘a gentleman of Wales, in love with tobacco’,110 as his opening lines make abundantly apparent: COME, Mr. Puzzletext, it is your Glass. – Let us make haste and finish our Breakfast before Madam is up. – Oh! Puzzletext, what a fine Thing it is for a Man of my Estate to stand in fear of his Wife, that I dare not get drunk so much as – once a Day, without being call’d to an Account for it.

With whatever slight assistance might have been required from the actors, an eighteenth-century audience would have immediately understood that Fielding was alluding to the royal family, and Puzzletext’s reply – ‘Petticoat Government is a very lamentable Thing indeed’111 – would have been sufficient to clinch the point without the description of Lady Apshinken offered in the Dramatis Personae when the play was eventually published as The Grub-Street Opera: ‘wife to sir Owen, a great housewife, governante to her husband, a zealous advocate for the church’.112 While Fielding’s innuendo at the expense of King George and Queen Caroline was risky enough, the extension of his attack to include Frederick, Prince of Wales, was little short of breathtaking. The ballad opera’s very title, The Welsh Opera, provided a clear hint, and the characterization of Master Owen Apshinken as an effete, ineffectual womanizer was especially offensive even though, oddly enough, the most outspoken satire at his expense was only added when the play was revised as The Grub-Street Opera. ‘Sure never man was so put to it in his amours’, Master Owen is made to say on his first appearance, ‘for I do not care to venture on a woman after another, nor does any woman care for me twice’.113 While as an oblique comment on Frederick’s lack of success as a lover this was fairly innocuous, the same can scarcely be said about Fielding’s subsequent suggestion that Master Owen is forced to pay for his pleasures: Mr. Ap. And yet I have heard that that gentle gentleman, when he was at London, rumaged all the playhouses for mistresses: nay, you yourself have heard of his pranks in the parish; did he not seduce the fidler’s daughter? Molly. That was the fidler’s fault; you know he sold his daughter, and gave a receipt for the money.114

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Almost certainly, this was a reference to an actual affair with a musician’s wife in which the Prince of Wales had been involved,115 and for which, as was the case as far as the central characters in Fielding’s The Modern Husband were concerned, the husband had been remunerated. If Fielding was sailing very close to the wind in alluding to the royal family in this way, his party-political satire – in The Welsh Opera at any rate – was actually much tamer. The mere fact that Sir Owen Apshinken’s butler was called Robin (Walpole), and his coachman William (Pulteney), and that they were bitter rivals, was quite sufficient to suggest that the play would be shot through with political innuendo.116 The principal method of allusion – one which Fielding would continue to use throughout his dramatic and journalistic careers – was to draw transparent parallels between the apparent subject-matter, and the realities of politics in contemporary Britain. An audience conditioned by The Beggar’s Opera would immediately have grasped that The Welsh Opera was about more than jealousy in the servants’ hall of a fictitious Welsh country house, and it is hard to believe that the first few bars of AIR XXII, We’ve cheated the Parson, would not have been greeted with jeers and catcalls: Here stands honest Bob, who ne’er in his Life, Was known to be guilty of Faction or Strife.117

Not only was such a statement patently untrue – notoriously, he was responsible for the first Whig schism of the Hanoverian period when he went into opposition for utterly self-interested reasons in 1717 – Walpole’s reputation for political opportunism was legendary. In The Welsh Opera, this song was the climax of the famous fight scene which began the second act. When the play was revised as The Grub-Street Opera, Fielding not only made Scriblerus refer to ‘the favour which the town hath already shewn to the Welch opera’, he claimed to ‘have kept only what they particularly approved in the former. – You will find several additions to the first act, and the second and third, except in one scene, entirely new’. ‘You have made additions indeed to the altercative or scolding scenes, as you are pleased to call them’, the Player observes, to which Scriblerus replies: Oh! sir! they cannot be heighten’d, too much altercation is the particular property of Grub-street: with what spirit do Robin and Will rap out the lie at one another for half a page together – you lie, and you lie – ah! ah! the whole wit of Grub-street consists in these two little words – you lie.118

As well as constituting evidence of the appeal of the fight scene to the audience which attended The Welsh Opera, this exchange trails the fight scene in which Robin and Will, stripped for a boxing match, end up calling each other names:

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A Political Biography of Henry Fielding Will. You lie, sirrah, you lie. Rob. Who do you call liar? you blockhead – I say you lie. Will. And I say you lie. Rob. And you lie. Will. And I say you lie again. Rob. The devil take the greatest liar, I say.119

While it is true that two additional lines are inserted into this particular piece of dialogue in the version printed as The Grub-Street Opera, Robin’s actual reluctance to fight turns out to be the most extensive – and important – addition to the ‘altercative or scolding scenes’: Sus. If you can’t be friends without it, you had best fight it out once for all. Will. Ay – so say I. Rob. No, no, I am for no fighting: it is but a word and a blow with William; he would set the whole parish together by the ears, if he could; and it is very well known what difficulties I have been put to, to keep peace in it. Will. I suppose peace-making is one of the secret services you have done master – for they are such secrets, that your friend the devil can hardly discover – and whence does your peace-making arise, but from your fears of getting a black eye or bloody nose, in the squabble – for if you could set the whole parish a boxing, without boxing yourself, it is well known you would do it, sarrah, sarrah. Had your love for the tenants been the occasion of your peacemaking, as you call it, you would not be always making master so hard upon them in every court; and prevent him giving them the fat ox at Christmas, on pretence of good husbandry.120

Were we to interpret Fielding’s play as an allegorical libel against the government in the manner of The Beggar’s Opera, as a contemporary audience is likely to have done, then clearly the ‘whole parish’ stands for the British nation. As opposition journalists never tired of pointing out, Walpole not only pursued a pacifist foreign policy, he was especially adept at exploiting fears of Jacobite conspiracy to keep the coalition of Tories and disaffected Whigs at bay. Here, in effect, William (Pulteney) is deconstructing the motives behind Walpole’s ‘peace-making, as you call it’, to suggest that, at bottom, the Great Man’s policies are dictated not by ‘love for the tenants’ – British subjects – but by naked self-interest. The political significance of this shift in Fielding’s position should not be underestimated. In his mock-Dunciad of 1729, he had endorsed the conduct of Walpole and the royal family, and deconstructed the motives of the opposition: in The Welsh Opera – and still more so in The Grub-Street Opera – the royal family and Walpole were themselves objects of ridicule and derision. Thus while Hume intelligently observes that the ‘politicality’ of The Welsh Opera ‘has often been

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overestimated’,121 there is no gainsaying that: ‘For the first time Fielding unambiguously jeered at politicians and court figures, reducing them to the level of a Welsh family and its domestic squabbles’.122 This, if anything, fails adequately to convey the seriousness of the attack on the Queen, the Prince of Wales, and the Robinocracy, because there is more to The Grub-Street Opera than the simple satirical reduction of politics to a domestic squabble. It is, then, important not to understate the effect of the vision of pervasive corruption under Walpole articulated by Fielding in the published version of The Grub-Street Opera. At the very outset, Scriblerus offers a moral to his audience in bringing the revised Introduction to a close: The author does in humble scenes produce, Examples fitted to your private use. Teaches each man to regulate his life, To govern well his servants and his wife; Teaches that servants will their masters chouse, That wives will ride their husbands round the house.123

In addition to supervising audience responses to the play which was about to be performed, by implicitly criticizing George II in this way Fielding succeeded in making a political point about the state of the nation in the early 1730s. While Sir Owen is censured for his failure to keep his wife, his son, and his servants in check, it is clear that he is not the principal target of Fielding’s political satire. One of the most significant additions occurs when Owen is reprimanded, not by his father, but by Mr. Apshones. ‘Sir Owen hath still behaved as the best of landlords’, he maintains. ‘[H]e knows a landlord should protect, not prey on his tenants – should be the shepherd, not the wolf to his flock’.124 Thus, as Morrissey shrewdly observes, it is Robin (Walpole) ‘and not the good-natured epicurean Sir Owen (George II), [who] is harsh with the tenants’.125 This gives relevance to William’s insistence towards the end of The Grub-Street Opera that: ‘We are none of us so bad as Robin, tho’ – there’s cheating in his very name’. ‘Robin, is as much as to say, robbing’ may be a bad pun (as Puzzletext remarks), but it also suggests that Fielding was prepared to align himself with the opposition more conspicuously than he had ever done before, and it is this exchange which leads into AIR LX, Ye madcaps of England: In this little family plainly we find, A little epitome of human-kind, Where down from the beggar, up to the great man, Each gentleman cheats you no more than he can. Sing tantarara, rogues all. For if you will be such a husband of pelf, To be serv’d by cheats, you must e’en serve yourself;

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A Political Biography of Henry Fielding The world is so cramm’d brim-full of deceit, That if Robin be a name for a cheat, Sing tantarara, Bobs all, Bobs all, Sing tantarara, Bobs all.126

As Fielding, in revising The Welsh Opera as The Grub-Street Opera, seems to have set out, quite deliberately, to offer much more sustained criticism of the Walpole ministry than he had done previously, I do not agree that ‘one’s final impression of the play is more that of political cynicism than political commitment’.127 Unfortunately, interpretation of the political significance of The Welsh Opera and The Grub-Street Opera is complicated by a number of factors, not least by the uncomfortable proposition that none of the three published versions necessarily represents Fielding’s play as it was staged. In one sense, of course, this applies to all the plays I have been discussing. Actors were at liberty to say things on stage which were neither in the script nor in the published playtext. Thus in March 1733 at a performance of a pantomime at the New Theatre in the Haymarket, ‘one of the Comedians took the Liberty to throw out some Reflections upon the Prime Minister and the Excise, which were not design’d by the Author; Lord Walpole being in the House, went behind the Scenes, and demanded of the Prompter whether such Words were in the Play, and he answering they were not, his Lordship immediately corrected the Comedian with his own Hands very severely’.128 (And of course the reverse was true in that, for a variety of reasons, actors omitted speeches that were in the original playtext, while playwrights patently made alterations in revising their work for publication.) The published versions of Fielding’s earlier plays were at any rate ‘authorized’ versions in the sense that he (presumably) prepared them for the press. But this is not necessarily the case as far as any of the versions of what was eventually published in 1755 as The Grub-Street Opera is concerned.129 After its première on the 22nd, The Welsh Opera was performed as an afterpiece to The Tragedy of Tragedies on 23, 26 and 28 April, but not again until 19 May, when it was revived ‘With several Alterations and Additions’ as an afterpiece to the controversial anti-ministerial play The Fall of Mortimer, William Mullart performing the part of Mortimer as well as that of Robin in Fielding’s play. Two days later, the Daily Post announced that: the Grubstreet Opera, written by Scriblerus Secundus, which was to have been postponed till next Season, will, at the particular Request of several Persons of Quality, be perform’d within a Fortnight, being now in Rehearsal at the New Theatre in the Hay-market. This is the Welch Opera alter’d and enlarg’d to three Acts. It is now in the Press, and will be sold at the Theatre with the Musick prefix’d to the Songs (being about sixty in Number) on the first Night of the Performance.130

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The Fall of Mortimer / Welsh Opera pairing was performed a further seven times between 26 May and 4 June, before a notice in the Daily Post for 5 June advertising The Fall of Mortimer with The Jealous Taylor as an afterpiece immediately went on to explain N.B. There being a great Demand for the Welch Opera, we are obliged to advertise the Town, that it now being made into a whole Night’s Entertainment, intituled, The Grub-street Opera, now in Rehearsal, it cannot possibly be performed any longer with this Play.

‘This Play’ was of course The Fall of Mortimer and previous critics, it seems to me, have not taken the political significance of its pairing with The Welsh Opera sufficiently into account. If the original introduction to the latter made use of the fact that the actress who was about to play Lady Apshinken had just played Huncamunca in The Tragedy of Tragedies, then what would have been the likely effect on a contemporary audience of watching the reappearance on stage as Robin of the actor who had only just played Mortimer? It is hard to resist the conclusion that, for such an audience, the political significance of The Welsh Opera would have been conditioned by seeing it performed as an afterpiece to The Fall of Mortimer. While I would not dissent from the description of The Fall of Mortimer as ‘insufferably dull and dramatically inept’,131 as political innuendo – described in 1731 as ‘Matters of Fact extracted from the best Historians, of Things transacted in some Ages’132 – it was sufficiently outspoken to attract the attention of authority. Essentially a ‘parallel history’ in which pointed comparisons are made between characters and circumstances in English history and conditions in contemporary Britain, The Fall of Mortimer depicts a land ruled by a weak king who is dominated and betrayed by his servants, the Earl of Mortimer in particular. ‘How are we manag’d by an upstart Knave!’, Sir Robert Howard complains: He rides the Privilege of Peers and Commons; For who in Parliament speaks not his Thoughts, Must ne’er expect a smiling Look from Court.

Once again we come across that loaded term, ‘upstart’, linked with the notion of honour. ‘Shame on those mercenary Souls that brook it’, the hero, Mountacute replies: ‘And sordidly give up their Country’s Honour’. Naturally, Edward III comes to his senses in the end, and in sending Mortimer to his death, the King extenuates his own shortcomings by shifting the blame on to a single, corrupt individual: A wicked, worthless, Minister the Cause; His Views no farther than himself extend, And center’d in himself, with his base Being end.133

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Although the comic world of The Welsh Opera, in which Will threatens to discover Robin’s tricks, is very different from that represented in The Fall of Mortimer, the suggestion that the political system is permeated by rampant selfinterest rather than the nation’s welfare is common to both. ‘I know not what Prejudice they have to my Person’, Mortimer explains as he sends his political opponents to their death, ‘but they’re Enemies to my Interest, and that’s a Statesman’s Cause at all times’.134 If The Fall of Mortimer needs to be taken into account in assessing the political significance of The Welsh Opera, it is also important to acknowledge its possible influence on Fielding’s additions to The Grub-Street Opera. On 21 May the Daily Post had announced that The Grub-Street Opera would ‘be perform’d within a Fortnight, being now in Rehearsal’. A fortnight went by before a further notice explained that The Welsh Opera ‘being now made into a whole Night’s Entertainment, intituled, The Grub-street Opera, now in Rehearsal, it cannot possibly be performed any longer with’ The Fall of Mortimer. Two days later, on 7 June, an advertisement in the Daily Post stated that: ‘On Friday next, being the 11th of June, will be performed, The Grubstreet Opera’, and this was followed by similar notices on 8, 10 and 11 June. Also on 10 June, The Grub-Street Journal, observing that ‘our good friend Mr. Scriblerus Secundus hath composed an Entertainment, called The Grub-street Opera, which he intends to exhibit at our Theatre in the Hay-market, to-morrow’, and that ‘the said Opera is calculated for the propagation of our Society’, charged ‘all our Members to assemble at the sign of the Cock and Bottle, an Alehouse at Charing-Cross, between the hours of three and four, thence to proceed in a body to the said Theatre’.135 In the event, The Grub-Street Opera was not staged on 11 June. Explaining why it had been put off until ‘Monday next, being the 14th Day of June’, a notice in the Daily Post for 12 June claimed that ‘The Principal Performer having been taken violently ill was the Occasion’. On 14 June itself, however, yet another notice advertising The Fall of Mortimer / Jealous Taylor pairing not only pointed out that it would be ‘the last Time of performing it’, but also carried a ‘Note, we are oblig’d to defer the Grubstreet Opera till further Notice’ Hitherto, critics have not taken the circumstances surrounding the proscription of The Fall of Mortimer sufficiently into account in considering the reasons why The Grub-Street Opera was deferred ‘till further Notice’. Quite clearly, the two plays were being linked in the public imagination in these weeks. ‘Orator’ Henley published verses on the ‘Hay-Market Actors of the design’d Grub-street Opera’ in the Hyp-Doctor for 8–15 June. He followed this a week later by enumerating the Craftsman’s ‘Help-Mates and Yoke-Fellows in the good Work of joining People in a Scheme of Division’. Included among writers such as Swift, Arbuthnot, Bolingbroke and Pulteney was ‘Doeg Fielding’.136 ‘Critics have been reluctant to admit the ministry’s irritation at the brazen satire of The Grub-Street

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Opera’, Battestin has argued, ‘but these vituperative attacks by Henley in successive numbers of The Hyp-Doctor should remove any doubts once and for all’.137 Perhaps, although, as Lockwood has recently pointed out, ‘Henley apparently did not write The Hyp-Doctor under ministerial subsidy at this time but as a volunteer in the Walpole cause’.138 If nothing else, however, Henley clearly felt that at this stage in his career Fielding was guilty by association with the Opposition – a factor which serves to complicate accounts of his early politics even further. On 24 June, ten days after The Fall of Mortimer was performed for ‘the last Time’ in place of The Grub-Street Opera, the Grub-Street Journal reported that: ‘The Company of Comedians at the New Theatre in the Hay market, have been forbid acting any more The fall of Mortimer’.139 Little wonder, in these circumstances, that The Grub-Street Opera was deferred ‘until further Notice’. That was by no means the end of it, however. Two days later The Welsh Opera: Or, the Grey Mare the better Horse. As it is Acted at the New Theatre in the Hay-market was published by one E. Rayner, ‘a shady publisher with opposition ties, and certainly not one of Fielding’s usual outlets’.140 And as the advertisement on the final page of this edition of The Welsh Opera confirms, E. Rayner was also the publisher of The Fall of Mortimer. Interestingly, the Preface to E. Rayner’s edition of The Welsh Opera alleged that: As the Performance of the Grubstreet Opera has been prevented, by a certain Influence which has been very prevailing of late Years, we thought it would not be unacceptable to the Town, if we communicated to them the Welsh Opera, from which the other was not only Originally borrow’d, but which is in effect the same, excepting some few Additions, that were made only with a view to lengthen it.141

Two days later a notice published in the Daily Post (and repeated the following day) disparaged this ‘strange Medley of Nonsense, under the Title of the Welch Opera, said to be written by the Author of the Tragedy of Tragedies’, and the assertion ‘that this was the great Part of the Grub-Street Opera, which he attempts to insinuate was stopt by Authority’: This is to assure the Town, that what he hath publish’d is a very incorrect and spurious Edition of the Welch Opera, a very small Part of which was originally written by the said Author; and that it contains scarce any thing of the Grub-street Opera, excepting the Names of some of the Characters and a few of the Songs: This latter Piece [i.e. The Grub-Street Opera] hath in it above fifty entire new Songs; and is so far from having been stopt by Authority (for which there could be no manner of Reason) that it is only postponed to a proper Time, when it is not doubted but that the Town will be convinced how little that Performance agrees with the intolerable and scandalous Nonsense of this notorious Paper Pyrate.

Taken together, the Preface to The Welsh Opera and the notice in the Daily Post for 28 June raise a number of issues. Assuming that we are not really being asked

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to believe that only ‘a very small Part’ of what was published as The Welsh Opera was actually Fielding’s work, it is undoubtedly true that The Grub-Street Opera, as published in 1755, is not only a considerably longer, but a very different play. Some of the revisions make for a much tighter plot, while there are indeed many more songs. What is most noticeable when comparing the two versions, however, is the increased political burden of The Grub-Street Opera. We cannot know for certain whether Fielding, caught up in the excitement surrounding The Fall of Mortimer and Opposition press’s campaign to exploit the situation to discredit Walpole, deliberately revised his play to give greater prominence to its political innuendo. There are, however, a number of indications that this might have been the case. Political allusion in The Welsh Opera is largely restricted to mild satire at the expense of the royal family, followed by the fight scene in the second act culminating in the song beginning: ‘Here stands honest Bob, who n’er in his Life, / Was known to be guilty of Faction or Strife’.142 Comparatively few of Fielding’s political references could be viewed as anti-ministerial. This is not the case as far as The Grub-Street Opera is concerned. Not only have the number and severity of the comments at the expense of the Prince of Wales been increased, more importantly so has the satire on Walpole. Whereas in The Welsh Opera this is mostly confined to the brief fight scene, in The Grub-Street Opera Robin is not only first mentioned in the Introduction, the satire on cheating servants in general and Walpole’s roguery in particular begins in the first act, while the fight scene in the second is considerably extended to include additional political material. Finally, an entirely new third act leads up to AIR LX, Ye madcaps of England with its brazen conclusion That if Robin be a name for a cheat, Sing tantarara, Bobs all, Bobs all, Sing tantarara, Bobs all.

It is immediately before the beginning of this song that Will makes his bad pun on Robin and robbing. Interestingly, as the Craftsman for 5 June also drew attention to the resemblance between the two words, it is not impossible that Fielding took the opportunity to point up his satire by including this popular contemporary joke at the Great Man’s expense, in much the same way as he appears to have included references to ‘great men’ when revising Love in Several Masques for publication after the première of The Beggar’s Opera.143 One other crucial consideration should be taken into account in any discussion of the significance of The Grub-Street Opera to Fielding’s political biography. Did Fielding accept money from Walpole to suppress his play? ‘I own, being in an ill State of Health, I accepted a few [Pills] to stop the Publication of a Book, which I had written against his Practice’, he acknowledged in the Champion in 1740, ‘and which he threaten’d to take the Law of me, if I publish’d’. Coley

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points out that Fielding’s description of ‘a Book, which I had written against [Walpole’s] Practice’ does not quite fit The Grub-Street Opera, and that Fielding, ‘although always impecunious, is not known to have been in “an ill State of Health”, either physically or financially’ in 1731.144 But would it have been inappropriate to refer to the publication of a playtext linked to The Fall of Mortimer as ‘a Book’? In the Preface to Of True Greatness, Fielding confessed that: ‘I have been obliged with Money to silence my Productions, professedly and by Way of Bargain given me for that Purpose’.145 ‘Productions’ is an interesting word to use in this context. It could refer either to a play or to a playtext – or, conceivably, to both – and there are a number of indications that, in 1731, the authorities sought to suppress The Grub-Street Opera both on stage and in print. Not only, as I have already noted, did Rayner’s pirate edition of The Welsh Opera insinuate that performance of The Grub-Street Opera had been ‘prevented, by a certain Influence which has been very prevailing of late Years’, Rayner also published a pirate edition of the latter as The Genuine Grub-street Opera, purportedly ‘for the Benefit of the Comedians of the New Theatre in the Hay-market’, in the week beginning 12 August 1731.146 However, a notice in the Daily Journal for 16 August maintained that ‘the said Company are in no ways concerned in the printing or publishing thereof; and as to its being suppressed, the said Company knows no more than that the Author desired it might not be performed’. The evidence, therefore, can be summarized as follows: Until 4 June 1731, while it was being ‘alter’d and enlarg’d to three Acts’ as The Grub-Street Opera (according to notices published in the Daily Post), The Welsh Opera continued to be performed as an afterpiece to The Fall of Mortimer. This practice abruptly ceased on 5 June, ostensibly because The Grub-Street Opera was in rehearsal as ‘a whole Night’s Entertainment’. Despite being advertised on 7, 8, 10 and 11 June – supposedly the day of the première – The Grub-Street Opera was first postponed until 14 June, and then put off ‘till further Notice’. On that very day, 14 June, The Fall of Mortimer was performed for ‘the last Time’. Ten days later, on 24 June, the Grub-Street Journal reported that the Company of Comedians had been ‘forbid acting any more The fall of Mortimer’, and E. Rayner, claiming that The Grub-Street Opera had been suppressed, published a pirate edition of The Welsh Opera two days later. On the same day, 26 June, according to the Daily Post, the Company of Comedians ‘determin’d to play the Tragedy’ of The Fall of Mortimer one more time on 30 June, ‘Notwithstanding the Opposition made by Some of the Company to present the Performance therefore’. It was again advertised on 21 July, but the following day the Daily Journal reported that the performance was prevented from taking place when the High Constable ‘came with a Warrant from several Justices of the Peace, to seize Mr. Mullet [sic] … and the rest of the Performers; but they all made their Escapes’.

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Meanwhile a notice almost certainly written by Fielding himself, published in the Daily Post on 28 June and repeated the following day, not only repudiated Rayner’s ‘very incorrect and spurious Edition of the Welch Opera’ but discounted the notion that it had been ‘stopt by Authority’. The notice claimed that it was ‘only postponed to a proper Time’. Yet when the Daily Post for 12 August reported that ‘the genuine Grub-street Opera, which was to have been acted at the New Theatre in the Hay-Market, but suppressed, is printed for the Benefit of the Comedians of the said Theatre, and handed about privately’, a further notice published on 16 August insisted that ‘the said Company are in no ways concerned in the printing or publishing thereof; and as to its being suppressed, the said Company knows no more than that the Author desired it might not be performed’. Whom should we believe? The publisher of the pirated editions of The Welsh Opera and The Genuine Grub-street Opera? The Company of Comedians at the New Theatre in the Haymarket who, quite clearly, were divided in their response to the official harassment caused by The Fall of Mortimer and The Welsh Opera? The repeated insistence of the notices placed in the Daily Post maintaining that The Grub-Street Opera ‘is so far from having been stopt by Authority (for which there could be no manner of Reason) that it is only postponed to a proper Time’ – notices which, if not written by Fielding himself, were undoubtedly published at his behest? Or the eminently plausible suggestion that having accepted ‘Money to silence [his] Productions, professedly and by Way of Bargain given [him] for that Purpose’,147 ‘the Author desired it might not be performed’? In the absence of definitive information it is impossible to be certain. One thing is clear, however. As Hume observes: ‘In itself, the squelching of The Grub-Street Opera was not especially important to Fielding, but the de facto silencing of the Little Haymarket that resulted from The Fall of Mortimer was very serious indeed. By August 1731, Fielding was without a venue for his plays’.148

3 ‘COURT POET’?: 1732–1735

On 27 November 1731 Read’s Weekly Journal mentioned ‘three new Plays now on the Stocks … which are to be acted one after the other with all Speed’ at the Theatre Royal in Drury Lane: ‘a Tragedy by Mr. Aaron Hill; a Comedy of Captain Bodens; and another by Mr. Fielding, the Author of Tom Thumb’. Whether the ‘Comedy … by Mr. Fielding’ thus anticipated was The Lottery. A Farce, a one-act ballad opera premièred on 1 January 1732 as an afterpiece to Addison’s Cato, or, as Battestin has suggested, The Modern Husband, staged in February,1 Fielding had managed to find a venue for his plays. As in the case of his move from Drury Lane to Goodman’s Fields and thence to the Little Theatre in the Haymarket, previous commentators have speculated about the kind of constraints on form and subject-matter to which he would have had to agree in order to have his plays produced by the King’s Company. If he was not forced to turn from politics – a ‘retreat’ which, according to Cleary, ‘was near-total, conscious, and obvious’2 – then at any rate ‘he was made to give up, or at least modify his satiric experiments’.3 Some critics have gone further to argue that ‘in the move to Drury Lane, the dedication to The Modern Husband, and the epilogue to The Modish Couple Fielding unmistakably and publicly aligned himself with the Walpole camp’.4 Indeed, Battestin, while quite rightly referring to Fielding’s ‘triumphant’ return to Drury Lane, goes on to suggest that in these months ‘he openly declared himself to be Walpole’s man’.5 In analyses such as these, insufficient weight tends to be given to the pragmatic element in Fielding’s career, especially in the early 1730s. As I explained at the end of the previous chapter, the Little Theatre in the Haymarket had effectively been closed off to him. While the theatres in Lincoln’s Inn Fields and Goodman’s Fields provided other options, Drury Lane was the most prestigious theatre in London. Fielding had begun his dramatic career there with the staging of Love in Several Masques. More importantly, he was by now the most successful practising playwright in England. In noting that we do not know the terms upon which Fielding returned to the Theatre Royal, Hume pertinently observes that: ‘The chance to have his work staged at Drury Lane was ample lure: a successful benefit could bring him five times the maximum possible at the Little – 55 –

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Haymarket, roughly £150 rather than £30. We need not marvel at Fielding’s willingness to forget old grievances’.6 That Fielding did make money out of his transfer is indicated by a passage from a pamphlet ‘on the Publick Diversions’ which also drew attention to his personal circumstances: Fielding has had a very good and very bad Success, a Farce of his call’d the Lottery and a Comedy intituled the Modern Husband, have both met with extraordinary Success; and, between both, he has made little less than a thousand Pounds, but the poor Author as fall’n into the Jaws of Rattle-snakes, His Elbows have destroy’d the Off-spring of his Brain; and in Spight of all his good Sense he has been stript at Play by Sharpers.7

This does not seem at all far-fetched. The straightforward satiric thrust of The Lottery, a topical rather than a party-political play, is announced at the outset when lotteries are described as ‘a Taxation, / Upon all the Fools in Creation’.8 The popular appeal of this one-act ballad opera doubtless lay in the nineteen songs Fielding managed to cram into it; it proved to be a durable favourite not only with audiences in 1732, but throughout the 1730s and beyond. Regardless of the misleading comments of some earlier critics, The Modern Husband, on the other hand, was quite clearly Fielding’s most successful ‘regular’ comedy. A letter published above the signature ‘Dramaticus’ in the Grub-Street Journal, which was beginning to turn against Fielding – a circumstance I shall consider in due course – reluctantly acknowledged the ‘favourable reception The Modern Husband has met with from the Town’ before launching into a scathing attack on ‘this motl[e]y composition’.9 The play’s initial run of thirteen nights was the longest unbroken run for a main piece at Drury Lane since the success of The Provok’d Husband in 1728. As a comedy, The Modern Husband broke new ground. However much criticism of Fielding’s play – from its first performance right through until the second half of the twentieth century – has been influenced by the dubious nature of its satire on husbands selling their wives, it undoubtedly served to fulfil his insistence in the Prologue that ‘The Stage … was not for low Farce design’d / But to divert, instruct, and mend Mankind’. Not that contemporaries such as Dramaticus were convinced by Fielding’s portrayal of ‘A Pair of Monsters most entirely new’.10 ‘The Author of The Modern Husband’, Dramaticus insisted, ‘does not appear to have had a true notion of Comedy’.11 Nevertheless, while ‘badly flawed’, The Modern Husband is, as Hume maintains, ‘a strikingly original play’.12 What is most significant about The Modern Husband in terms of Fielding’s politics, however, is its effusive dedication to Walpole. After insisting that ‘the Peace of Europe, and the Lives and Fortunes of so great a Part of Mankind, depend on Your Counsels’, Fielding concluded by suggesting that:

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when the little Artifices of Your Enemies, which You have surmounted, shall be forgotten, when Envy shall cease to misrepresent Your Actions, and Ignorance to misapprehend them. The Muses shall remember their Protector, and the wise Statesman the generous Patron, the stedfast Friend, and the true Patriot; but above all that Humanity and Sweetness of Temper, which shine thro’ all your Actions, shall render the Name of Sir Robert Walpole dear to his no longer ungrateful Country. That Success may attend all Your Counsels; that You may continue to preserve us from our Enemies Abroad, and to triumph over Your Enemies at Home, is the sincere Wish of, SIR, Your most obliged, Most obedient humble Servant, HENRY FIELDING.13

‘Nobody has ever satisfactorily explained this circumstance’, Pat Rogers remarks, ‘it is scarcely possible to believe it a piece of ironic effrontery’.14 No, indeed, and since the publication of Rogers’s biography in 1979, commentators have tended to interpret it as a further genuine attempt to seek Walpole’s patronage, if not as a straightforward declaration of ‘Fielding’s political allegiances’.15 If Fielding had already accepted money from Walpole to suppress The Grub-Street Opera, however, it would perhaps go some way to explaining his fulsome, and not entirely accurate, description of the Great Man as ‘the generous Patron’ who is also the muses’ protector. More interesting, in the light of a paragraph in Dramaticus’s letter in the Grub-Street Journal, is the suggestion that the dedication might be interpreted as ‘a safety measure’ on Fielding’s part, ‘a preventive against anti-ministerial interpretation’16 of The Modern Husband: I know not why he has made Lord Richly a great man, unless it be for the sake of describing a levee; nor why this great man should be the greatest rogue that ever lived: I don’t conceive but that the Play had gone on full as well without it. The making of a great man absolutely and totally bad, both in his public and private station, in his morals and behaviour, is so poor, so scandalous, so vulgar, and so mean a piece of satire, that (fools, malicious or discontented persons, may indeed laugh, but) all good and wise men will despise the odious picture.17

Perhaps because of its inherent implausibility, Dramaticus’s hint at a possible political meaning of The Modern Husband – presumably as another satire at the expense of Walpole, the archetypal ‘great man’ – was not taken up by the opposition press. ‘If Fielding planned The Modern Husband as a sly blow at Walpole’, Hume observes, ‘it plainly did not work’.18 Two other points should be made about Fielding’s alleged ‘political allegiances’ from the beginning of 1732 onwards, however. While he continued to write new material for the stage with astonishing rapidity, he no longer made use of the pseudonym, ‘Scriblerus Secundus’,19 nor inserted allusions that could

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be interpreted as remotely party-political. The Lottery is a straightforward play with a simple plot. Notwithstanding Dramaticus’s oblique suggestion that The Modern Husband depicts the ‘making of a great man absolutely and totally bad, both in his public and private station’,20 it is difficult to conceive it as anything other than a genuine attempt to write a new type of comedy appropriate to the manners of the day. Similar observations might be made about the Fielding double bill which received its première on 1 June 1732. While The Old Debauchees is remarkable as an early statement of the extreme anti-Catholicism which would re-emerge in Fielding’s journalism as well as his prose fiction,21 its topicality arises entirely from the scandal which broke in 1731 when the Director of the Jesuit seminary at Toulon was tried for taking advantage of his position to seduce a girl to whom he was confessor. Despite complaints published in the Grub-Street Journal, there is little to indicate that contemporary audiences found The Old Debauchees offensive. The same cannot be said of The Covent-Garden Tragedy, a burlesque of tragedy set in a brothel, which apparently overstepped the bounds of contemporary decency. Not only did Fielding have to withdraw the play after its opening night but Dramaticus, posing as Outraged of Grub Street, inveighed against ‘Such a scene of infamous lewdness, [which] was never brought, I believe, before in any Stage whatsoever!’.22 ‘Prosaicus’ in the Grub-Street Journal tried to insinuate that there was some sort of ‘secret history’ and ‘some personal scandal’ in The Covent-Garden Tragedy, but once again the opposition press failed to pursue the hint.23 In fact, when Fielding published The Covent-Garden Tragedy on 24 June, he went out of his way in the extended Prolegomena to draw attention to the play’s lack of political content: The first five Lines are a mighty pretty Satyr on our Age, our Country, our Statesmen, Lawyers, and Physicians: [WHO’D be A Bawd in this degen’rate Age! Who’d for her Country unrewarded toil! Not so the Statesmen scrubs his plotful Head, Not so the Lawyer shakes his unfeed Tongue, Not so the Doctor guides the doseful Quill.] What did I not expect from such a Beginning? But alas! what follows? No fine Moral Sentences, not a Word of Liberty and Property, no Insinuations, that Courtiers are Fools, and Statesmen Rogues. You have indeed a few Similies [sic], but they are very thin sown.24

It has been suggested that the Grub-Street Journal began attacking Fielding in 1732 because he had turned away from politics. Assessment of whether this was actually the case is complicated by the fact that, if Fielding did not himself instigate the paper war in which he imprudently became involved, his reaction to the comments of ‘Dramaticus, alias Prosaicus, alias Bavius, alias &c. &c. &c.’ certainly did little to bring it to a speedy conclusion. Whether it was Dramaticus’s

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outspoken criticism of The Modern Husband which gave Fielding the notion of referring to the Grub-Street Journal in The Covent-Garden Tragedy, his pointed sneer at the authors’ expense in the opening lines Ha, did they hiss? Why then the Play is damn’d, And I shall see the Poet’s Face no more. Say, Leathersides, ’tis thou that best canst tell: For thou hast learnt to read, hast Play-bills read, The Grubstreet Journal thou hast known to write, Thou art a Judge; say, wherefore was it damn’d?25

was hardly likely to pass unremarked. Nor was Fielding’s attempt to account for the ‘very ungenerous Behaviour’ of the Grub-Street Journal: ‘I fancy the real Occasion of all your Exclamations may be found in one little Line, where the Bawd tells her Porter (not much, I think, to his Honour) that He is one of the Authors of the Grub-street Journal’. It was little wonder that the sneer was picked up in one of the responses published in the Grub-Street Journal. ‘Neither envy, nor malice, nor provocation has inhumanly animated me against the Author, or Theatre; I am disinterested and impartial, I have no enmity to the man, but to his Tragedy’, insisted A.B.: ‘no exclamation from a Bawd to a Porter has given me any disturbance; nor can I see that those against whom the little satirical line was levelled, have any occasion to complain’.26 Fielding, in turn, could not let this pass: If the Critick had shewn as much Sense as Malice, I should have imagin’d the Popish Priest had peep’d forth in this Place; for sure any Protestant, but a Nonjuring Parson, would be asham’d to represent a Ridicule on Purgatory as a Ridicule on the Bible, or the Abuse of Bigotted Fools and Roguish Jesuits as an Abuse on Religion and the English Clergy.27

By referring to ‘a Nonjuring Parson’, Fielding again introduced a personal element into the exchange. Richard Russel, ‘who was to edit and write most of the [Grub-Street] Journal for its entire eight years’,28 was indeed an Anglican clergyman who refused to take the oaths of allegiance and supremacy to George II. It was, therefore, scarcely surprising that Russel returned in kind. ‘Surely’, he sneered, ‘an author’s high birth is as poor an excuse for the low scurrility in his writings, as his having been mounted at Eaton school is for the false English in them’.29 The paper war rumbled on throughout August and into September, but it is hard to avoid the conclusion that Fielding came off second best. In the circumstances, then, Battestin’s suggestion that Fielding either became or at least aspired to become a Court poet in this period merits serious consideration. In the very month in which, as we have seen, with the première of The Welsh Opera at the Little Theatre in the Haymarket, he ‘unambiguously jeered at politicians and court figures’,30 more especially Walpole and the Prince of Wales, Fielding also supplied the epilogue to Lewis Theobald’s Orestes. Not only had

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Fielding previously ridiculed Theobald as Don Tragedio in The Author’s Farce, Orestes was dedicated to Walpole. I have mentioned the possibility that Fielding was bribed by Walpole to suppress what was published as The Genuine GrubStreet Opera in an unauthorized edition in August 1731. On 10 January 1732, The Modish Couple was premièred at Drury Lane to hisses and catcalls, perhaps on account of a rumour that it was actually written by Lord Hervey and Frederick, Prince of Wales, himself. Ostensibly by a friend of the Prince, one Captain Charles Bodens, it was almost certainly the work of the Revd. James Miller.31 Considerations of authorship did not extend to the epilogue, however, which was avowedly written by Fielding. Whether, from his accepting this commission, we should conclude with Battestin that ‘so thick was Fielding with the Court Party at this time that he could be counted on to supply the epilogue’,32 or whether it was simply a matter of his keeping in with the management of Drury Lane, the fact is that, on a number of occasions between 1732 and 1735, Fielding was listed among those writers who had allegedly received money from Walpole. In the context of his writing of epilogues and the dedication to Walpole of The Modern Husband, this is an issue which Fielding’s biographers cannot afford to duck. The Grub-Street Journal for 16 September 1734 named Matthew Concanen, Colley Cibber, Joseph Mitchell and James Ralph as those who had been ‘smil’d on, by the Primier with the staff ’, before listing Fielding, along with Alexander Pope, Edward Young, Leonard Welsted, James Thomson and Philip Frowde, as writers who had also benefited ‘by turns’ from Walpole’s ‘indulgence’.33 This was not an isolated instance, however, as Fielding, along with Young, Theobald, Welsted and Frowde, was given as an example of a writer who crowded round the Great Man in Mitchell’s A Familiar Epistle to the Right Honourable Sir Robert Walpole, concerning Poets, Poverty, Promises., Places, &c.34 While critics have tended either to try to explain away these references if not simply to discount them altogether,35 the most well-known reference to Fielding among bad company is more problematic. In the original London edition of On Poetry: A Rapsody, published on the last day of 1733, Swift savagely satirized the failure of Walpole and the Hanoverians to patronize writers of ability In Poetry the Height we know; ’Tis only infinite below. For Instance: When you rashly think, No Rhymer can like Welsted sink. His Merits ballanc’d you shall find, That Feilding leaves him far behind. Concannen, more aspiring Bard, Climbs downwards, deeper by a Yard: Smart Jemmy Moor with Vigor drops, The Rest pursue as thick as Hops: With Heads to Points the Gulph they enter,

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Linkt perpendicular to the Centre: And as their Heels elated rise, Their Heads attempt the nether Skies.36

Interestingly, a footnote was included in Faulkner’s 1735 Dublin edition of Swift’s Works: ‘In the London Edition, instead of Laureat [i.e. Colley Cibber], was maliciously inserted Mr. Fielding, for whose ingenious Writings the supposed Author [Swift] hath manifested a great Esteem’.37 Although Harold Williams regarded it as ‘improbable’ that he wrote ‘Feilding’,38 it seems to me perfectly possible that by 1735 Swift had changed his mind about Fielding, perhaps on account of the dedication in 1734 of Don Quixote in England to the Earl of Chesterfield. In political terms, a great deal had taken place in the two years between Fielding’s dedication of The Modern Husband to Walpole and his dedication of Don Quixote in England to Chesterfield. In 1733 Walpole announced a scheme to substitute excise duties for customs duties on tobacco and wine. The purpose of the scheme was to enable him to offer a sop to country gentleman before the general election due to take place in 1734 by reducing the land tax to one shilling in the pound. In turn, he hoped that his excise scheme would offset the loss to the exchequer by increasing revenue through reducing smuggling. Although he was shrewd enough to cut his losses before his position was seriously threatened, unfortunately for Walpole there was an opposition outcry. Having announced his scheme in the Commons on 10 March, he simply shelved it on 11 April when it was clear that he could not be sure of commanding a majority, and set about re-imposing his authority in the Lower House. That was not the end of the matter, however. Thwarted as a consequence of Walpole’s adroit manoeuvring from being able to embarrass him over his excise scheme, disaffected members of the House of Lords moved to appoint a committee to enquire into the proceedings of the South Sea Company. When, on 2 July, this initiative was also headed off, a protest signed by a number of Lords was entered in the journal of the House. ‘Walpole, unlike Oxford, believed in disciplining placemen who voted against the court’, Eveline Cruickshanks observes. ‘This led to a series of dismissals’. ‘To do away with the Duke of Bolton, who was a fool, or Lord Chesterfield, the wittiest of men but one with little parliamentary following, may not have mattered too much’, she goes on. ‘Lord Cobham, on the other hand, was someone to be reckoned with for his “cubs”, the Elder Pitt, the Grenvilles and the Lytteltons, were the ablest young men on the Whig side, so that gradually the greatest talent came to be lined up against Walpole’.39 Recent commentators on Fielding’s politics have emphasized the importance to his subsequent career of his association with Lyttelton and Chesterfield. Cleary’s argument that the ‘turning point of Henry Fielding’s political career’ was the formation of what he calls ‘the Broad-Bottom faction’, and that all its sub-

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sequent twists and turns can be explained by his enduring relationship with his ‘school friends’ George Lyttelton and Thomas Pitt, has largely received uncritical acceptance.40 Interestingly, at almost exactly the moment in 1733 when Walpole was exercised over the Parliamentary reaction to his Excise scheme, Fielding addressed some verses to Lyttelton in response to Pope’s attack on Lady Mary Wortley Montagu published on 15 February 1733 in his First Satire of the Second Book of Horace Imitated. Entitled ‘An Epistle to Mr Lyttleton occasioned by two Lines in Mr. Pope’s Paraphrase on the First Satire of the 2d Book of Horace’, the two lines are of course: From furious Sappho scarce a milder Fate, P[o]x’d by her Love, or libell’d by her Hate.41

In these unpublished verses, Fielding not only attacks Pope as: … Surely not of human Race. An evil Sprite, like Satan; sent to tell Those lies on Earth, thy Brother spreads in Hell …42

but belittles the opposition leaders, including ‘the great theoretician of Broad Bottom’,43 Bolingbroke, by comparing them with General George Wade, who was at the time commander-in-chief in Scotland and MP for Bath: The more one Action of a Wade delights, Then all that Poultney speaks, or St John writes[.]44

Fielding’s ‘Epistle to Mr Lyttleton’ has been implausibly described as ‘a perfect close to Fielding’s retreat from politics, 1732–33’ for the odd reason that it ‘was not published’.45 On the contrary, by disparaging not only the leaders of the Opposition, but the leading Opposition wits as well, Fielding’s verses recall his mock-Dunciad of 1729. What is especially remarkable about Fielding’s activities in 1733 is that, as far as we can tell, he failed to respond to the Excise Crisis in any form. Partly this may have been due to the curtailment of his play-writing activities after the early months of 1733 as a consequence of the management controversy at Drury Lane. Having thrown in his lot with the patentees, Fielding managed to stage three new plays between the disastrous pairing on 1 June 1732 of The Old Debauchees and The Covent-Garden Tragedy and the closing of Drury Lane on 28 May 1733. He quickly replaced The Covent-Garden Tragedy with a new afterpiece called The Mock-Doctor: or, The Dumb Lady Cur’d, ‘Done from Moliere’. Although it has been implausibly suggested that The Mock Doctor is a satire on Walpole the ‘political quack’46 (apparently because the name of one of the characters retained from Molière’s Le Médecin Malgré Lui is Robert), I think it safe to assume that it is innocent of political innuendo except perhaps of the most tenuous kind. The

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same can surely be said of The Miser, a most successful five-act satire first staged on 17 February 1733 which by 28 May had enjoyed twenty-three performances, even if the Christian name of the son of Lovegold the miser is the same as that of Frederick, Prince of Wales, whom Fielding had ridiculed in The Welsh Opera. (As it was never published, we know nothing about the final play Fielding put on before the closing of the theatre, an afterpiece to The Miser first staged on 6 April called Deborah; or, A Wife for You All.) As all these plays were staged before Walpole’s shelving of his excise scheme on 11 April 1733, Fielding’s silence between then and the première of Don Quixote in England on 5 April 1734 remains to be explained. According to Battestin, during 1733 ‘every circumstance conspired to draw Fielding away from Walpole and the Theatre Royal and into the camp of the Opposition’,47 so that he began writing for the pre-eminent opposition journal, the Craftsman. However, the first essay attributed by Battestin to Fielding, ‘solely from internal and circumstantial evidence’,48 is that for 16 March 1734. Almost an entire year of Fielding’s writing career is therefore unaccounted for – a year during which the Opposition, encouraged by Walpole having to back down over his excise scheme, sought to exploit what was perceived as a weakness in his defences by mounting a powerful press campaign. ‘In theory the end of the parliamentary session of 1733 should also have meant the end of the excise crisis’, Paul Langford explains. ‘Indeed, it is not too much to claim that after the rising of Parliament the political excitement positively intensified. From June 1733 until April 1734 there was only one topic of political conversation – the general election and with it the problem of the excise and its effect’.49 On 15 January 1734 a revised version of The Author’s Farce was premièred at Drury Lane along with an entirely new two-act farce, The Intriguing Chambermaid. Although in addition to the allusion to ‘Corinthian Brass’ to which I drew attention in the previous chapter, there are a handful of references to a ‘great Man’, as well as to the well-worn opposition slogan, ‘Liberty and Property’,50 the revised Author’s Farce is still not very political, while The Intriguing Chambermaid is entirely innocent of topical reference. Interestingly, however, as Cleary observes,51 the printed version of the latter offers peculiarly conflicting political signals. On the one hand, in the ‘Epistle To Mrs. Clive’ with which it opens, Chesterfield is complimented as ‘the greatest Man of his Age’.52 On the other, the epistle is immediately followed by a dedicatory poem by an ‘unknown Hand’ entitled ‘To Mr. Fielding, occasioned by the Revival of the Author’s Farce’ which concludes: Proceed, even thus proceed, bless’d Youth! to charm, Divert our Heats, and civil Rage disarm, Till Fortune, once not blind to Merit, smile On thy Desert, and recompense thy Toil;

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A Political Biography of Henry Fielding Or Walpole, studious still of Britain’s Fame, Protect thy Labours, and prescribe the Theme, On which, in Ease and Affluence, thou may’st raise More noble Trophies to thy Country’s Praise.53

These verses do not seem out of line with the various descriptions to which I have already drawn attention of Fielding as a writer who had either received, or aspired to receive, favour from Walpole. What conclusions can safely be drawn from such conflicting signals? That by complimenting Chesterfield in this way Fielding is indicating that he has already been drawn away from Walpole and into the Opposition camp? Or that, by having an ‘unknown Hand’ plead that Walpole, ‘studious still of Britain’s Fame’, should take him into his protection and ‘prescribe the Theme’, an impecunious Fielding was still seeking patronage from the Great Man? Interestingly, Don Quixote in England was premièred on the very day on which the writs were issued for the general election. Whether, as Fielding claimed in the Preface to the printed version, it was revised from the ‘few loose Scenes’ he had written in Leyden to include the election scenes, it was pointedly dedicated to the Earl of Chesterfield, who had been dismissed from his post of Lord Steward in the very month that Walpole gave up his excise scheme. ‘However unworthy these Scenes may be of your Lordship’s Protection’, Fielding wrote, ‘the Design with which some of them were written, cannot fail of recommending them to One who hath so gloriously distinguished Himself in the Cause of Liberty, to which the Corruption I have here endeavoured to expose, may one Day be a very fatal Enemy’.54 Referring more specifically to the dialogue between ‘Mr. Mayor, and a Voter’, he explained that ‘I fancy a lively Representation of the Calamities brought on a County by a general Corruption, might have a very sensible and useful Effect on the Spectators’.55 Yet it is a critical commonplace that Fielding’s satire on bribery and corruption at elections in Don Quixote in England is even-handed rather than partisan. What most concerns the Mayor, who tellingly describes himself as a supporter of ‘the Country-Interest’, is not ministerial corruption so much as the possibility that the election will be uncontested in which case, as he explains, ‘we’re sold, Neighbour’. ‘No, no, Neighbour; then we shall not be sold, and that’s worse’, replies the Voter: ‘But rather than it should come to that, I would rather ride all over the Kingdom for a Candidate; and if I thought Sir Thomas intended to steal us in this manner, he should have no Vote of mine, I assure you. I shall vote for no Man who holds the Corporation cheap’.56 In turn, the Mayor makes it clear that: ‘I have very earnestly recommended the Country-Interest to all my Brethren: But before that, I recommended the Town-Interest, that is, the Interest of this Corporation; and first of all I recommend to every particular Man to take a particular care of himself ’.57 Walpole, like Margaret Thatcher two hundred and fifty

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years later, was constantly being accused of promoting the interest of the individual over the nation’s collective welfare, and the world represented by Fielding in Don Quixote in England chimes in with that represented by Gay in The Beggar’s Opera, and its sequel, Polly, in which characters act entirely ‘upon the Foot of Interest’.58 In fact, Fielding almost echoes Gay when he makes Sancho vow: ‘Well, if ever I do lay my Fingers on an Island more, I’ll act like other wise Governors, fall to plundering as fast as I can, and when I have made my Fortune, why, let them turn me out if they will’.59 All this gives an edge to the Mayor’s ‘certain Way of Reasoning, That he that serves me best, will serve the Town best; and he that serves the Town best, will serve the Country best’.60 It is difficult to avoid the conclusion, however, that Don Quixote in England is as much a satire on the Country interest, as it is a satire on the Court. Certainly it fails to single out the ministry or its supporters for special criticism. This, in turn, brings into question the seriousness of Fielding’s commitment to the opposition at this juncture. To point to the dedication of Don Quixote in England to Chesterfield as a possible indication of Fielding’s shifting political allegiances is one thing; to suggest that it constitutes evidence of his ‘defection’ to the opposition as early as 1733 or 1734 is quite another. There is no firm evidence that Fielding contributed to the general fund of anti-ministerial satire in these years, and when he returned to writing for the stage in 1735 after his marriage to Charlotte Cradock on 28 November 1734 it was with The Universal Gallant, a decidedly non-political play which was damned on its opening night. On the contrary, as I have already pointed out, right through to the end of 1735 the documentary evidence suggests that far from Fielding being by now an opposition propagandist, it was still possible for contemporaries such as Joseph Mitchell to list him among those writers who were known to have sung Walpole’s praises.61 Lack of information about Fielding’s activities has not prevented previous critics from speculating about his thoughts and feelings in these months. Thus without offering a shred of evidence to support his assertions Cleary maintains that: ‘The year 1735 was a series of ups and down for Fielding, and a divide between epochs in his theatrical career’. ‘Without a real political commitment from 1728 to his departure from London after the failure of The Universal Gallant’, he goes on, ‘he returned in late 1735 a firm friend of the new Broad-Bottom (“Boy Patriot” or “Cobhamite”) wing of the opposition, probably with Pasquin in mind or under his arm’.62 Although Cobham had been increasingly involved in opposition politics since being dismissed from his regiment by Walpole in June 1733, there was, however, no such grouping as the ‘Broad Bottoms’ at this juncture. Over the next few years Cobham used his influence to bring into Parliament the set of younger politicians – all relatives of his – who would become known variously as ‘the cousinhood’, ‘the nepotism’, ‘Cobham’s Cubs’, or ‘the boy patriots’. They included George Lyttelton and William Pitt the Elder, both of

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whom were brought in for Old Sarum by Thomas Pitt. And it was shortly afterwards that Pope drew Swift’s attention to ‘a race sprung up of young Patriots, who would animate you’.63 Although Pope’s relations with Cobham and the ‘young Patriots’ to whom he refers in his letter to Swift of 25 March 1736 are potentially of huge significance with regard to Fielding’s politics at this juncture, the connection has not been made in any recent critical or biographical study. Instead, the ‘turning point’ of Fielding’s ‘political career’ has been identified by Cleary as ‘the latter half of 1735, when the faction he would support for the rest of his life first took form’.64 After drawing attention to a ‘council of war’ held at Stowe in September 1735 ‘during which the Cobhamites dedicated themselves to opposing Walpole and his corrupt system in every way possible, their aims being to bring him utterly down and force political reform’, Cleary goes on to argue that Fielding had ‘thrown in his lot’ with the Patriot Opposition, and was in some obscure way their ‘spokesman’. This is the central thesis of his book.65 Unfortunately, Cleary fails to present documentary evidence to support his assertion, and what we actually know about Fielding’s activities between the staging of Don Quixote in England and the opening of Pasquin at the Little Theatre in the Haymarket two years later can be summarized in a very few words. Don Quixote in England had an indifferent run of eight performances in April 1734, another performance in August, and one more at Lincoln’s Inn Fields in October.66 On 28 November Fielding married Charlotte Cradock in Bath. (Fielding’s first daughter, Charlotte, was born on 27 April 1736.) On 6 January 1735 a nonpolitical ballad-farce called An Old Man taught Wisdom was performed at Drury Lane as an afterpiece to Venice Preserv’d. It was moderately successful although Fielding does not appear to have received a benefit night. The Universal Gallant, on the other hand, was a total failure when it was staged on 10 February 1735. In the same month, Fielding’s mother-in-law died in London, though he does not appear to have been present at the funeral. According to the affidavit of one Thomas Bennet, to whom Fielding apparently owed money, he was assaulted by Fielding on 20 February in Shaftesbury with such severity that his ‘life was greatly despaired of ’.67 Whether, as Murphy seems to have believed, Fielding genuinely aspired to become a gentleman-farmer at East Stour during these months, his extravagance quickly put paid to any such thoughts. Thomas Bennet exacted his revenge for the beating he had allegedly endured at Fielding’s hands by ‘openly, publickly, falsely & malitiously’ declaring at Dorchester on 1 January 1736 that: ‘Mr. Fielding is not worth a farthing. He will go quickly off and cheat his Creditors’. According to the action for slander Fielding commenced against Bennet, this slur on his character led to his being sued by his creditors, and having his goods seized.68 Given these circumstances, it seems to me much more likely that

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Fielding returned to London around the turn of the year not because he was responding in some way to a call to arms from Cobham and his ‘cubs’ following the ‘council of war’ held at Stowe the previous September,69 let alone that he was by now a prominent contributor to the Craftsman and therefore called upon to write an essay addressed to Caleb D’Anvers, Esq;. on his ‘enter[ing] into the Tenth Year of your political Warfare’,70 but simply because he was desperately short of money. On 5 March 1736, Pasquin: Or, a Dramatick Satire on the Times opened at the Little Theatre in the Haymarket. It was still playing seven weeks later. ‘When I went out of Town last autumn the reigning madness was Faranelli’, Mrs Pendarves wrote to Swift. ‘I find it now turn’d on Pasquin’.71

4 ‘DRAMATICK SATIRE’

According to the Daily Gazetteer, Walpole’s principal organ of propaganda, ‘The Election, (a Comedy in Pasquin), laid the Foundation for introducing Politicks on the Stage’.1 While Fielding, citing Aristophanes as a precedent, attempted to deny the charge,2 there can be no doubting that Pasquin is a political play, ‘full of Sarcasm from one End to the other’.3 Its political significance is more difficult to describe, however.4 While some opposition journalists talked up Fielding’s play as more likely to damage Walpole’s credibility than any number of sober diatribes condemning his allegedly corrupt and incompetent regime, others were not so sure, and the sanguine hopes of a journal with the meaningful title, the Old Whig: There are such strong Strokes in this Satire, that if it continues to be follow’d with the crowded Audiences it has now had for above 40 Nights together; some Gentlemen will feel its Influence more effectually, and be more hurt in the Esteem of Mankind, than by a Thousand Examinations, tho’ ever so well writ, to expose their Schemes …5

should be compared with the more jaundiced view of the Grub-Street Journal which, observing that ‘The design of the Comedy is to ridicule the Election of members of Parliament representing the Candidates of both Parties as bribeing [sic] their Electors’, found fault with the apparent moral: In the two Parties, it seems of Court and Countrey [sic], the Elected and the Electors are both equally corrupt, the one bribing and the other bribed; and therefore it is foolish and ridiculous, for a person out of love to his country, to ingage himself in any dispute about the Election of Members of Parliament. An admirable moral!6

Although this is not out of line with the stance taken by the Grub-Street Journal on Fielding’s entire output from his return to Drury Lane in 1732 onwards, as an interpretation of the ‘moral’ of ‘The Election’ it seems strained. True, Pasquin does insinuate that bribery and corruption is widespread, and a newspaper advertisement announced the author’s intention to ‘lay about him with great Impartiality’.7 True, the prologue to the rehearsal of ‘The Election’ itself explains that, in order to entertain his audience, ‘our Author, rumaging his Brain’ – 69 –

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A Political Biography of Henry Fielding Brings a strange Groupe of Characters before you, And shews you here at once both Whig and Tory; Or, Court and Country Party you may call ’em: But, without fear and favour he will maul ’em.8

True, Fustian does ask: ‘Is there nothing but Bribery in this Play of yours, Mr. Trapwit’? But the significance of Trapwit’s response should not be overlooked: Trap. Sir, this Play is an exact Representation of Nature; I hope the Audience will date the time of Action before the Bill of Bribery and Corruption took Place; and then I believe it may go down; but now, Mr. Fustian, I shall shew you the Art of a Writer, which is, to diversifie his Matter, and do the same thing several ways. You must know, Sir, I distinguish Bribery into two Kinds; the direct, and the indirect …9

The topicality of this reference should not be ignored. While the 1729 ‘Act for the more effectual preventing Bribery and Corruption in the Elections of Members to serve in Parliament’ (2 Geo. 2. c. 24) is obviously being cited here, a bill ‘for the further regulating Elections of Members to serve for the Commons, in Parliament, for that Part of Great Britain called England’ was actually due to be considered by a Committee of the Whole House on 5 March – the day Pasquin opened at the Little Theatre in the Haymarket. In the event, consideration of the bill was repeatedly put off until 24 March, and subsequently postponed sine die. In the meantime, a bill to ‘explain and amend’ the 1729 Bribery and Corruption Act (9 Geo. 2. c. 38) received the royal assent at the end of the session in May.10 Whether Fielding was seeking to draw attention to the failure of the 1729 Act to tackle bribery and corruption – whether, indeed, he was aware that a bill ‘for the further regulating Elections of Members’ was about to be introduced into the Commons while he was writing Pasquin – we do not know, but clearly his consideration of the issue was timely. Whatever the relationship between Fielding’s reference to ‘the Bill of Bribery and Corruption’ and the bill ‘for the further regulating of Elections’ might have been, by this point in the play the actors playing the Court (or Whig) candidates, Lord Place and Colonel Promise, have already been introduced to the audience as they ‘Bribe away with Right and Left’11 until the Mayor and Aldermen have all been bribed. ‘Come, here’s a Round to my Lord, and the Colonel’s Health’, says the Mayor; ‘a Place, and a Promise, I say; they may talk of the Pride of Courtiers, but I am sure I never had a civiller Squeeze by the Hand in my Life’.12 This is what Trapwit calls the ‘direct’ kind of bribery. By an odd but perfectly understandable piece of logic, therefore, the Country (or Tory) candidates, Sir Henry Fox-chace and Squire Tankard, have no option but to practise the ‘indirect’ form of bribery because, as the Mayor observes, ‘there is not one of us who does not Eat and Drink with Sir Harry at least twenty times in a Twelve-Month’.13 Thus, despite his insistence that ‘I would as soon suborn an Evidence at an Assize, as a Vote at an Election’,

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Sir Harry proceeds not only to remind the Mayor of ‘those three Bucks I sent you’, but promises to ‘find a way to moisten’ the venison, ‘for it is a dry Meat’.14 What finally brings the Mayor round is Sir Harry’s revealing his intention to rebuild his house – a circumstance that will benefit all the local tradesmen, especially the Mayor. ‘Gentlemen, methinks, Sir Harry’s Toast stands still’, the Mayor exclaims; ‘will no Body drink Liberty and Property, and no Excise?’ ‘Give me thy Hand, Mayor’, Sir Harry replies; ‘I hate Bribery and Corruption: if this Corporation will not suffer it self to be bribed, there shall not be a poor Man in it’.15 Therefore, while it is true that Fielding deals even-handedly with the Court and the Country candidates at the election, showing the different ways in which they bribe the electors, the implications of Fielding’s crucial distinction between ‘direct’ and ‘indirect’ bribery should not be ignored. In this context, the key comment is put in the mouth of one of the Aldermen who, at the outset, responds smartly to the Mayor’s remark that the candidates are ‘all worthy Gentlemen, and I wish with all my Heart we could chuse them all Four’: 1st Ald. But since we cannot, Mr. Mayor, I think we should stand by our Neighbours; Gentlemen whose Honesty we are Witnesses of, and whose Estates in our own Neighbourhood render ’em not liable to be bribed.

Given the conservative character of Fielding’s political ideology, the significance of this short speech should not be overlooked, more especially because Trapwit observes that ‘you must have one Fool in a Play; beside I only writ him to set off the rest’.16 This should not be discounted as mere dramatic persiflage. In The Historical Register, Fielding also has his playwright introduce a ‘light, trifling, giddy-headed crew’ of characters to ‘set off ’ the ‘nobler part of the [female] sex’.17 In including a ‘Fool’ to set off the rest of the characters in Pasquin, what was Fielding’s purpose? Elsewhere in his political writings he argues that two factors above all should influence voters in their ‘Choice of new Representatives’: while the first should be that they choose ‘Men of great Estates’, the ‘next Recommendation to your Favour, should be Neighbourhood’. This, ‘in our ancient Constitution’, he explains, ‘was a necessary Qualification’. As far as ‘those who have already given you Instances of their Integrity’ are concerned, however, ‘[i]t would be both Folly and Ingratitude to refuse the Renewal of his Commission, who hath already executed it with Honour’.18 Beyond recommending that voters should prefer ‘Gentlemen whose Honesty we are Witnesses of, and whose Estates in our own Neighbourhood’, Fielding’s distinction between ‘direct’ and ‘indirect’ bribery not only complicates what might otherwise be depicted as the straightforward denunciation of bribery and corruption described by the Grub-Street Journal, but he also cleverly distinguishes between the principles and practices of two national political parties,

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‘Whig and Tory; / Or, Court and Country Party you may call ’em’. This was no mere semantic quibble, and failure to appreciate the significance of what Fielding was implying here can lead to a serious understatement of the anti-ministerial thrust of the satire in ‘The Election’. Simply by representing politics as a struggle between two parties, alternative names for which might be Whig and Tory or Court and Country, Fielding succeeded in drawing attention to the issue at the heart of the controversy between contemporary propagandists – one which, in turn, has led to disagreements between political historians ever since the publication of Sir Lewis Namier’s The Structure of Politics at the Accession of George III in 1929: What is the most appropriate way of describing the workings of practical politics in the 1730s? Since returning to office in the early 1720s, Walpole had made it his business to insist that, as all opposition to the ministries of George I and George II was tantamount to disloyalty to the Hanoverian succession itself, it was therefore potentially Jacobite in inspiration. Thus in the immediate aftermath of the Excise Crisis in 1733, the Craftsman attempted to deconstruct government propaganda by identifying as a key argument of ministerial writers the insistence ‘that Opposition gives Strength to the Tory Party and may endanger the present Establishment’. On the contrary, the Craftsman maintained, ‘it hath been manifestly carried on entirely on Whig-Principles; the Principles of the Revolution, on which this Government was founded, and on which only it can be supported’.19 One of the principal Opposition tactics during the General Election of 1734 was ‘the assertion that “Court and Country” was the rivalry currently at work’.20 While the opposition argued that: ‘This is no Party Cause: It is no Dispute betwixt Whig and Tory, or Contention, whether this or that Set of Men are to have the Administration of publick Affairs’,21 the ministry continued to play the party card, representing the election as a straightforward choice between Whig and Tory, if not between Hanoverian and Jacobite.22 In this context, Fielding’s description of the election in Pasquin as a choice between two national parties is of significance. According to some recent critics, by 1736 Fielding had thrown in his lot with the Patriot Whigs. Thus Cleary refers to ‘the satire on Country as well as Court corruption Fielding produced in 1736–37 as spokesman for the Broad-Bottom, “Patriot” wing of the opposition’,23 while Battestin agrees that ‘Cleary is doubtless right in seeing the “Boy Patriots,” and particularly Lyttelton, as the key to understanding Fielding’s political loyalties for years to come, and their presence among the ranks of the Opposition helps to explain his continued association with the Craftsman’.24 The problem with representing Fielding’s politics in these years in this way is not so much that there is no firm evidence to suggest that he was a spokesman for the Patriots or a contributor to the Craftsman, but that it is difficult to sustain the argument that the satirical thrust of Pasquin can be distinguished from straight-

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forward Opposition propaganda and identified specifically with the political agenda of the ‘boy Patriots’. While Fielding’s memorable description of ‘direct’ and ‘indirect’ bribery can be read as an even-handed satire on all politicians, Whig and Tory, Court and Country, government and Opposition alike, when ‘The Election’ moves on to describe the brazen way in which the election result is overturned purely as a consequence of the naked self-interest of the parties concerned, particularly the returning officer and his wife, it assumes the character of straightforward antiministerial polemic. Disputed election results were referred to the Commons’ Committee of Privileges and Elections which, because it was controlled by the party with a majority in the House, were usually decided in the government’s favour – a process which was called ‘weeding the House’ – and after the General Election of 1734 the Opposition press predicted a ‘general Weeding’ of any candidates who had unexpectedly defeated Court supporters.25 Therefore not only is Mrs Mayor’s insistence that her husband return the Court candidates despite ‘a Majority of two or three score against’ em’ patently corrupt, the reason she gives is telling: A Fig for a Majority of two or threescore; if there had been a Majority of as many Hundreds, you’ll never be call’d to an Account for returning them; and when you have return’d ’em, you’ll have done all in your Power: How can you expect that great Men should do any thing to serve you, if you stick at any thing to serve them?26

Resorting to the catchphrase, ‘Great Men’, once more, Fielding implies that, as long as Walpole remains in office, the system will continue to be abused and Court candidates returned regardless of the wishes of the electorate. This seems to be flagrant criticism of the Robinocracy along well-worn Opposition lines rather than an attempt to tailor the thrust of the dramatic satire of ‘The Election’ to chime in with ‘the Broad-Bottom conception of the awful status quo’.27 Leaving to one side the anachronism of using the phrase, ‘Broad Bottom’, to describe political activity in the 1730s,28 evidence has yet to be presented either to demonstrate that, in Cleary’s terms, Pasquin is a ‘Broad-Bottom’ play, or that it conclusively establishes Fielding’s commitment to ‘Broad-Bottom’ politics in 1736–7. ‘The Election’ is basically an exposure of ‘direct’ and ‘indirect’ bribery which, running along well-established Opposition lines, represents politics in the mid-1730s as a struggle between the Whig and Tory or Court and Country parties, and insinuates that the power of the Walpole ministry is perpetuated by electoral malpractice. ‘The Life and Death of Common-Sense’, on the other hand, follows the equally tried-and-tested formula which Fielding had already used in his imitation of The Dunciad and in The Author’s Farce of exposing the poverty of contemporary letters, particularly writing for the stage. Although there undoubt-

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edly was a possible political dimension to this kind of cultural criticism, it scarcely amounted to original and distinctive Patriot satire of the Robinocracy. In the light of Fielding’s strident anti-clericalism, one final consideration needs to be taken into account in assessing the political significance of Pasquin. How should his satire of clergymen in the character of Firebrand be interpreted? Is it indicative of a heterodox tendency in Fielding’s thought – what Chesterfield insinuated was the suggestion that religion was contrary to common sense? Or is it a satire on specific strands in contemporary Christianity? As I have already explained,29 to argue in the early eighteenth century that Christianity was a religion founded on reason did not necessarily mean that one was a deist or a Socinian, let alone an atheist. On the contrary, the belief that Christianity was a reasonable religion was at the heart of the thinking of those latitudinarian divines such as Barrow, Tillotson and South whom we know Fielding ardently admired. In this context, it should be noted that Reason is introduced in the opening dialogue between Firebrand, Law, and Physick before Queen Common Sense even appears on stage. Protesting that his power, ‘by Custom immemorial, / In Tongues unknown, or rather none at all, / My Edicts to deliver thro’ the Land’, has been ‘abridg’d’ by ‘this proud Queen, this Common-Sense’, Law complains that he is now ‘understood by all’. This circumstance is immediately picked up by Physick who informs Law of a rumour ‘That you descended from a Family / Related to the Queen; Reason is said / T’ have been the mighty Founder of your House’. Law concedes that while this might once have been the case, since then ‘we have rais’d our selves so high, / And shook this Founder from us’. At this point, Firebrand intervenes to state openly that ‘I am an Enemy to Common-Sense’ … not for Ambition’s earthly Cause, But to enlarge the Worship of the Sun: To give his Priests a just Degree of Power, And more than half the Profits of the Land.30

The anti-clericalism apparent in this scene is worth comparing with what Fielding was to say in his extended ‘Apology for the Clergy’ in the Champion in the spring of 1740: without being righteous over-much, we may, I think, conclude, that if the Clergy are not to abandon all they have to their Ministry, neither are they to get immense Estates by it; and I would recommend it to the Consideration of those who do, whether they do not make a Trade of Divinity? Whether they are not those Buyers and Sellers who should be drove out of the Temple? Or lastly, Whether they do not in the Language of Peter to Simon, sell the Gift of God for Money?31

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It is unsafe to conclude that Fielding, in ‘The Life and Death of Common-Sense’, is attacking religion, as opposed to abuses in religion. As an early example of the satirical strategy which consists in putting forward negative exemplars which can then be compared and contrasted with implied positives – a strategy Fielding subsequently advocated in another Champion essay as well as in the opening sentence of Joseph Andrews32 – Pasquin looks forward to the exposure of faulty clergymen to be found in his prose fiction. It has also been argued that, above and beyond the flagrant anti-clericalism, ‘Fielding always intended “The Life and Death of Common Sense” to be seen as a stringent, oblique criticism of Walpole’s corruptive system and a plea for Bolingbrokean political sanity’, but the suggestion that an ‘exchange between Firebrand (easily seen as Walpole), chief priest (read chief minister) of the Sun (read King) and Queen Common Sense is interpretable as satire on Walpole as perverter of the Constitution and the natural lover between the king and his people’ seems strained.33 On 2 April 1736 Aaron Hill observed that: ‘it was a considerable time before the tragedy (tho’ by much the finer performance of the two) made its way. I have heard it called stupid, dull, nonsensical, with other appellations modern critics give to what they don’t understand, and that the comedy supported it’.34 If the reported reaction of Pasquin’s first audiences is anything to go by, the connection between Firebrand and Walpole was not picked up by Fielding’s contemporaries. Further, regardless of Battestin’s attribution to Fielding of four Craftsman essays (not to mention two essays in the Universal Spectator),35 there is no indication that Fielding was actively employed by Cobham or Lyttelton as a spokesman – or by anyone else for that matter – between the publication of Pasquin in early April 1736 and his return to London halfway through the 1736–7 season. As they mostly rehearse well-known opposition positions, there is little if anything in any of these Craftsman essays either to add to or to contradict what we know of Fielding’s political opinions. In fact we know nothing for certain about his activities in these months other than that his first daughter, Charlotte, was born on 27 April, that his ballad opera, Tumble-Down Dick, was staged two days later, that he was apparently involved in the production of Lillo’s Fatal Curiosity at the Little Theatre, or at least that he contributed a prologue, that he borrowed £55 on 13 December from one Charles Fielding, Esq., and that he had a further encounter with Thomas Bennet – against whom he had been awarded £500 in a suit pursued in the King’s Bench on 3 November 1736 – in Shaftesbury on 10 January 1737. According to Bennet, he did ‘then and there beat, wound and evilly treat [him] so that his life was greatly despaired of ’.36 We do not know when Fielding returned to London, and it would be imprudent to assume that he is the subject of the reference in the Daily Advertiser for 7 January 1737 to ‘a certain Author, [who] tir’d with the vain Attempts he has

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often made in the Political Way, has taken it into his Head, as unwilling to lay down the Character of a Reformer, to explode the reigning Taste for dumb Shew and Machinery, and has declar’d open War against Harlequin, Punch, Pierot, and all the Modern Poets, viz. Joiners, Dancing-Masters, and Scene-Painters’. ‘’Tis said’, the puff continued, ‘he will open the Campaign next Week, having three new Pieces in Rehearsal on the Stage of the little Theatre in the Hay-Market’. Were we to assume that this political author was indeed Fielding, it would serve to involve him in the production of a lost, anonymous satire, The Defeat of Apollo; or Harlequin Triumphant, John Kelly’s The Fall of Bob, Alias Gin,37 and possibly the triple bill offered on 26 January comprising the lost ‘Dramatic Satire on the Times’, The Mirrour, The Defeat of Apollo, and The Mob in Despair (also lost). While these plays undoubtedly fulfil the description given in the Daily Advertiser, they could just as easily have been attempts to cash in on the popularity in the previous season of Fielding’s Pasquin, subtitled ‘A Dramatick Satire on the Times’, rather than evidence of his involvement in the productions staged at the Little Theatre in January 1737. This consideration is of particular significance in the light of a further notice published in the Daily Advertiser on 4 February 1737, but dated two days earlier: Whereas it is agreed on between several Gentlemen, to erect a New Theatre for the exhibiting of Plays, Farces, Pantomimes, &c. all such Persons as are willing to undertake the said Building, are desir’d to bring their Plans for the same by the 2d of May next ensuing, in order to be laid before the said Gentlemen, the Time and Place of which Meeting will be advertis’d in this Paper on the last of April.

Although, according to Battestin, ‘Fielding was the prime mover behind this project, in which he was probably supported by his powerful friends in the Opposition’,38 his involvement has been assumed rather than demonstrated, largely on account of a letter published in the Daily Advertiser for 19 February. This letter, purporting to come from the ‘Agent’ of the Company of Comedians, ‘late Servants to their Majesties KOULI KAN and THEODORE’, makes use of the ‘late Paragraph’ about ‘a Design on foot for erecting a New Theatre’ to puff ‘a celebrated Piece call’d A Rehearsal of Kings’ at the Little Theatre. In the process, the ‘Agent’ – possibly Fielding himself – takes the opportunity provided by the ‘late Paragraph’ to insinuate that Walpole was behind the proposal for a new theatre. That, at least, is the most obvious way of interpreting the hint that ‘some Wise Heads’ supposed the proposal came ‘from a certain Manager, in order to revive the Playhouse Bill this Session Parliament’. True, ‘in Justice to the Gentleman levell’d at’, the letter goes on ‘to inform the Publick, that it [the new theatre] is actually intended for a Company of Comedians every Day expected there’. In the absence of any other evidence, however, it would be unwise to assume that

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Fielding was seriously thinking of building a new theatre to accommodate an acting company of his own. Coincidentally, perhaps, this puff for A Rehearsal of Kings was published on the very day that a new afterpiece of Fielding’s received its première, not at the Little Theatre, but at Drury Lane. Unfortunately, Eurydice’s first performance proved to be its last.39 Judging from the version published in the second volume of Miscellanies (1743), however, Eurydice appears to have been another example of cultural satire on Fielding’s part, this time largely at the expense of Italian opera. Hume has contradicted those critics who, following Cross, have argued that, after Eurydice flopped, Fielding ‘fell back upon’ the Little Theatre.40 That the puff for A Rehearsal of Kings should be published in the Daily Advertiser on the very day that Eurydice was premièred at Drury Lane is strange, nevertheless, and Fielding appears to have been in deadly earnest about staging A Rehearsal of Kings, as a further notice in the Daily Advertiser for 8 March makes clear: We hear that the Great Mogul has acceded to the Treaty of the Hay-Market … the Town will be entertain’d there Tomorrow … with a new Performance call’d a Rehearsal of Kings: which will be immediately succeeded by a Dramatick Piece call’d the Historical Register for the Year 1736, written by the Author of Pasquin. We hear that this has given great Alarm to all the Pantomimical Houses in London.

As it happened, the performances scheduled for 10 and 11 March were put off, the first ‘by some Persons taking clandestinely Possession of the Hay-Market Playhouse’, the second by ‘an unforeseen Accident’. This sounds oddly reminiscent of the kerfuffle over the advertised performances of the revised Welsh Opera in the middle of 1731 and, as Hume remarks, nothing more is heard of A Rehearsal of Kings after performances on 14,15 and 17 March.41 Instead, Fielding premièred in quick succession The Historical Register for the Year 1736 and Eurydice Hiss’d and these new plays, in conjunction with the little we know about the lost play, A Rehearsal of Kings,42 offer a clear indication of the political turn of the repertory of the Little Theatre in 1737. First performed on 21 March as an afterpiece to Lillo’s Fatal Curiosity, The Historical Register is a rehearsal play which purports ‘to expose the reigning follies’ by connecting political to theatrical satire for the simple reason given by the author, Medley: When my politics come to a farce, they very naturally lead to the playhouse, where, let me tell you, there are some politicians too, where there is lying, flattering, dissembling, promising, deceiving, and undermining, as well as in any court in Christendom.43

In attacking Colley Cibber as both theatrical manager and Poet Laureate – the travesty of one of Cibber’s odes for the new year in the opening act is delightful – Fielding succeeds in conflating practical politics and cultural politics. While

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political allusions abound in The Historical Register, Fielding’s most sustained political satire, as Medley carefully points out, is to be found in two episodes in the first and third acts, respectively. ‘I begin with my Politicians, to signify that they will always have the preference in the world to Patriots’, Medley explains, ‘and I end with Patriots, to leave a good relish in the mouths of my audience’. ‘By your Dance of Patriots’, Sowrwit observes, ‘one would think you intended to turn patriotism into a jest’. ‘So I do’, Medley agrees. ‘But don’t you observe I conclude the whole with a Dance of Patriots, which plainly intimates that when patriotism is turned into a jest, there is an end of the whole play’.44 Cleary believes that this scene ‘shows emphatically that while this play is always anti-ministerial, it is not simply an opposition play, but a Broad-Bottom play’, for the odd reason that it demonstrates that there are ‘too many insincere opposition Patriots’.45 Interestingly, however, the same scene was cited in a letter purporting to come from ‘An Adventurer in Politicks’ published in the Daily Gazetteer as evidence ‘in favour of the Author, that in the Close of his Register, he has treated the Patriots no better than the Politicians’, even if he went on to argue that ‘this, instead of extenuating only doubles his Crime, for, I think, to turn Patriotism, the noblest of Characters, into a Jest, [is] equally blameable, and that neither should have an Place on the Stage.46 More importantly, given that Cobham and his ‘cubs’ were commonly identified with the ‘Patriot Opposition’, Medley’s insinuation that, with patriotism ‘turned into a jest’, all effective opposition is now at an end anticipates the satirical thrust of The Opposition. A Vision, Fielding’s controversial exposure of opposition motives and weakness published after his rapprochement with Walpole in December 1741.47 Significantly, it was only after it was paired with Eurydice Hiss’d on 13 April that The Historical Register began to be represented in the ministerial press as a satire on Walpole. The very next day, Lyttelton was attacked in the Daily Gazetteer as ‘Mr Littledone’, the alleged instigator of the recent incidence of dramatic satire at Walpole’s expense. ‘I have spoke to all the Writers for the Stage, of my Acquaintance, to put into their Plays all the strong Things they can think of against Courts and Ministers, and Places and Pensions, and all that; and they have hit my Humour to a Tittle’, Mr Littledone is made to say; ‘they have not spared them an Ace; the Miller of Mansfield and the Historical Register, have tickled them off ifaith’.48 Although, quite clearly, it is Lyttelton who is the target of the attack in the Daily Gazetteer, recent critics have drawn far-reaching conclusions from the allegation that Mr Littledone ‘took the hint’ for the new opposition journal, Common Sense, ‘from that ingenious Person, and my very good Friend, the Author of Pasquin’. On one level, this does no more than repeat what Chesterfield (not Lyttelton) had written on 5 February in the journal’s opening issue:

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An ingenious Dramatick Author has consider’d Common Sense as so extraordinary a Thing, that he has lately, with great Wit and Humour, not only personified it, but dignified it too with the Title of a Queen – Tho’ I am not sure that had I been to personify Common Sense, I should have borrow’d my Figure from that Sex, yet as he has added the regal Dignity, which by the Law of the Land removes all Defects, I wave [sic] any Objection.49

However, to point out that Common Sense takes its title from the character in Fielding’s play is one thing; to conclude that the Daily Gazetteer’s mischievous insinuation ‘suggests how close the association between Fielding and the “Boy Patriots” had become by this date’50 not only ignores the rhetorical purpose of its attack on Lyttelton, it actually confounds this rhetoric with historical fact, because of course the suggestion that there was a connection between Fielding’s political plays and the Patriot opposition was precisely the point that Walpole’s journalists were seeking to make. Thus on 7 May the Adventurer in Politicks asserted that, after the ‘great Success which Pasquin had’, Fielding ‘was secretly buoy’d up, by some of the greatest Wits and finest Gentlemen of the Age’, and therefore wrote and produced The Historical Register ‘under the Patronage of the Great, the Sensible, and the Witty, in the Opposition’.51 However, it would be wrong to interpret this as unimpeachable evidence that The Historical Register was written to order by Fielding on behalf of the ‘Boy Patriots’. On the contrary, it is much more likely to have been ministerial black propaganda designed to discredit any suggestion that Fielding’s plays carefully balanced criticism of the ministry with criticism of the Opposition. That, at any rate, is the burden of the Adventurer’s complaint that, in Eurydice Hiss’d, Fielding had finally abandoned the ‘general’ political satire of Pasquin for reflections on particular politicians. Corroboration for this interpretation is to be found in the diary of that perceptive and well-informed contemporary theatre-goer, the Earl of Egmont. After attending a performance of The Historical Register on 18 March, he said nothing about its satirizing either Walpole or his ministry, simply that it was ‘a good satire on the times and has a good deal of wit’. Egmont was in no doubt that Eurydice Hiss’d was ‘an Allegory on the loss of the Excise Bill’, however. ‘The whole was a satire on Sir Robert Walpole’, he continued, ‘ and I observed that when any strong passages fell, the Prince [of Wales], who was there [on 18 April], clapped, especially when in favour of liberty’.52 Egmont’s final remark is of some significance. Suddenly, as far as the ministry was concerned, Fielding’s dramatic satire had turned into a serious issue. Why? Of the several reasons put forward to explain the ministry’s altered response to being ridiculed on stage, Goldgar’s seems most pertinent. Observing that ‘the Prince of Wales moved into an open break with the court and became irretrievably entrenched as the nominal head of the opposition’ between the production of Pasquin and the production of The Historical Register, he points out that the

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‘entire political atmosphere was altered in 1737’.53 Whereas a year earlier, as Lord Hervey recorded, Walpole was ‘the single person in the Court who seemed at present in any degree of favour with His Majesty’,54 by February 1737 his position seemed less secure. A number of factors contributed towards this change in circumstances. In 1735 Lyttelton had replaced George Bubb Dodington as secretary to Frederick, Prince of Wales. As the conduct of Cobham’s ‘cubs’ on the occasion of Frederick’s marriage to Princess Augusta of Saxe-Gotha on 6 April 1736 demonstrated, this reorientated and reinvigorated the parliamentary opposition: three very remarkable speeches were made by Mr. Grenville and Mr. Lyttleton, two of Lord Cobham’s nephews, and Cornet Pitt, who got up one after another in the House of Commons to compliment the Prince’s character and the Prince’s family and to insinuate, in not very correct terms, that the King had very little merit to the nation in making this match … At the end of the session Cornet Pitt was broke for this, which was a measure at least ill-timed, if not ill-taken.55

This reminded the opposition of nothing so much as Cobham’s dismissal from his regiment by Walpole in 1733 in the aftermath of the Excise Crisis, and as late as 18 February 1737 Walpole was still having to explain to a resentful House of Commons ‘that the reason why Lord Cobham, the Duke of Bolton and Lord Marchmont were turned out was that they were endeavouring to be at the head of affairs and form themselves into the Ministry’.56 (Fielding seems to be alluding to this incident in Eurydice Hiss’d when Honestus complains that Pillage is ‘most impolitic to affront / The Army in the beginning of your Piece’, and that therefore his ‘Satire is unjust’.)57 Four days later, on 22 February, Pulteney moved that the Prince of Wales should receive an increased allowance of £100,000 a year. The proposal was defeated by 234 votes to 204, forty-five Tories choosing not to vote, but as far as Walpole was concerned it had been too close for comfort. This, then, is the immediate political context in which Fielding decided to produce The Historical Register and Eurydice Hiss’d in a double bill at the Little Theatre in the Haymarket. As Hume points out: ‘The Little Haymarket repertory of 1737 was what gave Fielding his reputation as an anti-ministerial writer’.58 Interestingly, in the ‘Dedication to the Public’ included in the printed version of The Historical Register, Fielding suggested that the Daily Gazetteer for 14 April had insinuated that his play was ‘aiming, in conjunction with The Miller of Mansfield, the overthrow of the M------y’. Although he proceeded ‘in the most serious manner, to vindicate [himself ] from aspersions of so evil a tendency to my future prospects’, patently The Historical Register was not (as he claimed) ‘a ministerial pamphlet, calculated to infuse into the minds of the people a great opinion of their ministry’.59 Given the pointed way in which Fielding alluded to Walpole as Quidam in The Historical Register, let alone as Pillage in Eurydice Hiss’d, it is scarcely surprising that the Great Man decided to retaliate. ‘Between

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the end of January and late May’, Hume pertinently points out, ‘approximately 100 performances of plays openly hostile to the ministry were staged at three of London’s four theatres – an average of nearly one per night’. ‘The strong probability’, he continues, ‘is that Walpole spent the spring grinding his teeth and laying plans that would not fail when he was finally ready to implement them’.60 Whether he really was as dismayed as his journalists made out, or whether he simply used the apparent outspokenness of plays like Eurydice Hiss’d or the threat of an adaptation for the stage of the scurrilous ‘Vision of the Golden Rump’ published in two consecutive numbers of Common Sense on 9 and 16 March as an excuse, the speed and efficiency with which Walpole retaliated was remarkable. On 20 May, ‘The House [of Commons] was moved, That the First Section of an Act made in the 12th Year of the Reign of Queen Anne, intitled, An Act for reducing the Laws, relating to Rogues, &c. as relates to the common Players of Interludes might be read’, upon which it was ordered ‘that Leave be given to bring in a Bill to explain and amend’ that part of the act. As Henry Pelham, who ‘acted as deputy to Walpole’ in the Commons,61 was named along with the Master of the Rolls, the Attorney-General, and the Solicitor-General as one of those ordered to ‘prepare, and bring in, the same’, this was quite clearly a government initiative. The day before Pelham presented the draft bill to the House on 24 May, the Daily Post described the bill as a measure ‘for suppressing the great Number of Play-Houses … so justly complained of, and for the future no Persons shall presume to Act any Play, &c. without first obtaining a Licence from the Lord Chamberlain of his Majesty’s Houshold’.62 After a second reading on 25 May, the bill was committed for consideration to a Committee of the Whole House, ‘several Amendments’ were suggested, including the one which empowered the Lord Chamberlain not only to license the performing of plays, but to prohibit performances. According to the account in Cobbett’s Parliamentary History, it was this amendment which ‘occasioned so much obloquy’.63 It is salutary to follow the proceedings relating to the passage of the Licensing Act in the journals of the House of Commons and the House of Lords, respectively,64 while the account offered in Cobbett’s Parliamentary History merits quoting in its entirety: The Bill … was ordered by the House of Commons to be prepared and brought in on Friday the 20th of May; and was occasioned by a farce called the Golden Rump, which had been brought to the then master of the theatre in Lincoln’s-Inn-Fields, who, upon perusal, found it was designed as a libel upon the government, and therefore, instead of having it acted, he carried it to a gentleman concerned in the administration, and he having communicated it to some other members of the House of Commons, it was resolved to move for leave to bring in a Bill for preventing any such attempt for the future; and the motion being, as we have said, complied with, the Bill was brought in on the 24th, and pass through both House with such dispatch,

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Although his intervention proved futile, Chesterfield’s famous speech in the Lords in opposition to the proposed measure is worth recalling not merely because of the way in which it challenged the bill’s raison d’être: My Lord, I apprehend it to be a Bill of a very extraordinary, a very dangerous Nature, and tho’ it seems designed not only as a Restraint on the Licentiousness of the Stage, I fear, it looks farther, and tends to a Restraint on the Liberty of the Press, a Restraint on Liberty itself

but also because Chesterfield cited Pasquin as an example of a play ‘that one would have thought, should have given the greatest Offence’.66 Chesterfield’s speech should also be considered in connection with the assertions made by contemporaries such as the Adventurer in Politicks that, if not exactly written to order, then Fielding’s plays were written in support of Chesterfield, Lyttelton, and other leaders of the opposition. While, on its own, mere repetition cannot confer authority, these assertions have been cited and enlarged upon by most of the commentators who have considered Fielding’s plays in connection with the passing of the Licensing Act. In what amounts to the most significant evidence relating to Fielding’s relations with the opposition leaders at this juncture, a letter signed ‘Pasquin’ had been published in Common Sense on 21 May 1737: I shall not be industrious to deny, what you are so good to declare, that I am buoy’d up by the greatest Wits, and finest Gentlemen of the Age; and patroniz’d by the Great, the Sensible, and the Witty in the Opposition. Of such Patrons I shall be always proud, and to such shall be always glad of the Honour of owning an Obligation. Nor is it a small Pleasure to me, that my Heart is conscious of none to certain Persons who are in the Opposition, to those Characters by which you have been pleased to distinguish my Patrons.67

Despite being quoted by biographers and critics on numerous occasions, this passage is not straightforward. ‘At this time’, Coley asserts, Fielding’s ‘notable connections to wits and fine gentlemen in the Opposition were to figures like Chesterfield, Lyttelton, Pitt, and others in the grouping around the Prince of Wales’.68 However, given that the principal evidence for the existence of such connections in 1737 are the very passages from the Daily Gazetteer and Common Sense under consideration, there appears to me to be a serious danger of the argument becoming circular: Walpole’s journalists, citing The Historical Register and Eurydice Hiss’d as particularly virulent examples, accused Lyttelton of orchestrating the campaign of dramatic satire at the ministry’s expense which characterized the 1737 season at the Little Theatre; Fielding responded, not unreasonably, that

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he would be ‘proud’ to be ‘patroniz’d by the Great, the Sensible, and the Witty in the Opposition’; ipso facto, Chesterfield and Lyttelton were behind Fielding’s anti-ministerial satire in Pasquin, The Historical Register, and Eurydice Hiss’d. Unfortunately, as I have pointed out, documentary evidence of Fielding’s relations with the Patriot Opposition in the years 1736 and 1737 has yet to be presented. Whatever the truth of the matter, on 23 May 1737, two days after the appearance of the ‘Pasquin’ letter in Common Sense, The Historical Register and Eurydice Hiss’d were performed for the last time, once again as a double bill, at the Little Haymarket. We know nothing about Fielding’s movements between 23 May and his admission as a ‘special’ student to the Society of the Middle Temple on 1 November 1737, although Battestin has suggested that: ‘Doubtless supported by his friends in the Opposition in whose behalf he had suffered the consequences of Walpole’s ire, Fielding appears to have relieved his otherwise hopeless financial prospects by contributing more frequently, and more vigorously, to the Craftsman’.69 Whatever one’s opinion of the attribution of Craftsman essays to Fielding, this appears to me to be highly unlikely, if for no other reason than that such little evidence as we have at our disposal indicates that those who wrote for journals on a regular basis were poorly paid, and that no remuneration was offered for unsolicited contributions to newspapers and periodicals at this juncture.70 As late as 1740 the best, if not the only way to make a living by the pen, was to write for the stage.71 Fielding had been the most successful living dramatist not only of his age, but of the entire eighteenth century. He would have been unable to accrue through freelance journalism even a tiny fraction of what he had earned from his plays. In the absence of evidence, therefore, there is every reason to doubt that Fielding contributed to the Craftsman or other journals in the latter half of 1737,72 let alone that he was financially supported by ‘his friends in the Opposition’. It seems much more likely to me that, as Lockwood has argued, Fielding had been ‘bought off ’ by Walpole prior to the passing of the Licensing Act.73 There are several reasons to think that this might have been the case. The most important of these, although chronologically the latest, is the conclusion of the dream vision published in the Champion on 13 December 1739, in which the narrator explains how ‘(eagerly pressing too forward) I came within Reach of the huge Man, who gave me such a Squeeze by the Hand, that it put an End to my Dream, and instead of those flowry Landskips which I painted in the Beginning of my Letter, I found myself three Pair of Stairs in the Inner-Temple’.74 Since McCrea first suggested that this passage might contain biographical information,75 biographers and critics have been prepared to entertain the possibility ‘that Walpole in one form or another probably underwrote his law schooling’.76 As we have seen from the example of Pasquin, Fielding routinely referred to bribery as ‘squeezing’ or ‘touching’, and he hinted in print

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on more than on occasion that he had himself been propositioned by the Great Man. In a subsequent Champion essay he mentioned a time when, ‘being in an ill State of Health’, he had accepted some ‘Pills’ from a ‘Quack’ ‘to stop the Publication of a Book, which I had written against his Practice, and which he threaten’d to take the Law of me, if I publish’d’. ‘These Pills, tho’ a mere Matter of Bargain’, he went on, ‘he was pleas’d to consider as a great Obligation’.77 And in the Preface to his poem, Of True Greatness, Fielding cryptically alluded to ‘One, who has basely injured me, by misrepresenting an Affair which he himself knows, if thoroughly disclosed, would shew him in a meaner Light than he hath yet been exposed in’.78 Although we now know that Fielding was ‘actually reconciled to ye great Man … upon very advantageous Terms’ in 1741,79 there is no way of knowing whether any of these references refer to the events of 1737, and particularly to the brouhaha over the Golden Rump. Critics no longer believe that Fielding was the author of this ‘lost’ play. Had it been his, then why did he not simply attempt to stage it at the Little Haymarket, rather than offer it to the manager of the theatre in Lincoln’s Inn Fields? If a letter written to James Harris by Katherine Knatchbull is any indication, this was a question which exercised contemporaries: ‘I believe ye Golden rump would have been very Insolent & fear Fieldings Grounds on Parnassus are fallen in their rents, but who wrote ye Golden rump[?] Twas Giffards House’.80 According to an advertisement which appeared on 25 May announcing two new plays to be staged five days later, however, Fielding seems to have been prepared, even at this juncture, to extend rather than curtail his campaign of anti-ministerial satire: Macheath turn’d Pyrate; or, Polly in India. An Opera. Very much taken, if not improv’d, from the famous Sequel of the late celebrated Mr. Gay. With a New Prologue proper to the Occasion. And after the Run of that, the Town will be entertain’d with a new Farce of two Acts, call’d The King and Titi: or, The Medlars. Taken from the History of Prince Titi. Originally written in French, and lately translated into English.81

As these were never staged, Katherine Knatchbull wrote to Harris on 2 June asking him ‘whether you can get ye play of Prince Titi, written but not acted for ye Hay Market Theatre which tho’ possibly very dull makes a very great noise, as it is partly ye occasion of passing an act of parlemt’.82 The explanation appears to be that, as well as rushing the Licensing Act through Parliament, drastic steps had been taken to ensure that there would be no more performances at the Little Theatre. One of the items included in a bill headed ‘Loss by my theatre’ apparently submitted on 13 June 1737 by the owner of the premises, John Potter, reads: ‘To taking down the scenes & decorations so that the theatre was Renderd

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Incapable of haveing any Play or other performance, and mens time & Carts To fill the same with deale & timber Bricks and Lime Charge of moveing those things’. Potter’s bill also mentions ‘money to Be paid By … Mr fielding (he haveing Begun a subscription) for twenty weeks from the first day of January next [i.e. 1 January 1738]’, and a letter from Potter to the Duke of Grafton written in January 1738 makes it clear that he had been promised a reward ‘In order to prevent what was Intended to be Represented In my theatre in may last’.83 This explains why no more plays were staged by Fielding at the Little Theatre in the Haymarket. What it does not explain is why, as the most successful practising playwright of his day, he did not attempt to continue writing for the stage, even if it meant returning to the ‘regular’ drama he had been so eager to embrace earlier on his career. In this context, the biographical implications of Fielding’s ‘Mum Budget’ letter published in Common Sense on 13 May 1738 should be taken into account. Coley points out that he ‘begins by noting that Common Sense may be wondering why it has been “so long a Time” since it has heard from him’,84 but the way in which Fielding accounts for his long silence seems significant: ‘In short, Sir, I am at length utterly convinced, that the utmost Perfection which human Wisdom is capable of attaining to is, Silence; and that, when a Man hath learn’d to hold his Tongue, he may be properly said to have arrived at the highest Pitch of Philosophy’.85 This suggests that Fielding, far from being a regular contributor to the Craftsman in twelve months since the passing of the Licensing Act, had been devoting his time to his law studies, and this, in turn, seems to me to offer circumstantial evidence that he had been ‘bought off ’ by Walpole in some way. A further issue of crucial importance to Fielding’s political biography needs to be considered at this juncture: If he had indeed been ‘bought off ’ by Walpole, what are the implications as far as his alleged political allegiances are concerned? Regardless of the assertions of Fielding’s earlier biographers, there is no evidence that his dramatic output throughout the 1730s until the Licensing Act put an end to political plays was either consistently or stridently anti-ministerial or anti-Walpole. Similarly, despite what has been written about his relations with the so-called ‘Broad-Bottom faction’, the suggestion that from the end of 1735 onwards he had thrown in his lot with Lyttelton, Chesterfield et al., or that Pasquin, The Historical Register for the Year 1736 and Eurydice Hiss’d were written specifically to promote their opinions or policies, has yet to be documented. We simply do not know what Fielding thought of the Prince of Wales, let alone whether he played a part in Frederick’s promotion by the Patriot Opposition in the spring of 1737. What we do know is that Fielding’s career as a dramatist came to an abrupt end with the passing of the Licensing Act at the end of the 1737 season. As the

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anonymous author of ‘An Epistle to Mr. Fielding, on His Studying the Law’ put it in March 1738: Thus Thou abandon’st too the crampt up Stage, And more enriching Studies now Engage: Methinks, I see thy Satyre turn’d from Courts, And thy gay Muse deep bury’d in Reports. King John no more provokes thy dreaded Rage, Despis’d for Magna Carta’s Sacred Page: Th’unwieldy Law employs thy vaster Mind; The Subject Act where Treason is defin’d; The Habeas Corpus, and the Bill of Rights Are now preferr’d to past Poetick Flights.86

For the next thirty months he turned his attention to the study of the law. Precisely how he managed to support himself and his family we do not know. Katherine Knatchbull was not the only one to be concerned about the effect of the Licensing Act on Fielding’s finances. James Harris’s mother observed that ‘the restraint on the playhouses may be right but [I] cant help dreading the Consequences to my poor Friend C[harlotte]: F[ielding]: wt will become of her and her poor little Girle’?87 Whether he was the recipient of Walpole’s largesse or supported by ‘his friends in the Opposition’ (as Battestin believes),88 Fielding undoubtedly had one source of income during this period. On 21 June 1738 he received £260 from the sale ‘of two messuages, two Dovehouses, three Gardens, three Orchards, fifty acres of Land, Eighty acres of meadow, one hundred and forty acres of Pasture, ten acres of wood, and Common of pasture for all manner of Cattle with the Appurtenances in East Stower’.89 We can, however, assume that he continued in residence at East Stour until just before the sale was completed on 14 May 1739, because that was the address he gave when he wrote to the bookseller John Nourse on 7 March – a letter in which he revealed his intention to return to London ‘a few days before [the] Beginning of [the] next Term’.90 The term started on 9 May, but it is doubtful whether Fielding was then in London, as his subsequent letter to Nourse, which mentions his intention of ‘coming to Town … next Month’, is dated 9 July. ‘I desire the Favour of yo to look for a House for me near the Temple’, Fielding’s letter went on. ‘I must have one large eating Parlour in it[;] for the rest shall not be very nice. Rent not upwds of £40 p an: & as much cheaper as may be. I will take a Lease for seven year’s’ [sic].91 Fielding was certainly in London by the time Capt. Hercules Vinegar, of Hockley in the Hole, made his first appearance in the opening issue of the Champion on 15 November 1739. While Vinegar is clearly an editorial persona in the tradition established by Richard Steele in the Tatler and retained by Nicholas Amhurst in the Craftsman, it is tempting to think that certain aspects of the

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opening number, which was apparently given away gratis, amounted to a personal statement by Fielding: ‘I do not in any wise esteem myself obliged to give a Reason for this, or any other Undertaking which I shall in my great Wisdom enter upon, and tho’ I hold it fit that all Persons whatever should buy and read these my Papers, on being informed it is my Pleasure they should’.92 ‘Was Henry Fielding the projector of the Champion as is sometimes casually stated and equally casually denied?’, Michael Harris pertinently enquires only to conclude that: ‘The question remains open’.93 Given that the Champion – in which Fielding apparently had a two-sixteenths’ ‘Writing Share’ – was owned by a group of shareholding booksellers, his part in the ‘Undertaking’ remains unclear and this, in turn, poses serious issues of interpretation as far as his politics are concerned.

5 ‘WRIT IN DEFENCE OF THE RIGHTS OF THE PEOPLE’: 1739–1741

When the first year’s issues of the Champion were collected together and published in two volumes in 1741, the Dedication took the form of an open letter addressed ‘To the New Members’ of Parliament who had been returned in that year’s general election. Assuming an uncompromisingly radical Whig position, and insinuating that ‘the very Air of St. S[tephe]n’s C[hape]l is infectious, and that few, very few, have escap’d the Taint’, the Dedication was an outspoken denunciation of systematic bribery and corruption on the part of the ministry, and more particularly on the part of the Prime Minister himself: ALL this has been done and suffer’d, Gentlemen, under the Influence of One Man: One Man, who, in open P[arliamen]t, has had the Modesty to avow, that he ought to be held a pitiful Fellow of a Minister, who would not dispence the Perquisities of Power, after his corrupt Example.

In conclusion, the Dedication drew the attention of new MPs to the Champion’s endeavours to redeem the situation: ‘WRITINGS, Gentlemen, may serve to discover Leaks in the Common-wealth, but want Power to stop them; and, among a Variety of other Pieces, these two Volumes are put into your Hands, to shew how much has been hitherto said in vain’. What is especially interesting about the Dedication is the way in which, in what is quite clearly a call to concerted political action in the House of Commons, its author – presumably James Ralph – offered to position the Champion in ideological terms by referring to ‘the glorious Labours of the Sydney’s, Hampden’s, Lock’s, Johnson’s, Trenchard’s, &c. [which] are too widely circulated, and too universally known to be withheld from the Knowledge and Admiration of remotest Ages’. ‘From them Liberty will be understood’, he went on, ‘and by them it will be defended till Time shall be no more’.1 It is important to establish the Champion’s political credentials with accuracy in any discussion of Fielding’s contributions because its openly anti-ministerial stance has not been sufficiently emphasized even by those recent commentators who have been prepared to acknowledge that, from the outset, it was more of a political vehicle than used to be thought. Although by the 1730s it had become – 89 –

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commonplace to invoke John Hampden as the archetypal defender of the people’s liberties,2 Sidney, Johnson and Trenchard were still largely felt to belong an ‘Old Whig’ or ‘commonwealth’ tradition which stressed the sovereignty of the people. ‘Most Whigs had preferred to appeal to the ancient constitution’, Dickinson explains, ‘rather than to the social contract as the origin and source of both the right to authority and the duty of obedience’.3 Fielding, however, not only insisted that ‘the Constitution of this Country is altered from its antient State’,4 he maintained that ‘the Declaration and Confirmation of this great Right of the People’ was not ‘the least of those Blessings, which we owe to the Revolution’ – indeed it was ‘the Foundation, the Corner-Stone of all our Laws, and of this Constitution itself ’.5 Critics have tended to regard Fielding as a ‘typical’ Lockean Whig – and therefore as part of the political mainstream – without recognizing that, as far as the Whig establishment was concerned, ‘Locke’s political theory was too dangerous because it could be used to justify the sovereign authority of the people’.6 As for Fielding’s references to the ‘republican’ Sidney, who was executed for imagining the King’s death in the reign of Charles II, they have been explained (away) by suggesting that while he was writing for the Champion he was actually writing ‘“for a Faction in the Name of the Community”’ – the faction, in this case, being ‘the curious coalition of City and country interests in opposition to Walpole’.7 By drawing attention to ‘the glorious Labours of the Sydney’s, Hampden’s, Lock’s, Johnson’s, Trenchard’s, &c.’, however, the Dedication to the two-volume reprint sought to position itself in this radical or Old Whig tradition. Cato’s Letters, ‘begun in November, 1720, with an honest and humane intention, to call for publick justice upon the wicked managers of the late fatal South-Sea scheme’,8 were seminal documents in the ‘republican’ identification of ‘corruption’ as a threat to liberty and property. Although he was perfectly aware that ‘it is objected that he is a republican’,9 Trenchard – whose own radical or Old Whig credentials were impeccable – was not afraid (just like Fielding) to quote ‘the sentiments’ of ‘the great Algernon Sidney’: ‘An author who can never be too much valued or read; who does honour to the English nobility, and to the English name’. Indeed, Cato’s Letter no. 26 (22 April 1721), entitled ‘The sad Effects of general Corruption, quoted from Algernon Sidney, Esq.’, quoted verbatim and at length from Sidney’s Discourses Concerning Government.10 If critics appear largely unaware of the ideological games that were being played by Fielding and his contemporaries, Walpole’s journalists were not. According to the Daily Gazetteer, ‘Hercules Vinegar’ habitually misrepresented through ignorance the views of the Whig ideologues the Champion liked to cite as authorities. Therefore on this view of the Champion’s way of thinking:

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Sidney was certainly in his Opinion a Commonwealth-man, and particularly for Aristocracy; Wildman was for a popular Government; Locke and Hampden were Friends to our Constitution as by Law established, and if they were willing to oppose Tyrants, they were as ready to shew their Zeal in the Service of a good Prince.11

Exchanges such as this assume significance in relation to Fielding’s contributions to the Champion because the extent to which he was propounding a radical Whig agenda in his essays has been seriously underestimated. Thus not only has it been asserted that the early issues of the Champion were only ‘moderately political’,12 but also that Fielding ‘did not necessarily direct a forceful, anti-ministerial campaign’ through its columns, ‘rather, he permitted his co-adjutator [sic], James Ralph, to set the political tone’ in those sections of ‘direct, often bellicose, political comment’ following on from ‘an allusive, learned, and often non-political essay by Fielding’.13 Although contemporaries recognized that he had ‘an Assistant in his Paper, one R[al]ph’,14 why we should assume that Fielding ‘permitted’ him to dictate the ideological stance of the Champion is unclear. True, Ralph wrote the Prologue to The Temple Beau of 1730, and a performance of Pasquin was given as a benefit for him on 31 March 1736. When Fielding described their working relationship in the Champion in The Opposition. A Vision, however, it is noteworthy that it is ‘that long-sided Ass they call Vinegar, which the Drivers call upon so often to gee up, and pull lustily’, not ‘that grave Ass yoked to him, which they name Ralph, who pulls and brays like the Devil’.15 This reluctance to acknowledge the evident relish with which, from at least the sixth issue onwards, Fielding participated in the anti-ministerial stance assumed by the Champion, let alone the ideological basis of the journal’s opposition to Walpole, extends to the doubts which have been raised about his authorship of the series of eleven Champion essays published in the autumn of 1740 and subsequently reprinted in Edinburgh as An Address to the Electors of Great Britain, Wherein the Power of the People is traced from its Original, and confirmed by undoubted Authorities upon which ‘there is no more powerful influence … than that of Sidney’s Discourses’.16 However, as the very title of the Edinburgh reprint attests, the Champion’s radical Whig credentials are evident regardless of whether James Ralph was a more outspoken critic of the Walpole ministry than Fielding, or whether, in June 1741, Fielding voted against the sale to Henry Chappelle of ‘Impressions of the Champion in two Volumes, 12o, No. 1000’ because he was anxious not to compromise the reconciliation he was seeking with the Great Man.17 The Dedication of that edition accurately reflects the content of the periodical during the period that Fielding was the principal essaywriter between November 1739 and November 1740. As the note to the issue for 10 January 1740 reprinted in the collected edition explained, the Champion’s satirical barbs – even in those essays acknowledged to be by Fielding – were ‘levell’d at a much larger Mark’ – Walpole himself.18

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Take for example the issue of the Champion for 10 June 1740 in which, in typical manner, Fielding purported to argue that ‘the Force of Example is infinitely stronger, as well as quicker, as precept’. This was simply a rhetorical pretext to allow him to print this savage character-assassination of Walpole: Can there be a more instructive Lesson against that abominable and pernicious Vice, Ambition, than the Sight of a mean Man, rais’d by fortunate Accidents and execrable Vices to Power, employing the basest Measures and the vilest Instruments to support himself; looked up to only by Sycophants and Slaves and sturdy * Beggars, Wretches whom even he must in his Heart despise in all their Tinsel; looked down upon, and scorned and shunned by every Man of Honour, nay, by every Man of Sense, and those whom his rotten, rancorous Heart must, in Spite of himself, reluctantly admire; who knows that he is justly hated by his whole Country, who sees and feels his Danger; tottering, shaking, trembling; without Appetite for his Dainties, without Abilities for his Women, without Taste for his Elegancies, without Dignity in his Robes, without Honour from his Titles, without Authority from his Power, and without Ease in his Palace, or Repose in his Bed of Down. If such an Idea can make us nauseate Ambition, I believe if we turn over the Pages of our History we shall find such Examples.

Even though this was pretty uncompromising stuff, just in case any of his readers should fail to grasp the point of the paragraph the note indicated by Fielding’s asterisk reads: ‘* Another Name for Roberdsmen’.19 Instead of simply assuming that Fielding was following the lead of Addison and Steele in the Spectator in the opening numbers of his new periodical,20 there has been a tendency to accept at face value his declaration in the issue for 18 December 1739 that ‘it was not, at first, my Intention to deal much in serious Politics in this Paper’.21 The rhetorical thrust of such statements should be taken into account before we jump to the conclusion that ‘the journal was not originally planned as a political vehicle after the model of The Craftsman and Common Sense’, or that ‘The Champion was not originally an “opposition journal”’.22 On the contrary, for the first few months of its existence, Fielding skilfully exploited the idea that the Champion was not merely another political paper. At the same time, from the second number’s closing reference to ‘Pickpockets or Lords, Highwaymen or Bishops, Thieves or Prime Ministers’ onwards,23 his lead essays contrived, however obliquely, to allude to Walpole in a variety of ways, inducing its readers to assume that, while the Champion was not ‘totally devoted to Politics’,24 its ‘Political Essays’, as an advertisement subsequently explained, were ‘wholly antiministerial, and writ in Defence of the Rights of the People’.25 The radical credentials of the Champion as an ‘opposition journal’ are discernible in a number of ways. First to be taken into account is the ‘Memorial from my Bookseller’ published in the issue for 4 December 1739: And he begs Leave to declare, that he would not have engaged in this Undertaking, had he not promised to himself that your Mightiness would lay about you without

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Fear or Favour. In order to which, he hath order’d his Printer to provide himself with great Quantities of Dashes to keep the first and last Letter of proper Names and other Words asunder, as R------t, M------r; and a large Fund of Italian Character. As for Instance, He farther begs Leave (as an Encouragement) to represent to you the great Lenity of the Administration, who have never punished any Libels against them, unless by Breaking the Press to Pieces, Pillory, Fine, and Imprisonment; the last three of which he apprehends to be very lawful Methods[.]26

While the transparent irony of a passage such as this quite clearly ridicules the ministry, we should ask whether its purpose was to draw attention to, or to divert attention from, the political import of Fielding’s essays. It served not only to alert its readers to the fact that the Champion was a political vehicle, but also to remind them to look out for further anti-ministerial commentary in future issues. They were not to be disappointed. The very next issue made use of the familiar opposition ploy of parallel history to attack Walpole and concluded by drawing attention to ‘those who begun that War against the Crown for the Sake of their Liberties and Properties, and would have disdained to have seen the Nation enslaved to the absolute Will of a Subject, in Rank very little above the common Level’. ‘Can we think a Pym, or a Hambden [sic] would have tamely submitted to see this Usurper and his shabby Relations and Creatures … at the Head of the Parliament (I mean Barebone’s Parliament, and that in 1656) the Army and … the Estates and Lives of three Kingdoms?’, Fielding asked. ‘No, these Men were no more, and those who remained were a Set of Scoundrels and Cowards, who were either bribed or frightened out of their Liberties; such they were, that I think we of the present Age are obliged to Mr. Voltaire, for representing us as greatly unlike them’.27 The Champion’s initial run of political innuendo at Walpole’s expense culminated in the issue for 13 December 1739 which, in the form of a dream vision, was a flagrant assault on bribery and corruption. The ironic introduction to the dream carefully drew attention to the tradition which, via the Craftsman and Common Sense, stretched back to the third number of the Spectator and beyond,28 by mischievously suggesting that it would be appropriate for it to be published for the entertainment of its readers in a periodical such as ‘the Champion, which, not being totally devoted to Politics, allows Room, now and then, for such Miscellaneous Pieces, as may arise in such a Twilight Imagination as mine’.29 Fielding’s dream vision not only seeks to integrate practical politics with cultural politics by yet again equating political probity with literary and artistic merit, it appears to contain biographical information about Fielding which some biographers and critics have found troubling. Fielding’s narrator finds himself ‘in the most beautiful Plain I ever beheld’ in the midst of which there was ‘a Mountain, not much unlike a Mitre’. On one of the summits of what is quite clearly Parnassus ‘sat nine Girls’ (the Muses), and a

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‘little Man’ (Pope) ‘lay in the Lap of one, with his Head in the Bosom of another, playing with his Hands with the Neck of a Third’. A series of attempts are made to climb the hill, including one by Cibber who is pictured ‘tumbling down the Hill with great Precipitation’, before Lyttelton, accompanied by Richard Glover, the author of a paean to liberty in epic form entitled Leonidas, walk ‘without any Interruption, to the Top of the Hill; where the little Gentleman, and the nine young Ladies saluted them’.30 Thus far the allegory is quite straightforward, with Pope, Glover and Lyttelton identified as the Muses’ friends. No sooner are ‘the Family of the Vinegars’ admitted through the gate at the bottom of the hill, however, than they are followed by ‘a huge over grown Fellow, with a large Rabble at his Heels, who huzza’d him all along as he went’ and who openly pays entrance money ‘for self and Company’. Transparently a reference to Walpole, this renews the link made by Fielding between practical politics and cultural politics, who proceeds to explain ‘That he was a great Magician, and with a gentle Squeeze by the Hand, could bring any Person whatever to think, and speak, and do what he himself desired, and that it was very difficult to avoid his Touch; for if you came but in his Reach, he infallibly had you by the Fist; that there was only one Way to be secure against him, and that was by keeping you Hand shut, for then his Touch had no Power’; but indeed, this Method of Security I did not perceive any one to Practice.

The dream vision concludes with Pope creeping under the Muses’ petticoats, upon which he is accused by a spectator of having been ‘touched before’, while Lyttelton and Glover, ‘advanc[ing] bravely to the Brow’ of the hill, ‘put themselves in a Posture of Defence, with a seeming Resolution to oppose the whole Posse’. At this point the narrator, ‘eagerly pressing too forward’, comes within ‘the Reach of the huge Man, who gave [him] such a Squeeze by the Hand, that it put an End to my Dream’.31 That this, the eleventh issue of the Champion, was a transparent political allegory at Walpole’s expense written in an established Opposition satirical tradition cannot be gainsaid. By commenting on ministerial corruption under Walpole in a bewildering number of ways, Fielding and Ralph were simply following the well-worn path laid down by their early-eighteenth-century predecessors, Addison and Steele, even though the Champion included essays on themes ostensibly unrelated to party politics. Thus the very next issue, devoted to ways in which ‘The Art of Politics is not unlike the Art of Fishing’, enumerated ‘the several Kinds of Fish which a Politician is to angle for, and the Baits with which they are to be taken’.32 While essays of this sort can be described as general political satire rather than pointed satire at Walpole’s expense, it appears significant that the opening sentence of the following issue contains the remark upon which most commentators have seized – ‘it was not, at first, my Intention to deal much

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in serious Politics in this Paper’. That this merely serves to introduce a ‘Letter, or Address to the Citizens of London’ suggests that it is yet another ploy, in the manner of the Spectator, to deflect any suggestion that the Champion is primarily a political organ. Not only does the anonymous correspondent (almost certainly Fielding himself ) argue that his letter ‘may possibly procure you more Readers at this Season, than if Addison was to arise from the Dead, and write you an Epistle from Sir Roger de Coverly’, but his covering note pointedly draws attention to what is perceived by the Champion as the dreadful state of the nation at the end of 1739: ‘An immense Fleet, a vast Army, a decay’d, sinking Trade, an impoverish’d, indebted, and corrupt Nation, must raise ideas in every Mind more suitable to that ensuing solemn Fast, which his Majesty hath with great Piety proclaimed, than to any Thing of Mirth and Festivity’.33 Fielding’s rhetoric, in other words, is directed specifically towards discrediting those in positions of authority who are held to be responsible for the deplorable state of the nation. If this is not pointed political commentary then I do not know what is. From this number of the Champion onwards, corruption became a major feature of the paper’s politics. The Christmas Day 1739 issue included a letter from Hercules Vinegar ‘To the ten-thousand Authors of the Gazetteer’ in which he berated them for being unable to ‘bear one Word against Corruption, from whatever Corner it comes’: Indeed, this cannot much surprise any Person who considers that it is in Corruption you live, move, and have your being …When a Servant affronts you, the Resentment is to be shewn to his Master, unless he discards him. Those who receive Hire are Servants, and, if it be to do dirty Work, very mean ones too. If, therefore, any private Invective should appear in your Paper, we do not doubt but the whole World will hold us justified in retaliating on your Master.34

The Champion, then, was quite clearly a vehicle for outspoken Opposition opinions about Walpole and his ministry, and the more radical Whig stance assumed by its authors is striking. That is not how it has been represented by previous commentators, however. Asserting that ‘from its conception … it was not chiefly designed as a political vehicle’, Battestin argues that ‘the perplexed personal circumstances in which Fielding found himself ’ at the time, are ‘starkly reveal[ed]’ by ‘the politics of The Champion’. ‘What political colouring it did have’, he continues, ‘was, as we would expect, very much of the Patriot hue’.35 While maintaining that the Champion was ‘hostile to the ministry’, Cleary insists in similar vein that: ‘One has to pick through the miscellaneous content of its earliest issues to determine its political tendency’.36 If there is no consensus about the Champion’s politics while Fielding was its leading essay writer, more problematic still is the precise nature of his relations with the periodical’s other stakeholders. ‘His connection with The Champion

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was both limited in time and, in spite of contemporary attributions and recent analysis, obscure in extent’, Michael Harris observes. ‘Equally, his position within the organizational framework through which his contributions were deployed is also unclear’.37 Assessment of the way in which copy for the Champion was organized is complicated by the lack of original issues of the first twenty-one numbers, for which we are forced to rely on the essays reprinted in the collected edition of 1741. Although there are clear indications that the journal was not immediately successful, it is surely both unnecessary and (in the utter absence of evidence) pointless to speculate that this was because ‘The Champion was not subsidized before June 1740’,38 let alone to assume with Cross that: ‘Behind this undertaking were doubtless Fielding’s friends in Parliament’39 – whomever one might believe these unspecified friends to be. On the contrary, Michael Harris has demonstrated that ‘The Champion was owned and managed by a group of shareholders drawn from the respectable sector of the book trade’, and that it was established as a commercial enterprise in line with the way in which ‘from the 1720s the trade used the newspaper as a primary mechanism for controlling access to the market, opening lines of communication with readers and closing out competitors’.40 And if this were the case, then it is quite likely that there was a commercial as well as a political reason behind the ‘Memorial from my Bookseller’ printed in the issue for 4 December 1739 in which ‘he begs Leave to declare, that he would not have engaged in this Undertaking, had he not promised to himself that your Mightiness would lay about you without Fear or Favour’.41 A week later Vinegar announced his move upmarket from the unfashionable Hockley in the Hole to the much more salubrious Pall Mall, the dream vision considered above (pp. 93–4) appearing in the following issue. Although the Champion was largely ignored by Walpole’s journalists during its first months of existence, the attention it was paid by the Daily Gazetteer from around the middle of 1740 onwards suggests that its criticism of the ministry had hit its mark with increasing frequency. The twelve-part ‘Extract out of the VOYAGES of Mr. Job Vinegar’ – an extended political allegory which is at once clearly indebted to Gulliver’s Travels and to the Golden Rump papers in Common Sense – recounts the history of a ‘strange People’ who worship a deity the name of which ‘is Mney, or as they write it M—ney’. At their head is the High Priest, Hum-clum, and two essential parts of ‘The Creed of a Humclumist’ are that ‘No one can come at Mney, but through the Favour of the High Priest’, and that ‘All Things spring from Corruption, so did Mney, and therefore by Corruption he is most properly come at’. Opposed to this ‘Sect’ are two other ‘Orders’ – country gentlemen and merchants. ‘These, besides being excluded from all Hopes of Preferment, were likewise stigmatiz’d with the Name of Ptrts’ (Patriots) who ‘talk of Lbrty’ (Liberty). (Interestingly, Fielding’s

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own note on ‘Lbrty’ reads: ‘During my whole Stay among them, tho, I often heard this Word repeated, I could never comprehend what they meant by it’.) 42 While the political significance of this series of essays, which extended into September, can be overstated – there is probably some truth in the suggestion that, like Addison and Steele’s Sir Roger de Coverley papers, they were written in advance to allow Fielding, who was finally called to the bar on 20 June 1740, to devote his time to pursuing his legal career on the Western Circuit during the summer months – they undeniably added up to an extended and transparent allegory on the state of the nation under Walpole. Interestingly, it was in the middle of this series that the Daily Gazetteer launched its first personal attack on Fielding for his part in the Champion’s campaign of anti-Walpolean satire. Cleverly drawing upon ‘a very ingenious Parallel between their Parish Deputies and those which disturb the Kingdom’ in much the same way that The Grub-Street Opera had done almost a decade earlier, Walpole’s journalist offered an allegorical account of Fielding’s conduct which his biographers cannot afford to ignore: This Fellow, you must know, is the Champion of our Village, and no Dishonour, I promise you, to the ancient Families of the Vinegars in this Country and the next, from which by Father and Mother’s Side he is descended. In his Youth he made a mighty Figure in the Ring, wrestled, cudgell’d, played at Quarterstaff, and went to Kick and Cuff with every Body. Some who had a Regard for him were for getting him out of this odd Station, and sometimes they did prevail on him to live in a civil Way for a Fortnight or longer; but this in no way humaniz’d his savage Temper. The first Time he either took a Glass too much, or the Whim took him, away to the Ring again, or, which was worse, turn’d some honest Farmer’s House into a Bear-garden; for then he would quarrel with his Brother, call the Parson Names, or give the Lie to the best Man in the Parish.

That there was a biographical element to all of this – an element linked to Fielding’s ceasing to write for the stage – is apparent from the way in which the passage continues: You may imagine this drew upon him Abundance of Quarrels, and made him shunn’d by all sober, well-disposed People … Tir’d out at length in this Way, and vex’d with the unwelcome Interposition of the Justices, he quitted his Occupation, and talk’d of turning Solicitor; but all of a sudden he’s fallen upon a new Employment, which makes me call him the Champion: For you must know there is not a Great Man in these Kingdoms, but I have assign’d him a Representation here at — ; nor do I know a Character which I have better hit, than this I am speaking of.

Yet again, one of Walpole’s journalists hints at Fielding’s complex and chequered relations with the Great Man, inviting his readers to draw a parallel between his conduct and that of ‘the Champion of our Village’, who is described as the enemy of ‘all the People of Note in the Neighbourhood, particularly Mr. Friendly, Steward to ’Squire King, who owns most of the Parish’. ‘Mr. Friendly

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never injur’d him’, the narrator insists, ‘but on the contrary has been very kind to some of his Relations’.43 If this was meant to serve as some sort of warning to Fielding it did not work. Beginning with the issue for 6 September 1740, the Champion prosecuted a sustained campaign of anti-ministerial satire throughout the autumn in anticipation of the general election which, under the terms of the Septennial Act, was due to take place the following year. That Walpole was the mark at which all darts were levelled was never in doubt. Fielding openly looked forward to the time: when future Writers shall render him that Justice which his Cotemporaries deny him, when he shall be hang’d up, as it were, in History for our Children to stare at, how will they wonder that his Glories never warmed to a Pope, a Swift, a Young, a Gay, a Thompson, to celebrate his Name, to see no Memorial of him, unless Peradventure in an ancient Trunk or rotten Bandbox, which some prudent Housewife hath savingly lined up with an eleemosynary Bundle of Gazetteers.

And it was at the end of this issue that Fielding announced that: ‘We shall shortly present our Readers with some Papers addressed to the Electors of Great Britain, written by an eminent Hand’.44 Critics have speculated about the identity of the ‘eminent Hand’ but I think it more than likely a ploy on Fielding’s part to puff the series of essays which finally began to appear at the beginning of November. Entitled ‘To the Electors of Great-Britain’, these essays reveal Fielding at his most radical. Quintessentially Whiggish throughout, what is particularly striking about the political ideas they express is that they seem to set out quite deliberately to challenge the version of Whiggism which, throughout his long tenure of power, Walpole’s journalists had been anxious to articulate. The opening gambit of the opening essay pointedly drew attention to the contrast between ‘the ancient Duration of an English Parliament’ and the increased opportunities for electoral corruption allegedly presented by septennial parliaments. While standing parliaments were a source of grievance to both Tories and disaffected Whigs, the most outspoken critics of the Septennial Act had been radical Whigs such as Molesworth, Trenchard and Gordon.45 Perhaps more importantly, Fielding’s essays in the Champion, including the first one in this series, emphasized – as Cato’s Letters had done – the paramount importance to the well-being of the nation of trade: ‘the Plenty and Power of this Nation can only be nourish’d in the Bosom of Trade, (especially Manufacture) every Method should be devised … to secure the long and healthy Life of this our Alma Mater’.46 According to Coley, the series of essays addressed ‘To the Electors of GreatBritain’ not only constitutes Fielding’s ‘first extended exercise in what might be called “straight” political writing’, but also ‘by a considerable margin, the most “theoretical” (in some sense, “radical”) political thinking he ever published’.47

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This apparent reluctance to accept that, at this phase in his career at any rate, Fielding’s Whiggism was radical in character is disturbing. The very title of the Edinburgh reprint is a clear indication that he was expressing radical political ideas: An Address to the Electors of Great Britain, Wherein the Power of the People is traced from its Original, and confirmed by undoubted Authorities: The Duty of their Representatives explained, proper Rules laid down to judge of the Merits of Candidates. The present Circumstances of the Nation considered, the Dangers with which we are threatned from Placemen, and a corrupt Majority exposed, together with particular Directions how every honest Freeholder ought to act in the present Situation of Affairs. Setting out, quite deliberately, to contradict the version of Whiggism espoused by Walpole’s journalists, An Address not only maintained that power was originally vested in the people, but also that their representatives in Parliament were bound to act in accordance with their wishes: Government, Gentlemen, is absolute or limited. Where the People depart with their whole Power without any Reserve, the Government is absolute; where they reserve some Part of the Power to themselves, there it is limited … The Government of England is limited; and therefore limited, because the People have a Reserve of Power, which they execute by their Representatives.48

The radical concept that a reserve of power ‘is properly in the Hands of the People, tho’ executed by their Representatives or Deputies’49 was much more extreme than the version of constitutional Whiggism expounded by Walpole’s journalists, to whom the notion that ‘the Represented ought to have an Influence, Power, and Authority over their Representatives’ was an anathema pointing in the direction of a sort of ‘new Democracy, or Government of the People’.50 The reason Fielding was following the lead of those radical Whig controversialists who eagerly insisted on the people’s authority over their representatives in Parliament was that he was hoping to persuade his readers of the consequences of corruption: ‘which are, Gentleman, Slavery and Ruin’. Arguing that ‘we are corrupt, but not incurably so’, Fielding offered ‘to open the very Source of our Constitution, which thro’ Favour or Fear, seems not hitherto to have been sufficiently search’d’.51 As a natural consequence of the relationship between the electorate and their representatives in Parliament, it was essential that freeholders should vote for men of estates at the forthcoming general election rather than ‘a Man of small Fortune [who] hath more within to incite and betray him to Corruption, [because] he hath nothing to restrain him from it’.52 Fielding’s rhetoric in An Address to the Electors of Great Britain seeks to identify, explain and suggest an effective means to counteract the consequences of Walpole’s system of bribery and corruption, under which ‘our Manners are deprav’d, and our Spirits broken: That Trade languishes, Poverty encreases, and our Glory is departed’.53 What is particularly striking about Fielding’s arguments

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is how closely, mutatis mutandis, they follow those put forward by Trenchard and Gordon twenty years earlier. The issue of Cato’s Letters which quoted from Sidney’s Discourses Concerning Government on ‘The sad Effects of general Corruption’ opened with the remark that: ‘Liberty cannot be preserved, if the manners of the people are corrupted’;54 while the second letter of all observed ‘That we are fallen, is a sorrowful truth, not only visible in every face which you meet, but in the destruction of our trade, the glory and riches of our nation, and the livelihood of the poor’.55 Those critics who have commented hitherto on Fielding’s attitudes towards commerce fail to distinguish between the interests of the trading community and what was perceived to be the deleterious effect on the nation – epitomized above all by the South Sea Bubble – of the growth of the moneyed interest. In Cato’s Letters, Trenchard inveighed against ‘listing the three great companies [the Bank of England, the East-India Company, and the SouthSea Company], with all the moneyed interest in England, against England’, as this would ‘at last, reduce, and even force, all parties not to oppose what I dread to name, and tremble to think of ’.56 Given the radical Whig opposition to the consequences of the ‘financial revolution’, what Coley has called ‘the curious coalition of City and country interests in opposition to Walpole’57 is not at all difficult to explain. ‘The radical Whigs were as critical as any Tory squire of the exorbitant wealth and undue influence of the moneyed men’, Dickinson points out. ‘They concentrated on showing how the money market attracted too much of the nation’s wealth from the genuinely productive trade in material goods’. ‘In their view, while stockjobbing flourished, trade decayed’, Dickinson continues. ‘Yet it was trade which encouraged arts, science and industry, whereas the money market encouraged only greed and self-interest’.58 It is in this context that Fielding’s comments on the nation’s ‘decayed’ trade, as well his championing of the interests of the City in the Champion and elsewhere, should be read.

Making Overtures to Walpole One of the most difficult issues for Fielding’s biographers to confront is the uncomfortable proposition that all the time he was berating Walpole for bribery and corruption, he was apparently toying with the idea of changing sides and writing for the ministry. The question of his being bought off by Walpole was first raised by Fielding himself on 4 October 1740 when he printed the notorious letter addressed ‘To one Capt. Vinegar’: Capt. Vinegar, WHAT is the Reason, Sir, that you write against me? Prithee, what dost mean by those cant Words of Virtue and public Spirit? Do’st think they will go to Market? Kiss my A— I would not give a Fart for all the Virtue in the Universe.

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They tell me you have some Wit and Humour, and have you no more Sense than to starve with them? To write on the Side of a Set of Rascals and sturdy [Beggars] D – mn them, I’ll shew them who I am. If you will not come over, and say some good Things of me, stay at Home and be quiet and neuter, and I’ll give you a hundred Pills. But, if you will say a single Word in my Favour, I will give you two hundred Pills. If you can declaim handsomely upon my Nostrums, as they tell me it is in you, nay, I know there is nothing easier, it is but haranguing, I’ll bring you upon the Stage myself, I’ll give you three hundred Pills, besides something very good to take twice a Year as long as you live; and then I’ll give your Booksellers fifty Pills a Piece (which one of them looks as if he wanted), and I’ll give your Publisher forty Pills, and your Printer forty Pills, and his Devil twenty Pills, and the Pressmen ten Pills each. In short, I’ll pill you and all that belongs to you.59

As Battestin points out, this is ‘one of the most revealing autobiographical statements in Fielding’s writings’.60 The clear implication is that Walpole was prepared to pay Fielding, if not actually to write as a ministerial apologist, then at least to silence his pen. This much is clear from the remarkable paragraph which follows the supposed letter itself: Whoever the Quack is, from whom this Epistle is arriv’d, I believe the Public will sufficiently conclude that he is a very impudent Fellow. If I mistake not the Hand, it is one whose Pills I formerly refused on the like Condition now offer’d, tho’ I own, being in an ill State of Health, I accepted a few to stop the Publication of a Book, which I had written against his Practice, and which he threaten’d to take the Law of me, if I publish’d. These Pills, tho’ a mere Matter of Bargain, he was pleas’d to consider as a great Obligation: But I can tell him, his Nostrums have now done so much Mischief, that whoever takes any Reward of him to secure his Practice any longer, deserves more to be hang’d, and is a more infamous Villain than any on the Records of the Old Bailey.61

However much they may wish to defend Fielding from the charge of selling his pen for money, biographers cannot afford to ignore the implications of this extraordinary passage. While we may continue to argue over how, precisely, to interpret the allegory, or to debate the identity of the work in question – the prime candidates seem to be The Grub-Street Opera and Jonathan Wild – here Fielding is patently admitting to having taken money from Walpole in the past ‘to stop the Publication of a Book, which I had written against his Practice’. That is not the most significant feature of what Fielding seems to be suggesting, however. When he explains that, if he does not mistake the hand, the letter is from ‘one whose Pills I formerly refused on the like Conditions now offer’d’, Fielding writes in the present tense. This is of relevance on a number of counts. It was

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evidently this issue of the Champion which led to the attack on ‘one F[ieldi]ng, Son to a General Officer of that Name’ by ‘Marforio’ later on in the month, according to which Fielding was guilty of ‘a strong Instance of Ingratitude to the Ministry, as he lies under the strongest Obligations to Sir R[obe]rt W[alpo]le’.62 Fielding responded in the preface to his poem Of True Greatness. An Epistle to The Right Honourable George Dodington, Esq; published on 7 January 1741. Dodington had only recently defected to join the ranks of the Opposition. In defending him from ‘a Set of Ruffians, hired in Disguise and the Dark to butcher the best and worthiest Characters’, Fielding claimed that it was ‘a Circumstance I have the honour to know very particularly, since I have fallen severely under their Lash for refusing to be of their Number’. Barely three months after the issue of the Champion in which Fielding, as Hercules Vinegar, maintained that he had been approached to write on Walpole’s behalf, therefore, he not only reiterated the claim but also admitted to having previously accepted money ‘to silence my Productions, professedly and by Way of Bargain given me for that Purpose’.63 When Fielding’s shortlived periodical, The History of Our Own Times, took notice of Of True Greatness in January 1741, the author’s Preface was described as ‘a pretty remarkable one’.64 As an autobiographical statement, it is unquestionably striking on a number of counts. As well as explaining that the poem (which was ‘writ several Years ago’) was now being published to justify the conduct of ‘one for whom I have so perfect a Respect’, Fielding for the first time openly acknowledged his writings on behalf of the ‘brightest Characters’ among the leaders of the Opposition in praising ‘An Argyle, a Chesterfield, a Dodington, a Pulteney, a Lyttleton’, even if he affected to play down his own contribution. At the same time, while admitting he had in the past taken money ‘to silence [his] Productions’, he insisted that he had refused to join the ranks of Walpole’s ‘Ruffians, hired in Disguise and the Dark to butcher the best and worthiest Characters’.65Of True Greatness itself at once satirizes Walpole along the lines of some of Fielding’s Champion essays: While a mean Crowd of Sycophants attend, And fawn and flatter, creep and cringe and bend; The Fav’rite blesses his Superior State, Rises o’er all, and Hails himself the Great. Vain Man! can such as these to Greatness raise? Can Honour come from Dirt? from Baseness, Praise?66

while explaining how To no Profession, Party, Place confin’d, True Greatness lives but in the noble Mind; Him constant through each various Scene attends, Fierce to his Foes, and faithful to his Friends.

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Fielding then offers a series of examples of the way in which true greatness shines ‘in any Sphere of Life’ in which most of the Opposition leaders are listed by name: Whether she blaze a Hoadley ’mid Divines, Or, an Argyle, in Fields and Senates dare, Supreme in all the Arts of Peace and War. Greatness with Learning deck’d in Carteret see, With Justice, and with Clemency in Lee; In Chesterfield to ripe Perfection come, See it in Littleton beyond its Bloom

before Dodington is offered as a final example of ‘a Man, by Nature form’d to please’ who is Upright in Principle, in Council strong, Prone not to change, nor obstinate too long[.]67

Previous critics have rightly pointed out that the most extraordinary feature of Fielding’s Of True Greatness is the identity of the addressee. As one of the Lords of the Treasury throughout Walpole’s long tenure of office until his dismissal in October 1740, George Bubb Dodington had been a close ministerial colleague of the Great Man. Battestin speculates that Fielding and Dodington had ‘been acquainted for “several Years”’, and that ‘Fielding no doubt had often enjoyed Dodington’s hospitality’,68 without pursuing the implications as far as Fielding’s own relations with Walpole in the 1730s are concerned. While it makes perfect sense for Fielding, the supposed protégé of Chesterfield and Lyttelton and recipient of their largesse, to hobnob with Dodington once he had broken with Walpole and joined the ranks of the Opposition, what are we to make of the notion that all the time he was publishing his anti-ministerial essays in the Champion, if not while he was staging Pasquin, The Historical Register for the Year 1736 and Eurydice Hiss’d at the Little Theatre in the Haymarket, Fielding was also in intimate contact with one of the Lords of the Treasury? On 13 May 1741 the Daily Gazetteer published a fable called ‘The Story of the Bear and his Monkey’ which told how the Bear (Dodington), having fallen out with his old friends, had taken up with ‘Vermin’. Fielding is the Monkey, ‘more in favour with the Bear than all the rest’, who, whenever it was ‘gloomy’, ‘strok’d, comb’d, and coax’d the Bear, and call’d his sullen Spirit, true Greatness of Mind forsooth, which made his Master swell and look as significant as might be’.69 While this seems likely to have been a reference to Fielding’s poem, it does not follow ‘that Dodington was behind the heightening of antiministerial polemics that began to characterize Fielding’s contributions to the Champion in March 1740’, let alone that Dodington ‘was also the inspiration

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behind’ Jonathan Wild. Far from constituting objective evidence, albeit in allegory, ‘of the close relationship between the two friends’,70 ‘The Story of the Bear and his Monkey’ is patently ministerial propaganda published with the objective of ridiculing Dodington rather than a factual account offering objective evidence of his patronage of the Champion. Significantly, Fielding’s most outspoken assault on the integrity of Walpole was published in the same month as Of True Greatness. The Vernoniad is a mockheroic poem which at once satirizes the state of the nation under Walpole and savagely attacks the Great Man himself as Mammon. On 22 November 1739, Admiral Vernon had succeeded in taking, ‘with six ships of war only’, the Spanish port of Porto Bello on the coast of Panama. When news of the triumph reached London on 13 March 1740 the Opposition was presented with a unique opportunity to embarrass a ministry which had conspicuously failed properly to provide Vernon with sufficient ships, men, equipment or provisions to undertake the mission on which it had sent him with such apparent reluctance. The fact that, before sailing, Vernon had insisted that he could take Porto Bello with a mere six ships was grist to the mill of Opposition writers ‘because it seemed a deliberate echo of Iliad v. 641, where Tlepolemus tells Sarpedon that Hercules had sacked the city of Ilios “with but six ships and a scantier host” (Loeb)’.71 Thus the opening of Fielding’s poem ARMS and the Man I sing, who greatly bore Augusta’s Flag to Porto Bello’s Shore, On Sea and Land much suffering, e’re he won, With Six Ships only, the predestin’d Town [ …]72

could be readily interpreted as a calculated dig at the Walpole ministry. However, as the notice which appeared in The History of Our Own Times pertinently observes, ‘the Author … hath entitled his Poem, The Vernoniad, without ever once mentioning the Hero, who may be supposed to be the Subject of his Poem’.73 Instead, as the passages carefully selected for reprinting in Fielding’s new periodical make abundantly clear, the mock-heroic idiom of The Dunciad is cleverly exploited to savage Walpole: Within a long recess, where never ray Of light ethereal scares the fiends with day; But fainting tapers glimm’ring pale around, With darkness, their sulphureous flames confound; The dome of Mammon rose, aloft in air, Reflecting thro’ the gloom a golden glare. Here horror reigns, still miserably great In solemn melancholy pomp of state, A huge dark lanthorn hung up in his hall, And heaps of ill-got Pictures hid the wall.74

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This is followed immediately by a passage in which, as the notice explains, ‘Mammon is introduced in a Soliloquy’: Shall I submit to those whom I despise, And quit my schemes as *B — did his [Excise]?75 Shall I this fleet permit to scour the sea? And then excuse myself by fate’s decree? Shall I let merchants triumph, and no more See their rich ships made booty on their shore? Merchants! Whom I must envy; for their wealth Is by just means acquired, but mine by stealth; And while I’m curs’d for every groat, their pains Are honour’d most, when most return’d with gains.76

By identifying envy as the basis of Mammon’s ‘Animosity against Merchants’ Fielding succeeded in extending the Champion’s longstanding campaign of criticism against Walpole’s alleged neglect of trade, and the final extended example from The Vernoniad quoted in The History of Our Own Times also touched on a very familiar theme: ‘Mammon, after being introduced to the Cave of Æolus, where he touches or bribes all the Winds at his Entrance, thus addresses the Æolian Monarch’.77 The theme of bribery is at the heart of Fielding’s mock-heroic reworking of Paradise Lost and The Dunciad. Augusta, a ‘Trojan Colony’ populated by a race ‘Sturdy to Foes and studious of their Trade’, is ‘more / Detested’ by Satan ‘than the once delightful Shore / Of blooming Eden’.78 Satan therefore takes Vernon’s success as a personal insult: Scarce had th’Augustan Fleet unfurl’d her Sails, And spread their Bosoms to the Eastern Gales; When floating ghastly on th’ infernal Brook, Despair and Rage contending in his Look, Th’ Imperial Spirit roar’d his hoarse Voice forth[.]79

The way in which Fielding has Satan address Mammon at once introduces the theme of bribery and allows him to describe Walpole as mankind’s ‘deadliest Foe’: ‘Mammon, least hateful of all Fiends below To me; to Man the greatest deadliest Foe, Shall we thus smoothly see the Ages run, And view triumphant whom we wish undone? …see, at Length, Augusta’s Navy arms, And her Foes tremble with her just Alarms; Haste, Mammon, haste, ascend thy glittering Car, Haste, and obstruct the Progress of the War’. He ceas’d, and sunk his Head within the Flood

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Making use of his habitual metaphor of touching to indicate bribery, Fielding pictures Mammon (Walpole) bribing his way into the presence of Aeolus (‘And as he pass’d, he touch’d on every Side’)81 because only the god of winds can ‘Rouze Western Blasts and stop [the] full Career’ of the British ships.82 By insinuating that bribery and corruption on Walpole’s part were the real reason why Vernon had been so inadequately equipped, Fielding reveals how Walpole’s ‘Gold, which none resist’, has hitherto proved sufficient for him to get his own way: ‘Here, take my Purse, and that will buy them all. For Doubting, sure, thou canst have no Pretence; To shun a Bribe must argue want of Sense. A wise Man’s Conscience always hath a Price: Those that are dear are call’d by Blockheads Nice. Nature ’twixt Men no other Bounds hath set Than that of Sums: – the Little and the Great. Nor is it reckon’d scandalous, to be A Rogue.83

The Vernoniad was published on 22 January 1741; three weeks later, on 13 February, a motion to call upon the King to remove Walpole from his councils ‘for ever’ was debated in both Houses of Parliament. The significance to Fielding’s political career of the defeat of the ‘motion’, as it was called, has not been sufficiently taken into consideration by those biographers and critics who have discussed either his ‘slow-motion departure’ from the Champion, or the recurring suggestions in the contemporary press that he was about to write for rather than against Walpole, let alone whether The Opposition. A Vision of December 1741 was an attack on the Opposition tout court, or only on certain Opposition leaders. First, it should be recognized that the ‘motion’ was badly-managed, and that this served to demonstrate beyond reasonable doubt the weakness, if not the incompetence, of the forces ranged against Walpole. Notoriously, the Opposition Whigs introduced the ‘motion’ without notifying their Tory allies of their intentions. It was, then, scarcely surprising that the Tories failed to support the ‘motion’ in either House. Recently, Bob Harris has drawn attention to ‘the prominence that [the ‘motion’] was accorded in the press in the period immediately preceding the general election’ which took place in May 1741.84 An Opposition Whig pamphlet called A Review of the Late Motion which rehearsed the principal complaints levied against Walpole’s administration was answered in a series of essays in the

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Daily Gazetteer under the general title of ‘The Review Reviewed’, as well as in a number of pro-ministerial pamphlets. Fielding, however, is conspicuous by his lack of involvement in political pamphleteering during the elections. Without citing any evidence, Battestin has asserted that ‘as the nation prepared in April 1741 for a general election, Fielding remained with his friends Lyttelton and Dodington. To further their interests he wrote one of the most curious of all his works, The Crisis: A Sermon’.85 However, the only reason to connect Fielding with this odd pamphlet at all is a remark in Nichols’ Literary Anecdotes of the Eighteenth Century that the copy he had in his possession contained an annotation by one ‘R. B.’ stating that: ‘This Sermon was written by the late Mr. Fielding, Author of Tom Jones, &c. &c. as the Printer of it assured me’.86 It is unsafe to assume from this piece of third-hand evidence that Fielding was responsible for this pamphlet simply because, as the sceptical Coley succinctly puts it, ‘the “politics” of the pamphlet sermon fitted what are believed to be [his] at the time’.87 The polemical purpose of The Crisis was perfectly straightforward: it urged electors to commit ‘the Care and Guardianship of their Liberties and Properties to Men, who, we have Reason to be most confident, will, to their utmost Power, preserve and defend them’.88 As this had been an Opposition commonplace not only in 1741, but throughout the preceding decade and beyond, it is scarcely sufficient to indicate Fielding’s hand. Even if Fielding were responsible for The Crisis, which was published on 16 April, it does not explain his silence once the election campaign itself got under way in May. Cleary, who does not accept The Crisis as Fielding’s, has drawn attention to what he perceives to be ‘the anti-ministerial material in Shamela’ – ‘the one publication of Fielding’s between January and December 1741, the period of his labours over Joseph Andrews’ – even though he regards the piece as ‘only peripherally concerned with politics’.89 In addition to the allusions to Hervey (as Miss Fanny) and Walpole (as ‘his Honour’) in the prefatory material, the references to ‘Pollitricks’ are largely confined to asides on the election of ‘Pallament Men’ [sic] and the fact that Parson Williams tells Shamela ‘that the Court-side are in the right on’t’.90 Whether these are sufficient to bear out Cleary’s insistence that ‘[t]here are just enough political references in the main body of Shamela to mark it as the work of a Broad-Bottom writer during the election campaign’,91 it can scarcely be gainsaid that Fielding contributed nothing to the fund of Opposition propaganda after April 1741. In the absence of other evidence, and comforted by the statement in the Preface to the Miscellanies which seems to suggest that, except for The Opposition. A Vision, he had not written ‘one Syllable in the Champion, or any other public Paper … since the End of June 1741’ and the publication of Joseph Andrews on 22 February 1742, biographers have assumed Fielding spent these months working on the latter. As well as insisting that he no longer wrote for the Champion,

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however, Fielding was also at pains to deny that he had ‘never had the Honour of inserting a single Word’ in the Daily Gazetteer.92 Why should he do this? Is it really likely that he stopped writing for what in the months leading up to the General Election of 1741 gradually became the Opposition journal most noticed by the Daily Gazetteer only to begin writing for that very journal himself ? Before dismissing the possibility out of hand, an extended series of oblique references to his ‘Herculean Labours’ in the Daily Gazetteer and other publications should be taken into account. On 30 March 1741, the Daily Gazetteer published a letter supposedly from ‘Hercules Vinegar’ himself: Having irredeemably mortgaged my share of the little Profit, arising from the Sale of the Champion, I have determin’d to bite the Mortgagee (I’m a Lawyer you know, and understand Trap) by withdrawing my propping Hand from that falling Paper; and intend for the future to dedicate the Strength of my surprising Genius to you. Publish what I have sent you therefore, as a Specimen of my Taste for collecting curious Pieces of Wit and Humour.93

Although evidently published with the intention of drawing the sting from the Champion’s continuing anti-ministerial satire by insinuating that he was no longer writing for the paper, it is remarkable that the appearance of this letter coincides with the very period at which, according to the lost partners’ minutebook, Fielding ‘refused his Assistance’ so that sole responsibility for producing copy fell upon Ralph, while the suggestion that he had somehow mortgaged his two-sixteenths’ ‘Writing Share’ of the profits has the ring of authenticity.94 We know, for instance, that the Champion was allegedly making such a ‘considerable profitt’ at the end of 1740 that it was able to pay dividends to the shareholding partners.95 We also know that, despite this, Fielding was heavily in debt, to such an extent that he was actually confined in a sponging-house for a fortnight in March 1741.96 It was precisely at this point that the Daily Gazetteer chose to publish a dream vision based on ‘the Story of Sisyphus’ in its issue for 10 March 1741. A drudge is pictured endeavouring to push a huge stone to the top of a hill. Horrified to discover that ‘the disappointed Drudge was my Countryman!’, the narrator explains how he ‘besought him to suspend his Labours, and represented to him the great Improbability of succeeding in his attempt’: After some little Pause to recover his Breath, he reply’d with an Air of Fierceness, heightened by his late Disappointments, Is it possible for a free-born Briton to disswade me from this glorious Enterprize? But perhaps you may be ignorant of Jove’s Decree; viz. That whenever this Stone shall be fixed on the Summit of that Hill, His Honour shall fall.

Obviously, as allegory operates in all dream visions, the ‘glorious Enterprize’ is readily interpreted as the Champion’s futile attempt to bring down Walpole.

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However, while the narrator’s confident assertion of the ‘great Improbability of [Vinegar’s] succeeding in his attempt’ is only to be expected, the allegorical burden of the repeated references to the ‘late Disappointments’ of this ‘disappointed Drudge’ is less apparent. Vinegar is represented as ‘an Enemy to’ the personified figure of Britannia, who proceeds to address ‘the zealous, but disappointed Champion’ in the following terms: Fond Man, cease from thy unnatural Attempt: Canst thou serve thy Country by disuniting the Hearts of thy Countrymen, by raising Animosities and Fears, and by promoting a general Discontent. Unhappy and unwise Man! At these Words, methought, the Penitent Hercules relinquished the restless and ill-fated Stone, which rush’d so suddenly by me, that fearing it might crush me, as it had many others, I waked.97

This does not strike me as ‘quite unexceptional anti-opposition satire, free of innuendoes about changing sides’.98 On the contrary, the repeated references to Vinegar’s being ‘disappointed’, taken together with the insinuation at the conclusion of the dream vision that ‘the Penitent Hercules relinquished the restless and ill-fated Stone’, is at least suggestive of the possibility of Fielding giving up his futile – and fruitless – attempt to topple Walpole. Whether his protestation in the Preface to the Miscellanies is considered to constitute circumstantial evidence that, after March 1741, Fielding actually did ‘cease from [his] unnatural Attempt’ to bring about Walpole’s fall, it is interesting that when the Daily Gazetteer printed a dialogue between ‘Hercules Vinegar’ and ‘Ralph Freeman’ on 30 October 1741, Courteville no longer assumed that Fielding was writing the Champion. Observing, instead, that he had not only been abandoned by his ‘Patron’, but also that Ralph was now the journal’s ‘Principal’ author and no longer Fielding’s ‘Deputy’, Courteville reiterated the repeated hints made in the Daily Gazetteer that ‘Hercules Vinegar’ was eager to cross over to Walpole’s side: what will the Publick think, when ’tis told them, that this mighty Hector! this distinguish’d Patriot of Pall-mall! the renowned Capt. Hercules Vinegar! has been whimpering to get over, without once desiring the least Favour to be shewn to his Coadjutor R[alph] so that he is accepted of, – Nay! dear Captain, don’t stare so. You know ’tis – . Perhaps at such a time we shou’d have Deserters of higher Rank. – Some Folks who have stout Stomachs, wou’d then talk in another Tone. – If an Administration’s not to be bullied, – if the People are not to be rouz’d, – many a Malecontent would be glad of his Place again. – we have seen such things happen!

Patently, Courteville was making mischief at the expense of Fielding’s relations with those Opposition leaders assumed by Fielding scholars to be his patrons – Lyttelton, Chesterfield, Dodington and perhaps (by this stage) Argyll:

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A Political Biography of Henry Fielding R.F. Can’t you ask some of your Correspondents of Quality. – Do, – try them, Captain. – Perhaps when you shew a thorough Repentance, something may be done for you – on our Side. H.V. They, – rot them, – they’d abuse me, – or take the Hint. – Why, they never think me severe enough. – Should I write up to their Standard, – I might come to be – I won’t say what, – even under your mild Administration. R.F. Ay, then your’s is a hard Task, indeed! – I ask your Pardon. – I pity you with all my Heart. – Poor Captain! – ah! as you was saying, – you might come to be – why, Faith, you are to be pity’d. – Adieu!99

When the Daily Gazetteer returned to the subject on 13 November, however, Courteville wryly observed that ‘this Augean Stable is like to go unclean’d, unless the CHAMPION should once again change Sides, and endeavour to expiate past Offences by undertaking the Job’ of answering the vast number of complaints which Opposition writers had made about the Walpole ministry. Now that we know that a reconciliation between Fielding and Walpole was indeed in the offing, the date of this loaded comment about ‘the CHAMPION … once again chang[ing] Sides, and endeavour[ing] to expiate past Offences’ assumes huge significance.100 ‘Our Friend F[ie]l[din]g is actually reconciled to ye great Man, & as He says upon very advantageous Terms, but this is as yet a Secret’, Thomas Harris wrote to James Harris on 5 December 1741; ‘this He told Me Himself yesterday’.101 Ten days later, Fielding published The Opposition. A Vision.

6 THE POLITICAL SIGNIFICANCE OF THE OPPOSITION. A VISION

With the publication on 15 December 1741 of The Opposition. A Vision, Fielding signalled a controversial sea change in his politics the consequences of which biographers and critics have continued to debate into the twenty-first century. That the pamphlet is in some sense a ‘satire on the pposition’1 cannot be gainsaid even by those who would seek to play down the seriousness of Fielding’s apostasy. Thus Cross describes the pamphlet as ‘a good-natured rebuke of the leaders of his party’,2 while Coley interprets it as evidence not of Fielding’s disillusionment with the opposition tout court, but only with certain Opposition leaders such as Pulteney, Carteret, and Argyll – a disillusionment he allegedly shared with the politicians to whom he was closest.3 Similarly, Cleary maintains that The Opposition ‘does not really imply that Fielding was rewarded by Walpole’. ‘It is chiefly a vision of the future’, he argues, rather than an indication of a ‘change of party’ on Fielding’s part.4 In 1960, on the other hand, Battestin argued with prescience in ‘Fielding’s Changing Politics and Joseph Andrews’ that both The Opposition and certain passages in the first version of Joseph Andrews indicated that Fielding had been paid to change sides and support the government. Patently subscribing to this interpretation of Fielding’s conduct in the section of Walpole and the Wits entitled ‘Fielding’s Defection’, Goldgar concluded that: ‘There is, in short, no escaping the fact that Fielding withdrew from opposition journalism and wrote a pamphlet that could easily have been published in the Gazetteer, so similar is it to the usual mode of proministerial propaganda’.5 Fortunately, it is no longer necessary to rely on inference and innuendo. The documentary evidence recently presented by Ribble supports the arguments of Battestin and Goldgar, and removes any lingering doubt that Fielding finally sold out to Walpole in 1741.6 Hitherto, however, no one writing about The Opposition has commented on the significance to day-to-day parliamentary politics of its publication on the day before the crucial vote for the chairmanship of the Committee of Privileges and Elections took place. The first real indication that the initiative in the House of – 111 –

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Commons had finally passed from Walpole to the Opposition was the defeat, by a mere four votes, of the ministerial candidate, Giles Earle, who had served in that capacity during the previous Parliament. ‘You have no idea of their huzza!’, Horace Walpole remarked, ‘unless you can conceive how people must triumph after defeats for twenty years together’.7 As warning lights had been flashing ever since the first election petition had been presented on 9 December, if not before, the Opposition victory had not been entirely unexpected, however. While the government candidates successfully unseated their opponents on that day, the narrowness of the margin – a mere seven votes – was of major concern to Walpole and his supporters. ‘The Opposition triumphs highly, and with reason; one or two such victories, as Pyrrhus, the member for Macedon, said, will be the ruin of us’, Horace Walpole wryly observed. ‘I look upon it now, that the question is, Downing Street or the Tower’.8 It is against the background of the opening of the new Parliament on 1 December 1741, and the manoeuvring for advantage as far as the election petitions were concerned, that The Opposition should be read. With the benefit of hindsight, Owen described Walpole’s ‘persistence in seeking Earle’s re-election’ as ‘undoubtedly a grave tactical blunder’,9 but that is not necessarily how it would have appeared at the time. Despite the absence of party whips, Walpole was aware of the likely voting inclinations of every individual MP, and therefore had every reason to anticipate a government majority of some twenty votes. In the event, more government supporters failed to vote than Opposition supporters – perhaps as many as 31 out of a total of 54 absentees. ‘They cry “Sir R[obert] miscalculated”’, complained Horace Walpole: ‘how should he calculate, when they are men like [Charles] Ross, and fifty others he could name’!10 Walpole, then, knew that the vote would be close. Whether, in the circumstances, he decided that his newly-acquired apologist should publish a pamphlet against the election of the chairman of the Committee of Privileges and Elections we do not know, but Fielding’s satire was not only well-timed to influence the opinion of the 480 MPs who voted, it also represented the Opposition as a disunited, disorganized, badly-led, and fundamentally self-interested rabble. In reviewing the political situation at the beginning of the parliamentary session in December 1741 after the general election which had taken place earlier in the year, The Opposition took its cue from a sentence in the heading to the third chapter of Cibber’s Apology which reads ‘Met the Revolution at Nottingham’.11 This allows Fielding’s narrator to dream that he ‘met the Opposition’ in the shape of a wagon drawn by asses while ‘walking in the High-way, not far from London’.12 This ‘strange Vehicle’ consisted ‘chiefly [of ] a vast Trunk, on which was inscribed the Word Grievances, and a huge Box with Public Spirit written in large golden Characters on it’s Outside; these were so placed, that they seemed contrived to catch the Eye of every Beholder; there was another Trunk

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tied behind, which had nothing written on it, but contained, as I was whispered, Motions for the Year 1741–2’.13 The ‘great Number of Passengers’ in the wagon ‘sat Back to Back, and (which was very remarkable) scarce two of them looked the same Way’. Significantly, some of them were Hanoverians, some clearly Jacobites, ‘distinguished by white Roses in their Hats’, while some – republicans, presumably – were ‘of a sour Complection, without any Rose at all’. For this reason, the driver was given ‘different Directions, some bidding him drive to the Right, some to the Left, and some calling to him to move directly forwards, without regarding the Dirtiness of the Way’.14 Even when a fresh attempt to move is made after a cry ‘to go on’, with ‘the Drivers encouraging their Beasts, the Mob hollowing, and the Asses braying all together, that it is difficult to conceive an adequate Idea of the Discord and Confusion which ensued’, it is ‘all to no Purpose, the Waggon was stuck, nor could the long ear’d Beasts move it an Inch’.15 This does not seem to me to be indicative of Fielding’s dissatisfaction with certain elements in the Opposition only; on the contrary, whether disaffected Whig or Tory, in this instance the Opposition leaders themselves (the drivers) appear to be pulling in the same direction as the rank-and-file (the asses). The essential thrust of Fielding’s satire is that the Opposition is going nowhere. Moreover, Fielding insinuates that, in reality, the very grounds upon which the Opposition politicians had chosen to attack Walpole were baseless. How else are we to interpret the fact that, when opened, the ‘vast Trunk’ of grievances turns out to be empty apart from ‘a few News-Papers, on one of which I read the Word Champion, and on another was the Word onsense, the Letter N being, I suppose, folded down’, and ‘one or two little Parcels at the Bottom, which seemed to have something in them’, but which ‘appeared however fastened to the Trunk’?16 Does this not imply that Common Sense, the Opposition journal sponsored by his supposed patrons, Chesterfield and Lyttelton, and to which they contributed essays, was actually nonsense? And what are we to make of Fielding’s failure even to mention that other prominent Opposition organ, the Craftsman, to which in the 1730s, it has been suggested, he had been an extensive contributor? If Fielding’s remarks on the Opposition press seem to be satiric, they pale into insignificance beside the potential burden of his negative observations on the ‘immense Box’ inscribed with the words, ‘Public Spirit’ which, far from being empty, turns out to be ‘cramm’d with Ambition, Malice, Envy, Avarice, Disaffection, Disappointment, Pride, Revenge, and many other heavy Commodities’, for the highly significant reason that it is ‘in that Box [that] every Passenger carries his own private Goods’. In this way, Fielding transmogrifies the Opposition’s complaints of corruption against Walpole into little more than thinly-disguised self-interest. ‘I wonder indeed, (cried another) where they had picked up so much Public Spirit; for if any of the Gentlemen in the Waggon are possess’d of such a Commodity, they have taken very great Care to hide it’ (my emphasis).17

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Not only is this biting satire at the Opposition’s expense a clear indication of a change in political direction on Fielding’s part, it also reveals his willingness to single out individual opposition politicians for criticism even if, unfortunately, identification is not straightforward. If a ‘play on the name of Carteret’ perhaps fits him for the role of ‘the Head-Carter’, the suggestion that the description of ‘the chief Driver’ as ‘a Stranger to the English Roads’ alludes to foreign policy being his ‘forte’ seems strained,18 particularly given that the leading light in the Opposition at this juncture, the Duke of Argyll, was Scottish.19 While Argyll, Carteret and Pulteney appear prime candidates for ‘the Drivers (for there were several)’,20 identification of ‘an ill-look’d Fellow, carrying a large Flag’,21 or a ‘Fellow who rode in the very Tail, [who] got up and made a Speech’,22 or the passenger ‘who seemed to have an honester Countenance than most of the rest, and who declared he travelled only to bear his Friends Company, but knew not whither he was going’,23 let alone ‘a sly Fellow who sat at the Head of the Waggon, who as my Friend told me softly, intended to drive the Lord knows whither’,24 seems fraught with difficulty. According to Coley: Chesterfield in fact seems nowhere visible. Dodington is recognizable only if a remarkably oblique allusion to one of his residences [at Turnham Green] be accepted. And Lyttelton, the futility of whose paper (Common Sense) is remarked, if he appears at all in person, is a friendly informant with serious doubts about the whole enterprise.25

Here Coley suggests that if Lyttelton is represented by Fielding in The Opposition, then he is the character distinguished by the narrator as ‘my Friend’.26 If this is so, then who is ‘the honest Gentleman … who rode one of the foremost in the Waggon, [who] leapt down’ from the wagon early on in the narrative’?27 There can, however, be no doubt about the identification of ‘that long-sided Ass they call Vinegar’, or ‘that grave Ass yoked to him, which they name Ralph, who pulls and brays like the Devil’. Interestingly, according to the account offered in The Opposition it is Vinegar (Fielding) who ‘the Drivers call upon so often to gee up, and pull lustily’, even though the speaker ‘never saw an Ass with a worse Mane, or a more shagged Coat’. If this is the first (perhaps the only) clear indication that Fielding was responding to the solicitations of the Opposition leaders when writing his anti-ministerial essays for the Champion, it is equally apparent that he considered himself to be badly paid for his pains, for there can be little doubt about the allegorical burden of the sentence: ‘Surely, considering the wretched Work they are employed in, they deserve better meat’.28 Significantly, it is at this point in the narrative that: A second general Cry of drive on arose, and the poor Beasts strained with their utmost Might, but in vain, though the Drivers themselves put their Shoulders to the Wheels, the Waggon could not be stirred; upon which one of the Passengers swearing By G—

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you are stuck for seven Years longer, leapt out, and made haste over to the other Side of the Way. Now nothing but Despair appeared in every one’s Looks, when, lo! a sudden Supply of Asses appeared at the same Time, one Herd of which, I was informed, were of the Cornish Breed, the other, by the particular Tone of their Bray, I soon discovered to come from the far North.29

Even if, in Fielding’s hands, the influx of new MPs from Cornwall and Scotland is a source of derision, they do succeed in getting the wagon moving once again, if only at a walking pace at first. What happens next seems to be crucial to an appreciation of Fielding’s polemical strategy in The Opposition: I followed this wonderful Procession a very few Paces, when, on a sudden, the Drivers offered to turn aside out of the great Country Road; upon this much Confusion ensued, all those in the Middle and Tail of the Cart crying aloud, Where the Devil are ye going? to which they answered with Derision, To St James’s, as fast as possible: They then begged to get out, and complained of being abused and deceived; but the others swore they were in the Waggon, and there they should stay, bidding any offer to descend at their Peril; at the same Time several of the Asses began to flinch, but were well whipt, and obliged to draw on; and now the Waggon proceeded so fast, that I could no longer keep pace with it, and was left, with great Numbers of it’s Followers, in the Rear.30

Interpretation of this passage is central, in my view, to any assessment of Fielding’s purpose in writing The Opposition. Here he appears to be accusing the Opposition leaders (the drivers) of proposing to surrender their Country principles (‘turn aside out of the great Country Road’) in order to take up ministerial positions (‘To St James’s, as fast as possible’). While this at first blush might seem to bear out Cross’s suggestion that Fielding’s intention was merely ‘a good-natured rebuke of the leaders of his party’,31 it should be noted that it was only those ‘in the Middle and Tail of the Cart’ – and not the drivers – who object to the wagon’s turning ‘out of the great Country Road’. Fielding’s ‘rebuke’ does not seem particularly good-natured to me. On the contrary, it seems more like the sort of damning irony he had previously published at Walpole’s expense in pieces like The Vernoniad. More importantly, Fielding does not appear to make any attempt to distinguish between the individual Opposition leaders who ‘themselves put their Shoulders to the Wheels’ with the sole intention of heading ‘To St James’s, as fast as possible’. There is nothing in the text of The Opposition, in other words, to suggest that Chesterfield and Lyttelton should be considered exempt from Fielding’s criticism. Yet it is with this dubious end in view that the asses – including, presumably, for the purposes of the allegory, Henry Fielding (‘Vinegar’) and James Ralph – are ‘well whipt, and obliged to draw on’.32 The drivers are only stopped in their career when they encounter the Great Man himself, and the immediate political context in December 1741 – with Opposition members congratulating

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themselves upon Walpole’s imminent downfall – would once again seem relevant to Fielding’s allegory: I observ’d the Huzza’s all ceased, and heard great Mutterings amongst the Croud, when suddenly the Career stopped, occasioned, as I found on coming up, by a Coach and six, which stood directly in it’s Way; nor was the Road wide enough to suffer our Waggon to pass by.33

If, as I have suggested, The Opposition was published with the specific objective of rallying ministerial waverers the day before the crucial vote on the Chairmanship of the Committee of Privileges and Elections, then not only is this stand-off significant in allegorical terms (the road is blocked ‘by a Coach and six, which stood directly in [the] Way’), so also are the negotiations into which the Opposition leaders proceed to enter with Walpole: The Drivers of the latter entered into Parley with a fat Gentleman who rode in the former, and appeared to have one of the pleasantest best-natured Countenances I ever beheld. They desired him to alight, and quietly suffer his Coach to be drawn backwards out of their Way, or else swore they would drive over him, and pull him and his Equipage to pieces.34

The clear implication of Fielding’s allegory is that it was the intention not only of the Opposition leaders – the drivers – but of ‘several in the fore Part’ of the wagon ‘who had, it seems, been all the while in the Secret’, to take the place of Walpole and his supporters in the ministry. Hence they desire to be set down at the Admiralty, or at the Treasury, or at the Exchequer, while ‘several others were for other Places’.35 The fat gentleman, however, simply ‘smiled at these Threatnings’,36 and asked ‘If they really thought such miserable half starved Wretches, as their Asses were, could stand against his high spirited Horses? And whether they imagined he was to be frightened by their braying?’37 This is the essential thrust of Fielding’s polemical strategy in The Opposition: even after the electoral gains they had made in 1741, he suggests, the combined might of the Opposition – leaders and rankand-file together – is patently insufficient to bring about Walpole’s downfall. Even more significantly, it is at this point in the narrative, when ‘the Drivers lifted up their Whips at the Asses’, that one of them, methought, (such is the Extravagance of Dreams) raised himself on his hinder Legs, and spake as follows. ‘O thou perfidious Driver! dost thou not profess thyself a Driver of the Country Waggon? Are not those Words written in large Characters upon it? Have not thy Passengers taken their Places for the Country? What will their Friends who sent them, and bore the Expence of their Journey, say, when they hear they are come up on their own Account, and neglect the Business of those who sent them? Will it be a sufficient Excuse that thou hast misled them? And hast thou no more Humanity, than to endeavour to trample upon an honest Gentleman, only

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because his Coach stands in your Way? As to Asses, it’s of little Consequence where they are driven, provided they are not used to such Purposes, as the Honesty of even an Ass would start at’.38

The allegorical significance of this passage is not difficult to decipher. If this is not ‘that long-sided Ass they call Vinegar’ speaking, it is undoubtedly one of those required by the drivers of ‘the Country Waggon’ to do their dirty work for little reward, and it is significant that Walpole is openly described as ‘an honest Gentleman’ in contradistinction to the unidentified Opposition politician who is addressed as ‘thou perfidious Driver’ – the biblical overtones of the phrase serving only to add to the seriousness of the charge Fielding is making. Coley questions Battestin’s suggestion that, in this passage, Fielding ‘puts his own indignation at Patriot dishonesty and double-dealing into the mouth of one of the beasts’.39 But it is difficult to interpret the ass’s speech as anything other than criticism of the Opposition leaders tout court, especially in the context of his recent reconciliation with Walpole. That this is the conclusion to be drawn from Fielding’s allegory appears inescapable given the subsequent account of the outcome of the apparent stand-off between the ‘honest Gentleman’ and the drivers of the country wagon: the Gentleman in the Coach at last told them, if he had no more Compassion for the Asses than their Drivers, he could easily have trampled them under his Feet, but he would shew them more Mercy, than he expected to have found, if their Masters had any Power to hurt him; he then, with a Countenance full of Benignity, ordered his Servants to unharness the poor Beasts, and turn them into a delicious Meadow, where they all instantly fell to grazing, with a Greadiness [sic] common to Beasts after a long Abstinence; the Passengers having taken this Opportunity to quit the Waggon, it was easily drawn back, and the Coachman now proceeded on without any Obstruction… .40

This, it seems to me, is the polemical purpose of The Opposition. A Vision. The day before the crucial vote for the chairmanship of the Committee of Privileges and Elections Fielding insinuates that, when it comes to a contest, opposition to Walpole in the House of Commons will once again disintegrate. And if there is any allegorical significance in Walpole causing the asses to be unharnessed, whereupon ‘they all instantly fell to grazing, with a Greadiness common to Beasts after a long Abstinence’, then it can only mean that Fielding (Vinegar) was now being rewarded for his efforts, and that this had not really been the case while he was writing for his supposed ‘friends’ in the Opposition. Fielding’s dream vision ends with Walpole’s coach striking ‘directly into the very Road whither the other had pretended it was going’41 – in other words, ‘the great Country Road’ – ‘at which the Mob set up a universal Shout, and swore they would burn the [Country] Waggon and it’s Furniture, for having so long

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obstructed the Gentleman in his Journey’.42 Although Coley describes this as an ‘interpretational crux’,43 it is surely an important element in Fielding’s polemical strategy, given the thrust of the rest of The Opposition, to argue that the Opposition’s objections to Walpole’s governance were largely chimerical, more especially as ‘the fat Gentleman’ was apparently himself pursuing ‘Country’ policies for the nation’s common weal.

Fielding and the ‘New’ Opposition I have dwelt on the allegorical significance of The Opposition. A Vision because it seems to me to be central to a true appreciation of Fielding as a political writer. Taking its immediate context into account, let us reconsider the relevance of the conclusion of The Opposition to the political situation in December 1741. There can be no doubt that Walpole was concerned about the consequences of his electoral losses, especially in Cornwall and Scotland. ‘After the [general] election [of 1741] Fielding and his Broad-Bottom friends felt great hope’, Cleary asserts. ‘However, it was soon poisoned by dread of betrayal and then converted into despair and hate as William Pulteney and Lord Carteret moved toward the deal with the Walpole forces that in 1742 would leave the Broad-Bottoms in opposition’. On this view, The Opposition is ‘a vision of the withering of the strengthened post-election opposition by jealousy, greed, and ambition’.44 As a statement of the polemical thrust of Fielding’s pamphlet this can scarcely be bettered, although it is not clear to me how such a public expression of the doubts and misgivings of any of the leaders of the Opposition would have answered the requirements of Lyttelton and Chesterfield, or have served to rally waverers to their cause. Because of course as we now know, The Opposition was written after Fielding had arrived at a secret agreement with Walpole. It was not simply an expression of disillusionment with certain Opposition leaders, let alone an indication of his continuing commitment to the ‘Broad-Bottom faction’: it was ministerial propaganda published with a specific polemical objective in mind. Coley maintains that Fielding’s disaffection mirrored that of Lyttelton, who ‘was almost certainly still a friendly adviser, and his “take” on the coalition was very like that of the Opposition’,45 while Cleary insists that the pamphlet was written ‘as an extreme expression in public of fears and suspicions about the near future that Lyttleton and the Broad-Bottoms confided to one another in private in the latter half of 1741’.46 If a ‘Broad-Bottom faction’ actually existed prior to 1742,47 however, it is unlikely to have included Chesterfield, Lyttelton, Cobham, Dodington and Argyll, let alone Bolingbroke, Carteret and Pulteney also. And even if this were the case, it fails to explain Fielding’s rapprochement with Walpole. While the nature of his relationship with the Opposition leaders remains unclear and undocumented,48 it is now evident that Fielding had

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reached a secret agreement of some sort with Walpole by the beginning of the parliamentary session of 1741–2. The phrase, ‘& as he says upon very advantageous Terms’,49 presumably means that Fielding benefited materially from the deal – almost certainly in the form of hard cash. That is certainly what his reference to ‘a long Abstinence’ in The Opposition. A Vision seems to suggest.50 Even if Fielding’s pamphlet failed to prevent the ministry losing the crucial vote on the chairmanship of the Committee of Privileges and Elections which, in turn, led to the final collapse of the Robinocracy, The Opposition demonstrates beyond reasonable doubt that he was a political writer who wrote for money. It is important, however, to emphasize that changing sides and writing on Walpole’s behalf called for no sacrifice of his Whig principles on Fielding’s part. While it would be naïve to assume on the basis of the conclusion of The Opposition that he had actually been convinced by some sort of road-to-Damascus conversion that Walpole had somehow been pursuing Country principles all along, it does not follow that in changing his politics he changed his party. Cleary argues that it is ‘obfuscation’ to suggest that Fielding ‘ever belonged to a “party” called “the opposition”’ because he belonged to a ‘faction’ called ‘the Broad-Bottoms’,51 yet this itself is obfuscation. In common with the vast majority of his contemporaries Fielding recognized that, however much it was in the interests of the Opposition to argue that ‘the Names of Whig and Tory have been happily laid aside’,52 the nation was divided into two parties. Indeed, in the prologue to ‘The Election’ in Pasquin he had implied that Court and Country were merely alternative names for the Whig and Tory parties, respectively: … here at once both Whig and Tory; Or, Court and Country Party you may call ’em[.]53

Fielding chose to recall the division between Court and Country in The Opposition, but with a striking difference. Instead of a straightforward identification of the Whigs with the Court, Fielding’s polemical strategy in the latter work was to insinuate that Walpole was somehow pursuing Country principles. Why should he do this? The Country coalition was an alliance of disaffected Whigs and Tories. As a pamphlet published after Walpole’s fall called The Case of the Opposition Impartially Stated put it: It is now somewhat more than twenty Years, that a certain Party hath subsisted among us, under the Title of the Opposition; they have at certain Times been composed of very different People, and consequently have been considered in different Lights; but the proper Characteristic of the Party, and that from which it derives it’s Name, is the Opposing of Power, or endeavouring to circumscribe in Parliament the Grants of Money and Extention of Authority, which have from Time to Time been demanded by several Administrations.54

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By the 1730s, Court Whigs and Opposition Whigs agreed that ‘all Right comes from the People; that there is no just Power but what is derived from them, and ought in every Instance to be exercised for their Good’.55 The question was whether Walpole really was exercising power for the public good, or whether, as Ralph put in with remarkable clarity in one of his ‘Remarkable Queries’ in the Champion: Whether, during the Twenty Years Administration of the Defendant, any one single Measure has been taken for the Advantage of the Public? And, whether, on the contrary, his Measures in General, could have any other Tendency, than to beggar, and enslave us?56

Hitherto, in his political plays and his political journalism Fielding had tended to support the more radical version of Whiggism transmitted pre-eminently via the writings of Sidney and Trenchard and Gordon, according to which the people’s liberties were under threat from the corruption and self-interest of Walpole and his supporters. Liberty could only be preserved by individual members of the nobility and gentry displaying disinterested public spirit through the exercise of their virtue and independence. This is the thrust not only of the series of essays published in the Champion and reprinted in Edinburgh as An Address to the Electors of Great Britain, Wherein the Power of the People is traced from its Original, and confirmed by undoubted Authorities but also of the election scenes in Don Quixote in England and Pasquin. True, the plays satirize the electoral practices of the Opposition as well, but the clear implication is that ‘we should stand by our Neighbours; Gentlemen whose Honesty we are Witnesses of, and whose Estates in our own Neighbourhood render ’em not liable to be bribed’.57 ‘The notion that civic virtue depended on the possession of land and that political power was rooted in property was accepted by all the elements of the Country interest’, Dickinson explains, ‘but it was the Commonwealthmen who most fully developed the thesis that the constitution could only be safeguarded by men of property who cherished their independence and were prepared to put the public good before private gain’.58 That there was life left in the dispute between these differing versions of Whiggism is apparent from the flurry of pamphlets following on from Walpole’s fall as the various Whig opposition groups tried to sort themselves out after Carteret, Pulteney and Sandys, flagrantly failing to pursue a ‘Broad-Bottom’ scheme, had taken office in precisely the manner intimated by Fielding in The Opposition. Interestingly, Trenchard’s name was invoked on a number of occasions in these pamphlets. Merely by invoking the name of a commonwealthman whose Whig principles, regardless of the similarity of some of his opinions to those held by Tories, such as his aversion to standing armies, were unimpeachable, Whig pamphleteers could fix their ideological position in such a way that it could safely be

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located by their target readers. Thus The Case of the Opposition Impartially Stated pointed out that ‘Mr. Trenchard, who wrote the History of standing Armies, was undoubtedly as true a Friend to the Revolution, and as desirous of supporting King William’s Government, as any Man in the Nation’,59 while the author of A Proper Answer to the By-Stander also recalled his ‘two excellent Treatises against Standing Armies’ – the seminal pamphlets, An Argument Shewing that a Standing Army Is inconsistent with A Free Government, and absolutely destructive to the Constitution of the English Monarchy (1697) and A Short History of Standing Armies in England (1698) – simply in order to maintain that ‘Mr. Trenchard … was never suspected of being a Tory’.60 As I have already suggested, this more radical Whig stance was one to which, until his reconciliation with the Great Man in late 1741, Fielding had tended to adopt. Up to this point, his political plays and his political journalism had been shot through with the sort of ‘Country’ rhetoric assumed by those seeking to construct a platform strong enough to accommodate the coalition of disaffected Whigs and Tories ranged against Walpole, according to which: Nothing can be more ridiculous than to preserve the nominal division of whig and tory parties, which subsisted before the revolution, when the difference of principles, that could alone make the distinction real, exists no longer; so nothing can be more reasonable than to admit the nominal division of constitutionists and anti-constitutionists, or of a court and a country-party, at this time, when an avowed difference of principles makes the distinction real.61

While recent biographers and critics of Fielding appear to identify this rhetoric exclusively with ‘Bolingbroke and the “broad-bottoms”’,62 it not only pre-dated any such alliance, the Country ‘language’ to which it resorted was much more widespread in its usage, to such an extent that it became a location ‘in which the categories Old Whig and Tory begin to penetrate one another’.63 As a consequence of Carteret and Pulteney’s defection, the coalition of Whigs and Tories which for ‘somewhat more than twenty Years’ had been known as ‘the Opposition’ was forced to take stock and re-orientate itself in the months after Walpole’s fall. ‘It was given out in dark Whispers’, Perceval recalled, ‘that the Whig Leaders of the Opposition … had betray’d their Party’. For this reason, ‘it was necessary the Matter should be laid open before the whole Opposition’ at a meeting on 12 February in the Fountain Tavern in The Strand. ‘The Charge was introduced with great Solemnity’ by Argyll – apparently de facto Opposition leader at this juncture – who reminded the assembled multitude That among other things, what administered Matter of great Jealousy was the Choice of those already preferred [Carteret, Pulteney and Sandys]; that this Choice having fallen principally upon Whigs, it was an ill Omen for the Tories; and that if they were not to be destroyed, and Parties revived to the great Prejudice of the Nation; that it

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Carteret failed to attend the meeting (apparently on the grounds that he never dined at a tavern), but Pulteney and Sandys warmly defended their conduct on the grounds that there was ‘neither Justice, Decency, Duty, nor Moderation in dictating to the King, how to dispose of every Preferment in the State’.65 Thus, as Perceval subsequently recalled, ‘they came to a final Breach. – From this exact Period may be dated the Death of the late memorable Opposition, and the Birth of a fatal Faction, who have already laid the Foundation of Calamities, which will require much Wisdom and Virtue to avert’.66 Perceval’s purpose in writing and publishing Faction Detected, by the Evidence of Facts, as one contemporary answerer perceived, was to make a ‘very nice, quiet and subtle Distinction … between Faction and Opposition’: ‘who is there’, the anonymous pamphleteer continued, ‘that doth not see that you blanch nominal Whigs, and blacken nominal Tories, only to revive those hateful Distinctions’.67 There was undoubtedly some truth in this. Writing from the perspective of the final months of 1743 rather than the immediate aftermath of Walpole’s fall, Perceval was eager to assert that ‘the Government now stands upon the Foundation of a true Whig Interest, upon which alone it can safely stand, supported by Men, united by the manifest Revival of a Principle tending directly to their common Ruin’,68 as well as to insinuate that those who continued to oppose the Whig ministry were factious rather than public-spirited: As it was too soon to stile themselves a new Opposition … they therefore formed themselves, for the present, under the Title of the Broad-Bottom; a Cant Word, which corresponding equally with the Personal Figure of some of their Leaders, and the Nature of their Pretensions, was understood to imply, a Party united to force the Tories into the Administration.69

In this way, Perceval verges on personal criticism of those Opposition leaders – Chesterfield, Dodington and Lyttelton – who are conventionally described as ‘the grouping of politicians closest to’ Fielding,70 if not as his ‘Broad-Bottom patrons’ and ‘friends’.71 ‘The Broad-Bottoms were left among those who remained in opposition and called for Walpole’s impeachment in 1742’, Cleary correctly observes, before proceeding to assert that Pulteney and Carteret were ‘now the chief target of the “new” opposition (really the rump of the old one) and of writers like Fielding’.72 The problem with this analysis is not merely that, in the complete absence of evidence, we have no means of knowing what Fielding thought about the political manoeuvring which followed Walpole’s resignation, but more importantly that he does not appear ever to have written on behalf of the ‘Broad-Bottom’

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faction which Perceval describes as rising from the ashes of the old Opposition after February 1742. On the contrary, Fielding ‘solemnly declare[d]’ in the Preface to the Miscellanies ‘that since the End of June 1741, I have not, besides Joseph Andrews, published one Word, except The Opposition, a Vision. A Defence of the Dutchess of Marlborough’s Book. Miss Lucy in Town, (in which I had a very small Share.)’. ‘And I do farther protest’, he went on, ‘that I will never hereafter publish any Book or Pamphlet whatever, to which I will not put my Name’.73 As far as we can tell, Fielding was as good as his word.74 Regardless of a gradually intensifying opposition press campaign promoted (and presumably bankrolled) by Chesterfield in 1743–44 to forward the political ends of the so-called Broad-Bottoms which only ceased when they themselves were accommodated with positions in the government,75 Fielding kept his own counsel on topical politics between the publication of The Opposition. A Vision on 15 December 1741 and the publication of A Serious Address to the People of Great Britain on 3 October 1745. As fortune would have it, on 2 February 1742 – barely two months after Fielding changed sides to write on behalf of ‘one of the best of men and of ministers’76 – Walpole resigned. Three weeks later, on 22 February, The History of the Adventures of Joseph Andrews, and of his Friend Mr. Abraham Adams. Written in Imitation of the Manner of Cervantes, Author of Don Quixote was published in two volumes by Andrew Millar. While it is scarcely innocent of political intent, Joseph Andrews is a work of fiction – ‘a comic Epic-Poem in Prose’, according to Fielding77 – and not a polemical pamphlet. For the time being, and for whatever reason, Fielding had given up being a political writer.

7 ‘THERE ARE SEVERAL BOOBYS WHO ARE SQUIRES’: 1742–1745

With the exception of the chapter ‘wherein’ Parson Adams ‘appears in a political light’ (Book II, Chapter viii), it has been customary to discount the political significance of Joseph Andrews. ‘The sheer sparseness of political material (compared to its massive presence in his recent journalism) indicates his withdrawal from an arena that had proven as unprofitable as it was laborious’, Cleary asserts. ‘It is not a political work in any basic sense or in comparison with works that chronologically flank it’.1 Battestin seems to concur. ‘Whiggish though he was, Fielding was “no Politician”’, he argues, ‘and Joseph Andrews, one of the few works of the period in which he could afford to follow his own inclinations in this respect, is not in any important way a political novel’.2 Were ‘party-political’ to be substituted for ‘political’, this would appear unexceptionable. Given that Fielding, in Joseph Andrews, clearly privileges one mode of social behaviour over another, however, the position taken up by Cleary and Battestin strikes me as a difficult one to defend. Even before he attempts to focus the reader’s attention on the faulty morality of those in positions of authority by making Adams remark in all innocence that ‘there are several Boobys who are Squires’(IV. xii),3 Fielding as narrator has already drawn attention to the ‘ticklish’ nature of the name, ‘which malicious Persons may apply, according to their evil Inclinations to several worthy Country ’Squires, a Race of Men whom we look upon as entirely inoffensive, and for whom we have an adequate Regard’ (III. ii).4 In revealing the discrepancy between how, according to the ideology of benevolent paternalism to which he implicitly subscribed, landlords ought to conduct themselves, and the self-interested way in which, in reality, many of them actually appeared to behave, Fielding was making a political point. That this is the principal thrust of Fielding’s satire in Joseph Andrews is apparent from Lady Booby’s failed attempt to seduce her manservant onwards. Even the opening chapters’ parody of the moral lesson of Richardson’s Pamela has its part to play. It is not simply that in Fielding’s hands the anonymous Mr B becomes Squire Booby, but that his ironic eulogy of ‘those Biographers who – 125 –

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have recorded the Actions of great and worthy Persons of both Sexes’ – Cibber’s autobiographical Apology for His Life and Richardson’s factitious account of Pamela’s trials and tribulations – serves once again to illustrate his belief ‘that Examples work more forcibly on the Mind than Precepts’ (I. i).5 Given these circumstances, then, it is only appropriate that Fielding’s account of Lady Booby’s conduct on arriving at Booby-Hall in the opening chapter of the final book (IV. i) should constitute one of his clearest ironic denunciations of inappropriate behaviour on the part of the landed gentry: She entered the Parish amidst the ringing of Bells, and the Acclamations of the Poor, who were rejoiced to see their Patroness returned after so long an Absence, during which time all her Rents had been drafted to London, without a Shilling being spent along them, which tended not a little to their utter impoverishing; for if the Court would be severely missed in such a City as London, how much more must the Absence of a Person of great Fortune be felt in a little Country Village, for whose Inhabitants such a Family finds a constant Employment and Supply; and with the Offalls of whose Table the infirm, aged, and infant Poor are abundantly fed, with a Generosity which hath scarce a visible Effect on their Benefactor’s Pockets.6

The political significance of Fielding’s satire on landlords might be summed up by the question: How should landlords behave in practice? Therefore we should not be surprised if the conclusion of the passage I have just quoted seems to echo the crucial lines that follow on from Pope’s account of a day spent at Timon’s villa in An Epistle to Burlington: Yet hence the Poor are cloath’d, the Hungry fed; Health to himself, and to his Infants bread The Lab’rer bears: What his hard Heart denies, His charitable Vanity supplies.7

In essence a disquisition on the use of riches, Joseph’s ‘Speech on Charity’ (III. v) also appears to derive from Pope’s poem: What inspires a Man to build fine Houses, to purchase fine Furniture, Pictures, Clothes, and other things at a great Expence, but an Ambition to be respected more than other People? Now would not one great Act of Charity, one Instance of redeeming a poor Family from all the Miseries of Poverty, restoring an unfortunate Tradesman by a Sum of Money to the means of procuring a Livelihood by his Industry, discharging an undone Debtor from his Debts or a Goal [sic], or any such like Example of Goodness, create a Man more Honour and Respect than he could acquire by the finest House, Furniture, Pictures or Clothes that were ever beheld? For not only the Object himself, who was thus relieved, but all who heard the Name of such a Person must, I imagine, reverence him infinitely more than the Possessor of all those other things: which when we so admire, we rather praise the Builder, the Workman, the Painter, the Laceman, the Taylor, and the rest, by whose Ingenuity they are produced, than the Person who by his Money makes them his own.8

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Compare this passage with the opening lines of the Epistle to Burlington, subtitled ‘Of the Use of Riches’, in which Pope describes how the Prodigal ‘waste[s] / His wealth, to purchase what he ne’er can taste’: ‘Not for himself he sees, or hears, or eats; / Artists must chuse his Pictures, Music, Meats’.9 Asking ‘What brought Sir Visto’s ill got wealth to waste? / Some Dæmon whisper’d, “Visto! Have a Taste”’, Pope lampooned Walpole in the succeeding couplet: ‘Heav’n visits with a Taste the wealthy Fool, / And needs no rod but Ripley with a Rule— ’ as his note on Thomas Ripley added to this latter line in the version of the poem published in 1735 in Epistles to Several Persons makes clear: ‘This Man was a Carpenter, employ’d by a first Minister, who rais’d him to an Architect, without any Genius in the Art; and after some wretched Proofs of his Insufficiency in publick Buildings, made him Comptroller of the Board of Works’.10 Among the ‘wretched Proofs’ of his ‘Insufficiency’ as an architect, Pope implies, was Walpole’s own palace Houghton Hall which, although planned by Colin Campbell and William Kent, was actually built, Maynard Mack reminds us,11 by Thomas Ripley. Given that Fielding referred quite specifically to ‘A huge dark Lantern hung up in his Hall / And Heaps of ill-got Pictures hid the Wall’ when lampooning Walpole as Mammon in The Vernoniad,12 Joseph’s ‘Speech on Charity’ is quite possibly a further recondite allusion to the former Prime Minister’s use of riches. The wider implications of this sort of satire at the expense of the failure of landlords to discharge their responsibilities to wider society can be viewed throughout Joseph Andrews, but perhaps it is no coincidence that the chapter immediately following Joseph’s ‘Speech on Charity’ includes the ‘roasting’ episode (III. vi) in the course of which Adams admonishes his host: ‘Sir, I am sorry to see one to whom Providence hath been so bountiful in bestowing his Favours, make so ill and ungrateful Return for them; for tho’ you have not insulted me yourself, it is visible you have delighted in those that do it, nor have once discouraged the many Rudenesses which have been shewn towards me; indeed towards yourself, if you rightly understood them; for I am your Guest, and by the Laws of Hospitality entitled to your Protection’.13

The manners of this ‘roasting’ squire are pointedly contrasted by Fielding with those of Mr Booby in the final chapter of Joseph Andrews, ‘In which this true History is brought to happy Conclusion’. ‘The Company arriving at Mr. Booby’s House’, the narrator explains, ‘were all received by him in the most courteous, and entertained in the most splendid manner, after the Custom of the old English Hospitality, which is still preserved in some very few Families in the remote Parts of England’ (IV. xvi).14 If Fielding’s exposure of Lady Booby’s failure to care for the welfare of her dependents as well as the conduct of her deeply unattractive steward, Peter Pounce, seems to fall within a well-established satirical tradition, his upholding

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the example of the practical Christianity of Parson Adams in contradistinction not only to the Methodism of Whitefield, but the worldly ministry of Parson Trulliber, also ultimately succeeds in making a political point. The encounter between Adams and Trulliber in particular is in effect a set-piece with a specific purpose: to consider appropriate ways of behaving as far as the clergy are concerned, Adams’s lack of worldliness contrasted with Trulliber who, despite being a clergyman, is actually a servant of Mammon, ‘for Mr. Trulliber was a Parson on Sundays, but all the other six might more properly be called a Farmer’ (II. xiv).15 And just in case Trulliber’s conduct throughout the course of the entire chapter is insufficient for Fielding to make his point, in conclusion Adams is made to say: ‘“I am sorry … that you do know what Charity is, since you practise it no better; I must tell you, if you trust to your Knowledge for your Justification, you will find yourself deceived, tho’ you should add Faith to it without good Works”’.16 It has been suggested that, given that the thrust of his satire in Joseph Andrews is to draw attention to the plight of the impoverished lesser clergy, his criticism of the materialism of characters like Parson Trulliber is an indication of inconsistency, if not downright ideological confusion on Fielding’s part.17 Yet his implied position in Joseph Andrews does not appear to be out of line with the one he assumes in the series of essays in the Champion entitled ‘An Apology for the Clergy’: without being righteous over much, we may, I think, conclude, that if the Clergy are not to abandon all they have to their Ministry, neither are they to get immense Estates by it; and I would recommend it to the Consideration of those who do, whether they do not make a Trade of Divinity? Whether they are not those Buyers and Sellers who should be drove out of the Temple? Or lastly, Whether they do not in the Language of Peter to Simon, sell the Gift of God for Money?18

As Fielding makes absolutely clear, what Adams finds pernicious in Whitefield’s writings is not that ‘He would reduce us to the Example of the primitive Ages’, nor even that they are ‘levelled at the Clergy’ (as Barnabas alleges) (I. xvi), but that they teach a Calvinist version of the relationship between grace, faith, and works: ‘Sir’, answered Adams, ‘if Mr. Whitfield had carried his Doctrine no farther than you mention, I should have remained, as I once was, his Well-Wisher. I am myself as great an Enemy of the Luxury and Splendour of the Clergy as he can be … but when he began to call Nonsense and Enthusiasm to his Aid, and to set up the detestable Doctrine of Faith against good Works, I was his Friend no longer; for surely, that Doctrine was coined in Hell, and one would think none but the Devil himself could have the Confidence to preach it … .19

As the point Fielding is making is a theological one, it makes perfect sense for Adams to object to Whitefield’s doctrine while at the same time extolling the virtues of ‘that excellent Book called, A Plain Account of the Nature and End of

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the Sacrament; a Book written (if I may venture on the Expression) with the Pen of an Angel, and calculated to restore the true Use of Christianity, and of that Sacred Institution’ (I. xvi)20 because, as Rivers explains, latitudinarianism ‘was a reaction against both Calvinist doctrine and the restrictions of the Church of England in the Cromwellian period’: To its supporters it was a position that was simple, obvious, and self-evidently true; to its opponents it was subversive, dangerous, and opened the way to Socinianism, deism and atheism. The latitudinarian came to be seen by his high church opponent as one who was indifferent (in the pejorative sense) not only to the institutions and forms of religion but to its content as well.21

In this context, it is important to appreciate that Fielding intended Barnabas’s reaction to Hoadly’s latitudinarian pamphlet to be recognized as a knee-jerk, High-Church response. Fielding’s challenge to the Calvinist doctrine of justification by faith alone is stated at greater length in Tom Jones in the context of Thwackum’s exchanges with the deist philosopher Square. From the passages devoted to their debates, his sentiments on the issue appear perfectly clear. ‘There is your Disciple Tom almost spoiled already’, exclaims Thwackum. ‘I overheard him the other Day disputing with Master Blifil, that there was no Merit in Faith without Works. I know that is one of your Tenets, and I suppose he had it from you [Square]’ (IV. iv).22 Thus when Fielding concludes that: though they would both make frequent Use of the Word Mercy, yet it was plain, that in reality Square held it to be inconsistent with the Rule of Right; and Thwackum was for doing Justice, and leaving Mercy to Heaven. The two Gentlemen did indeed somewhat differ in Opinion concerning the Objects of this sublime Virtue; by which Thwackum would probably have destroyed one half of Mankind, and Square the other half … (III. x)23

there seems little doubt that what he is actually suggesting is: ‘A plague o’ both your houses’.24 It is not always appreciated that the doctrinal point Fielding was making corresponds to the insistence of the General Epistle of James: ‘For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also’ ( James 2:26). The latitudinarianism apparent in Adams’s stance on the doctrine of justification by faith alone is significant in that it serves to call into question any suggestion that the anti-clerical strain in Fielding’s criticism – a strain which can scarcely be gainsaid – constitutes evidence of deist tendencies in his thought.25 Paulson is not the only recent critic to have drawn attention to what are perceived to be tensions and inconsistencies in Fielding’s theological position. ‘Fielding found in his fiction a licensed space where he could work out the tensions between the Whiggery of his official life and the “Tory humanism” with which it was sometimes at odds’, asserts Treadwell Ruml, III. ‘As a result, we can hear at least two,

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contrapuntal voices in the novels: an official voice – worldly, rational, latitudinarian in religion, and pragmatic in politics – and a subtler, elegaic voice that celebrates traditional, patriarchal community’.26 ‘Like a majority of the diocesan clergy in the eighteenth century, Adams is a sometime Tory who defends the honour of the clergy and many of the perquisites of an established church’, Roger D. Lund argues. ‘But as a latitudinarian Christian who believes that Christ’s kingdom is not of this world (a phrase he borrows from Hoadly), Adams endorses a series of arguments that seemingly contradict the teachings of the establishment he presumably represents’.27 The problem with interpretations such as these is not that they identify theological inconsistencies in Fielding’s thinking which are not there. On the contrary, as Rivers points out: ‘The central tenets of latitudinarian Christianity are the rational basis of religion and the happiness of the moral life. The contradictions involved in these tenets, and the directions in which they pointed, were largely ignored by their promoters’.28 What is at issue about such critical approaches is their failure to tease out the ideological implications of the identification of Adams as ‘both Tory country parson and latitudinarian Whig’.29 First, it is imperative to understand that the ideal of a ‘traditional, patriarchal community’30 which is celebrated throughout Fielding’s writings is by no means exclusively Tory in inspiration. In fact, from Robert Molesworth’s seminal An Account of Denmark, As It was in the Year 1692 (1694) onwards, many of the most evocative contemporary descriptions of a paternalistic society in which landlords cared for the material and spiritual welfare of their dependents were to be found in the writings of the Old Whigs: In former Times, and even till the late Alteration in Government, the Nobility and Gentry (for they are here the same thing) lived in great Affluence and Prosperity; their Country Seats were large and magnificent, their Hospitality extraordinary, because their Plenty was so too; they lived for the most part at home, and spent their Revenues among their Neighbours and Tenants, by whom they were considered, and respected as so many petty Princes.31

Passages such as are perfectly in accord with the paternalistic ideal implied by Fielding through the social satire of Joseph Andrews and therefore, as I have argued, the point they are making is ultimately political. There is no hint of irony in Molesworth’s nostalgic description of ‘former Times’ when things were as they should be, and neither Molesworth nor Fielding objects to the fact that the aristocracy – the nobility and gentry – should live in ‘great Affluence and Prosperity’, provided that their God-given riches are used wisely. Fielding is at one with Old Whigs such as Molesworth and Trenchard in relation not only to their shared anti-clericalism, but also on account of the ideology underpinning a hierarchical society in which most of the wealth and power was located in the hands

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of a few men. It was biblical, and founded on the Ten Commandments and other scriptural injunctions against insubordination, especially Romans 13. The other issue as far as any simple identification of Adams as ‘a Tory country parson’ is concerned is that it fails to appreciate the topicality of Adams’s remarks in Book II, Chapter viii, and therefore their relevance not to the politics of Queen Anne’s reign, which were dominated by a straightforward division into Whig and Tory, but to the politics of the 1730s. When innocently explaining the extent of his political influence – his ‘power over [his] Nephew’s Vote’ – Adams specifically locates it ‘at a Season when the Church was in Danger, and when all good Men expected they knew not what would happen to us all’.32 Editors of Joseph Andrews have pointed out that the slogan, ‘the Church in danger’, was popular in the early eighteenth century among High Churchmen such as Henry Sacheverell apparently without realizing that Fielding is referring quite specifically to its resuscitation during the General Election of 1734, when the Dissenters were agitating for the repeal of the Test and Corporation Acts. As the Daily Post for 6 May 1734 put it: ‘the Mask is now taken off, it is no longer Whig and Tory, Court or Country, that is now the Question; but the Church of England or Dissenters’.33 Having satirized the electoral practices of government and opposition, ‘Whig and Tory; / Or, Court and Country Party’,34 not only in Pasquin but in Don Quixote in England at the time of the General Election of 1734 itself, Fielding was of course intimately acquainted with the political manoeuvrings that Adams’s narrative proceeds to satirize: At last, when Mr. Fickle got his Place, Colonel Courtly stood again; and who should make Interest for him, but Mr. Fickle himself: that very identical Mr. Fickle, who had formerly told me, the Colonel was an Enemy to both Church and State, had the Confidence to sollicite my Nephew for him, and the Colonel himself offered me to make me Chaplain to his Regiment, which I refused in favour of Sir Oliver Hearty, who told us, he would sacrifice every thing to his Country; and I believe he would, except his Hunting, which he stuck so close to, that in five Years together, he went but twice up to Parliament; and one of those Times, I have been told, never was within Sight of the House.35

A much more topical context for Fielding’s apparently general satire on the way in which Opposition politicians are bought off once they have been elected to Parliament is provided through the recognition that in this passage he was writing not about the first decade of the eighteenth century but about the 1730s and that this, in addition, fits in neatly with the anti-Opposition stance he had assumed in The Opposition. A Vision. Therefore despite the irony evident in Fielding’s description of this chapter as ‘A notable Dissertation, by Mr. Abraham Adams; wherein that Gentleman appears in a political Light’, it nevertheless

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reflects the way in which, by 1742, Fielding’s own political perspective had altered. Beyond these examples of the political dimension of Fielding’s satire in Joseph Andrews, his remarks, however mild or muted, contain material which on occasion would have been readily susceptible to interpretation by a contemporary audience as critical of the Walpole ministry. This sort of innuendo is comparable to the way in which Fielding’s plays, particularly prior to Pasquin and The Historical Register, commented on contemporary politics. At the end of Book II, for instance, Adams is asked ‘“if he was one of the Writers of the Gazetteers? for I have heard,” says he, “they are writ by Parsons.” “Gazetteers!” answer’d Adams. “What is that?” “It is a dirty News-Paper,” replied the Host, “which hath been given away all over the Nation for these many Years to abuse Trade and honest Men, which I would not suffer to lie on my Table, tho’ it hath been offered me for nothing”’. Transparently a dig at Walpole’s reorganization of ministerial propaganda with the establishment of the Daily Gazetteer in 1735, Fielding goes on to make Adams reiterate the views he had repeatedly articulated in the Champion: ‘“I assure you I am no Enemy to Trade, whilst it is consistent with Honesty; nay, I have always looked on the Tradesman, as a very valuable Member of Society, and perhaps inferior to none but the Man of Learning”’ (II. xvii).36 Given the date of publication, 22 February 1742, allusions such as these may seem problematic in the light of Fielding’s secret reconciliation with Walpole, but similar difficulties present themselves in the cases of A Journey from This World to the Next and Jonathan Wild also. Both of these works, first published in April 1743 in Fielding’s Miscellanies, contain allusions which could not have been written earlier than the summer of 1742. ‘On the other hand’, as Goldgar succinctly puts it specifically in respect of the Journey, ‘another set of political references … seem to be bits of standard anti-Walpole satire so much like the clichés of Opposition propaganda that one must suspect they date from an earlier stage of composition’.37 I shall deal with the issues relating to the dates of composition of A Journey from This World to the Next and Jonathan Wild later on in the present chapter. At this point it is perhaps sufficient to remark that, as similar instances can be found in Joseph Andrews also, they may simply be the consequence of hasty revision of certain passages subsequent on Fielding’s reconciliation with Walpole, because notices announcing that the book was ‘In the Press’ were carried on 12 January 1742 by both the Daily Advertiser and the Champion. As far as Joseph Andrews is concerned, the most teasing allusions occur towards the end of Book III, Chapter i, in which Fielding famously ‘declare[ed] once for all, I describe not Men, but Manners; not an Individual, but a Species’, before offering two descriptions ‘of high People’:

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Of this Number I could name a Peer no less elevated by Nature than by Fortune, who whilst he wears the noblest Ensigns of Honour on his Person, bears the truest Stamp of Dignity on his Mind, adorned with Greatness, enriched with Knowledge, and embelished with Genius. I have seen this Man relieve with Generosity, while he hath conversed with Freedom, and be to the same Person a Patron and a Companion. I could name a Commoner raised higher than the Multitude by superiour Talents, than is in the power of his Prince to exalt him; whose Behaviour to those he hath obliged is more amiable than the Obligation itself, and who is so great a Master of Affability, that if he could divest himself of an inherent Greatness in his Manner, would often make his Acquaintance forget who was the Master of that Palace, in which they are so courteously entertained.38

Traditionally, it has been assumed that these allusions refer to the Earl of Chesterfield and Ralph Allen, respectively.39 However, it is not clear to me why, if Joseph Andrews was largely written during the second half of 1741 when Fielding, ‘neglected by his friends among the Patriots’,40 was negotiating a reconciliation with Walpole on ‘very advantageous Terms’,41 he should compliment Chesterfield in this way. After all, barely two months earlier, in The Opposition. A Vision, he had not only insinuated that Chesterfield’s Opposition journal, Common Sense, was nonsense, he had complained about the level of remuneration he had received as an Opposition propagandist (‘Surely, considering the wretched Work they are employed in, they deserve better meat’).42 Yet here he suggests the direct opposite. ‘I have seen this Man relieve with Generosity, while he hath conversed with Freedom, and be to the same Person a Patron and a Companion’ fits what we know of Fielding’s involved dealings with Walpole rather better than his undocumented relations with the pompous Chesterfield. Given the specific context of Joseph Andrews’s publication three weeks after Walpole’s resignation and our new information about Fielding’s relations with the Great Man at the turn of the year, there would appear little reason to jump to the conclusion that he is referring to a member of the Opposition. Even if it was perhaps too early for Walpole to fit the description of a peer – he was created Earl of Orford on 6 February 1742 – there seems no good reason why Fielding, a recent recipient of his largesse, might not have described him as ‘a Commoner raised higher than the Multitude by superiour Talents, than is in the power of his Prince to exalt him; whose Behaviour to those he hath obliged is more amiable than the Obligation itself ’. Indeed, given the pointed nature of the references, let alone the allusion to the commoner’s ‘inherent Greatness of Manner’, the description would fit Walpole very well. It would, after all, be more appropriate to describe Houghton Hall as a ‘Palace’ than Allen’s newly-built Palladian mansion, Prior Park.43 On the other hand, Fielding undoubtedly refers to Allen, and to Prior Park, later on in Joseph Andrews. Towards the end of his ‘Speech on Charity’ (III. v.),

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Joseph mentions a couple of ‘Exceptions’ from the general rule that ‘all the great Folks [are] wicked’: I have heard ’Squire Pope, the great Poet, at my Lady’s Table, tell Stories of a Man that lived at a Place called Ross, and another at the Bath, one Al— Al— I forget his Name, but it is in the Book of Verses. This Gentleman hath built up a stately House too, which the ’Squire likes very well; but his Charity is seen farther than his House, tho’ it stands on a Hill, ay, and brings him more Honour too. It was his Charity that put him in the Book, where the ’Squire says he put all the great People, if there were any such he would know them.44

Clearly an important element in his satire on irresponsible squires, it is interesting that here Fielding refers to Prior Park not as a palace – which would be inappropriate to the moral point he is trying to make, carrying, as it does, the risk of sounding ostentatious – but simply as ‘a stately House’. Yet biographers have failed to trace Fielding’s relations with Allen back beyond the publication of Joseph Andrews. Indeed, the ‘pair of compliments Fielding paid Allen in Joseph Andrews’ has been used as evidence ‘that he had been “courteously entertained” at Prior Park – where perhaps he met Pope in the autumn of 1741 – ‘before that novel went to press in early January’ 1742.45 Yet as Prior Park had only been fit for occupancy in the latter months of 1741, whether Allen would have chosen to entertain a new acquaintance there so soon after moving in himself is a question. While the identities of the peer and the commoner scarcely matter to the plot of Joseph Andrews, they are of some importance to the interpretation of Fielding’s politics at this juncture. In the light of Ribble’s discovery of his rapprochement with Walpole in late 1741, it can no longer be assumed, as previous commentators have done, that Fielding simply renewed his commitment to the Opposition after the Great Man’s fall. Fielding published nothing between Joseph Andrews on 22 February and A Full Vindication of the Dutchess Dowager of Marlborough on 2 April 1742. ‘By writing this work’, Battestin asserts, ‘Fielding thus also declared his allegiance to the “new Opposition” that was forming itself around Chesterfield – and which also included another of the Duchess’s favourites, Fielding’s former schoolfellow and his friend, William Pitt’.46 Less than a week earlier, however, on 27 March, Fielding had written to James Harris enclosing a list of the ballot to determine the composition of the Committee of Enquiry set up by resolution of the House of Commons to look into the conduct of the last ten years of Walpole’s ministry.47 ‘You will perhaps join the genl Joy on the Majority you will perceive on the Side of the Opposition’, Fielding observed: ‘for my own Part, I am not at present easy enough at home to regard what passes abroad’.48 Previous commentators have chosen to interpret Fielding’s closing remark simply as evidence of the multifarious troubles afflicting his domestic life, including the ‘most dangerous Fit of Illness’ from which his wife was ‘scarce yet

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recovered’,49 but it is interesting that his observation on this short-lived Opposition triumph should, at this juncture, be equivocal and halfhearted at best. An alternative interpretation might be that Fielding, having burnt his boats with the leaders of the Opposition by satirizing them barely two months before Walpole’s fall, was far from ‘easy’ in the contemplation of his own immediate prospects. Hence, perhaps, his fruitless attempt to solicit a reward from the Duchess of Marlborough by publishing A Full Vindication of the Dutchess Dowager of Marlborough. It seems to me to be misleading to link the controversy over An Account of the Conduct of the Dowager Duchess of Marlborough with the emergence of the ‘new Opposition’, or to draw any firm conclusion from the Full Vindication about ‘Fielding’s unchanged political stance in 1742’.50 True, the Duke of Marlborough, under whom his father had served during the War of the Spanish Succession, had always been one of Fielding’s heroes, but it was almost certainly in hopes of a substantial reward that he sprang to the Dowager Duchess’s defence in print when her self-serving justification of her conduct, especially during the reign of Queen Anne, came under attack soon after its publication on 2 March in the anonymous Remarks upon the Account of the Conduct of a Certain Duchess. There is no evidence to suggest that he was acquainted with the Dowager Duchess, nor that there was ever any communication between them. Problems arise from the way in which Fielding chose to defend the Dowager Duchess against her detractors. ‘She is indeed rich’, he conceded, ‘and if her Enemies accuse her of that, I believe she must plead guilty, at least I have nothing to say in her Vindication’. ‘But, perhaps it may be some Alleviation even of this’, he went on, ‘that this Wealth was got in the greatest and most eminent Service of her Country’. While this appears unexceptionable, it is difficult to square what comes next with his reconciliation with Walpole. In suggesting ‘That the Influence and Power, which her Grace from her great Fortune enjoys, hath been constantly exerted in Defence of the Liberties of her Country against the highest, most powerful, and most insolent Invaders of it’, Fielding argued that: ‘Had the Weight of the Dutchess of Marlborough been lately thrown into the Scale of Corruption, the Nation must have sunk under it’. If this, on its own, served to imply that the nation had been threatened by creeping corruption while Walpole was Prime Minister, the reference to ‘the Corruptor’ (singular) in the following sentence is quite remarkable: But, on the contrary, her whole Power hath been employed in the Defence of our Liberties, and to this Power we in a very great measure owe their Protection; and this, the barbarous and inhuman Exultations of the Corruptor and his chief Friends last Winter exprest on her Grace’s dangerous Illness, and their eager Expectation of her Death, which they declared would do their Business, sufficiently testify. So that this Nation may be truely said to have been twice saved within 40 Years by the glorious Conduct of this illustrious Pair [the Duke and Duchess of Marlborough]; and who-

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Given Thomas Harris’s letter to his brother dated 5 December 1741, this is not quite what we might have expected from a writer who had recently thrown in his lot with Walpole. Whether we choose to interpret the publication of A Full Vindication of the Dutchess Dowager of Marlborough simply as an attempt to secure the patronage of the Duke of Marlborough’s wealthy widow, or as a declaration of allegiance to the ‘new Opposition’ on Fielding’s part, it is a fact that he failed to contribute in any way to the extensive press campaign mounted by Chesterfield on its behalf. This is all the more puzzling in that, even on top of whatever his secret reconciliation with Walpole brought him, it is quite clear that the sum of £199 6s Fielding was paid for the copyright of Joseph Andrews – a meagre five guineas of which was in respect of A Full Vindication52 – was insufficient to solve Fielding’s financial problems. In May 1742 he briefly returned to writing for the stage with a sequel to An Old Man Taught Wisdom, Miss Lucy in Town, in which he claimed to have had ‘a very small Share’.53 In the same month he published a translation of Plutus, the God of Riches, in collaboration with William Young, a specimen of a proposed translation of Aristophanes’s plays. Then on 5 June a notice in the Daily Post announced the publication ‘This Day’ of

Proposals for printing by Subscription, Miscellanies in Three Volumes Octavo. By henry fielding, Esq; Subscription publishing was potentially a very attractive proposition. Not only were subscribers encouraged to pay in advance of publication, authors were able to gauge how many copies to print. In return for their subscriptions, the names of the subscribers were printed in the work. That these considerations were part of the attraction as far as Fielding was concerned is made clear first by a paragraph in the original ‘Proposals’: ‘The Price to Subscribers is One Guinea; and Two Guineas for the Royal Paper. One Half of which is to be paid at Subscribing, the other on the Delivery of the Book in Sheets. The Subscribers Names will be printed’. Fielding was so desperate for cash at this juncture that the final sentence of all reads: ‘As the Books will very shortly go to the Press, Mr. Fielding begs the Favour of those who intend to subscribe to do it immediately’.54 Over five months later, however, this final sentence was replaced in a further notice in the Daily Post for 18 November 1742 by the following paragraph: Whereas the Number of Copies to be printed is determin’d by the Number of Subscribers, Mr. Fielding will be oblig’d to all those who have subscrib’d to those Mis-

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cellanies, or who intend him that Favour, if they will please send their Names and first Payment (if not already made) to Mr. Millar, Bookseller, opposite to KatherineStreet in the Strand, before the 5th of December next.55

The Political Significance of Fielding’s Miscellanies The circumstances surrounding the composition and publication of Fielding’s Miscellanies pose a number of disconcerting questions for the biographer, particularly the political biographer. Just when did he conceive the idea of raising money by publishing by subscription? ‘If we suppose that Fielding began to organize the materials of the Miscellanies sometime in 1741 for publication late that year or early in the next’, Miller remarks, ‘the first extant public notice of his project offers sad evidence in its “note” that the plans had gone awry’.56 Miller is referring to a particular paragraph in Fielding’s ‘Proposals’, published on 5 June 1742 in the Daily Post: Note, The Publication of these Volumes hath been hitherto retarded by the Author’s Indisposition last Winter, and a Train of melancholy Accidents scarce to be parallell’d; but he takes this Opportunity to assure his Subscribers, that he will most certainly deliver them within the Time mentioned in his last Receipts, viz. by the 25th of December next.

Not only did Fielding fail to deliver the three volumes of his Miscellanies by 25 December 1742 but, perhaps more importantly, this note suggests that he had been working on them between the publication of Shamela on 2 April 1741 and the publication of The Opposition. A Vision on 15 December of the same year, and that he had been prevented from completing them because of illness and a series of ‘melancholy Accidents’. If commentators have assumed that he spent most of these months working on Joseph Andrews, here, in this notice, Fielding implies that he was also putting the finishing touches to his Miscellanies. While the first volume consists largely of miscellaneous pieces in prose and verse, including the previously-published Of True Greatness, the second and third volumes as advertised in his ‘Proposals’ were to contain A Journey from this World to the Next and ‘the History of that truly renowned Person Jonathan Wyld, Esq; in which not only his Character, but that of divers other great Personages of his Time, will be set in a just and true Light’.57 Whether, in the light of Thomas Harris’s letter of 5 December, the opening of A Journey from this World to the Next (‘On the first of December 1741, I departed this Life, at my Lodgings in Cheapside’) should be viewed as significant,58 there are a number of references (such as the mention of the death on 26 June of the Lord Mayor Sir Robert Godschall)59 to indicate that if not actually in the process of being written, it was certainly in a fluid state during 1742. More

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importantly for my purposes are the political allusions of various kinds scattered throughout the Journey which, as Goldgar observes, are divided between what might be taken as pointed comments on the behaviour of those Patriot leaders who accepted places at Court after Walpole’s fall, particularly Pulteney and Carteret, and other ‘bits of standard anti-Walpole satire so much like the clichés of Opposition propaganda that one must suspect they date from an earlier stage of composition’.60 Similar issues are raised by Jonathan Wild. ‘If Jonathan Wild is anti-Walpole, it is so by virtue of its general fable satirizing false greatness than by a series of inserted “giveaway” details’, Goldgar argues in his Introduction to the Wesleyan edition. ‘Obviously the judgement bears directly on the question of when the novel was composed, an issue which has sharply divided critical and scholarly opinion’.61 While some commentators have suggested that its origins are to be found in an essay in the Champion published on 4 March 1740, and that it was completed ‘in the spring of 1741’,62 even earlier dates of conception have been suggested. Yet Fielding not only quotes from Young’s Night Thoughts, first published on 31 May 1742, the ‘Chapter “On Proverbs” (ii. xii, and omitted in the revised edition) is mostly taken verbatim from the fifth edition of Joe Miller’s Jests: or, the Wit’s Vade-Mecum, published on July 1742’.63 Fielding’s ‘Life’ of the thief-taker and racketeer who was hanged in 1725 made no pretence to authenticity. Instead, he argued in the Preface to the Miscellanies that his ‘Narrative is rather of such Actions which he might have performed, or would, or should have performed, than what he really did; and may, in Reality, as well suit any other such great Man, as the Person himself whose Name it bears’. In this way, Fielding seems to be insinuating that his factitious portrait of Jonathan Wild might be applied allegorically to any contemporary politician, Carteret and Pulteney included. However, he proceeds to discount any such suggestion in the very next paragraph: A second Caution I would give my Reader is, that as it is not a very faithful Portrait of Jonathan Wild himself, so neither is it intended to represent the Features of any other Person. Roguery, and not a Rogue, is my Subject; and as I have been so far from endeavouring to particularize any Individual, that I have with my utmost Art avoided it; so will any such Application be unfair in my Reader, especially if he knows much of the Great World, since he must then be acquainted, I believe, with more than one on whom he can fix the Resemblance.64

While arguing that ‘for the most part the entire text [of Jonathan Wild] can and should be read merely as a satire on False Greatness’, Goldgar concedes that: ‘it is not surprising that Fielding felt called upon to deny any personal application of the satire’.65 Given that at least from the Craftsman’s remarks on The Beggar’s Opera onwards,66 the most obvious way for contemporaries to apply the phrases,

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‘a Great Man’, or ‘some Great Man’, was as an allusion to Walpole, this is a crucial consideration. It is for this reason that Thomas Harris referred to Fielding’s reconciliation ‘to ye great Man … upon very advantageous Terms’ in December 1741.67 Walpole subsequently subscribed to ten sets of Fielding’s Miscellanies on royal paper at a cost of twenty guineas. In the circumstances, it would have been ungrateful at the very least had Fielding attempted to represent The Life of Mr. Jonathan Wild the Great as a political satire at his most recent patron’s expense. Yet a strong critical tradition which can be traced back to Keightley’s 1858 essay, ‘On the Life and Writing of Henry Fielding’,68 assumes that Jonathan Wild is principally a satire of Walpole, even if Fielding made ‘some gestures toward blurring and reapplying the assault … in revising the work before initial publication and again in preparing the version published in 1754’.69 (Notoriously, by this date Fielding’s perception of Walpole had altered to such an extent that he described him in The Journal of a Voyage to Lisbon ‘one of the best of men and of ministers’.)70 This ‘softening’ of the personal satire in The Life of Mr. Jonathan Wild the Great. A New Edition. With considerable Corrections and Additions is evident from the ‘Advertisement From the PUBLISHER To the READER’ onwards: That any personal Application could have ever been possibly drawn from them, will surprize all who are not deeply versed in the black Art (for so it seems most properly to be called) of deciphering Mens Meaning when couched in obscure ambiguous or allegorical Expressions: This Art hath been exercised more than once on the Author of our little Book … The Truth is, as a very corrupt State of Morals is here represented, the Scene seems very properly to have been laid in Newgate: Nor do I see any Reason for introducing any allegory at all … .71

Whatever the intention of this disclaimer, it constitutes strong evidence that a ‘personal Application’ had indeed been drawn by contemporary readers from the ‘following Pages … of a Book which was first published in the Year 1743’, and in this context the most obvious way to investigate the way in which Jonathan Wild was interpreted by its original audience is to track some of the ‘corrections’. A slight but significant change occurs as early in the narrative as Chapter V. In his political writings, Fielding repeatedly argued that the very notion of a ‘Prime Minister’ was ‘not consistent with our Constitution, nor countenanc’d by our Laws’, and was in fact ‘an Excrescence, and no Part of our Constitution’.72 In this instance, there can be no mistaking the thrust of his rhetoric: it was aimed at what he felt to be the overweening influence of Walpole. Similarly, there can be little doubt that in 1743 the mere mention of the term, ‘Prime Minister’, would have been sufficient to bring the Great Man to mind. When, therefore, Fielding makes Wild refer to ‘a complete Ministerial Tool, or perhaps a prime Minister himself ’,73 he was almost certainly drawing attention to Walpole’s conduct in office by comparing it with that of a criminal along the lines of The Beggar’s

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Opera. In the 1754 edition of Jonathan Wild, however, the word ‘Statesman’ is substituted for ‘prime Minister’.74 Whether this reading represents Fielding’s original intentions, or his second thoughts after more than a decade in which he had supported successive Whig administrations in print, precisely the same alteration is made in Book I, chapter xiv, when ‘Conquerors, absolute Princes, Prime Ministers, and Prigs’75 becomes ‘Conquerors, absolute Princes, Statesmen, and Prigs’.76 Yet as Fielding, in this instance, actually goes on to compare prigs with prime ministers, the term appears even more applicable to Walpole in its topicality: Now, suppose a Prig had as many Tools as any Prime Minister ever had, would he not be as great as any Prime Minister whatsoever? Undoubtedly, he would. What then have I to do in the Pursuit of Greatness, but to procure a Gang, and to make the Use of this Gang center in myself. This Gang shall rob for me only, receiving very moderate Rewards for their Actions … .77

Here, the parallel between the highwayman and the statesman first drawn by Gay in The Beggar’s Opera patently alludes not to politicians in general, but quite specifically to prime ministers. In this way, despite Fielding’s disclaimer in the Preface to the Miscellanies that ‘far from endeavouring to particularize any Individual … I have with my utmost Art avoided it’,78 the possible range of applications has been narrowed down to a single contemporary politician. This is not the only occasion in Jonathan Wild in which Fielding’s satire seems to be aimed directly at Walpole’s conduct in office. Take, for instance, Book III, Chapter xi, ‘A Scheme so deeply laid that it shares all the Politicians of this our Age; with Digressions and Sub-digressions’. True, Fielding again makes a halfhearted attempt to broaden his satire by maintaining that it refers to contemporary politicians in general, but the terms in which it is couched are peculiarly reminiscent of The Historical Register and Eurydice Hiss’d. Fielding even pointedly draws attention to the comparison between the world and the stage: What remained to consider was only the Quomodo, and the Person or Tool to be employed; for the Stage of the World differs from that in Drury-Lane principally in this; that whereas on the latter, the Hero, or chief Figure, is almost continually before your Eyes, whilst the Under-actors are not seen above once in an Evening; now, on the former, the Hero, or great Man, is always behind the Curtain, and seldom or never appears, or doth any thing in his own Person.79

In this way, the earlier parallel drawn from The Beggar’s Opera between the highwayman and the politician is not only considerably extended, but Fielding also seems to be deliberately recalling the name of the character ‘behind the Scenes’ at the rehearsal in The Historical Register, ‘Quidam’, who, through bribery, leads the Patriots a merry dance.80 This is especially significant when the insinuating way in which Fielding referred to Quidam in the ‘Dedication to the Publick’

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prefixed to the printed version of The Historical Register is taken into account. ‘But I am aware I shall be asked, who is this Quidam, that turns the Patriots to Ridicule, and bribes them out of their Honesty?’, Fielding wrote. ‘Indeed’, he insisted in conclusion, ‘it is so plain, who is meant by this Quidam, that he who maketh any wrong Application thereof, might as well mistake the Name of Thomas for John, or old Nick for old Bob’.81 When Fielding claims in the Preface to the Miscellanies that ‘any such Application will be unfair in my Reader’,82 or when the ‘Advertisement From the PUBLISHER To the READER’ which precedes the narrative of the 1754 edition professes surprise ‘That any personal Application could have ever been possibly drawn’ from Jonathan Wild,83 therefore, one wonders whether he does not protest too much, and whether he not only expected his initial readers to apply his narrative to Walpole, but was actually acknowledging that this was what they had done. After all, instances of what might reasonably be described as straightforward Opposition satire at Walpole’s expense in Jonathan Wild are not difficult to find. The language employed by Fielding when referring ironically to property rights and absolute right in Book III, Chapter xiv, for example, not only parodies that with which contemporary readers would have been familiar from debates between divine right theorists and contract theorists such as Locke, but when Wild compares and contrasts ‘a legal Society, where the chief Magistrate is always chosen for the public Good, which, as we see in all the legal Societies of the World, he constantly consults, daily contributing, by his superiour Skill, to their Prosperity, and not sacrificing their Good to his own Wealth, or Pleasure, or Humour’, with ‘an illegal Society or Gang, as this of ours’, he also echoes what had been a repeated Opposition complaint about Walpole’s ministry. The reason given for it being ‘otherwise’ than in ‘a legal Society’, such as that confirmed by the Revolution, might once again have taken its cue directly from The Beggar’s Opera: ‘who would be at the Head of a Gang, but for his own Interest?’84 And when Wild proceeds to enquire in his ‘celebrated’ speech: Might not a Man as reasonably tell a Minister of State: Sir, you have given me the Shadow only. The Ribbon, or the Bawble, that you give me, implies that I have either signalized myself, by some great Action, for the Benefit and Glory of my Country; or at least that I am descended from those who have done so. I know myself to be a Scoundrel, and so have been those few Ancestors I can remember, or have ever heard of. Therefore I am resolved to knock the first Man down, who calls me Sir, or Right Honourable. But all great and wise Men think themselves sufficiently repaid by what procures them Honour and Precedence in the Gang, without enquiring into Substance; nay, if a Title, or a Feather, be equal to this Purpose, they are Substance, and not mere Shadows; but I have not Time to argue with you at present …85

Fielding’s original readers would have been justified in calling to mind Walpole’s cynical manipulation of the honours system in general, and more particularly his

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use of the Orders of the Bath, the Garter, and the Thistle, satirized in Gulliver’s Travels by the silken threads awarded by the Emperor of Lilliput as prizes to those of his courtiers ‘who performs his Part with most agility, and holds out the longest in leaping or creeping’.86 The question which needs to be addressed in any consideration of the political significance of Jonathan Wild, it seems to me, is not whether there was an earlier version which was primarily an attack on Walpole (what Hugh Amory called an ‘Ur-Wild’),87 but why, despite Fielding’s supposed attempt to broaden the satire to take in erstwhile Opposition politicians like Carteret and Pulteney who had been bought off by the Court by the time the Miscellanies were published, so much material – including the very typography of the text – remained to suggest that it was applicable to the ‘great Man’. If, as Goldgar contends, Jonathan Wild should be read primarily as an attack on False Greatness,88 it is worth noting that even when the concept of ‘Greatness’ or what it means to be ‘great’ are under consideration, there are instances in the ‘corrected’ edition of 1754 in which the small capitals of the original published edition are replaced by lower-case letters.89 I suspect the reason that so much ‘anti-Walpole’ material remained in the original published version of Jonathan Wild (not to mention Joseph Andrews and A Journey from This World to the Next) was quite simply an inability or a reluctance on Fielding’s part (for want of time and opportunity) to revise portions of manuscripts of texts which were largely ready for publication. There is compelling evidence, especially in the first volume of the Miscellanies, that he was trying desperately to find material to fill the three volumes he had promised his subscribers. On 10 August 1742, for instance, the Revd. Mr John Hoadly wrote to James Harris: ‘Fielding desir’d me to send him a Copy of a Poem of his own on Upton Grey, which I inclose; & beg you will give it him when he returns to Sarum’.90 He was still working on new material over six months later when ostensibly putting the finishing touches to his collection. ‘If yo will do me the Favour to correct the inclosed, I shall esteem it as the highest Obligation, you will pardon me likewise desiring the Favour of yo to give the Argument of it in as few Words as yo please’, he wrote to Harris on 27 February 1743. ‘The Hurry I am in at present & not having a Demosthenes by me, brings yo this Trouble wch with yr many other Favours will be always gratefully acknowledged. Be pleased wn yo have finished it to enclose it to Mr Millar Bookseller opposite Catherine Street the Strand’.91 What is indicated by the examples of Joseph Andrews and all three volumes of the Miscellanies, especially Jonathan Wild, is that Fielding, having reached an agreement with Walpole a couple of months before his resignation, sought to tone down the more flagrant instances of satire at the Great Man’s expense in those writings of his which were nearing completion and on which he hoped

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to capitalize after turning away from the political essay-writing in which he had been involved since the establishment of the Champion in November 1739. On 1 March 1742, according to the lost minute-book of the shareholders, his twosixteenths’ writing share was transferred to James Ralph who, evidently, had taken over responsibility for producing the journal since Fielding’s withdrawing his labour ‘for above twelve months past’.92 His favourite daughter, Charlotte, died a few days later, and was buried on 9 March at a time when his wife was seriously ill and he was himself suffering debilitating pain from what he called ‘the gout’ (almost certainly a symptom of his habitual and excessive consumption of alcohol). Quite clearly, the sum of £199 6s. he received for Joseph Andrews, Miss Lucy in Town and A Full Vindication of the Dutchess of Marlborough was insufficient to stave off financial embarrassment because he was forced to borrow a further sum of £197 from one Joseph King on 27 March. It is in this context, then, that his ‘Proposals’ for printing his Miscellanies ‘by Subscription’, published on 5 June, should be considered. He was seeking to exploit an opportunity for cash ‘up front’ for writings which, although shot through with anti-Walpole satire, were already largely written. Apparently, Fielding made over £600 from his Miscellanies. The list of subscribers has been carefully analysed,93 but few conclusions about Fielding’s political allegiances in 1743 can be safely drawn from the heterogeneous cross-section of elite society which is there represented, as Battestin appears to acknowledge in describing it as ‘uniquely helpful as a guide – though in some respects an uncertain and puzzling one – to his circle of acquaintance’.94 Walpole was not the only subscriber to put his name down for ten sets on royal paper at two guineas a set. The Right Honourable Lord Windsor and Charles Hanbury Williams, Esq., each subscribed for ten sets on royal paper also, while the list of subscribers was headed up by Frederick, Prince of Wales, who bought fifteen sets. And although it is true that, with the notable exceptions of Bolingbroke and Carteret, all the leaders of the old Opposition to Walpole subscribed, including Pulteney (now the Earl of Bath), it is interesting to note that Lyttelton put his name down for a single set on royal paper, and Cobham for a single set on ordinary paper!95 Given that, as Ribble notes, James Harris and his circle provided ‘at least twenty-seven subscribers’ on its own,96 it is tempting to conclude that there was substance in Fielding’s complaint in The Opposition. A Vision about being poorly rewarded for the ‘wretched Work’ he had been ‘employed in’.97

Fielding and the Opposition press, 1743–1745 By the time Fielding’s Miscellanies finally appeared – with his acknowledgement in the Preface that he had been the author of The Opposition. A Vision – the political landscape had markedly altered. Carteret and Pulteney had entered the

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government on Walpole’s resignation, and by the end of the parliamentary session in June 1742, ‘[a]ll but seven of Carteret’s and Pulteney’s adherents had … been given some mark, however, small, of royal favour’.98 Of more relevance with regard to existing accounts of Fielding’s politics is that Cobham was also a recipient when, to the restoration of the colonelcy of his regiment, he was subsequently promoted to the rank of Field-Marshal. This was not the most remarkable accommodation reached by a member of the Opposition, however, as the support of ‘the vacillating, unpredictable Prince of Wales’ was ‘won largely by the augmentation of his own personal allowance’!99 Yet the leaders of the erstwhile Opposition, as one contemporary observed, were far from satisfied: Chesterfield expected to have been Secretary of State, Pitt Secretary at War, and Bedford and Sandwich to have been in the Admiralty, when disappointed, they entered the closest amity and intimacy with the leaders of the Jacobites. In writing, in conversation, and in their speeches, they expressed an insolent contempt and malevolence to the King and his Government beyond what had appeared under the Walpole Administration.100

Attention has been drawn to ‘the scale and success of the opposition Whig press activity’ as ‘one of the most striking features of the press debate arising from the war between 1742 and 1744’: Throughout the 1740s it was various groups of opposition Whigs who were easily the most active in the press. Following Walpole’s fall, this activity was heavily concentrated in two periods, 1743–4 and after 1747. In the first period it was certain of the opposition Whigs who had been excluded from the political settlement that followed Walpole’s fall who intervened in the press. These included, most notably, Edmund Waller, George Bubb Dodington, and, the most active of them all, the Earl of Chesterfield. That they should have chosen to exploit the press is perhaps unsurprising. Most had been involved in this area of opposition activity in the latter part of Walpole’s ministry. Chesterfield, for example, had been involved, with George Lyttleton [sic], on the opposition essay paper, Common Sense, first published in 1737. The importance of this experience is underlined by the probable organizational links between Common Sense and the principal vehicle for opposition Whig press activity between 1743 and 1744, the Old England Journal, first published on 5 February 1743.101

That Dodington and Chesterfield chose to exploit the press to promote their opposition to Pelham’s ministry is scarcely surprising, but it is odd that Henry Fielding, supposed lifelong supporter of the ‘Broad-Bottom faction’, should remain silent throughout 1743 and 1744, more especially as the putative author of Old England: Or, The Constitution Journal was no other than ‘Jeffrey Broadbottom, of Covent-Garden, Esq.’. Apart from the three volumes of Miscellanies, Fielding published very little between Joseph Andrews on 22 February 1742 and 13 July 1744, when the second edition of Sarah Fielding’s David Simple appeared. In the Preface to the

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latter, he drew attention to the contemporary rumour that he was the real author of his sister’s novel before reminding readers of the promise he had ‘solemnly made’ in the Preface to the Miscellanies: As so many worthy Persons have, I am told, ascribed the Honour of this Performance to me, they will not be surprized at seeing my Name to this Preface … I could indeed have been very well content with the Reputation, well knowing that some Writings may be justly laid to my charge, of a Merit greatly inferior to that of the following Work; had not the Imputation directly accused me of Falshood, in breaking a Promise, which I have solemnly made in Print, of never publishing, even a Pamphlet, without setting my Name to it: A Promise I have always hitherto faithfully kept; and, for the sake of Men’s Characters, I wish all other Writers were by Law obliged to use the same Method: but, ’till they are, I shall no longer impose any such Restraint on myself.102

As far as we know, he was as good as his word. No anonymous or pseudonymous pamphlet published between April 1743 and July 1744 has been attributed to him. Yet these were the very years in which ‘the new Opposition’ prosecuted an expensive press campaign which came to an end only when the King finally agreed not only to see ‘the whole broad bottom, (as it was called) provided for without reserve’,103 but also to accept Granville’s resignation in November 1744. But Fielding offered a ‘second Reason which induces me to refute this Untruth’ – that he was the real author of David Simple – which was ‘that it may have a Tendency to injure me in a Profession, to which I have applied with so arduous and intent a Diligence, that I have had no Leisure, if I had Inclination, to compose any thing of this kind’.104 Whether this is an oblique reference to his mysterious legal work, ‘An Institute of the Pleas of the Crown’ – announced in February 1745 although it never saw the light of day – there were other compelling reasons why, even had he felt the inclination, Fielding is unlikely to have been equal to the task of contributing to the common fund of Opposition propaganda in the second half of 1744. By this time his wife, Charlotte, was so ill that, as he told Harris on 10 October, he had ‘scarce any Hopes’ of her recovery.105 When she died in his arms in November, Fielding seems to have suffered some kind of breakdown.106 Given this set of circumstances, I am highly sceptical of the suggestion that it was precisely at this juncture that Fielding chose to intervene in the Opposition press campaign with An Attempt towards a Natural History of the Hanover Rat. Cleary notes that when the pamphlet was published on 23 November 1744 Fielding’s ‘hand in it [was] mercifully unrecognized’.107 In fact it went totally unrecognized until the twentieth century when it was first attributed to Fielding entirely on internal and circumstantial evidence. I regard it as an immense leap of faith to assume that he broke his self-imposed vow of silence to write on behalf of the new Opposition in November 1744, and agree that Coley is right to argue

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that ‘given the present state of the evidence’,108 An Attempt towards a Natural History of the Hanover Rat cannot safely be attributed to Fielding. On the other hand, The Charge to the Jury: Or, The Sum of the Evidence, on The Trial of A.B.C.D. and E.F. All M.D. For the Death of one Robert at Orfud, a pamphlet published on 2 July 1745, was attributed to Fielding in a list of ‘Books Printed for A. Millar … by Henry Fielding, Esquire’ advertised in the second edition of Sarah Fielding’s Lives of Cleopatra and Octavia (1758). A spoof rather than a serious party-political pamphlet, The Charge to the Jury nonetheless offers interesting corroborative evidence to suggest that his reconciliation with Walpole in 1741 extended until the death of the latter. This, in turn, might be interpreted as strong circumstantial evidence against Fielding’s authorship of An Attempt towards a Natural History of the Hanover Rat, or his involvement in Opposition press activity after 1741, as well as an explanation of his silence between the publication of the Miscellanies in April 1743 and the middle of 1745. And when he finally returned to political pamphleteering with A Serious Address to the People of Great Britain, and to political journalism with The True Patriot, Fielding was writing in support not only of the Hanoverian regime, but expressly of the ministry of ‘one of the greatest Men now alive’,109 the First Lord of the Treasury and Chancellor of the Exchequer, Henry Pelham, in his continuing struggle for political control with Earl Granville, the former Lord Carteret.

8 ‘A STRENUOUS ADVOCATE FOR THE MINISTRY’: 1745–1748

In the summer of 1745, while the King was enjoying his annual visit to Hanover, Charles Edward Stuart, the Young Pretender, raised his standard in Scotland, entering an undefended Edinburgh on 17 September. Although he was unaware of this latest development, Pelham wrote to the Duke of Devonshire, the Lord Steward, about the progress of the rebellion on the same day: My reason for troubling your Grace with these particulars is to convince you that we are not unattentive to the great point of the rebellion, tho’ at the same time it is difficult for persons in our situation, either to say what is or what should be. The conduct of a certain person is worse than ever. To speak of personal treatment is idle at this time, but we are not permitted either to give our advice or to act in consequence of any advice that is given. Tomorrow there is to be a Council for calling the Parliament, which is proposed for Thursday the 17th of next month. It will be incumbent upon us all, especially myself, to let the King know that this meeting of Parliament is called so early only to put this nation in a proper position of defence, to pass such laws as are necessary for the preservation of his government, when there is an actual rebellion in the kingdom.1

Late in August George II had finally been persuaded to return to England, but he was proving difficult to deal with even in the teeth of an armed rebellion. On the same day, 17 September, he actually went so far as to suggest to Lord Harrington that he become ‘sole minister … make his own Treasury and Secretaries of State’, and that Pelham and his brother, the Duke of Newcastle, the Secretary of State, be dismissed.2 Although Harrington turned down the King’s offer, the reverberations caused by the ill-considered proposal were felt throughout the government. ‘The ill humour, and jealousies, of part of the administration increase every day’, Newcastle wrote to Chesterfield four days later: ‘and a method is now taken up, to cajole, and flatter almost every member of the administration at the expense of the two brothers [i.e. Pelham and Newcastle himself ], your most faithful servants’. As he went on to explain, Newcastle had had enough: ‘in one word, nothing but a rebellion in the heart of the kingdom would or should hinder us from retiring from the most disagreeable and perhaps – 147 –

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the most dangerous situation, that ever ministers were in’. ‘And’, he concluded, ‘as soon as that rebellion is in effect over, that will be our measure’.3 The rebellion was far from over, however. On the very same day, 21 September, the King’s forces under the command of Lieutenant-General Sir John Cope were defeated at Prestonpans by those of the Young Pretender. Thereafter, Charles simply waited in Edinburgh as more and more Scottish supporters gathered under his banner. News of the battle reached London during the last week of September. Prevented from taking decisive action by the King’s recalcitrance, it appears that steps were taken by ministers to raise ‘the spirit of the nation … to a right tone’.4 Prompted by Lord Chancellor Hardwicke, Archbishop Thomas Herring was particularly active in this regard, preaching a sermon published in York and sold in London as A Sermon Preached At the Cathedral Church of York, September the 22nd 1745; On Occasion of the present Rebellion in Scotland. This was followed by the printing of a much pithier pamphlet entitled A Speech made by His Grace, the Lord Archbishop of York, At Presenting an Association, Enter’d into at the Castle of York, Sept. the 24th, 1745, which in a single paragraph sought to drive home the seriousness of the situation: It was some time before it was believed, (I would to God it had gained Credit sooner,) but now every Child knows it, that the Pretender’s Son is in Scotland; has set up his Standard there; has gathered and disciplined an Army of great Force; receives daily Increase of Numbers; is in the Possession of the Capital City there; has defeated a small Part of the King’s Forces; and is advancing with hasty Steps towards England.5

On 30 September, the General Advertiser carried a notice that, apparently as part of the same propaganda campaign, ‘next Thursday [i.e., 3 October] will be published A Serious Address to the People of England’.6 As if taking its cue from Archbishop Herring’s speech, the opening paragraph of this latter pamphlet also warned against discounting the seriousness of the Jacobite threat to the nation’s security: Gentlemen THE Rebellion lately begun in Scotland, under the Banner of a Popish Pretender, advised and assisted with the Counsels and Arms of France and Spain, is no longer an Object of your Derision. The Progress of these Rebels is such, as should awaken your Apprehensions at least, and no longer suffer you to neglect the proper Methods for your Defence. The Cause, indeed, is of such a Nature, that the least Danger is sufficient to alarm us; but the highest (was it possible to arrive at such an Height) should not dishearten or terrify us from engaging in it.7

After a gap of almost four years, Fielding had again turned to political pamphleteering.8 Most of A Serious Address to the People of Great Britain (the actual title of Fielding’s pamphlet as it appears on the title page) is taken up with reflections

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on what might happen should the Jacobite rebellion succeed, down to verbatim transcriptions of passages from Limborch’s A Brief Representation of the Cruel and Barbarous Proceedings against Protestants in the Inquisition (1734) which described in gruesome detail the sorts of torture faithful Protestants could expect to have to endure. In rhetorical terms, this was straightforward scaremongering, but it is significant that, even as he plays on Protestant fears of what might happen were a Stuart restoration to take place, Fielding follows an established radical Whig tradition which can be traced back, via the writings of John Trenchard, to Andrew Marvell’s An Account of the Growth of Popery, and Arbitrary Government in England (1677).9 ‘If Popery and arbitrary Power, if the Destruction of our Religion and Constitution cannot alarm us’, Fielding thundered, ‘still the Apprehensions of French government must be surely sufficient’.10 In enumerating the differences between ‘English Liberty’ and ‘French Slavery’, however, he begins by reminding his readers ‘of the Security, with which the Freedom, the Life, the Property of Englishmen are guarded by the Law’: Can the greatest Man among us, even the King himself, take one of these from the poorest? Can any Man be imprisoned wrongfully, without present Redress, and future Satisfaction? Can he be punish’d without a Trial, without an unanimous Conviction, by twelve Men of his Equals, having been first accus’d on the Oaths of a Grand Jury of the like Number? Is he then liable to any other Sentence, than that to which the express Letter of the Law adjudges him, a Sentence which the King can neither aggravate or alter?11

It had been the constant refrain of Old Whig ideologues from Marvell onwards that ‘the Kings of England Rule not upon the same terms with those of our neighbour Nations’ who ‘are now for some Ages in possession of an Arbitrary Power (which yet no Presc[r]iption can make Legall) and exercise it over their persons and estates in a most Tyrannical manner’. In England it was very different: ‘No man is for Life, Limb, Goods, or Liberty at the Soveraigns discretion: but we have the same Right (modestly understood) in our Propriety [i.e., property] that the Prince hath in his Regality; and in all Cases where the King is concerned, we have our just remedy as against any private person of the neighbour-hood, in the Courts of Westminster Hall, or in the High Court of Parliament’.12 If in this instance, as I have argued, Fielding seems to have been working within an established radical Whig tradition, the opening paragraphs of A Serious Address to the People of Great Britain offer a reading of constitutional developments occurring as a consequence of the Revolution of 1688 which, on its own, is distinctive enough to challenge the view that he was ‘no politician’, or ‘certainly no political thinker’.13 In turn, Fielding’s interpretation of the constitutional issues raised by the Revolution indicate the key assumptions upon which his political ideology was constructed. After implicitly accepting the radical view

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expressed by Locke in the conclusion of his Two Treatises of Government that, on the monarch’s forfeiture of his trust, ‘the People have a Right to act as Supreme, and continue the Legislative in themselves, or place it in a new Form, or new hands, as they think good’,14 Fielding appears to take the concept one stage further, interpreting the events of 1688–9 as confirmation that a new form of monarchy had been erected by ‘the People’ in which the ‘old, obsolete, absurd Doctrine of Hereditary Right’ had been ‘exploded’.15 Thus it was irrelevant whether ‘Passive Obedience, and Non-resistance on the Part of the Subject, and a dispensing Power in the Crown, with an indefeasible Hereditary Right, Jure Divino’16 – the central components of the so-called doctrine of the divine right of kings – were part of the ancient constitution of England, because: ‘The Doctrine itself of such an indefeasible Right to the Crown hath been justly exploded’.17 This is of the first importance in comprehending Fielding’s political ideology because I do not think it has been sufficiently appreciated that all the time he was writing in support of the ‘Broad-Bottom’ ministry in 1745–6 by seeking to drive home the seriousness of the Jacobite threat to the Protestant Succession, he was actually putting forward not a mainstream, but a radical Whig interpretation of the Revolution. This, in turn, has a bearing on our interpretation of the political significance of Tom Jones. Far from representing the constitutional issues at issue during the Forty-Five as ‘a choice between illegitimacies’,18 Fielding implicitly accepted the key argument of Locke’s Two Treatises of Government: that ‘the supream power of the Commonwealth’ is not the monarch – who is merely the executive arm of the state – but in the legislature (or ‘Legislative Power’, as Locke has it). And as Locke carefully explains: This Legislative is not only the supream power of the Commonwealth, but sacred and unalterable in the hands where the Community have once placed it; nor can any Edict of any Body else, in what Form soever conceived, or by what Power soever backed, have the force and obligation of a Law, which has not its Sanction from that Legislative which the publick has chosen and appointed.19

The constitutional significance of this simple but fundamental point is essential to an understanding of the point Fielding makes in the third paragraph of A Serious Address: because the sovereign power in the state – ‘the Legislature of the Kingdom’ – ‘unanimously declared against’ the ‘old, obsolete, absurd Doctrine of Hereditary Right’ at the Revolution, it amounted (in Locke’s terms) to the erection of a ‘new Form’ of government.20 It is for this reason that Fielding goes on to insist that the ‘Reverse’ of indefeasible hereditary right ‘is Law’: a Law as firmly established as any other in this Kingdom; nay, it is the Foundation, the Corner-Stone of all our Laws, and of this Constitution itself; nor is the Declaration and Confirmation of this great Right of the People one of the least of those Blessings,

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which we owe to the Revolution. Whatever, therefore, tends to the Shaking of this fundamental Right, doth of itself introduce an opposite System of Government, and changes not only the King, but the Constitution.21

Fielding-the-lawyer is absolutely right: if the legislature is not in fact the sovereign power in the state then ‘as this insolent Man’, the Old Pretender, dared to pronounce ‘in his Declaration’ issued at Rome on 23 December 1743 (New Style), ‘we have been under an Usurpation these fifty Years’.22 It was not only the constitutional basis of the Hanoverian monarchy which stood or fell with the principle of the people’s ‘fundamental Right’ to decide the form of government, but the Protestant Succession itself. I have dwelt on the constitutional arguments Fielding puts forward in A Serious Address To the People of Great Britain because of the exceptional insight they offer into his political thought. Throughout his writings, including Tom Jones, Fielding stresses the importance of the concept of liberty. ‘I solemnly protest’, he had written in the Champion, ‘I write in no Favour but of the Liberties and Properties of my Country’.23 Often, as in A Serious Address and the True Patriot, Fielding links the rights and liberties of the subject with the safety of the Protestant religion itself. Thus he explains that James II was deposed not only because of ‘his avowed Design of establishing Popery’, but because of ‘all those Acts of arbitrary Power, enumerated in the Declaration of Rights, which struck at the very Root of Liberty, and the Fundamentals of our Constitution’,24 while Tom Jones, described as ‘a hearty Well-wisher to the glorious Cause of Liberty, and of the Protestant Religion’, refers in his dialogue with the Man of the Hill to the experiences which ‘brought our whole Nation to join so unanimously in expelling King James, for the Preservation of our Religion and Liberties’.25

Turning ‘State-Writer’ Whether A Serious Address To the People of Great Britain was sponsored by anyone in the administration is unknown.26 However, in the course of recommending ‘the public Papers … For News’, and informing Harris on 5 October that ‘People begin to be quieter in their Ffears [sic] concerning the Rebels’, Fielding explained that, in his assessment of the likely outcome of the rebellion, he was at one with Lord Chancellor Hardwicke.27 And it had been Hardwicke, it must be remembered, who had observed to Archbishop Herring at the end of August that: ‘There seems to be a certain indifference and deadness among many, and the spirit of the nation wants to be raised and animated to a right tone’.28 This assumes significance in the light of Dr John Barker’s postscript to Fielding’s letter to Harris:

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This, the first intimation that Fielding was about to publish a second pamphlet provides important information on two counts about the status of his writings on the Forty-Five. Discounting his studied coyness about Fielding’s responsibility for The History of the Present Rebellion in Scotland, the most interesting point Barker makes is the suggestion that it would be published ‘by Authority’. Even if, in the event, the pamphlet itself offers no indication that this was the case, it is of the utmost significance as far as Fielding’s political writings from 1745 onwards are concerned, and the fact that the History was extensively puffed in the press constitutes corroborative evidence of a compelling nature. For instance, the Daily Advertiser for 5 October noted that: ‘We hear that Mr. Macpherson, who lately escap’d from the Pretender, hath made some curious Discoveries relating to the Method which he took on his first arrival in Scotland’.30 As Coley remarks: ‘Those who subscribe to the hath-doth test for style, even in limited samples such as this, will conclude that Fielding himself wrote the “puffs”, which differ slightly in form from paper to paper but which all meet the hath-doth test’.31 But Mr James Macpherson never existed. Given that he was as much a fictitious character as Joseph Andrews or Tom Jones, his imaginary adventures were related entirely with the requirements of the ministry’s propaganda campaign in mind. ‘One thing I have always observed’, Hardwicke had written to Archbishop Herring prior to his giving his sermon and speech at York, ‘is that representing the Pretender as coming (as the truth is) under a dependence upon French support; I say, stating this point with popery, in a strong light, has always the most effect’.32 Either Fielding stumbled by accident on precisely the line advocated by the Lord Chancellor, or he was writing to order. The History of the Present Rebellion in Scotland consists almost entirely of an account of the Pretender’s progress from first landing in Scotland to the battle of Prestonpans concluding with an exhortation to ‘every Man in the Kingdom to exert himself ’ because ‘it is not the Cause in which the King only is concerned; your Religion, my Countrymen, your Laws, your Liberties, your Lives, the Safety of your Wives and Children; The Whole is in Danger, and for God Almighty’s Sake! lose not a Moment in Arming Yourselves for their Preservation’.33 Although the ‘hysteria’ Cleary finds in the pamphlet seems to me to confound polemical strategy and personal belief,34 it is not a particularly interesting example of Fielding’s skills as a propagandist, nor does it present new information about his political ideas. The same applies to the third of his pamphlets to appear in October, A Dialogue between The Devil, the Pope, and the Pretender, which

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runs the gamut of hackneyed comparisons between the Church of Rome and the Father of Lies going all the way back via the anti-Laudian satires of the 1630s and 1640s to Foxe’s Book of Martyrs itself. The True Patriot and The History of Our Own Times, the new periodical Fielding launched with the minimum of fuss on 5 November, is of much greater interest, however. Coley observes that ‘this first number takes notice, without comment, of “This Day being the Anniversary of the Gun-Powder Treason Plot”’,35 but there are good reasons for thinking that this was no coincidence. The Jacobite army had just left Edinburgh, so ‘this was the very Time’ (to employ the words Fielding uses in Tom Jones) when ‘the Banditti were now marched into England, intending, it was thought, to fight the King’s Forces, and to attempt pushing forward to the Metropolis’ (VII. xi).36 Fielding carefully establishes his credentials in the opening number of the True Patriot, preparing the ground for his ‘OBSERVATIONS on the PRESENT REBELLION’, in which he reflects on ‘the Business of a good Public Writer’ in the present juncture, when ‘The Rebellion is at present so seriously the Concern of every sensible Man, who wishes well to the Religion and Liberties of his Country’.37 Commentators have concentrated on the paragraphs in which, with his tongue firmly in his cheek, Fielding playfully throw[s] forth a few Hints who I am; a Matter commonly of the greatest Importance towards the Recommendation of all Works of Literature. First, then, It is very probable I am Lord B[olingbro]ke. This I collect from my Stile in Writing and Knowledge in Politics. Again it is as probable that I am the B[isho]p of ****, from my Zeal for the Protestant Religion. When I consider these, together with the Wit and Humour which will diffuse themselves through the whole, it is more than possible I may be Lord C[hesterfield] himself, or at least he may have some Share in my Paper. From some, or all of these Reasons, I am very likely Mr. W[arburto]n, Mr. D[odingto]n, Mr. L[yttelto]n, Mr. F[ieldin]g, Mr. T[homso]n, or indeed any other Person who hath ever distinguished himself in the Republic of Letters.38

‘Without stating it in so many words’, Cleary argues, ‘Fielding could hardly have indicated more clearly his ministerialism and special affinity for the ministry’s Broad-Bottom wing’. Rather than acknowledging the influence on his political ideas of Bolingbroke, ‘the great theoretician of Broad-Bottom’,39 however, here Fielding simply seems to be following up his only previous reference to Bolingbroke in his political journalism. On 1 March 1740 Hercules Vinegar jokingly referred to his bookseller’s request that he should ‘go to several Coffee-Houses where I am little known, and assert roundly that my Lord B[olingbro]ke was the Author of the Champion, assuring me that he would whisper it to every one who came into his Shop; and he was sure it would do’.40 Similarly, although it is doubtless correct to observe that the names invoked by Fielding ‘signal that the True

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Patriot’s political genealogy comes in a direct line from the Craftsman, Common Sense, [and] the Champion’,41 I do not think the mere mention of Chesterfield, Dodington and Lyttelton amounts to documentary evidence that any or all of them were sponsors of the True Patriot. After all, Chesterfield in particular had been criticized in print for orchestrating the anti-Hanoverian press campaign in 1742–44 conducted largely through the columns of Old England, or, the Constitutional Journal.42 Much more significant than Fielding’s use of ‘great Quantities of Dashes to keep the first and last Letter of proper Names and other Words asunder’,43 it seems to me, is the painstaking way in which he positions his True Patriot persona in the opening essay. Seeking to establish a broad identification with ‘the polite World’ – a phrase he employs on two separate occasions – Fielding appeals quite deliberately to the nobility and gentry of Great Britain. Even his references in passing to ‘Mechanics’ and to ‘the fair and honest Tradesman’ serve merely to reinforce his insistence that ‘I am a Gentleman: A Circumstance from which my Reader will reap many Advantages’, including the expectation ‘by means of my Intercourse with People of Condition, to find here many Articles of Importance concerning the Affairs and Transactions of the Great World’, especially ‘in Matters of State and Politics’.44 True, he also promises ‘Amusement’, but this had been a standard ploy of competent political journalists at least since the establishment of Defoe’s Review ‘to state facts right’ in 1704.45 For these reasons, it is scarcely surprising that ‘the lead essay is, amazingly enough, neglectful of the Rebellion’.46 Fielding more than makes up for it not only in his ‘OBSERVATIONS on the PRESENT REBELLION’, but in the succeeding sections of the opening number, as well as in his extended treatment of the consequences of the disturbances to the ‘public Funds’ in the second number.47 In the autumn of 1745, Fielding’s insistence that ‘I am of no Party; a Word which I hope, by these my Labours, to eradicate out of our Constitution: This being indeed the true Source of all those Evils which we have Reason to complain of ’,48 was more than the conventional cant of mid-eighteenth-century political journalism. As Fielding was writing on behalf of King and country it was, on this occasion, a vital element in his rhetoric. Because his own Hanoverian inclinations completely accorded with the requirements of the Pelham administration, he dwelt on the happiness of the British constitution: We cannot begin the Home Part of our History with a more agreeable Article than the Birth-day of our Gracious Sovereign. This excellent Prince, on the 30th of October last, entered into the 63d Year of his Life, eighteen years of which he hath reigned over us. His People, truly sensible of the Happiness they enjoy under his just and mild Government, determined to shew extraordinary Marks of Loyalty on this Occasion. The Bells began to ring long before day. At Noon there was the largest Assembly of the Nobility and Gentry ever seen at Court, to compliment his Majesty and the Royal Family.49

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This may not amount to a particularly subtle eulogy of George II but despite the concluding dig at the incompetence of Cibber’s birthday ode the purpose, quite clearly, was to insist on the solidarity of the British ruling class in the face of the threat posed to the Protestant Succession by ‘this Popish Pretender’. Thus Fielding maintains that it is greatly ‘to the Honour of the Nobility and Gentry of North Britain … that except Outlaws, and one or two profligate younger Brothers, there is not a single Man of any Name in the Kingdom, who hath given Sanction to the Pretender’s Cause’. Given the known danger of ‘the Spirit of Persecution under a Stuart, who was, or pretended to be, a Protestant’, Fielding sought to warn his readers against trusting ‘a known and avowed Papist of the same Family’. This, he assured them, was ‘the Concern of every sensible Man, who wishes well to the Religion and Liberties of his Country’.50 Prior to 6 December 1745 when the rebel army began its long retreat from Derby, therefore, the True Patriot had a straightforward polemical objective: it sought to raise and animate the spirits of the propertied elite ‘to a right tone’, and to maintain morale at this high level once this primary aim had been achieved. To this end, Fielding extolled a different sort of patriotism to meet a different sort of national emergency. Thus, after confessing in the second number ‘that this Word Patriot hath of late Years been very scandalously abused by some Persons’, he apologized for needing to ‘expatiate on this very disagreeable Subject, at such a Season’ before proceeding to explain ‘that this paper is not writ on the Principles, or with the Purposes, of modern Patriotism; it being my sincere Intention to calm and heal, not to blow up and inflame any Party-Divisions’. Patriotism, then, was simply ‘the Love of one’s Country carried into Action’.51 In these circumstances, with the constitutional basis of the Hanoverian monarchy itself under threat, political corruption was not his primary target. By February 1746, however, as Fielding put it in issue no. 17: The Clouds which have so long hung over this Nation, and threatned us with the blackest Tempests, begin at length to disperse themselves. Our Fears of an Invasion are at an End, and the wicked Rebellion begun against the best of Princes, is, by the Bravery of his glorious Son [the Duke of Cumberland], indeed by the very Terror of his Name, reduced to its primitive Insignificance.52

As the rebel threat receded, so did George II’s reliance on the Pelhams. ‘During the heat of the rebellion, I was most graciously received’, Newcastle wrote to Chesterfield on 6 January 1746. ‘But, whether from the danger being more remote; or from whatever other cause I know not, during the last week, there was a visible alteration’.53 Whether the primary cause of the George II’s hostility to his ministers was their increasing reliance on Cobham, the price of whose support was the appointment of Pitt as Secretary at War,54 the King proceeded to hatch a plan to replace Pelham as First Lord of the Treasury and Chancellor of

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the Exchequer with Pulteney, now the Earl of Bath, and Newcastle as Secretary of State with Granville. Matters came to a head on 10–11 February when Pelham, Newcastle, and Harrington, his colleague as Secretary of State, all resigned, along with Bedford, Gower, Monson and Pembroke. Forty-eight hours later the King was forced to reinstate them when it became apparent ‘that the new ministry could neither support him nor themselves, and that they could not depend upon more than 31 Lords and 80 Commoners’.55 Interestingly, in the very issue of the True Patriot for 18–25 February 1746 I have just quoted in which Fielding proclaimed the fear of an invasion to be at an end – indeed in the concluding sentence of the leading essay which immediately preceded this statement – he pointedly congratulated his country on the fact ‘that the Administration is in the Hands of Men who esteem Power and Preferment of no Value any longer than they can be preferred with a strict Adherence to the true Interest of their Country’. Patently, the politicians to whom Fielding is referring in this way included those who had resigned en masse a week earlier only to be reinstated. Not content with that, in alluding to ‘a late memorable Instance’ of political folly, he succeeded in ridiculing Granville and Bath by implication, if not by name. ‘Some such [fools] indeed were found’, he explained, ‘but their Number were so inconsiderable that they soon gave Room to public Virtue’.56 Previous commentators have detected an alteration in the True Patriot’s political stance in February 1746. Thus Coley identifies ‘some sort of mid-life crisis’ beginning with issue no. 17, after which the format of the journal changed to include ‘editorial commentary’ in the section called ‘The Present History of Great Britain’. This took the form of an emphasis on ‘ideology and a pronouncedly judgmental attitude towards policies and the political implications of events’ which, according to Coley, ‘undertakes to define what can only be called a kind of watered-down Bolingbrokeism, which it calls, repeatedly, the new patriotism’.57 Why Bolingbroke or his political ideas should be invoked at this point is not clear to me. It is not as if Fielding ever acknowledged Bolingbroke’s influence on his political actions or his political thought. On the contrary, other than in the two instances I have quoted,58 Bolingbroke’s name is conspicuous by its absence from Fielding’s political pamphlets or from his contributions to the Champion and the True Patriot, and I regard it as seriously misleading in the utter absence of external evidence to assert that Bolingbroke was a major influence on Fielding’s politics. True, in his posthumous ‘Fragment of a Comment on L. Bolingbroke’s Essays’ (appended to The Journal of a Voyage to Lisbon) Fielding remarks that ‘I had the highest, and strongest prepossession in favour of the abilities of the author’. Yet the possibility that this may be no more than a rhetorical ploy must be taken into consideration because Fielding not only goes on to maintain that he has ‘not the least inclination to his lordship’s doctrines’, but also, tellingly, that ‘we doubt not but to make it appear as a fact beyond all

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contest, that his lordship was in jest through the whole work which we have undertaken to examine’.59 Instead of striving officiously to keep intact an unproven link between Fielding and ‘Bolingbroke and the “broad-bottoms”’ stretching back to the mid1730s,60 it is more important to acknowledge the way in which the columns of the True Patriot increasingly singled out Pelham for praise. This is apparent even before the crisis of the ‘Forty-eight-hour Ministry’. In his disquisition in issue no. 14 for 28 January–4 February on the ungenerous treatment meted out to political writers, Fielding expressed the desire to do a great Man of the present Age the Justice to acknowledge, I have apprehended no such Treatment from him, nor, I believe, received it at his Hands. Those who have the Honour to know him better than myself, assure me he hath the utmost Indifference for all Writers, and the greatest Contempt for any Good or Harm which they can do him.61

Fielding’s phrasing is potentially significant. In suggesting, not unreasonably, that there were those who knew Pelham ‘better than myself ’, was he not in effect insinuating that, on some level, the two men were acquainted? This is important in any consideration of the relationship between the True Patriot and the government. Commentators have tended to take Fielding’s insistence that Pelham ‘hath the utmost Indifference for all Writers’ at face value without sufficiently taking into account the statement’s likely rhetorical purpose. Thus Battestin argues that his ‘disgruntled complaint’ about Pelham’s ‘Indifference’ renders it ‘certain’ that the True Patriot ‘was not an official organ of the ministry’,62 while Coley regards ‘the marked tone of unrequitedness that can be heard in the later issues’ as a ‘telling’ argument ‘against the hypothesis of government subvention’.63 The rhetorical effect of a ministerial paper distancing itself from its sponsors should not be underestimated, however. In asserting The True Patriot’s independence, Fielding may simply have been seeking to reassure his readers that what they were reading was objective political analysis of current affairs, rather than carefully slanted government propaganda. Whether (as Cleary believes) Fielding ‘became an overt ministerialist in issue 16’64 – a satire on Granville and Bath which works largely by comparing them to the ‘two Kings of Brentford … in the Duke of Buckingham’s inimitable Rehearsal’65 – or whether a ‘heightened, self-pitying tone of unrequitedness’ can be detected even in the final two issues (as Coley maintains),66 there should be little doubt, given the number of occasions on which Pelham and other ministers are complimented while ‘the Opposition’67 is ridiculed, that from the end of February until the True Patriot ceased publication with the issue for 17 June 1746 Fielding had indeed ‘become a strenuous advocate for the ministry’.68

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Written immediately after the reappointment of Pelham, Newcastle, Harrington et al., how else should the following passage be interpreted? But the most satisfactory Contemplation is, that the Administration of Affairs is now in the Hands of Men who have given such Proofs of their Integrity, that have at once convinced us that we are free Men, and may depend on being so under their Protection. It is indeed the rare Blessing of the Public, in the present Age, to be convinced that their Friends are in Power, that the greatest Men in the Kingdom are at the same time the honestest; that the very Person to whose Councils it is to be attributed, that the Pretender hath not been long since in Possession of this City, is at the Head of the Ministry; and that the greatest Enemies of the People are disabled from any longer hurting or oppressing them. Indeed it is now known in our Streets, to whom we owe the Preservation of this Kingdom, by the timely bringing our Troops from Flanders; and who they were who opposed and delayed that Measure. It is now therefore, that Opposition is really and truly Faction; that the Names of a Patriot and Courtier are not only compatible, but necessarily conjoined; and that none can be any longer Enemies to the Ministry, without being so to the Public.69

This seems pretty plain. It looks forward to Fielding’s insistence in his contribution to his sister’s Familiar Letters that the administration is ‘at present in the Hands of the very Men, whom you, and every honest Person would wish to be intrusted with it’,70 if not to his eulogy of ‘the Minister at the Head of the Treasury’ in the Jacobite’s Journal as ‘one of the greatest Men now alive’.71 Given these circumstances, it is scarcely surprising that, as far as Fielding was concerned, opposition was now not merely factious, but potentially treasonous – an important factor when it comes to considering his next political pamphlet, the Dialogue between a Gentleman of London ... and an Honest Gentleman of the Country Party of June 1747. In laying down the True Patriot, Fielding reflected on the objective of the enterprise, and what he thought it had achieved. ‘It is not my Purpose here to claim to myself any extraordinary Merit from the Undertaking’, he explained. ‘To do all that in us lies, at such a Time, to defend ourselves and our Country, is perhaps no more than we are strictly obliged to’. ‘However’, he went on, ‘I hope I shall be allowed to have hereby discharged my Duty as an Englishman, and as a loyal Subject to his present Majesty’.72 If he felt undervalued (as Coley suggests), he did not dwell on the circumstance, and it seems pointless to speculate, in the absence of evidence, whether the True Patriot was the recipient of a ‘government subvention’ or of ‘a “patriot” subscription’.73 What we do know is that the Duke of Bedford, who had been rewarded with the sinecure of Warden of the New Forest as a consequence of the debacle of the ‘Forty-eight-hour ministry’, and who was pointedly described in the True Patriot for 7 January 1746 as ‘a noble Duke, whose Character ought to be dear, nay even sacred, to every Englishman, as he certainly deserves every Honour his Country can bestow on it’,74 appointed

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Fielding High Steward of the New Forest and of the Manor of Lyndhurst on 14 April 1746.75 Cross, who thought it ‘probable’ that the government bought copies to give away, suggested that there was a connection between Fielding’s laying down the True Patriot in June 1746 and the judgment given in the King’s Bench against Fielding and James Harris for £400 which they had pledged as surety for Arthur Collier.76 ‘From the time he bade farewell to readers of the True Patriot (17 June 1746) until mid-autumn’, Battestin observes, ‘there are few clues as to Fielding’s activities or whereabouts’.77 Presumably he made his annual appearance on the Western Circuit. More pertinently for my purposes, Fielding’s next publication, on 12 November 1746, was his sensational but apolitical account of the Mary Hamilton case, The Female Husband. He followed this, on 25 February 1747, with Ovid’s Art of Love Paraphrased, and Adapted to the Present Time, finding room in the Preface to remark on ‘that Passage so justly applicable to the Glorious Duke of Cumberland’. The continental War of the Austrian Succession, to which, in the event, the Jacobite rebellion proved to be little more than a distraction, was still dragging on. ‘’Tis time to avenge the Injuries attempted to thy House’, Cumberland was exhorted, ‘and to maintain thy glorious Father’s Rights’.78 Not content with praising the victor of Culloden, Fielding turned, in his contribution to Sarah Fielding’s Familiar Letters between the Principal Characters in David Simple and Some Others, published on 10 April 1747, to complimenting the current ministers: To begin then with Politics, on which head I shall be extremely short; The Administration of our public Affairs is, in my opinion, at present in the Hands of the very Men, whom you, and every honest Person would wish to be intrusted with it. Amongst those, tho’ there is no absolute Prime Minister, yet there is one, whose Genius must always make him the superior in every Society, as he hath joined to the most penetrating Wit, the clearest Judgment both in Men and Things, and the profoundest Knowledge of them, of any Man, whom, perhaps the World ever saw … What but a Genius of the highest Kind could have preserved Ireland in a perfect State of Tranquillity and Obedience during the late Troubles! Or what could have restored this Nation from that drooping and languid Fit of Despair, which lately appeared in every honest Countenance, to those chearful Expectations, which the present Prospect of Things affords us.79

What conclusions about Fielding’s politics can safely be drawn from this extraordinary passage? It certainly bears out the contention that, by now, he was ‘a strenuous advocate for the ministry’,80 but perhaps of more significance is his contention that, ‘tho’ there is no absolute Prime Minister’, there is a ‘Superior’ genius, Chesterfield, who had been appointed Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland in December 1744 as part of the new ‘broad-bottom administration’. Although commentators have assumed Fielding’s admiration for if not his ‘allegiance’ to Chesterfield

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from the publication in 1734 of Don Quixote in England onwards, 81 this ranks alongside the complimentary references in ‘An Essay on Conversation’.82 ‘As he makes clear’, Battestin remarks, ‘in politics Fielding’s hero of the moment was Chesterfield, who became Secretary of State for the Northern Department in October 1746’.83 Yet even in this instance Fielding’s exaggerated praise is qualified by Valentine’s ‘affirm[ation] with Truth, that there is no one Patron of true Genius, nor the least Encouragement left for it in this Kingdom’.84 Even while scaling the heights of hyperbole, it seems, Fielding could not stop himself from complaining about Chesterfield’s evident stinginess. It comes as little surprise, therefore, that, after his resignation in 1748, Chesterfield’s name never appears again in Fielding’s published writings – not even in Tom Jones.85 New evidence reveals that Fielding was actually at work on his masterpiece during 1747. ‘Your friend Fielding is about another sort of work than wt relates to the Laws &c’, John Upton wrote to James Harris on 19 March 1747; ‘He has finished one volume of a large humorous work’.86 This, as Ribble points out, would seem to contradict Battestin’s assumption that Fielding began Tom Jones ‘some time in the early months of 1745’ before being interrupted by the Forty-Five.87 Two volumes had been completed by the end of November, according to Upton. ‘Fielding is going to print six volumes of a Novel wch he calls the Foundling’, he added on 29 December 1747: ‘ye two first are finished’. That the final four volumes took almost another year to complete can almost certainly be imputed by Fielding’s being recruited by the ministry for a specific task for which he would receive ‘a constant retaining fee’.88

‘Writing for the Government’ The publication on 23 June of A Dialogue between a Gentleman of London, Agent for two Court Candidates, and an Honest Alderman Of the Country Party, Wherein The Grievances under which the Nation at present groans are fairly and impartially laid open and considered. Earnestly address’d to the Electors of GreatBritain – within a week of George II’s dissolving Parliament a year earlier than he was required to do under the terms of the Septennial Act – constitutes strong evidence that, by 1747, Fielding was the ministry’s leading propagandist.89 Earlier in the year Frederick, Prince of Wales, had ‘formally declared a new opposition, which is never to subside till he is King (s’entend, that he does not carry his point sooner)’.90 As Newcastle explained to Cumberland on 17 March 1747, ‘the present new opposition is yet unsupported, unconnected, and not in high reputation’. ‘What the course of a year may produce, nobody can tell’, he continued. ‘Unfortunate publick events, or private disappointments, and personal views, may render that opposition formidable, which at present is far from being so’.91 While this scarcely amounted to ‘another crisis’ (as Cleary has it),92 it was clearly

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in the ministry’s interests to call an early election, more especially as the War of the Austrian Succession was dragging on ‘in ever-increasing confusion’.93 Unique insight into Fielding’s role is provided by an exchange of letters between Philip Yorke, son of Lord Chancellor Hardwicke, and the Rev. Thomas Birch which, for the first time, offers external evidence of his writing to order. On 16 June, Yorke remarked that: ‘The Discontent expressed by the Malecontents of every stamp at the dissolution of the Parlmt proves the measure to be a right one’.94 ‘They threaten us wth Pamphlets in the Papers, if any Thing remarkable comes out in the Journals pray send it me’, he asked Birch a week later. ‘I heard Fielding was writing for the Government, but He sh[oul]d publish before the Nonsense has time to make an Impression’.95 Birch’s reply amounts to strong supporting evidence for Yorke’s supposition that ‘Fielding was writing for the Government’: Fielding has given us his Pamphlet under a Title design’d to catch the Malignants under the Appearance of being levell’d against the Governmt … It contains 91 pages in 8vo. The Alderman acknowledges himself a Jacobite, but upon Republican Principles; which the Gentleman shows to be just as consistent as being an Atheist upon Christian Principles. The chief Topics of Grievances are the Want of a place & Pension Bill, & of an Annual or at least Triennial Parliamts, the war, Taxes, the Scots Bills, & the Dissolution of the Parliament.96

As well as making it clear that Fielding was known to be the author of the Dialogue, this letter offers first-hand evidence of how its argument was interpreted by a contemporary reader and, interestingly, Birch was not the only one to appreciate that the thrust of Fielding’s polemical strategy was to point out how the new ‘patriot’ opposition gathered around the Prince of Wales was deliberately being misled by its Jacobite associates. A ‘letter’ published in the General Advertiser on 29 June – two days after Birch’s letter to Yorke was dated – made precisely the same point in remarkably similar terms: SIR, I AM one, among many others who have been deceived by the Title of a Pamphlet which is lately published, called, A Dialogue … But if this Pamphlet deceived me in the Title, it has undeceived me in many Points, for which I am greatly obliged to the Author; who, I think has eminent Merit, as well to his Country as to his King. Nay, I think he has demonstrated in the clearest Manner, that the Cause of his King and Country are one and the same. I wish with all my Heart, the whole Nation may read this excellent Performance, since I am certain it must convince every impartial and sensible Man, that all Clamours against the Government at present are unjust, and raised for the worst of Purposes. Of Consequence no honest Man will give his Vote for those who endeavour to raise of propagate them.97

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In addition to providing vital evidence about his political allegiances in the middle of 1747, including his role as ‘the government’s principal propagandist’,98 the Dialogue also offers an interesting indication of what being a Whig meant to Fielding. In arguing in favour of placemen, Fielding was not necessarily flying in the face of what he had previously written as an opposition playwright and political journalist. He had consistently advocated, as he does in the Dialogue, that MPs ought to be ‘Men of great Abilities … and of great Fortunes, which are the best Security to the Public, for the faithful Execution of them’.99 It is for this reason that Fielding’s Gentleman recommends the election of the two court candidates, ‘Sir John Protestant, and Mr. English’, only to be rebuffed by ‘the Honest Alderman of the Country Party’ on the dubious grounds that ‘they are both Placemen, and that is with me a sufficient Objection to them’.100 Now this had been a constant complaint of both Country Tories and Country Whigs ever since the Revolution, but existing accounts of the Dialogue’s argument unfortunately rely on unwarranted assumptions about Fielding’s ‘Honest Alderman’. Thus, according to Coley, he is not only ‘in the “Country” or Opposition interest; as an alderman, he is a magistrate, perhaps also a Justice of the Peace’. Further, the ‘dialogue between “Court” and “Country” is roughly between Whig and Tory’.101 The problem with describing Fielding’s argument in the Dialogue in this way is that it does not appear to appreciate his polemical purpose in linking the ‘Honest Alderman’, who has hitherto maintained ‘the most rigid Principles of a Republican’, with a pair of candidates of whom one ‘is a known Jacobite’, while the other ‘calls himself a Whig; but by uniting his Interest with his Fellow-Candidate, I think he gives us the strongest Reason to suspect his own Principles’.102 This, as Birch clearly recognized, was the key element in Fielding’s polemical strategy. As a consequence of the new opposition being a coalition of disaffected Whigs and Tories, including those known for their Jacobite inclinations, the General Election of 1747 was not simply a contest between Whig and Tory. As a letter ‘To the Author of the General Advertiser’ (published in the very issue (26 June 1747) in which Fielding’s Dialogue was advertised as ‘This Day is published’) pointed out in the process of lamenting ‘the late inviduous [sic] and groundless Distinction of Court and Country Interests’, the opposition candidates were ‘proposing themselves in what they call the Country Interest’.103 Fielding’s primary polemical objective in the Dialogue, therefore, was to undermine the alliance between disaffected Whigs and Tories by smearing all Tories as Jacobites, in much the same way that Walpole’s journalists had done throughout his time in office. This process begins as soon as the Gentleman describes his friend as ‘strangely altered in your Way of Thinking since I formerly knew you’.104 It quickly transpires that the reason for this change in the Alderman’s principles is that although he continues to despise ‘such absurd Notions’ as divine infeasible hereditary right, he is now ‘a Jacobite upon Republican Prin-

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ciples’ who regards the threat to the Protestant religion and to the liberties and properties of individual Britons posed by Jacobitism as ‘a mere Bugbear’ invented by government propagandists.105 Fortunately, by the end of the pamphlet he is convinced by his friend’s arguments that it is under ‘our noble Sovereign King George … and his Family only that our Religion, Liberties and Properties can be secure’.106 Two important details in particular about Fielding’s own political thinking are suggested by the argument of A Dialogue between a Gentleman of London ... and an Honest Gentleman of the Country Party. First, in again refuting ‘the absurd and exploded Doctrines of indefeasible hereditary Right’, he offers strong corroborative evidence that he accepted the more extreme ‘Lockean’ version of what had taken place at the Revolution: ‘Those indeed, who at a Time when the Throne was vacant, proposed other Forms of Government, argued perhaps honestly from their own Principles; but the Case is altered now, we are bound by the Act of our Ancestors in this as in every other Instance’.107 This not only looks back to the conclusion of Locke’s Two Treatises, but forward to the debate begun by Burke’s Reflections on the Revolution in France over the extent to which the terms of an Act of Parliament could ‘bind “us and our heirs, and our posterity, to them, their heirs, and their posterity,” being Protestants, to the end of time’.108 More significantly, Fielding appears to refine and extend his previous argument about what happened as a consequence of 1688. ‘The Parliament, in the Act of Settlement [of 1701], made no arbitrary nor wanton Disposal of the Crown’, the Gentleman explains. ‘They adhered strictly to the Law and Constitution in which the Crown is held to be hereditary, though not indefeasibly so. His Majesty is the next Heir who is capable of enjoying it, being the next Protestant Heir’.109 While it could be argued that this detail merely amplifies what Fielding had already written in several places about the ‘exploded’ doctrine of indefeasible hereditary right, the dialogue between the Gentleman and the Honest Alderman, taken as a whole, might serve as an explanation of why a writer who, particularly in the Champion, had harped on and on about the threat posed to liberty and property by bribery and corruption while Walpole was Prime Minister, now supported the government. If the Alderman’s thinking is ‘strangely altered’ for a man who had previously held republican principles, apparently the same could said of the Gentleman now that he has turned courtier. ‘I am sorry to find’, the Alderman remarks, ‘that one who has always professed those honest Principles which I have heard so often from your Mouth, can espouse such a Cause’.110 As this was mutatis mutandis the position in which Fielding found himself as a ministerial propagandist, the way in which his fictional projection, the Gentleman, sought to justify his conduct is significant. He made no attempt to ‘deny that there is any Corruption in this Nation’, as that ‘would be to fly in the Face not only of Truth, but of public Notoriety’. ‘Indeed, to speak a bold political Truth’, the Gentleman

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continued, ‘some Degree of Corruption always hath attended, and always will attend a rich a flourishing Nation’. But he challenged the most malicious Malecontent during all the Time in which the Clamours against Corruption have run so very high, that they have been ecchoed by the most corrupt Men amongst us, to produce one single Instance of any Law which hath struck at the Root of our Constitution, or which hath attempted to undermine our Liberties: And what must be the Inference; but either that we have had no Minister wicked enough to aim at carrying any such Point, which few, I believe, will chuse to confess, or that his Influence in the Legislature was never sufficient to embolden him to attempt it.111

By arguing in this way, the Gentleman was able to conclude that, in the present circumstances: Nothing, I apprehend therefore, can appear more unjust than this Charge of Corruption on the present Government; which neither introduced nor can possibly cure it. And can we expect, that when the Enemies of the present Establishment, are so manifestly busy in employing every Art, fair and foul, open and secret, to corrupt the Nation; to mislead, inflame and bribe them against their own true Interest, and against the King and his Administration; that the Government should sit still and use no Attempts for his own Security.112

Whether we find this argument convincing, it amounts to implied justification of Fielding’s own conduct in supporting the Pelham ministry regardless of his vociferous criticism of government corruption under Walpole. As the threat to the nation’s security from the coalition of Whigs, Tories and Jacobites ranged against it was sufficiently serious to require patriots of all political persuasions to unite, it was imperative that the Alderman – and voters in similar situations – were not misled by the specious arguments of ‘Your present Acquaintances, the Jacobites’.113 It was all very well for Old England, the leading opposition journal, to complain that ‘whoever has not accepted a Place, nor asked for one, since the Date of the Coalition, is stigmatized for a Rebel’,114 but that was not how it appeared to government supporters as they scrutinized the new MPs, listing them under the categories of ‘Tories’, ‘the Prince’s party’, and ‘Whimsicals’. As for Old England, the Revd. Thomas Birch remarked upon the significance of its ‘discard[ing] the Word Broad-bottom from [the] Title’ in order to enlist itself ‘absolutely in the Service of Leicester House’.115 It is instructive to compare the views on the constitution expressed in the Dialogue, particularly insofar as they concerned the Hanoverian Succession, with what Fielding wrote later on in the year in A Proper Answer To A Late Scurrilous Libel, Entitled, An Apology for the Conduct of a Late Celebrated Second-Rate Minister:

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But what pray is meant by the Change in the Constitution? Or rather, what is meant by the Old Constitution, which was changed at the Revolution, and which any honest Man, or good Briton, would desire to see restored? What is this Old Constitution? Is it the Constitution under the ancient Tenures, which was changed at the Restoration, given up as a Kind of postlimited Condition by Charles the Second, at his Return; and in the Hurry of Joy in which he then was, when perhaps it was little weighed or considered? Tho’, to say the Truth, the Interest of the Crown was not concern’d in maintaining it: For tho’ the greatest Part of the People were in old Time Slaves under these Tenures, yet it was not a Slavery to the King, but to the great Men of the Nation, who, partly by these Means, were often too powerful for the King himself Is it then the Constitution under which the Barons lorded it, as well over the King as over the People, and which was destroyed by Henry the Seventh? Is it the Tyranny of the Pope which we desire to restore, and which was abolished by Henry the Eighth? Or lastly; Is it that Regal Tyranny, which four successive Princes of the House of Stuart had been endeavouring, by all the Means of Fraud as well as of Force, to erect and establish in this Kingdom?116

As I have already pointed out, Fielding, as a polemicist, made original and striking use of constitutional arguments not only to attack Walpole particularly over his assumption of the unconstitutional position of prime minister, but also to justify the Revolution of 1688. Because ‘all Civil Power’ was ‘originally and absolutely placed … in the People’, it followed that ‘the Sovereign Power devolved to the People by the Forfeiture and Abdication of King James the Second’.117 As for the ‘old, obsolete, absurd Doctrine of Hereditary Right’ to the Crown,118 it was no more that a ‘Regal Tyranny’ which, ‘by all the Means of Fraud as well as of Force’, James I, Charles I, Charles II and James II had been endeavouring, illegally and therefore unconstitutionally, ‘to erect and establish in the Kingdom’.119 As we shall see in the next chapter, these arguments, which can be traced back to the conclusion of Locke’s Two Treatises of Government, have a direct bearing on the political significance of Tom Jones, but they are also important as far as a true appreciation of what Fielding was up to in the Jacobite’s Journal is concerned. A few days before the first issue was published on 5 December 1747 a strange pamphlet had appeared entitled An Apology For the Conduct of a Late Celebrated Second-Rate Minister. Purporting to be a genuine autobiographical account found among the papers of the late Paymaster of the Forces, Thomas Winnington, after his death, it made the astonishing claim that most of the politicians in power since the Revolution, including Walpole and Winnington himself, had secretly been working to restore ‘the old Constitution’ – the phrase is used on no fewer than sixteen separate occasions.120 ‘I believe few, if any, would believe a Man that should assert he knew, that Walpole and Harley had similar Intentions, and were working to the same End, tho’ by means as different as their Professions’, ‘Winnington’ ostensibly and preposterously claimed in his apology

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for his political conduct. ‘Yet nothing is more certain, than that the first Robert was steady in the Interest of his Prince [i.e. James Stuart, the Old Pretender], nor yet more so, than that the latter was as earnest in the same interest. I speak from an Experience, in which I could not have been mistaken’.121 Although the allegation that throughout his political career Winnington (let alone Walpole and Chesterfield) had secretly been working for a Jacobite restoration was patently absurd, the purpose of the spurious Apology is far from clear. Coley regards it as ‘one of the most effective Opposition writings of its immediate time’,122 while according to Battestin: ‘The Opposition author of this piece of impudence meant to embarrass the ministry for mismanaging the war and for undermining the Church to the point where the people were fast sinking into immorality and atheism’.123 Yet this scarcely does justice to the pamphlet’s stated intention to ‘examine the Motives, the Justice, the Necessity and Expediency of the Revolution, a Measure that had occasioned so mighty a Chasm in the Constitution’,124 and it is tempting, given that the first issue of the Jacobite’s Journal appeared less than a week later, to explore the possibility first aired in an anonymous pamphlet with the interesting title, The Patriot Analized, that Fielding might himself have been the author of An Apology For the Conduct of a Late Celebrated Second-Rate Minister: ‘What would you say, if the Apology had been wrote by the Answerer himself ? ’Tis a common Device among such Writers as find themselves obliged to vary their Productions according to the Whim, Caprice, or Persuasion of the employing Bookseller. But whether or no the Author of the Jacobite Journal was the Author of the Apology, ’tis evident, by the shallowness of the Answer, that the Apology was unanswerable, or that the Answerer, being of the same Principles with the Apologist, was unwilling to efface any Impressions such a Work as the Apology might have on the Minds of the Subjects’. ibid. Student.125

Critics have not been complimentary about Fielding’s performance in A Proper Answer To A Late Scurrilous Libel. It has described as ‘inferior to the work it attacks’, and ‘as petulant as it is dull and perfunctory’.126 Interestingly, however, The Patriot Analized not only drew attention to Fielding’s competence as a writer: ‘Ah, Sir, you know not what F—g could do if he were willing. The Fault lay in the Heart and not in the Head. Had he not approved of the Apology in his Heart, you would have seen him mince and hash it so as to make half the Town weep and the other laugh. Don’t you think, that the Pen that writ Pasquin, Joseph Andrews, and the Champion could have answer the Apology better, if he had had the Will?’

it also offered an explanation for Fielding’s actions:

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‘Alas, Sir! You forget the Power of Necessity. If a Man, that wants Bread, can establish a Paper by the P[os]t Off[ic]e taking off Two Thousand every Week, is he not more excusable than a Man of Fortune, who Votes against his Conscience and the Interest of his Country, for a Place and Pension?’127

Whether the Opposition journal, Old England took its cue from The Patriot Analized, it subsequently reiterated the allegation that the ministry had arranged for 2,000 copies of each issue of the Jacobite’s Journal to be distributed free of charge by the Post Office. Old England also offered a detailed account of how Fielding, ‘this pretended Humourist’, now boasted that he ‘wrote under [Lyttelton’s] Umbrage and Protection’, noting that: This Drawcansir was immediately put upon the honourable List of weekly Pensioners, with an Advance of one Weeks Pay in Hand, by way of Entrance; while future Payments were to attend the Event of the Labours of the Week, under your [Lyttelton’s] cautionary Care and special Direction; as it seems something had transpired from among his old Friends, the Booksellers, of his Inattention to Performance of Covenants, after the Consideration received.128

In this way, a full nine years after the Champion first put in an appearance, and with Tom Jones actually in press, Lyttelton was finally singled out as Fielding’s patron, and Old England went on to assert on a number of occasions that the Jacobite’s Journal was written ‘under the Direction of the Excellent Selim Slim’.129 Whether, as Old England claimed, Lyttelton – ‘the great Mæcenas of the Age’ – was in fact the minister to whom ‘we are indebted for these elaborate Discourses on Politics’,130 it is clear that contemporaries were in no doubt that the Jacobite’s Journal was sponsored by the ministry, and that Fielding was by now a ‘known pension’d Scribler’,131 and Frederick G. Ribble has recently discovered two pieces of documentary evidence to support such a claim. Two days before the first issue appeared, Thomas Harris informed James Harris that Fielding ‘is coming out with a new paper next Saturday, called ye Jacobite journal, wch is as he says under ye patronage of ye ministry & will be a sure profit to him: I wish it may prove so’. Corroboration of Thomas Harris’s news is to be found in a letter from another of James Harris’s correspondents, John Upton, who explained on 29 December 1747 that ‘he is answer-master-general now, & has a constant retaining fee’.132 The purpose of the Jacobite’s Journal, according to Old England, was to offer ‘some Apology, by way of Antidote against the weekly Truths vented by the poisonous Pen of [Old England’s putative author] Argus Centoculi’: For this Purpose, the Bar was stript of a notable Ornament, the Theatres of their Farcemaker, the Booksellers of their Novellist, Punch of his Puppet-Companion, and Bart’lomy Fair of her Laureat; all which, concurring in one prodigeous [sic] Genius, form’d the formidable Champion Trotplaid!133

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While this is undoubtedly true, the Jacobite’s Journal had a specific polemical task, which was to prepare the way for the revelation that peace preliminaries, signed on 30 April 1748 (New Style), were being negotiated with France to put an end to the War of the Austrian Succession, in much the same way that Swift’s The Conduct of the Allies had been commissioned to serve a similar function at the end of 1711 in respect of those which led to the conclusion of the War of the Spanish Succession. Hence Fielding’s remark in the issue for 14 May: Whoever will be pleased to cast his Eye backward for one Month only, and recollect the gloomy Prospect which the Situation of public Affairs then presented; the dreadful Apprehension which prevailed in every Mind, and discovered itself in every Countenance; arising from the daily Decline of national Credit, from the apparent Strength of our Enemies, and from the manifest Weakness or Perfidy of our Allies, must be obliged to own, when he compares it with the pleasing Scene now shifted on the Stage, that no Nation hath ever had a quicker Transition from Evil to Good. Now as this happy Alteration of our Affairs in intirely owing to the Preliminaries of Peace lately signed surely we ought, with one Accord, to cry BLESSED ARE THE PEACE-MAKERS. And, indeed, there is sufficient Reason to think that the Nation in general is well enough inclined to join in this Exclamation; for surely no People were ever more sick, more weary of a War, than we are of this. As I would here particularly avoid any thing of an invidious Kind, I shall not enter into the Question, By whom we were driven into this War? However we came into it, two Things must be allowed by all, that it hath been very expensive, and very unsuccessful.134

In defending the ministry’s negotiation and conclusion of the Peace of Aix-laChappelle in October 1748, Fielding extended the argument he had first put forward in A Dialogue between a Gentleman of London ... and an Honest Gentleman of the Country Party that the alliance between Leicester House Whigs, Tories and Jacobites threatened the security of the kingdom even though, as Bob Harris remarks, he ‘devoted only two issues of the Jacobite’s Journal to defending the terms and timing of the peace’.135 These were the issues for 22 and 29 October 1748, and strong corroborating evidence that the Jacobite’s Journal’s purpose had been to prepare the ground for peace is that the very next issue turned out to be its last. Fielding opened by offering an explanation of why he had decided to establish the Jacobite’s Journal: A strange Spirit of Jacobitism, indeed of Infatuation, discovered itself at the latter End of the Year 1747, in many Parts of this Kingdom, which was at the same Time engaged in a dangerous and successless War. A spirit which gave the highest Encouragement to our Enemies, not only as such intestine Divisions must greatly weaken our political Strength; but as it afforded them a reasonable Hope, that if an Invasion of our Island was but coloured over with the specious Pretence of supporting the Pretender’s Cause, a considerable Party among ourselves, would be found ready to join and assist the then avowed and declared Enemies of their Country.

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As it seemed necessary to apply some Remedy, in order to stop the Progress of this dangerous, epidemical Madness at so critical a Season; so none seemed more proper, or likely to be more effectual than Ridicule.136

Adopting an ironic persona in a rhetorical attempt to initiate his readers into ‘the mysterious Doctrines of Jacobitism’, Fielding explained how he had ‘provided [himself ] with a vast Quantity of Italian Letter, and Astericks [sic] of all Sorts’.137 As A Serious Address to the People of Great Britain and the opening issue of the True Patriot clearly indicate, this was by no means the first occasion on Fielding made use of typographical devices in pursuit of his polemical purpose – a practice which he had doubtless learnt at Swift’s knee. A good example of his using italics to reinforce the irony of his argument can be found in the concluding paragraph of the opening issue: In short, I am desirous to be laughed at for the Good of my Country; and there is no Man, who seriously wishes well to it, but will assist and promote so laudable a Purpose, by propagating and circulating this Paper to the utmost of his Power; which, if the Opinion of Horace in my Motto, have any Justice in it, may be of so much Consequence to the Cause of that Truth which it espouses, and which I hope will, in the End, reduce all Men to be as great and as sincere Jacobites as myself.

The closing italics and the motto from Horace – ‘Jesting cuts hard knots more forcefully and effectively than gravity’ – both illustrate Fielding’s use of irony in the creation and projection of his Jacobite persona, John Trott-Plaid, Esq. He intended his readers to laugh at the preposterous arguments and opinions put forward while, at the same time, he was perfectly serious in his suggestion that anyone who wished well to the nation should ‘assist and promote so laudable a Purpose’ by disseminating the Jacobite’s Journal ‘to the utmost of his Power’.138 The ploy quickly wore thin, as Fielding felt obliged to explain in issue no. 17: I am weary of personating a Character for which I have so solemn a Contempt, nor do I believe that the elder Brutus was more uneasy under that Idiot Appearance which he assumed for the Sake of his Country, than I have been in the Masque of Jacobitism, which I have so long worn for the same amiable and honest Purpose; in order, if possible, to laugh Men out of their Follies, and to make them ashamed of owning or acting by Principles no less inconsistent with Common Sense, than detrimental to the Society’.139

Interestingly, the very next issue, no. 18, contained ‘the Vindication of a Gentleman’, Lyttelton, against the ‘Scurrilities’ in Horace Walpole’s pamphlet, Three Letters to the Whigs.140 This, in turn, provoked Old England into an extended satire on ‘Selim Slim’ in which Lyttelton was defended by Fielding on the grounds that

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In this way, Old England succeeded in linking Fielding’s Opposition journalism of the early 1740s with both his ‘ministerially dull’ efforts in the ‘seldom read’ Jacobite’s Journal and his current venture as ‘a Raree-Shew Writer’ in the puppet theatre at Panton Street.141 Given the context, it is instructive to contrast Fielding’s defence of Lyttelton in the Jacobite’s Journal with his failure to defend Chesterfield in A Proper Answer To A Late Scurrilous Libel even though the latter had been singled out for particular criticism as a closet Jacobite in the Apology For the Conduct of a Late Celebrated Second-Rate Minister. ‘I shall always esteem that great Man for his Virtues, tho’ he should not see the Inside of a Church, during his Life; nor shall I think him less the Friend to the true Constitution of his Country, for being no Friend to venal, worldly Priests’, ‘Winnington’ explained. ‘I believe he opposed Sir Robert, not knowing his secret Intentions, or not supposing him so virtuous, as to intend any thing that should clash with his own immediate Interest or Influence’.142 Whether Fielding’s decision was based on inside knowledge that Chesterfield’s commitment to the ministry was wavering, it is perhaps significant that although the Jacobite’s Journal made a point of reporting that: ‘His Majesty hath been graciously pleased to appoint his honour the Duke of Bedford to be one of his Majesty’s Principal Secretaries of State’, it entirely failed to mention Chesterfield’s resignation.143 Fielding was subsequently to acknowledge ‘the princely Benefactions of the Duke of Bedford’ in print,144 and ‘the Honour done me by the Duke of Bedford[’]s Patronage and Protection’ in a private letter.145 As Secretary of State, Bedford gradually became Fielding’s most important ministerial connection, although in dedicating Tom Jones to Lyttelton he reminded him that ‘it was you who first recommended me to the Notice of my Benefactor’.146 But Bedford was by no means the only minister to be given favourable mention by Fielding in the Jacobite’s Journal. In addition to Lyttelton, ‘almost the only Patron which the Muses at present can boast among the Great’,147 Pelham and Hardwicke were singled out for particular praise,148 while the administration in its entirety was complimented in the issue for 24 September 1748 in terms reminiscent of Fielding’s words in his contribution to his sister’s Familiar Letters: It is, indeed, as clear as the Sun, that we never had a more extensive Administration than at present. That in the Circle of this Administration are contained Men of the

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most known Abilities, of the longest Experience in Business, of the largest Property, and of the most confirmed Integrity that are to be found in the whole Kingdom. I might add, what I firmly believe, that the Honourable Gentleman, who is generally suppos’d to have the Lead, as he is known to possess the most solid Parts, and most thorough Experience in public Affairs, so he is one of the best and worthiest Men in this Nation.149

In the circumstances, Old England’s sardonic swipes at ‘so accurate a State-Writer as Lawyer Trotplaid, Puppet-Shew-Man’ increasingly ring true.150 By the end of 1748 Fielding was a ministerial writer through and through, supporting the gamut of government policies, particularly with regard to the peace process. ‘In issue after issue of the Jacobite’s Journal Fielding reiterated one claim’, Bob Harris observes: ‘namely, that opposition in the present circumstances could only be motivated by disloyalty’.151 As a letter to the Jacobite’s Journal supposedly from one Humphry Gubbins succinctly put it: ‘those who will call it Ministerial, must acknowledge that to defend the King and the present Administration, are one and the same Thing’.152 It is less clear, however, whether Fielding was rewarded for his services either in the manner or as generously as several issues of Old England implied. If, as successive biographers have suggested, he was rewarded for ‘his services to the government’153 by being appointed High Steward of the New Forest and of the Manor of Lyndhurst, the stipend of £5 per annum would not have gone very far to meet his considerable financial requirements, and early in 1747 he was asking Harris to ‘venture fifty Pounds more on the same bad Bottom to which yo have trusted a hundred, [as] it will be of very particular service to me at this Time’.154 Whether Fielding’s second marriage in November 1747 to Mary Daniel (his first wife’s cook-maid) had a bearing on the establishment of the Jacobite’s Journal – whether, indeed, he received a ‘weekly Stipend’ as Old England maintained – must remain a question even if, as Ribble has now established, he was paid a ‘constant retaining fee’ as the ministry’s ‘answer-master-general’.155 In the middle of 1748, however, two events coincided which would eventually restore a measure of equilibrium to Fielding’s financial affairs. On 11 June he assigned ‘the sole Copy Right of a Book called The History of a Foundling in Eighteen Books’ to Andrew Millar for the extraordinary sum of £600.156 Seven weeks later, on 30 July, he was finally appointed to the Commission of the Peace for Westminster by Lord Chancellor Hardwicke. Without adducing any evidence, Malvin R. Zirker has argued that: ‘The appointment was probably not so much a reward for his literary genius as it was the modest and perhaps disappointing recompense for years of faithful and obliging journalism in the service, if not the commission, of the Pelham Administration’.157 Whatever the circumstances, by the time Fielding penned the valedictory issue of The Jacobite’s Journal which on 5 November admonished its readers, appropriately enough in

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the circumstances, to ‘become faithful and good Subjects … to the Powers that be’ in accordance with ‘the express Commands of Scripture’,158 he was dispensing justice at Bow Street. And although the rest of the six volumes of the original edition were not available for some weeks afterwards, advance copies of the first two volumes of The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling were in readers’ hands by the middle of November 1748 also.159

9 ‘A HEARTY WELL-WISHER TO THE GLORIOUS CAUSE OF LIBERTY’: TOM JONES AND THE FORTY-FIVE

Having been thrown out of Paradise Hall, Tom Jones falls in with a company of soldiers. The Serjeant informs him ‘that they were marching against the Rebels, and expected to be commanded by the glorious Duke of Cumberland’. It is at this relatively late point in The History of Tom Jones, A Foundling (Book VII, Chapter xii) that Fielding decides to inform ‘the Reader’ of ‘a Circumstance which we have not thought necessary to communicate before’, namely ‘that this was the very Time when the late Rebellion was at the highest; and indeed the Banditti were now marched into England, intending, as it was thought, to fight the King’s Forces, and to attempt pushing forward to the Metropolis’.1 That Fielding chose to set the main action of his narrative right in the midst of the Forty-Five has not passed unnoticed by critics. J. Paul Hunter has drawn attention to ‘the intrusive politics that have disturbed so many readers of Tom Jones’,2 while Homer Obed Brown has argued that because the novel ‘places itself … on the outskirts of the events of the 1745 Rebellion in England … the meaning of this placing has always presented a problem for its interpretation’.3 More recently, John Allen Stevenson has bluntly asked what he calls ‘the central question’ – which is not simply why Fielding ‘decided to introduce the fact of the Forty-Five just here’ in the narrative, nor why he ‘waited so long to introduce the subject’ in Tom Jones, but ‘why has he not thought fit to mention it before?’4 By posing the question in this way, Stevenson assumes that there must be a narrative, if not a political significance, in Fielding’s decision, even though he cannot explain why Having introduced the grid of real time into his fiction, and having left his readers with no doubt about the timing of Tom’s arrival in London, Fielding makes that striking decision … not to mention the rebellion or the capital’s panic in the last six books of the novel, even though those realities were barely three years old. The events of the Forty-Five apparently disappear as suddenly as they were introduced in Book VII, – 173 –

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Since the publication of F. S. Dickson’s essay, ‘The Chronology of “Tom Jones”’, in 1917 we have known that Tom was expelled from Paradise Hall on 24 November – the day following the naming of the Duke of Cumberland as commander of the King’s forces – and that he arrived in London on 3 December 1745.6 Although Stevenson uses the visit to see Garrick’s Hamlet at Drury Lane to draw parallels between Tom and Hamlet, he cannot account for Fielding’s apparently unaccountable failure to exploit the opportunity offered by his decision to place the action of Tom Jones slap bang in the middle of the Forty-Five rebellion. But perhaps this is to ask the wrong question. It is not always appreciated that the only substantive variant of any size within the first four editions of Tom Jones occurs during the old Man of the Hill’s narration of his experiences during the reign of James II after joining the ill-fated Monmouth Rebellion (VIII. xiv). In the first and second editions, he simply explains how ‘for some Time’ he had been very seriously affected with the Danger to which the Protestant Religion was so visibly exposed, under a Popish Prince; and though the Apprehension of it alone sufficient to justify that Insurrection: for no real Security can ever be found against the persecuting Spirit of Popery, when armed with Power, except the depriving it of that Power, as woeful Experience presently shewed. You know how King James behaved after getting the better of his Attempt; how little he valued either his Royal Word, or Coronation-Oath, or the Liberties and Rights of his People. But all had not the Sense to foresee this at first; and therefore the Duke of Monmouth was weakly supported … .7

At this point in the first and second editions of Tom Jones, Jones interjects with these words: ‘What you say’, interrupted Jones, ‘is very true; and it has often struck me, as the most wonderful thing I ever read of in History, that so soon after this convincing Experience, which brought our whole Nation to join so unanimously in expelling King James, for the Preservation of our Religion and Liberties, there should be a Party among us mad enough to desire the placing his Family again on the Throne’. ‘You are not In Earnest!’ answered the old Man; ‘there can be no such Party. As bad an Opinion as I have of Mankind, I cannot believe them infatuated to such a Degree! … .[’]8

This, it seems to me, is the reason why Fielding introduces the Forty-Five into his narrative when he does, and why it is not mentioned again after Jones’s arrival in London. As he explained in the valedictory essay to the Jacobite’s Journal published on 5 November 1748 when (presumably) the first two volumes of Tom Jones were already in print: ‘A strange Spirit of Jacobitism, indeed of Infatuation, discovered itself at the latter End of the Year 1747, in many Parts of this

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Kingdom, which was at the same Time engaged in a dangerous and successless War’. This spirit not only ‘gave the highest Encouragement to our Enemies’, it also ‘afforded them a reasonable Hope, that if an Invasion of our Island was but coloured over with the specious Pretence of supporting the Pretender’s Cause, a considerable Party among ourselves, would be found ready to join and assist the then avowed and declared Enemies of their Country’. In the same issue, Fielding claimed to have begun writing the Jacobite’s Journal ‘in order to stop the Progress of this dangerous, epidemical Madness at so critical a Season’.9 ‘Echoing Pelham’s own sense of the state of the nation of the autumn of 1747’, Battestin remarks, ‘ this seems a sincere account of Fielding’s motives in launching the Jacobite’s Journal’.10 What does not seem to have sufficiently appreciated is that this circumstance applies equally to the interruption of Jacobitism and the Forty-Five into the narrative of Tom Jones for this, too, in the specific context of the politics of the autumn of 1748 – the end of the long, drawn-out ‘successless’ War of the Austrian Succession with the Peace of Aix-la-Chappelle – could reasonably be regarded as ministerial propaganda aimed at discrediting the alliance of disaffected Whigs, Tories and Jacobites ranged against the government. In this way, Fielding might be obliquely suggesting that the current Opposition was, quite simply, ‘a Party among us mad enough to desire the placing [ James II’s] Family again on the Throne’.11 Whether it had been an integral part of the plot from the moment of inception, or whether it was a later interposition, then, Fielding chose to inform ‘the Reader’ of ‘a Circumstance which we have not thought necessary to communicate before’12 in Book VII, Chapter xi – and the third volume of the first edition does not appear to have been in print until after the Jacobite’s Journal had ceased publication – so that Tom can interrupt the old Man of the Hill and therefore elicit his astonished reaction to ‘so foolish a Tale’. ‘Can it be possible’, replied Jones, ‘that you have lived so much out of the World as not to know, that during that Time there have been two Rebellions in favour of the Son of King James, one of which is now actually raging in the very Heart of this Kingdom?’(VIII. xiv).13 The sentiments expressed by the old Man of the Hill in his historical narrative closely correspond to those expressed by Jones earlier on in the book. First we are told by the narrator that ‘Jones had some Heroic Ingredients in his Composition, and was a hearty Well-wisher to the glorious Cause of Liberty, and of the Protestant Religion’. Then Jones himself is made to say in indirect speech: ‘that he was most zealously attached to the glorious Cause for which they were going to fight, and was very desirous of serving as a Volunteer’ (VII. xi).14 These sentiments, in turn, chime in with the violently anti-Catholic opinions scattered throughout Fielding’s other writings, including what he had written in 1745 in A Serious Address To the People of Great Britain. In which the Certain Conse-

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quences of the Present Rebellion, Are fully demonstrated. Necessary to be perused by every Lover of his Country, at this Juncture. In the third edition of Tom Jones, published in four volumes on or around 12 April 1749, however, Fielding decided to augment and embellish the Man of the Hill’s account of ‘the Danger to which the Protestant Religion was so visibly exposed’ during the reign of James II by adding a considerably longer explanation: nothing but the immediate Interposition of Providence seemed capable of preserving it [the Protestant religion]: For King James had indeed declared War against the Protestant Cause. He had brought known Papists into the Army, and attempted to bring them into the Church, and into the University. Popish Priests swarmed thro’ the Nation, appeared publickly in their Habits, and boasted that they should shortly walk in Procession through the Streets. Our own Clergy were forbid to preach against Popery, and Bishops were ordered to suspend those who did; and to do the Business at once, an illegal ecclesiastical Commission was erected, little inferior to an Inquisition, of which, probably, it was intended to be the Ringleader. Thus, as our Duty to the King can never be called more than our second Duty, he had discharged us from this, by making it incompatible with our preserving the first, which is surely to Heaven. Besides this, he had dissolved his Subjects from their Allegiance by breaking his Coronation Oath, to which his Allegiance is annexed; for he had imprisoned Bishops, because they would not give up their Religion; and turned out Judges, because they would not absolutely surrender the Law into his Hands; nay, he seized this himself; and when he claimed a dispensing Power, he declared himself, in fact, as absolute as any Tyrant ever was or can be. I have recapitulated these Matters in full, lest some of them should have been omitted in History; and I think nothing less than such Provocations as I have here mentioned, nothing less than certain and imminent Danger to their Religion and Liberties, can justify, or even mitigate, the dreadful Sin of Rebellion in any People.15

Given the closing comments made by Fielding in the Jacobite’s Journal about ‘Fidelity to the Powers that be’,16 one wonders whether we need look any further for an explanation of why all this was added to the third edition of Tom Jones than the reason given by the old Man of the Hill himself. The passage appears relevant not only to Fielding’s opinions on monarchy, especially indefeasible hereditary succession, but also to his views on religion. In breaking his coronation oath, according to the old Man, James II had dissolved his subjects’ allegiance. This at once accords with the resolution of the House of Commons in 1689 (‘That King James the Second … endeavoured to subvert the Constitution of the Kingdom, by breaking the Original Contract between King and People’),17 and closely follows what Fielding had written when ‘look[ing] back to the History of that Prince, from whom this Pretender claims’ in A Serious Address To the People of Great Britain:

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it was not only the Difference of his Religion from that of this Country, which made him unfit to be King of it; he was unfit to govern even a Catholic Country, which had Liberties to defend, because his Mind was strongly tainted with all the Notions of absolute Power. Passive Obedience and Non-resistance on the Part of the Subject, and a dispensing Power in the Crown, with an indefeasible Hereditary Right, Jure Divino, were as much Articles of his political Creed, as the Supremacy of the Pope, or Transubstantation, were of his religious one: Upon the former he acted thro’ his whole Reign; nay, in the Reign of his Brother [Charles II] … .18

Jones assures the old Man of the Hill that ‘all these Facts, and more, I have read in History’, before informing him that: There is actually now a Rebellion on Foot in this Kingdom, in Favour of the Son of that very King James, a profest Papist, more bigoted, if possible, than his Father, and this carried on by Protestants, against a King who hath never, in one single Instance, made the least Invasion on our Liberties’.19

Thus, in addition to taking the opportunity of declaring his loyalty to George II, Fielding’s purpose was to affirm that he, like Jones, was ‘a hearty Well-wisher to the glorious Cause of Liberty, and of the Protestant Religion’ (VII. xi).20 For these reasons, those critics who represent the constitutional issues at stake during the Forty-Five as some sort of ‘choice of illegitimacies’21 seem to me not merely to misrepresent the political significance of Tom Jones, but to overlook the topicality of Fielding’s remarks on the danger represented by Jacobitism as late as 1749 to the stability of the British state. Although the old Man of the Hill’s tale is sometimes considered an unnecessary digression into the narrative, the substantive variant in the third edition strongly suggests that it was not regarded as such by Fielding himself. It is an interpolation, to be sure, but an interpolation with a specific polemical purpose. Hence, perhaps, Fielding’s decision to restore ‘the revised chapters in Book viii to their original form’22 when he no longer felt the ‘strange Spirit of Jacobitism’23 to be such a burning issue. As it stands, however, the account of the old Man of the Hill’s experiences in the 1680s serves as a commentary not merely on the Forty-Five, but also on the political situation immediately preceding Tom Jones’s publication. Therefore as far as the narrative action of Tom Jones is concerned, by the time Tom reaches London Fielding’s principal political point has already been made. Presumably Stevenson represents the constitutional position in Britain in the 1740s as a ‘choice of illegitimacies’ because he believes the central issue to be a choice between two alternatives: ‘the ancient principle of hereditary right’; and an ideology in which ‘hereditary right was ultimately subordinate to both religion and English liberty’.24 It is not so much that hereditary right was deemed to be subordinate to religion and liberty –although after 1688 it certainly was – but that the English (and after 1707, the British) monarchy was not an abso-

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lute monarchy underpinned by divine right in which the monarch was free to do whatever he liked while the subject was bound, at least passively, to obey. On the contrary, from the 1640s onwards it had been argued, first by Parliamentarians and then by Whigs, that the English monarchy was a limited, ‘mixed’ monarchy in which the ‘supreme power’ in the state was not the monarch, but the people as represented in Parliament. On this view, it was the doctrine of ‘the divine right of kings’ promoted by the Stuart kings James I and Charles I that was unconstitutional and innovative.25 And this was the version of constitutional history to which Fielding subscribed.26 In this context, Fielding’s professed opinion ‘that, to have a just Notion of our Constitution, without a competent Knowledge of the Laws, is impossible’27 is of special significance because those critics who have written about the connection between Tom Jones and the Forty-Five appear to have confused the legal and constitutional issues raised by the novel, at least insofar as they seem to have been understood by Fielding. As he made perfectly clear on a number of occasions, he did not believe in the ‘old, obsolete, absurd Doctrine of Hereditary Right’.28 On the contrary, when carefully explaining ‘the true Essentials of our Constitution’ in An Enquiry Into the Causes of the Late Increase of Robbers, he maintained that: ‘From the Original of the Lower House of Parliament to this Day, the Supreme Power hath been vested in the King and the Two Houses of Parliament’.29 Fielding, in other words, believed that the British monarchy was limited, and not absolute. According to Fielding, it was ‘the Declaration and Confirmation of this great Right of the People … which we owe to the Revolution’. ‘Whatever, therefore, tends to the Shaking of this fundamental Right’, he maintained, ‘doth of itself introduce an opposite System of Government, and changes not only the King, but the Constitution’.30 This doctrine, which is perfectly in line with both the argument and the conclusion of Locke’s Two Treatises of Government, would appear to contradict any suggestion that a ‘problem attaches to the House of Hanover, determined not by birth, but by Act of Parliament to be England’s ruling dynasty’.31 And this, in turn, seems to me to render otiose the suggestion that, in raising the question of Tom’s legitimacy, Fielding was seriously considering questions relating to the constitutional legitimacy of the Hanoverian monarchy. Thus when Brown describes the Bill of Rights and the Act of Settlement as ‘documents which affirmed the supremacy of Parliament over the monarch’,32 he does not pause to consider that, according to the constitutional principles established by the Revolution, Parliament consisted of King, Lords and Commons, or that the monarch had to agree to legislation in order for it to become law – and William III and Queen Anne both exercised their right of veto rather than meekly assenting to bills which had passed both House of Parliament. Similarly, when Stevenson describes a Fielding who was able ‘to see the ways in which the legitimacy of the Georges was a

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matter of legal construction and the public’s acceptance – a product, that is, of law and consensus, not of nature or God … remind[ing] us that the House of Hanover might never be quite right in the eyes of a public who remembered that the Stuarts were forced off the throne’,33 he fails to take into account that this, presumably, is the same Fielding who lambasted ‘that Regal Tyranny, which four successive Princes of the House of Stuart had been endeavouring, by all the Means of Fraud as well as of Force, to erect and establish in this Kingdom’.34 Not only was there nothing illegitimate about the Protestant Succession, the most notable feature of the politics of Tom Jones is not that the principal action is set in the midst of the Forty-Five, but that the narrative appears to endorse rather than contradict the ideological positions assumed by Fielding in his previous writings. Foremost was a belief in Protestantism as opposed to Catholicism. Tom expresses the opinion that ‘no Man can engage in a nobler Cause than that of his Religion’, and goes on to explain how ‘tho’ I love my King and Country, I hope, as well as any Man in it, yet the Protestant Interest is no small Motive to my becoming a Volunteer in the Cause’ (VII. xii).35 Tom’s religious perspective is significant if for no other reason than that it closely corresponds with what, from his other writings, we can assume to have been Fielding’s own. Thus according to Thwackum Tom maintains the latitudinarian position ‘there was no merit in faith without works’ (IV. iv).36 The significance of this detail should not be overlooked. While Thwackum asserts that when he mentions religion, he means ‘the Christian Religion; and not only the Christian Religion, but the Protestant Religion; and not only the Protestant Religion, but the Church of England’ (III. iii),37 Tom’s insistence on good works places him within an Anglican tradition which was a reaction against Calvinism and its emphasis on justification by faith alone – a tradition which excluded Roman Catholics on the one hand, and the vast majority of Protestant Dissenters on the other. In this context, there is significance even in Fielding’s concluding remark that Blifil ‘is also lately turned Methodist, in hopes of marrying a very rich Widow of that Sect’ (XVIII. xiii).38 If the beliefs and actions of Tom Jones, not to mention those of Thomas Allworthy, epitomize those of latitudinarian Anglicans, then what are the implications as far as the recent suggestion that Fielding displays deistical tendencies is concerned? One of the several sets of contrasting characters Fielding painstakingly sets up in Tom Jones is that of Thwackum and Square. In stark relief to the uncompromising Calvinist Anglicanism of Thwackum, Square, holding ‘human Nature to be the Perfection of all Virtue, and … Vice … a Deviation from our Nature in the same Manner as Deformity of Body is’, is a firm believer in ‘the unalterable Rule of Right, and the eternal Fitness of Things’ (III. iii). In turn, his views as a ‘Rule-of-Right’ man are usually said to be influenced by those of the third Earl of Shaftesbury, although Square’s insistence ‘that it was impossible to discourse philosophically concerning Words, till their meaning was first

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established’ (III. iii) appears to derive from Locke’s Essay concerning Humane Understanding rather than Shaftesbury’s Characteristicks.39 In addition to their radical Whig politics, contemporaries nevertheless felt that Locke and Shaftesbury had deistical tendencies in common. Locke was, after all, the anonymous author of The Reasonableness of Christianity (1695). Notoriously, Thwackum and Square differ ‘in Opinion concerning the Objects’ of the ‘sublime Virtue’ of mercy ‘by which’, Fielding-as-narrator sardonically observes, ‘Thwackum would probably have destroyed one half of Mankind, and Square the other half ’. Blifil nonetheless tries to ingratiate himself with them both by following their ‘Precepts and Example’ (III. x).40 If this, on its own, were not enough to warn the reader against endorsing the position of either character, it would appear to be of the utmost importance that Tom follows his own conscience and remains untainted by the rigid Calvinism of Thwackum and the ostensible deism of Square. This, in turn, strongly suggests that Fielding subscribed to neither position. Fielding’s comparing and contrasting of Thwackum and Square tails off once Tom leaves Paradise Hall, but there is a slight reprise in Book XVIII, Chapter iv: ‘Containing two Letters in very different Stiles’. Square’s letter is important as far as the plot of Tom Jones is concerned because he acknowledges in it his part in the ‘Injustice’ done to Tom. ‘Believe me, my dear Friend’, he writes to Allworthy, ‘when I tell you on the Word of a dying Man, he hath been basely injured’. Square’s sadly belated generosity towards Tom is in stark relief to the sustained malice of Thwackum whose letter opens: ‘I am not at all surprised at hearing from your worthy Nephew [Blifil] a fresh Instance of the Villany of Mr. Square the Atheist’s young Pupil’.41 Interestingly, while Thwackum continues to make ‘many fruitless Attempts to regain the Confidence of Allworthy, or to ingratiate himself with Jones, both of whom he flatters to their Faces, and abuses behind their Backs’ (XVIII. xiii),42 Square dies soon after writing in vindication of Jones. This is not the most important feature of Square’s letter, however. It opens with Square’s meditating on death. ‘I have somewhere read, that the great use of Philosophy is to learn to die’, he observes, before continuing: ‘Yet, to say the Truth, one Page of the Gospel teaches this Lesson better than all the Volumes of antient or modern Philosophers’ (XVIII. iv).43 Once again, therefore, despite his alleged deistical tendencies, Fielding appears implicitly to affirm his belief in orthodox Christianity. When Fielding raises questions of authority and obedience (if not authority and allegiance) in Tom Jones, religious considerations blend into the political. Although there is no explicit reference to Romans 13 and the subject’s duty of obedience to ‘the powers that be’ (as there is in the concluding paragraph of the final number of the Jacobite’s Journal),44 in the third edition Fielding makes the old Man of the Hill comment on ‘the dreadful Sin of Rebellion’ in the course

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of explaining how it can be justified only in the case of ‘certain and imminent Danger’ to the people’s ‘Religion and Liberties’ (VIII. xiv).45 It was not unusual for contemporaries to link disobedience to the natural parent with disobedience to the civil parent. Interestingly, Western does so towards the end of Tom Jones in an attempt to remind Sophia of her duty: ‘Tell her I’m her Father, and of the horrid Sin of Disobedience, and of the dreadful Punishment of it in t’other World’ (XVIII. viii).46 It could be argued that, figuratively, Sophia is placed in much the same position as the English people were in 1688 with regard to James II’s attempt to undermine their ‘Religion and Liberties’ when she resists her father’s attempt to force her into marriage with Blifil. As she painstakingly explains to Allworthy: I wonder not at what my Father hath told you; but whatever his Apprehensions or Fears have been, if I know my Heart, I have given no Occasion for them; since it hath always been a fixed Principle with me, never to have marry’d without his Consent. This is, I think, the Duty of a Child to a Parent; and this, I hope, nothing could ever have prevailed with me to swerve from. I do not indeed conceive, that the Authority of any Parent can oblige us to marry, in direct Opposition to our Inclinations. To avoid a Force of this Kind, which I had Reason to suspect, I left my Father’s House, and sought Protection elsewhere. This is the Truth of my Story; and if the World, or my Father, carry my Intentions any farther, my own Conscience will acquit me. (XVIII. ix)47

Critics who look for allegorical significance in Tom Jones, particularly of a political nature, neglect the implications of Sophia’s ‘rebellion’ against her father’s authority, even though Fielding’s language is freighted with terms, such as consent, duty, authority and conscience, which clearly have ideological connotations. Sophia believes implicitly in obedience to parental authority, yet she conscientiously objects to being forced by her father to marry against her will. The parallel with the subject’s duty in the case of the civil parent – ‘he, whom God hath establisht the Supreme Magistrate’, as the author of The Whole Duty of Man expresses it – enjoining ‘any thing contrary to what God hath commanded’ is striking: ‘we are not then to pay him this active obedience, we may, nay we must refuse thus to act, (yet here we must be very well assured that the thing is so contrary, and not pretend conscience for a cloak of stubbornness)’.48 In this context, it is noteworthy that the righteous Sophia not only insists that ‘my own Conscience will acquit me’, but that Allworthy hears her ‘with Admiration’ and ‘admire[s] the Justness of your Sentiments’ (XVIII. ix).49 It is appropriate that Allworthy approves of Sophia’s sentiments if for no other reason than that he is opposed to her crypto-Jacobite father, Squire Western, in one of the sets of contrasting characters in Tom Jones. Western, Fielding wryly remarks, ‘though he was somewhat of a Politician, and had been twice a Candidate in the Country Interest at an Election … was a Man of no great

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Observation’ (VI. ii).50 Western may not understand what he calls ‘Court Gibberish’, but he claims to be able to ‘read a Journal, or the London Evening-Post’ (one of the foremost Opposition newspapers of the day) even if ‘there may be now and tan [sic] a Verse which I can’t make much of, because half the Letters are left out; yet I know very well what is meant by that, and that our Affairs don’t go on so well as they should do, because of Bribery and Corruption’. Mrs. Western may ‘pity [his] Country Ignorance from [her] Heart’, but Western insists he ‘had rather be any Thing than a Courtier, and a Presbyterian, and a Hannoverian too, as some People, I believe, are’ (VI. ii).51 In holding Western’s politics up to ridicule, Fielding at once satirizes the Country Opposition (which prior to his writing for the Pelham ministry he had staunchly supported in print), its connection with closet Jacobites like Western (the theme of his Dialogue between a Gentleman of London … and an Honest Alderman Of the Country Party), and the ignorance of Jacobites in general, even those who owned extensive landed estates. Western may be a comic figure of dubious intellect but, more importantly as far as the political burden of Fielding’s novel is concerned, he (like Allworthy) is a J.P. and he devotes a chapter to ‘The wise Demeanour of Mr. Western in the Character of a Magistrate’, together with a ‘Hint to Justices of the Peace, concerning the necessary Qualifications of a Clerk’. Western’s lack of knowledge of the law means that he ‘had already had two Informations against him in the King’s-Bench, and had no Curiosity to try a third’ (VII. ix).52 By implicitly contrasting Western’s conduct as magistrate and landlord with that of Allworthy, Fielding again invites the reader to compare two modes of political behaviour. Allworthy’s estate not only borders on Western’s but they are of much the same size. And there the similarity ends. Whereas Western, down to the rigorous enforcement of the game laws, runs his estate largely for his own benefit, Allworthy’s is a benevolent paternalism reflecting the ideological notion that he is merely a steward placed by Providence in a position of responsibility over his dependents in order to take care of them. Allworthy may not be omniscient, but he really is all worthy. Fielding makes this clear early on when he warns his original readers against assuming that, simply because he is not always able to see through the deceit and malice of utterly self-interested characters like Blifil, he is somehow deficient in understanding. ‘Of Readers who from such Conceits as these, condemn the Wisdom or Penetration of Mr. Allworthy’, he maintains, ‘I shall not scruple to say, that they make a very bad and ungrateful Use of that Knowledge which we have communicated to them’ (III. vi).53 It is important to stress that Fielding, in Tom Jones, confirms rather than challenges the dominant Whig ideology of his day which over the years he had articulated and defended in his writings, his political journalism in particular, because Allworthy’s implicit belief in a system of order, hierarchy and stabil-

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ity based on Revolution principles is set against Western’s wilful and unruly self-interested crypto-Jacobitism. In addition, the security of the Protestant Succession is a vital element in Tom’s championing of constitutional monarchy located in the Hanoverian line as a consequence of the Revolution of 1688 and the Act of Settlement of 1701, as opposed to what he himself calls ‘a Party among us mad enough to desire the placing [the] Family [of James II] again on the Throne’ (XVIII. xiv).54 However, the Man of the Hill episode is not the only interpolation of a political nature in Tom Jones. After leaving the Inn at Upton, Fielding and his crypto-Jacobite companion, Partridge, set off in pursuit of Sophia only to lose both their quarry and their way. Benighted, they end up enjoying the hospitality of ‘a Company of Egyptians, or as they are vulgarly called Gypsies’: It is impossible to conceive a happier Set of People than appeared here to be met together. The utmost Mirth indeed shewed itself in every Countenance; nor was their Ball totally void of all Order and Decorum. Perhaps it had more than a Country Assembly is sometimes conducted with: For these People are subject to a formal Government and Laws of their own, and all pay Obedience to one great Magistrate whom they call their King. (XII. xii)55

The King of the Gypsies is wise and benevolent, and he, too, owes his throne to a Revolution which had taken place a thousand or two thousand years ago. At this point any similarity to the Revolution of 1688 ceases. Tom may ‘sing forth the Happiness of those Subjects who lived under such a Magistrate’, but the King of the Gypsies is an absolute monarch, and Fielding’s narrator takes pains to point out that he is ‘aware lest some Advocate for arbitrary Power should hereafter quote the Case of those People, as an Instance of the great Advantages which attend that Government above all others’ (XII. xii).56 It is important in any assessment of the political burden of the disquisition on the polity of the gypsies in Tom Jones to keep Fielding’s rhetorical ploys and pitches firmly in mind. Thus he begins by making ‘a Concession, which would not perhaps have been expected from us’ – that is, from a writer who had previously warned that ‘whatever Charms the Phantom of absolute Power may have for a depraved Nation, surely a wise Man may see sufficient Reason to shun it’57 – ‘That no limited Form of Government is capable of rising to the same Degree of Perfection, or of producing the same Benefits to Society’ as absolute monarchy. Mankind may ‘never have been so happy as when the greatest Part of the then known World was under the Dominion of a single Master’ (during the reigns of ‘Nerva, Trajan, Adrian and the two Antonini’ according to Fielding’s note), but this was ‘the true Æra of the Golden Age, and the only Golden Age which ever had any Existence, unless in the warm Imaginations of the Poets, from the Expulsion from Eden down to this day’.58 Having discounted in this way any

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suggestion that absolute monarchy is practicable in the modern world, Fielding proceeds to give his reasons for advocating an alternative form of government. ‘In reality’, he disarmingly explains, ‘I know but of one solid Objection to absolute Monarchy’. And what does this turn out to be? ‘The only Defect in which excellent Constitution seems to be the Difficulty of finding any Man adequate to the Office of an absolute Monarch’. Fielding’s concession turns out to be no concession at all, then, merely a rhetorical ploy. All the time he has ostensibly been extolling the virtues of absolute monarchy, he has really been working to establish the reasons why it is utterly inappropriate to the political realities of eighteenth-century Britain: Now if an absolute Monarch with all these great and rare Qualifications should be allowed capable of conferring the greatest Good on Society, it must be surely granted, on the contrary, that absolute Power vested in the Hands of one who is deficient in them all, is likely to be attended with no less a Degree of Evil.

Fielding’s rhetoric draws the reader into acknowledging the logical conclusion of his argument. ‘In short’, he concludes, ‘our own Religion furnishes us with adequate ideas of the Blessing, as well as Curse which may attend absolute Power’.59 By playing the religious card yet again, Fielding reminds his original readers that the reason the Stuarts had been deposed was because their policies had threatened not only the liberty and property of the individual subject, but the Protestant religion itself. And just in case the rhetorical significance of Tom’s encounter with the Egyptians were still liable to misinterpretation, the alleged advantages of absolute monarchy are again deliberately undercut at the end of the chapter: Nor can the Examples of the Gypsies, tho’ possibly they may have long been happy under this Form of Government, be here urged: since we must remember the very material Respect in which they differ from all other People, and to which perhaps this their Happiness is entirely owing, namely, that they have no false Honours among them; and that they look on Shame as the most grievous Punishment in the World (XII. xii).60

Despite what recent critics have suggested, therefore, Fielding in Tom Jones is unequivocal in his support for the Hanoverian Succession, and as damning in his indictment of the absurd and ‘exploded’ doctrine of indefeasible hereditary right as he is in any of his political pamphlets or the Jacobite’s Journal.

10 ‘THIS BOTCHER IN LAW AND POLITICS’: 1749–1754

The publication of Tom Jones was not the only circumstance of profound importance in Fielding’s life to take place in the winter of 1748–9. ‘My brother and his family are come to Town for the winter’, his sister, Ursula, wrote on 25 October 1748, ‘and have taken a house in Brownlow Street, near Drury Lane where he intends to administer Justice’.1 He was hearing cases as Justice of the Peace for the City and Liberty of Westminster a week later, and they quickly began to be reported in the newspapers. In the meantime, Fielding changed his lodgings from Brownlow Street to Meard’s Court, Wardour Street, in Soho before taking up residence at Bow Street on 9 December. By the end of 1748, then, he was launched on his brief career as a reforming magistrate in the metropolis. The process had been far from straightforward. Apparently the Earl of Chesterfield had mistakenly recommended that Fielding be entered in the commission of the peace for Middlesex as early as June 1747 although, unfortunately, he was then unable to fulfil the property qualification which required J.P.s to hold property valued at £100 per annum. The matter is explained clearly in a letter from Fielding to the Duke of Bedford dated 13 December 1748: My Lord, Such is my Dependence on the Goodness of yr Grace that before my Gout will permit me to pay my Duty to you personally and to acknowledge yr last kind Favour to me, I have the Presumption to solicite yr Grace again. The Business of a Justice of Peace for Westminster is very inconsiderable without the Addition of that for the County of Middlesex. And without this Addition I can not completely serve the Government in that Office. But this unfortunately requires a Qualification which I want. Now there is a House belonging to yr Grace which stands in Bedford Street of 70£ a year value. This hath been long untenanted, and will I am informed require abt. 300£ to put in Repair. If yr Grace would have the Goodness to let me have a Lease of this House with some other Tenement worth 30£ a year for 21 years it would be a complete Qualification.2 – 185 –

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That Bedford complied with Fielding’s request is apparent from profuse letters of thanks dated 19 December 1748. The lease which enabled him to satisfy the property qualification of the Justices Qualification Act is dated 9 January 1749; he took the Qualification oath on 11 January and the oath of office on 12 January; and on 13 January he began signing recognizances in that capacity. It is worth pausing to consider the implications of one phrase used by Fielding in his letter to Bedford of 13 December. What exactly does he mean when he says that he will ‘completely serve the Government in that Office’? In the Introduction to his posthumous The Journal of a Voyage to Lisbon Fielding explains how he was paid as a magistrate at Bow Street: The public will not therefore, I hope, think I will betray a secret when I inform them, that I received from the government a yearly pension out of the public service-money; which I believe indeed would have been larger, had my great patron been convinced of an error, which I have heard him utter more than once, That he could not indeed say, that the acting as a principal justice of the peace in Westminster was on all accounts very desirable, but that all the world knew it was a very lucrative office.3

By ‘public service-money’ Fielding presumably means that he was paid a pension out of the secret service funds, as Defoe had been during the reign of Queen Anne.4 If so, this at once clarifies his status between 1749 and 1754, and confirms his relations with Bedford.5 Fielding may have ‘reduced an income of about 500 l. a year of the dirtiest money upon earth, to little more than 300 l; a considerable proportion of which remained with [his] clerk’, as he claimed in the Journal,6 but for the next five years, until ‘want of Health totally disqualified him from continuing the fatiguing Office of Acting Magistrate’,7 he was basically a government employee. Fielding worked hard for his money, personally examining thousands of cases at Bow Street and introducing a series of innovations which eventually transformed law enforcement and policing in Westminster and Middlesex. These included extending the hours during which the J.P. was available to examine apprehended persons; making Bow Street a sort of central clearing house for dealing with unsolved crime and for gathering evidence to be used at trial; widening the scope of the pre-trial examination;8 assisting in the transformation of the judge’s role from an active to a passive one;9 and finally of course the innovation for which he is best known, the introduction of the Bow Street Runners. Although we should be careful not to exaggerate his seniority as J.P. for Middlesex, or his importance as a magistrate to the government, his election in May 1749 as ‘chairman of this present Session, and … until the 2nd day of the next’ is perhaps early recognition of his worth.10 It was Fielding therefore who delivered the charge to the Grand Jury on 29 June 1749 at the start of the Westminster Sessions. Subsequently printed and pub-

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lished on 21 July, the 750 copies of A Charge Delivered to the Grand Jury, at the Sessions of the Peace held for the City and Liberty of Westminster, &c. which were given away, not sold,11 shed interesting light on Fielding’s political ideology at this point in his career. As he was again to do eighteen months later in An Enquiry Into the Causes of the late Increase of Robbers, he began by remarking on ‘the excellent Frame of our Constitution which an Englishman can, I think, contemplate with such Delight and Admiration’ because it was from this, he observed, that the Grand Jury derived its ‘Authority of assembling here on this Day’.12 Then, after dwelling on the importance of ‘Institution of Juries’ as ‘a Privilege which distinguishes the Liberty of Englishmen from those of all other Nations’, Fielding went on to ‘trace the Original of this great and singular Privilege’ and to emphasize the ‘Value our Ancestors always set on this great Branch of our Liberties’ and consequently their jealousy ‘of any Attempt to diminish it’.13 The significance to Fielding’s political thought of this particular approach is that it places his views on the Revolution, and what was established in 1688, into stark relief. I have repeatedly drawn attention to his insistence that the ‘Reverse’ of indefeasible hereditary right is ‘a Law as firmly established as any other in this Kingdom; nay, it is the Foundation, the Corner-Stone of all our Laws, and of this Constitution itself ’. According to Fielding, ‘this great Right of the People’ was declared and confirmed at the Revolution. ‘Whatever, therefore, tends to the Shaking of this fundamental Right’, he maintained, ‘doth of itself introduce an opposite System of Government, and changes not only the King, but the Constitution.14 Previous commentators on A Charge delivered to the Grand Jury have tended to emphasize the social aspects over the political. Thus Battestin remarks: ‘The Charge is memorable for the sense it conveys of a great nation in decay and of Fielding’s determination to apply his talents, whether as magistrate or author, to repair England’s constitution’.15 And it is certainly true that it anticipates An Enquiry Into the Causes of the late Increase of Robbers in its indictment of ‘profligate Lewdness’ in general and ‘the Crime of keeping a Brothel or Bawdy-House’ in particular.16 On the very day the Charge was published Fielding submitted ‘my Draught of a Bill for the better preventing of Street Robberies &c.’ to Lord Chancellor Hardwicke.17 What has not been sufficiently brought out hitherto is the topical political burden of the Fielding’s address to the Grand Jury, especially the way in which it logically follows on from his propaganda on behalf of the Pelham ministry. In this context, the point to stress is that in extolling the virtues of ‘our excellent Constitution’, the Charge is in essence pro-Hanoverian, anti-Jacobite propaganda. Thus Fielding mentions the uses made of the Court of High Commission ‘under that unhappy Prince Charles I’. ‘They are but too well known’, he observes. ‘Let it suffice, that the Spirit of our Ancestors at last prevailed over these Invasions of their Liberties, and these Courts were for ever abolished’.18 Once he has intro-

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duced this theme, he returns to it in singling out for comment a ‘most wholesome and necessary Law … enacted in the Reign of Queen Anne, 6 Ann. C. 7.’: If any Person shall maliciously and directly, by Preaching, Teaching, or advised Speaking, declare, maintain and affirm that the pretended Prince of Wales hath any Right or Title to the Crowns of these Realms, or that any other Person or Persons hath or have any Right or Title to the same, otherwise than according to the Acts of Settlement; or that the Kings or Queens of this Realm, with the Authority of Parliament, are not able to make Laws to limit the Crown and the Descent, &c. thereof, shall incur a Præmunire.

This allows Fielding to focus on the constitutional basis of George II’s right to the throne, and to descant on ‘any Act of public and avowed Disobedience; any denying his most just and lawful Title to the Crown; any overt Act which directly tends to encourage or promote Rebellion or Sedition’. In this way, the Charge’s argument amounts to an extension of the anti-Jacobite propaganda he had been issuing from A Serious Address to the People of Great Britain – in which the Grand Jury was enumerated as one of the characteristics distinguishing English liberty from French slavery – via A Dialogue between a Gentleman of London … and an Honest Alderman Of the Country Party, through the forty-nine issues of the Jacobite’s Journal, down to his insistence that ‘notwithstanding all which the Malice of the Disappointed, the Madness of Republicans, or the Folly of Jacobites may insinuate, there is but one Method to maintain the Liberties of the Country, and that is, to maintain the Crown on the Heads of the Family which now happily enjoys it’.19 A Charge Delivered to the Grand Jury reveals the intimate connection made by contemporaries between Fielding’s magistracy and his activities as ministerial apologist, while his ‘Draught of a Bill for the better preventing of Street Robberies &c.’ was a response to a series of serious disturbances in The Strand on the nights of 1–3 July 1749, apparently the consequence of three sailors being robbed of ‘30 guineas, 4 moidores, a bank note of £20, two watches, etc.’ at a bawdy house near St Mary-le-Strand. Later on during the night of 1–2 July they returned with great numbers of armed sailors who, entirely demolished the goods, cut the featherbeds to pieces, strew’d the feathers into the street, tore the wearing apparel, and turn’d the women naked into the street; then broke all the windows, and considerably damaged an adjacent house.20

Only after the house had been demolished and its contents set on fire were the rioters finally dispersed by a detachment of soldiers. The following night a further riot took place around midnight during which a second bawdy house was pulled down and fired by ‘a vast Mob’, while the contents of a third were thrown into the street before troops arrived around 1 a.m. to prevent them being set alight.

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Soon afterwards a suspect was captured who had a number of items in his possession for which he was unable to account: ‘To wit, Ten lac’d Caps, four lac’d Handkerchiefs, three Pair of lac’d Ruffles, two lac’d Clouts, five plain Handkerchiefs, five plain Aprons, and one lac’d Apron; all which the Wife of Peter Wood [the owner of the third house to be threatened] swore to be her Property’.21 The suspect was one Bosavern Penlez, a peruke-maker and the son of an Exeter clergyman who in the event was the only person actually executed for his involvement in the Strand riots. Fielding was out of town when Penlez was arrested. On his return on 3 July he wrote to his patron, the Duke of Bedford, in his capacity of Secretary of State: My Lord I think it my Duty to acquaint your Grace that I have re[ceive]d repeated Informations of upwards of 3000 Sailors now in Arms ab[out] Wapping and that they threaten to march to this End of the Town this Night, under Pretence of demolishing all Bawdy Houses. I have an Officer and 50 Men and submit to yr Grace what more Assistance may be necessary. I sent a Messenger five Hours ago to the Secretary at War but have yet no Answer.22

Although there were a number of minor disturbances during the course of the day, the steps which were taken as a result of Fielding’s letter prevented a third night’s serious rioting taking place. As far as Fielding and the government were concerned that was not the end of the matter, however. Soon after Penlez and three other men were indicted on 7 July under the terms of the Riot Act, the circumstances were used by the Opposition press as a stick with which to beat politicians such as Lyttelton who had accepted positions in the Pelham administration. Thus on 15 July Old England criticized the government’s handling of the affair in the course of which it launched a vicious personal attack on Fielding insinuating that he connived with the owners of bawdy houses from one of two reasons: The late worshipful Puppet-Shew Writer may, in his present State of Transformation, imbitter his rueful Aspect at a Proposal to incorporate the incorrigible Spinsters of his Neighbourhood into a legal Body, which may abridge the Perquisites of the good old Shop, and lessen the Trade thereof. To him I answer, that the scandalous Connivance at, if not the Protection of, Brothel Houses, has been but too long the prevailing Practice among a certain worshipful Order of Men, for divers valuable Considerations thereunto moving. Whether he knows this by Experience, and if from a Customer he is become a Patron, is submitted to himself.23

‘Typical of the abuse to which Fielding was subjected in the Opposition press throughout his tenure as “Court Justice”’, Battestin observes, ‘this slander is worth preserving because it anticipates the similarly jaundiced view of a modern historian of these events’.24

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The ‘modern historian’ is Peter Linebaugh who in an influential and widelycited contribution to Albion’s Fatal Tree concentrates on what he describes as Fielding’s ‘ill-judged’ handling of the riots and the subsequent ‘sorry’ Bosavern Penlez affair. Linebaugh’s argument that Penlez was ‘hanged so that the Government by the severity of its retribution could lend support to its characterization of the riot and to the decision to rely upon the military to suppress it, as if the seriousness of the punishment determined the gravity of the crime’ is seriously compromised by his failure to interrogate the rhetoric of the pamphlet evidence upon which he largely relies, The Case Of the Unfortunate Bosavern Penlez by ‘A Gentleman not Concern’d’ in particular. Linebaugh’s explanation that he ‘relied most heavily on this pamphlet for a narrative of the riots’ because it ‘is an attack on the frankly polemical and self-interested account offered by Fielding’ in A True State of the Case of Bosavern Penlez, Who suffered on Account of the late Riot in the Strand does not stand up to scrutiny.25 For instance, Linebaugh fails to take into consideration the possibility that from the rhetorical posturing of the title page onwards The Case Of the Unfortunate Bosavern Penlez is of course open to precisely the same objection. What are we to conclude from the announcement that the public-spirited author (actually John Cleland) has been moved to publish it because he is in fact ‘A Gentleman not Concern’d’ other than that it is a polemical and flagrantly self-interested account written to embarrass the government during the Westminster by-election? It is therefore scarcely surprising that the account which is offered directly contradicts Fielding’s view of the intentions of the rioters: As to the Neighbours, who were at their Doors and Windows, seeing the Whole without the least Concern or Alarm, there was not probably one of them who, though as good and loyal Subjects as any his Majesty has, and as well affected to the Peace and Quiet of his Government, imagin’d or dream’d there was any Spirit of Seditious and riotous Designs, in all these Proceedings, beyond the open and expressed Intention of destroying those obnoxious Houses: And tho’ the coolest and sensiblest doubtless though the Joke was going too far, and wished even that the Government had interposed sooner, and less faintly; yet they had not the least Notion of any such extraordinary Measure of Guilt in their Proceedings, as would affect Life or Limb.26

Patently, the tendentious assertion of ‘A Gentleman not Concern’d’ about the thoughts of these ‘Neighbours’ is no more than a rhetorical ploy – for how could Cleland reasonably claim to be in a position to assess the sentiments of these ‘good and loyal Subjects’? – a ploy which allows Linebaugh, however, to conclude that: ‘Fielding’s decision to continue the policy of suppressing the disorders by recourse to the military was ill-judged and showed evident signs of panic in a situation where moderate action … would have served his purpose at least as well’.27

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Published on 7 November, The Case of the Unfortunate Bosavern Penlez was Opposition propaganda timed to the influence the election campaign which would be occasioned by the anticipated resignation a week later of one of the sitting members for Westminster, Bedford’s son-in-law, Lord Trentham, on his appointment as one of the Lords of the Admiralty (which was in commission). ‘The execution of Penlez little more than a month before the Westminster election spilled over on to the hustings’, Nicholas Rogers explains. ‘As Secretary of State, the duke of Bedford had evidently condoned the measure, and his brotherin-law Lord Trentham had refused to use his influence to secure a parson for Penlez. So great was public clamour that Fielding was ultimately forced to publish a pamphlet in the government’s defence’.28 Cleary’s argument that Fielding’s A True State of the Case of Bosavern Penlez, Who suffered on Account of the late Riot in the Strand was held back until 18 November in expectation of the Westminster election campaign is persuasive,29 especially as it was first advertised in the General Advertiser the day before Trentham resigned his seat as ‘in a few Days will be published’.30 In the opening paragraph Fielding acknowledged ‘his Endeavours to defend the present Government’, apparently with the aim of deflecting further criticism by suggesting that ‘a Man whose Character hath been so barbarously, even without the least Regard to Truth and Decency, aspersed … might wish to decline any future Appearance as a political Writer’. But such a high-risk strategy was bound to backfire, regardless of his insistence that his purpose was ‘to do an Act of Justice to my King, and his Administration, by disabusing the Public, which hath been, in the grossest and wickedest Manner, imposed upon’.31 It was equally unwise of Fielding to intimate ‘that I greatly deceive myself, if I am not in some little Degree partaker of that Milk of human Kindness which Shakespear speaks of ’32 if for no other reason than that it presented the Opposition press with a golden opportunity repeatedly to ridicule him for his apparent hypocrisy. By the autumn of 1749 Fielding’s ministerial connections and more particularly his relations with Lyttelton (on account of the fulsome dedication to Tom Jones)33 were generally the subject of regular report and comment. Attacked as ‘This Botcher in Law and Politics’ for writing ‘under the Direction of the Excellent Selim Slim’,34 Fielding’s role as a magistrate could scarcely have avoided taking on a political dimension. Thus when Old England turned to consider a pamphlet on the subject of ‘the Case of the unfortunate and universally-pitied Bosavern Penlez’, it pointedly explained with heavy irony that ‘I mean not that, which is advertised to be written by a Person not concerned’: the Case I mean appears, by the Title-Page, to be written by a Person said to be of approved Veracity, and distinguished Evidence in the Republic of Letters; to wit, one Henry Fielding, Esq; Barrister at Law, and one of his Majesty’s Justices of the Peace for the

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A Political Biography of Henry Fielding County of Middlesex, and for the City and Liberty of Westminster. – I honor his Majesty’s Commission, tho’ conferred on a Monkey, said a Frenchman to a very ugly old Fellow who had got the Start of him. – But what a decent String of Titles is here?35

There is truth in Cleary’s remark that: ‘The True State was an election tract although it says not one word about the election’.36 During the long, drawn-out election held from 22 November to 8 December which Nicholas Rogers has described as ‘one of the most violent and vituperative struggles of the first half century’,37 an advertising battle was fought out in the columns of the General Advertiser as Trentham and the candidate of the self-styled ‘Independent Electors of Westminster’, Sir George Vandeput, at once attempted to win the support of the electors and vociferously denounced the conduct and credentials of his opponent.38 Whether, as Battestin has suggested, Fielding was responsible for some of the propaganda issued on Trentham’s behalf, such Ten Queries submitted to every Sober, Honest, and Disinterested Elector for the City and Liberty of Westminster published on 24 November – the day polling opened – Bedford certainly paid for 10,000 copies of the broadsheet to be printed.39 It was by no means Bedford’s only effort on his brother-in-law’s behalf, and Trentham himself requested that a further broadsheet entitled the Covent-Garden Journal. No. 1. To be publish’d Once every Month, during the present Westminster Election. By Paul Wronghead, of the Fleet, Esq. be sent ‘into different parts of England as it will have a very good effect’.40 Unsurprisingly, this effort was also attributed by contemporaries to Fielding, Old England not only accusing him of ‘penning the Covent-Garden Journal for the Service of the Faction’, but also taking the opportunity to ridicule him as one of ‘a Set of Bruisers of Justice … with such a Length of Chin, of Nose, and Woefulness of Countenance, as caused a loud Laugh at first sight among the Crowd’.41 Returning to the attack a week later, it mockingly carried a notice for

the Bowstreet Journal; or, Covent-Garden Advertiser. By HERCULES VINEGAR, Late Champion for Jacobitism, and now private Secretary to Selim Slim, and Superintendant to the Lord Taranatula’s French Company of Comedians, &c. &c.42 Whether Fielding was the author of either Ten Queries submitted to every Sober, Honest, and Disinterested Elector for the City and Liberty of Westminster or the Covent-Garden Journal No. 1 or indeed of any piece of election propaganda

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other than A True State of the Case of Bosavern Penlez, the Opposition press continued to make the case for his heavy involvement, although by the time these particular attacks on his personal appearance and his probity appeared the polls had closed and Trentham had been declared the winner. Although he was far from idle, nothing new of Fielding’s appears to have been published between the second edition of A True State of the Case of Bosavern Penlez in December 1749 until An Enquiry Into the Causes of the late Increase of Robbers over a year later. ‘From this distant vantage point’, Battestin writes, ‘the story of Fielding’s life in the year 1750 is almost unrelievedly the story of his activities as a magistrate’.43 Judging from the frequency with which reports of his activities appeared in the press, he was clearly preoccupied with his duties at Bow Street and Battestin quotes ‘one wag’ who claimed in print that Fielding was so ‘extremely busy and pragmatical’ that he was by now ‘much the greatest Man in the three Kingdoms; at least, nobody else is talked of but he and G[arric]k’.44 Sardonic comments of this kind should be set aside those of Fielding’s friends and acquaintances who seem to have been anxious about the effects of his huge workload on his increasingly fragile health, now worn down by his heavy drinking. Thus on 7 July 1750 Thomas Birch informed Philip Yorke that: Justice Fielding is so fatigued with that office, that he is determin’d to discontinue the Exercise of it, tho’ the public can ill spare him, at a time when a most profligate Town wants the check of his Industry, Resolution, & Sagacity, Qualities not to be expected from any of his Competitors.45

Fielding’s despondency at this time can perhaps be imputed partly to his failure to be appointed Judge of the Marshalsea. His disappointment at the failure of his application can be assessed from a letter of thanks to Bedford written on 29 May 1750 ‘in a Rapture of Gratitude’ in which Fielding fulsomely acknowledged Bedford’s ‘Patronage and Protection’.46 Unfortunately, his celebration was premature, and any influence that Fielding’s principal ministerial patron could bring to bear ended with his resignation in June 1751. The first indication that Fielding was writing An Enquiry Into the Causes of the late Increase of Robbers was a notice published in the General Advertiser on 9 October 1750: We hear that an eminent magistrate is now employed in preparing a pamphlet for the press in which the several causes that have conspired to render robberies so frequent of late will be laid open; the defects of our laws enquired into, and methods proposed which may discourage and in a great measure prevent this growing evil for the future.47

When Fielding’s pamphlet appeared the following January, the dedication to Lord Chancellor Hardwicke stressed that even though the Enquiry ‘touches

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only those Evils which have arisen in the lower Branches of the Constitution’, were adequate provision not taken to counteract their ill effects, ‘it will in time be sure to affect the whole Body’.48 This consideration is of immense significance to an understanding of his purpose in the Enquiry because it is in this ‘social’ pamphlet that the most extended statement of the paternalistic ideal at the heart of Fielding’s political thought is to be found and this, in turn, is of the first importance as an expression of his fundamental political beliefs tout court. Although attention has been drawn to the invocation of Alfred in the Enquiry as an instance of the congruence of some aspects of Fielding’s thought and the concepts put forward by the ‘Patriot’ Opposition in the 1730s and early 1740s, it is essential to appreciate the way in which, in key respects, his ideas diverged from those of Bolingbroke and the so-called ‘Patriot Whigs’. In particular, despite what Zirker says on the subject, Fielding does not subscribe to the notion that: ‘The original of the House of Commons was to be found in Alfred’s England’.49 On the contrary, as Fielding argues that: From the Original of the Lower House of Parliament to this Day, the Supreme Power hath been vested in the King and the Two Houses of Parliament. These Two Houses have, each at different Times, carried very different Weights in the Balance, and yet the Form of Government remained still one and the same … 50

it is evident that his conception of limited, ‘mixed’ monarchy in which sovereignty was held jointly by King, Lords and Commons in Parliament postdated the Conquest. In fact Fielding’s view of the English constitution has much more in common with radical or ‘Old Whig’ arguments than those put forward by Bolingbroke and the Patriot Whigs. For instance, as far as the balance of power between King, Lords and Commons is concerned, he seems to be following Swift’s Discourse of the Contests and Dissensions between the Nobles and Commons in Athens and Rome, with the Consequences they had upon both those States (1701), which opened by stating as an axiom ‘that in all Government there is an absolute unlimited Power, which naturally and originally seems to be placed in the whole Body, wherever the Executive Part of it lies’, before going on to insist that ‘it will be an eternal Rule in Politicks among every free People, that there is a Balance of Power to be carefully held by every State within itself, as well as among several States with each other’.51 On the other hand, when he maintains that: The Customs, Manners, and Habits of the People, do, as I have said, form one Part of the Political Constitution; if these are altered therefore, this must be changed likewise; and here, as in the Natural Body, the Disorder of any Part will, in its Consequence, affect the whole52

Fielding could almost be said to be quoting Trenchard in Cato’s Letters who, in turn, quotes from Sidney’s Discourses concerning Government: ‘Liberty cannot

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be preserved, if the manners of the people are corrupted; nor absolute monarchy introduced, where they are sincere’.53 Once again, then, the social and political conservatism of An Enquiry Into the Causes of the late Increase of Robbers indicates that the paternalistic doctrines espoused by Fielding (and by those key characters in his novels, Abraham Adams and Thomas Allworthy) are not necessarily indicative of ‘the tensions between the Whiggery of his official life and the “Tory humanism” with which it was sometimes at odds’.54 Instead they appear strikingly similar to the opinions of radical Whigs such as Trenchard who, as I have already pointed out, shared Fielding’s concern ‘that the Constitution of this Country is altered from its antient State’55 largely as a consequence of ‘an Alteration’ in the condition of ‘the Commonalty’ through ‘the Introduction of Trade’. ‘This hath indeed given a new Face to the whole Nation’, Fielding argues in a telling triplet, ‘hath in a great measure subverted the former State of Affairs, and hath almost totally changed the Manners, Customs, and Habits of the People, more especially of the lower Sort’.56 Therefore the reason Fielding’s Enquiry was attacked by contemporary Tories was almost certainly because they recognized the radical Whig ideology underpinning his ‘politically tendentious reflections’.57 Fielding’s first publication after An Enquiry Into the Causes of the late Increase of Robbers was his final work of prose fiction. In the absence of evidence, it is generally assumed that Amelia was mostly written in 1751. Perhaps the disintegration of the Opposition on the unexpected death on 21 March of Frederick, Prince of Wales, permitted Fielding to devote whatever time he had left at his disposal after discharging his duties as magistrate at Bow Street to its composition. Whatever the truth of the matter, Amelia was published on 18 December. That it is very different from Joseph Andrews and Tom Jones is a critical commonplace. The first sentence of the opening chapter announces that ‘the Subject of the following History’ would be the ‘various Accidents which befel a very worthy Couple, after their uniting in the State of Matrimony’,58 and the plot revolves around the domestic trials and tribulations of Captain Billy Booth and his beautiful, intelligent, but unswervingly loyal wife, the eponymous Amelia. Not only is there a strong suggestion that private rather than public concerns will dominate, therefore, but the remorselessly intrusive narrator of the earlier fiction is also much less in evidence. If it is generally accepted that Amelia is different from Joseph Andrews and Tom Jones, it is usually regarded as less politically motivated than the earlier fiction even though it ‘propagandizes for the legal and moral reforms that were favoured by Fielding and the ministry while it was composed’.59 Yet the opening dedication to Ralph Allen declares that Amelia ‘is sincerely designed to promote the Cause of Virtue, and to expose some of the most glaring Evils, as well public as private, which at present infest this Country’,60 and in comparing things

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as they are with things as they should be, Amelia, like Joseph Andrews, cannot avoid being mixed up in politics. Battestin correctly notes that ‘the darker mood of Amelia’ begins with Fielding’s ‘dour observations on the English “Constitution”’61 – one of his favourite opening gambits – as he discovers ‘some Defects in the Polity even of this well-regulated Nation’. Thus the second chapter is given over to airing some of the concerns of his social pamphlets in its exposure of the way in which ‘some of the lower Offices in our civil Government’ are disposed, not to mention Fielding’s indictment of the conduct of Justice Thrasher who (like Squire Western) ‘had some few Imperfections in his Magisterial Capacity’, such as his lack of impartiality and ignorance of the law.62 It is in this sense, as Charles A. Knight perceptively observes, that Amelia exposes the ‘institutionalized evil in eighteenth-century society’,63 only this time Fielding concentrates on urban rather than country matters. Even if he maintained that ‘there is scarce, as I remember, a single Stroke of Satire aimed at any one Person throughout the whole’,64 Fielding regarded Amelia as a work of satire. But Amelia satirizes institutionalized corruption rather than the failings of a specific administration. This nice but significant distinction obtains in the chapter entitled ‘Matters political’ (XI. ii.) in which Fielding reprises the theme of bribery and corruption at elections. Dr Harrison champions the mayoral candidacy of a Mr Fairfield (note the name) against the wishes of an unnamed ‘great Man’ on the grounds that he is ‘a neighbouring Gentleman, of a very large Estate, a very sober and sensible Man, of known Probity and Attachment to the true Interest of his Country’.65 If this territory seems familiar from the electoral satire in Don Quixote in England and Pasquin, it is worth noting that the action in Amelia is set in the Excise Crisis year of 1733. This at once distanced the present administration from any direct responsibility for the state of affairs depicted by Fielding in his novel as well as allowing him to reiterate some of the complaints he had aired during the years when he had satirized the state of the nation under Walpole. Although Fielding received the huge sum of £800 for Amelia, it was not well received, and Millar had still had some of the 5,000 copies of the first edition on his hands ten years later. Fielding sent Harris a copy of his ‘damned Book’. ‘If you read it’, he remarked, ‘you will do it more Honour than hath been done by many here’.66 Unwisely, he mounted a defence of it in his new periodical, the Covent-Garden Journal, in the form of a mock-trial held in his ‘Court of Censorial Enquiry’. Extending through the seventh and eighth issues, the trial of Amelia, indicted ‘upon the Statute of Dulness’ as ‘very sad Stuff’, concluded with the issuing of a ‘solemn’ declaration that Fielding ‘will trouble the World no more with any Children of mine by the same Muse’.67 As successive commentators including the distinguished editor of the Wesleyan edition have observed, the Covent-Garden Journal is much less politically

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motivated than the Champion, the True Patriot or the Jacobite’s Journal. In the opening number Fielding’s editorial persona, ‘Sir Alexander Drawcansir, Knt. Censor of Great Britain’, ‘disclaim[ed] any Dealing in Politics’, by which he said he meant ‘that great political Cause between Woodall Out, and Takeall In, Esqs; which hath been so learnedly handled in Papers, Pamphlets, and Magazines, for above thirty Years last past’.68 Drawcansir is the swaggering hero of Buckingham’s play, The Rehearsal, of which Fielding was so fond. It is tempting, however, to think that even at this late stage in his career he had the chutzpah to recall that Drawcansir was one of the names under which he had been ridiculed by Old England.69 Significantly, in attempting to sign off as a political writer in this way, Fielding’s vision extended backwards over not only his own writing career, but the period during which successive governments under the Hanoverian kings George I and George II had been comprised almost entirely of Whigs. The opening numbers of the Covent-Garden Journal were largely dominated by an account of a paper war waged along the lines of Swift’s Battle of the Books between Drawcansir, and the forces of Grub Street. But Fielding quickly found that stirring up trouble for himself in this way was more bother than it was worth, as he was assailed not only by ‘Inspector’ John Hill in the London Daily Advertiser for 10 January, but (apparently) by Tobias Smollett. In Peregrine Pickle Lyttelton had been ridiculed as Gosling Scrag Esq., an ‘antick piece of futility’ with pretensions as a patron of literature. Scrag is defended largely on the grounds that he ‘is at this day the best milch-cow that any author ever stroaked’ by a transparent caricature of Fielding called Mr Spondy.70 Whether it was this which led to Fielding imprudently enlisting ‘one Peeragrin Puckle’ and ‘one Rodorick Random’ in ‘the Regiment of Grub-Street’,71 he certainly reaped the whirlwind in A Faithful Narrative of the Base and inhuman Arts That were lately practiced upon the Brain of Habbakkuk Hilding, Justice, Dealer, and Chapman.72 Shrewdly, Fielding beat a hasty retreat, drawing up articles of peace between the two sides at the end of the fourth issue, and then restricting himself to comments on his contemporaries’ literary efforts in his ‘Court of Censorial Enquiry’. Fielding’s model in the Covent-Garden Journal is quite clearly Addison and Steele’s Spectator rather than more partisan periodicals such as Swift’s Examiner, the Craftsman or Common Sense. Rightly, Goldgar points out that ‘the overriding theme of the bulk of the material in the Covent-Garden Journal is not literary but moral’.73 Given that even periodical essayists such as Addison and Steele are concerned with instilling one way of constructing the world into their readers rather than another, however, morals and manners quickly spill over into politics even in apparently ‘non-political’ journals like the Spectator. It is also noteworthy than throughout the Covent-Garden Journal Fielding mentions Pope and to an even greater extent Swift with approbation. Indeed, the issue for 8 February 1752 alludes to ‘the Scheme of the late Dean Swift, to force our Poor to eat their

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own Children, as what would not only afford Provision for our present Poor, but prevent their Encrease’. True, the thrust of Fielding’s essay is that, ‘however proper and humane this Proposal might be in Ireland, I must observe it would be extremely cruel and severe here’.74 It is not only that he uses Swift as a means of reiterating his own views on the poor and on ‘the Restoration of the Christian Religion’ to which I wish to draw attention, however, but the apparent congruence of the conservative cultural and social ideas of the two writers at this late stage in Fielding’s career. It is as if Fielding’s experiences as a magistrate at Bow Street in the early 1750s led him once again to seek the broad solidarity with the cultural and political values of Swift, Pope and Gay he had been signalling twenty years earlier in signing himself ‘H. Scriblerus Secundus’. Fielding wrote the Covent-Garden Journal partly as a public relations exercise favourably describing his activities as a magistrate, and partly to promote a business venture, The Universal Register Office, in which he had been involved with his half-brother, John Fielding, since early in 1750.75 Evidently the columns, probably written not by Fielding himself but by his clerk, Joshua Brogden, offering accounts of his cases at Bow Street, down to descriptions of criminals and stolen goods, were a considerable element in the Covent-Garden Journal’s contemporary appeal. Goldgar quotes from the Gentleman’s Magazine’s review of the first few issues: the principal character by which he is distinguished in this his paper is that of a justice of the peace; and probably his chief encouragement to this undertaking was, the opportunity which his office afforded him of amusing his readers with an account of examinations and commitments; the exploits which constables and thief-takers should atchieve by his influence and direction, and the secrets of prostitution which should be discovered by his penetration and sagacity.76

But by the end of November 1752 Fielding had had enough, abruptly announcing his decision to ‘lay down a Paper, which I have neither Inclination or Leisure to carry on any longer’.77

Fielding’s Final Dealings with Ministers One of the reasons Fielding no longer felt able to write the Covent-Garden Journal is clearly indicated in a report which appeared in the London Daily Advertiser on the very day that the final issue of the Covent-Garden Journal was published: We are assured that Henry Fielding Esq.; has laid before the Right Hon. Henry Pelham Esq.; a scheme for employing the Poor much to the Advantage of the Nation and themselves; and also for putting an effectual Stop to the daring Outrages and Robberies we have lately been too much alarmed with; and it is hoped that it will meet with an Attention due its importance.78

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In ideological terms, Fielding’s straightforward Proposal for Making an Effectual Provision for the Poor is in tune with the conservative solutions to crime and the causes of crime he had put forward in his Enquiry which, as Zirker observes, ‘is equally an essay on the state of the poor’.79 Whether the dedication ‘To the Right Honourable Henry Pelham, Chancellor of his Majesty’s Exchequer’ is indicative of an increasing intimacy in his relationship with the Prime Minister since Bedford’s resignation in June 1751, there can be little doubt that he fully appreciated Pelham’s qualities and that by this juncture he looked upon him as patron. If, over time, Fielding’s relations with Pelham had become increasingly cordial, this does not seem to have been the case as far as his dealings with Thomas Pelham-Holles, Duke of Newcastle, were concerned. It is essential to grasp that, between them, the two Secretaries of State were responsible for duties which would now be discharged by the Foreign Secretary and the Home Secretary, respectively. No such division existed in the eighteenth century, however, and it was for this reason, presumably, that Lord Chancellor Hardwicke quite properly referred Fielding’s ‘Bill’ to reform the police to Newcastle as Secretary of State in the summer of 1749. Whether Fielding suffered on account of any antagonism between Newcastle and Bedford over the Bosavern Penlez affair and the Westminster election, the extant evidence of his transactions with Newcastle up to this point consists of his recommendation, without success, of one of his constables, William Pentlow, for the post of Keeper of the New Prison at Clerkenwell. Unfortunately, Newcastle already had a candidate, even if he was found to be ‘unfit’ for the post by the Middlesex magistrates.80 The best documented of Fielding’s dealings with Newcastle concern the Elizabeth Canning affair. On 1 January 1753 Canning, a servant girl of eighteen, vanished on her way from her home in the City of London to visit her aunt and uncle. She turned up again on 29 January telling tales of abduction, imprisonment and ill-usage at the hands of ‘an old Gipsy Woman’ later identified as Mary Squires.81 On 7 February Fielding issued a warrant for the arrest of everyone living at the house of Susannah Wells who allegedly ‘harboured and continued the said Mary Squires in her aforesaid House from the Time of the said Mary Squires’s robbing the said Elizabeth Canning of her Stays until Thursday the first Day of February last past’.82 In this way, Fielding became embroiled as a magistrate in a second cause cèlèbre. When Canning’s story was corroborated by Virtue Hall, one of the prostitutes living at Wells’s house, Squires and Wells were tried and convicted of felony. On 26 February Squires was sentenced to death. Unfortunately for both Fielding and Canning (who was subsequently transported to the American colonies after being convicted of perjury), it was not as simple as that. Doubts were cast on the likelihood of Canning’s version of events, the town was split down the middle between ‘Canningites’ and ‘Egyptians’, Fielding’s account was ridi-

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culed by his old adversary John Hill in an abusive pamphlet entitled The Story of Elizabeth Canning Considered,83 and the opportunity presented by the affair was even used to make mischief for the government, in much the same way as it had been during the fracas over the trial and execution of Bosavern Penlez.84 Fielding defended his own conduct in A True State of the Case of Elizabeth Canning, published on 20 March 1753, but it was insufficient to prevent the case being reported to the Privy Council on 10 April, upon which, according to a letter dated 14 April, Fielding was ordered by Lord Chancellor Hardwicke to send Newcastle all the affidavits he had taken relating to the Canning affair since the trials of Squires and Wells. On receiving a further order to the same effect from Newcastle himself on 13 April, Fielding was obliged to explain that these affidavits had ‘been all sworn before Justices of the Peace in the Neighbourhood of Endfield [sic], and remain I believe in the Possession of an Attorney in the City’. However, Fielding continued, ‘I sent my Clerk immediately to the Attorney to acquaint him with those Commands, which I doubt not he will instantly obey’. ‘This I did from my great Duty to your Grace’, he concluded, ‘for I have long had no Concern in this Affair’.85 Despite these assurances, ‘the Persons concerned for the Prosecution’ failed to attend Newcastle with the affidavits, and Fielding was forced to write to Newcastle a second time on 27 April to explain that: ‘I have now again ordered my Clerk to go to them to inform them of the last Commands I have received, but as I have no Compulsory Power over them I can not answer for their Behaviour’. The letter concluding with Fielding ‘assuring your Grace, that I have acted in this Affair, as I shall on all Occasions with the most dutiful Regard to your Commands, and that if my Life had been at stake, as many know, I could have done no more’.86 What the haughty Duke made of Fielding’s conduct in the Canning affair we do not know, but a few months later he summoned him to Lincoln’s Inn Fields ‘upon some business of importance’. Fielding, by this time desperately ill with cirrhosis of the liver and ‘almost fatigued to death with several long examinations, relating to five different murders, all committed within the space of a week, by different gangs of street robbers’,87 begged to be excused but Newcastle would brook no denial, upon which, as Fielding later remarked in The Journal of a Voyage to Lisbon I immediately complied; when his Grace sent a gentleman to discourse with me on the best plan which could be invented for putting an immediate end to those murders and robberies which were every day committed in the streets: upon which, I promised to transmit my opinion, in writing, to his Grace, who, as the gentleman informed me, intended to lay it before the privy council. Tho’ this visit cost me a severe cold, I, notwithstanding, set myself down to work, and in about four days sent the Duke as regular a plan as I could form, with all the reasons and arguments I could bring to support it, drawn out in several sheets of

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paper; and soon received a message from the Duke … acquainting me, that my plan was highly approved of, and that all the terms of it would be complied with. The principal and most material of those terms was the immediately depositing 600 l. in my hands; and which small charge I undertook to demolish the then reigning gangs, and to put the civil policy into such order, that no such hangs should ever be able, for the future, to form themselves into bodies, or at least to remain any time formidable to the public.88

Fielding’s final act as a public servant proved to be a success. The money was indeed deposited in his hands, ‘and within a few days after 200 l. of it had come to my hands the whole gang of cutthroats was entirely dispersed, seven of them were in actual custody, and the rest driven, some out of town, and others out of the kingdom’.89 Fielding believed that his health was finally ruined by his efforts to break up these gangs of street robbers at the turn of the year, although it is highly unlikely that any of the steps that might have been taken would have led to his recovery. It was really only a matter of time. Recognizing that his ‘was no longer what is called a Bath case’, but that he ‘was now, in the opinion of all men, dying of a complication of disorders’,90 he borrowed the sum of £1,892 from his bookseller, Millar, and retired from London to a rural retreat he had acquired in the summer of 1752, away from ‘the smells and smokes of London’, at Fordhook near Ealing. Here, apart from occasional forays into London to dispense justice, Fielding spent his final years in England, hearing his last cases at Bow Street in May 1754. And it was here, at Fordhook, as he movingly remarks at the beginning of the actual journal of his voyage to Lisbon, that he took leave of the three little children by his second marriage, William (six), Sophia (four) and the infant Allen, who were too young to travel with him and were therefore left in the care of his mother-in-law: Wednesday, June 26, 1754. ON this day, the most melancholy sun I had ever beheld arose, and found me awake at my house at Fordhook. By the light of this sun, I was, in my opinion, last to behold and take leave of some of those creatures on whom I doated with a motherlike fondness, guided by nature and passion, and uncured and unhardened by all the doctrine of that philosophical school where I had learnt to bear pains and to despise death.91

After a series of delays chronicled with a mixture of frustration and humour in The Journal of a Voyage to Lisbon, Fielding finally set sail on 30 June, eventually landing at Lisbon on 6 August. He died barely nine weeks later on 8 October 1754.

CONCLUSION

Descended from a long line of lawyers and magistrates, Fielding’s family background placed him firmly within the ranks of the nobility and gentry who made up the ruling class of England. It is therefore scarcely surprising that his heritage should have influenced his mature social and political thought regardless of the extensive financial exigencies in which he found himself throughout his adult life largely as a consequence of his spendthrift nature. This, in itself, might be thought to add up to a sufficient explanation of the conservative solutions to the nation’s problems put forward in all seriousness in the series of pamphlets he published on crime and society after he became a reforming magistrate at Bow Street. Concluding that ‘the Constitution of this Country is altered from its antient State’, he seems to have been perfectly serious in his attempt ‘to rouse the CIVIL Power from its present lethargic State’. At the root of his anxiety was the alteration he perceived in the ‘Order of People’ he called ‘the Commonalty’ who ‘by Degrees’ had become less deferential to and more independent of ‘their Superiors’. While he repeatedly insisted that it was ‘only the inferior Part of Mankind’ that he had ‘under consideration’, his concerns encompassed the whole of society for the reasons given in An Enquiry Into the Causes of the late Increase of Robbers. ‘In solemn Truth, there is nothing of more serious Consideration, nor which more loudly calls for a Remedy, than the Evil now complained against’, he maintained. ‘For what can be more worthy the Care of the Legislature, than to preserve the Morals, the Innocence, the Health, Strength and Lives of a great Part (I will repeat, the most useful Part) of the People’?1 Throughout his writing career Fielding repeatedly voiced his concerns about ‘the Manners, Customs, and Habits of the People, more especially of the lower Sort’,2 which he believed had been undermined as a consequence of an alteration in the balance of wealth and power within the state. We should not be surprised if this sounds familiar to us if not from Harrington’s Oceana then from Bolingbroke’s complaint, echoed by Swift in the Examiner, about the growth of ‘a sort of property not known twenty years ago, [which] is now increased to be almost equal to the terra firma of our island’.3 While Swift’s remains the classic articulation of the ‘clash of interests’ between the ‘monied men’ and the ‘men – 203 –

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of estates’, it is important to appreciate that Swift drew on a lengthy tradition of ‘Country’ or ‘Old Whig’ rhetoric that can be traced back to the 1690s at least. Whig commonwealthmen like Molesworth, Trenchard and Gordon shared Swift’s prejudices against ‘men bred behind counters’ whose ‘hands [were] still dirty with sweeping shops’ even as they reprinted key passages from Sidney’s republican Discourses Concerning Government (1698). As Trenchard accepted Sidney’s warning that ‘Liberty cannot be preserved if the manners of the people are corrupted’, there was nothing incongruous about any of this. Like Trenchard, Fielding distinguished between ‘our trade, by which we so long flourished’ and ‘dirty’ stockjobbers: A thousand stock-jobbers, well trussed up, besides the diverting sight, would be a cheap sacrifice to the Manes of trade; it would be one certain expedient to soften the rage of the people; and to convince them that the future direction of their wealth and estates shall be put into the hands of those, who will as effectually study to promote the general benefit and publick good, as others have, lately, most infamously sacrificed both the former.4

The anti-Walpolian satire of Pasquin, The Historical Register, Eurydice Hiss’d and the Champion (more especially the essays reprinted as An Address to the Electors of Great Britain) can be seen as Fielding’s development of the grand theme of corruption, as he argued repeatedly that under Walpole the self-interested individual flourished while the power and influence of the landed interest declined and trade decayed. It is for this reason that Walpole is attacked as Brass in the Champion and Mammon in The Vernoniad, while Fielding continually urges that political power be returned to those who own extensive landed estates for the simple reason that ‘Men of great Estates, even tho’ void of all Virtue, must, from the Motion of all worldly, temporal Good, preserve your Liberties and Properties’.5 In consistently propounding the conservative view that power is most safely invested in men of substantial estates, Fielding implicitly condemns Walpole for weakening the ideological underpinnings of a hierarchical society based on deference and subordination. It is not his Whiggism that Fielding is satirizing, however, but the version of Whiggism Walpole espouses. As he put it in An Address to the Electors of Great Britain, a man ‘may love his Country from a Principle of Virtue, or from a Principle of Interest’.6 He was in little doubt that, under Walpole, it was the latter which counted. This in turn might explain why Fielding’s political ideas appear to have so much in common at various points in his career with Old Whigs like Molesworth and Trenchard as well as with Swift, Pope and Gay, writers who are traditionally if misleadingly labelled ‘Tory satirists’. It also explains his concern with the way those in positions of authority conducted themselves, particularly the booby squires he portrays in Joseph Andrews and above all the utterly self-interested, crypto-Jacobite Squire Western.

Conclusion

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Like Swift’s, Fielding’s mature satire implicitly compares how things are with how they should be. His was an ideal polity based on a hierarchical concept of society in which the benevolent landlord cared for the welfare of his dependents who, in turn, were not merely respectful and deferential but were also content with their lot. Unfortunately, not only were there numerous booby landlords in mid-eighteenth-century Britain but ‘the lowest class of our people having shaken off all the shackles of their superiors’7 no longer knew their place. A conservative ideology along these lines can be detected as early as the passage added to the revised Grub-Street Opera in which Sir Owen is described as ‘the best of landlords’ because ‘he knows a landlord should protect, not prey on his tenants – should be the shepherd, not the wolf to his flock’.8 Significantly, Sir Owen’s conduct is contrasted with that of Robin – ‘there’s cheating in his very name’ – Fielding’s first openly satirical assault on Walpole: ‘Had your love for the tenants been the occasion of your peace-making, as you call it, you would not be always making master so hard upon them in every court; and prevent him giving them the fat ox at Christmas, on pretence of good husbandry’.9 Developed in more general terms in Don Quixote in England, Pasquin and Eurydice Hiss’d as a satire on the state of the nation under Walpole (Pillage), Fielding’s assault on the Robinocracy did not assume its definitive form until the extended treatment it was afforded in the Champion. It is not simply the fact that Walpole, for the first time, was the target of Fielding’s anti-ministerial satire in the Champion which is important, but the ideological grounds upon which the criticism was based. Without any firm foundation, it has been claimed repeatedly that Fielding’s campaign was waged under the direction of ‘Bolingbroke and the “Broad-Bottoms”’ – Chesterfield and Lyttelton, presumably, if not Cobham and Dodington also – without sufficient acknowledgement that the terms of engagement appear to have derived from an established tradition of ‘real Whig’ or ‘Old Whig’ ideas which can be traced back via Molesworth and Trenchard to Sidney and Marvell and beyond to Harrington, if not all the way to John Hampden. Whether it represents Fielding’s own personal beliefs, or is merely to be imputed to the influence of James Ralph, or interpreted as nothing more than a rhetorical ploy adopted to cause the ministry maximum embarrassment, the Champion’s sustained exploitation of this particular variety of Whig language throughout its first year of publication at least requires explanation because it is not consistent with the known political opinions of either Chesterfield or Lyttelton or those who, after February 1742, began to be known as the ‘Broad-Bottoms’. If existing treatments of Fielding’s exploits as Hercules Vinegar have failed convincingly to identify the ideological basis of the Champion’s opposition to Walpole, critics and biographers have been extremely reluctant to recognize his courtship of the Great Man in 1741 for what it undoubtedly was – a fla-

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grant attempt on Fielding’s part to persuade the Prime Minister to buy him off. Walpole’s fall in February 1742 meant that, with the notable exception of The Opposition. A Vision which can now be appreciated as ministerial propaganda designed to influence the crucial vote for the chairmanship of the Committee of Privileges and Elections, Fielding did not act as a ministerial writer until 1745. The discovery that Fielding did reach an agreement with the Great Man at the end of 1741, however, strongly suggests reasons why his satire at Walpole’s expense in Joseph Andrews and Jonathan Wild is relatively muted, as well as offering an explanation for his silence as a political pamphleteer between the publication of The Opposition. A Vision and A Serious Address to the People of Great Britain. This in turn raises questions about the extent to which Fielding’s writings, from Pasquin and The Historical Register for the Year 1736 onwards through his months of writing the leading essays for the Champion and beyond to the publication of The Vernoniad, were sponsored by Chesterfield, Lyttelton or any of the other Opposition leaders. In 1745 Fielding changed his tune and turned ‘State-Writer’ in earnest. Given the perceived threat to liberty, property and the Protestant religion posed by the Jacobite rebellion it is perfectly reasonable to argue that this did not involve the sacrifice of Fielding’s fundamental political principles. I have suggested that when, in A Dialogue between a Gentleman of London … and an Honest Alderman Of the Country Party (1747), the Alderman takes to task the Gentleman, ‘who has always professed those honest Principles which I have heard so often from your Mouth’, for now supporting the ministry, Fielding is tacitly drawing attention to his own change of heart.10 Yet it is difficult to interpret his joining the government payroll as evidence of his continuing commitment to ‘the faction he would support for the rest of his life’11 rather than a straightforward business transaction, more especially as it appears to anticipate the ‘yearly pension out of the public service-money’ which in The Journal of a Voyage to Lisbon he finally acknowledged he had been paid by ‘the government’.12 It is precisely during these months in 1747 when he was working on the first two volumes of Tom Jones that Fielding’s friends first reported that he was writing ‘under ye patronage of ye ministry’.13 This serves to fix the period during which, according to his acknowledgment in the Dedication to Tom Jones, he was evidently being financially supported by Lyttelton. Apparently, not only was it ‘owing’ to Lyttelton ‘that this History was ever begun’, but ‘without [his] Assistance this History had never been completed’. ‘I mean no more’, Fielding explained, ‘than that I partly owe to you my Existence during great Part of the Time which I have been employed in composing it’.14 This is hugely significant on at least two counts: first, it corresponds with the period during which Fielding was accused of writing ‘under the Direction of the Excellent Selim Slim’;15 second, it indicates that, in the absence of documentary evidence, there is no

Conclusion

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need to assume that Fielding was being financially supported by Lyttelton prior to the years in which he was a ‘known pension’d Scribler’.16 In sum, it is no longer necessary to ‘explain’ Fielding’s political career either in terms of political uncertainty giving way to political certainty or as unwavering support for a particular faction or political ‘connection’. While some critics may find the idea that he was prepared to write for money unpalatable, it is imperative to recognize that this involved no sacrifice of political principle on Fielding’s part. Until he was reconciled to Walpole at the end of 1741 he had been an adherent of Revolution Principles – a Whig with radical tendencies – who criticized the ministry along well-established Opposition lines. After 1741, there is no compelling evidence to suggest that Fielding ever again wrote against the government of the day, regardless of Walpole’s resignation in February 1742. In 1745, when the Protestant Succession was threatened by a Jacobite rebellion, Fielding began to write in support of the ministry. Eventually he was rewarded for his efforts, and as a government employee he was paid ‘a yearly pension’ out of the secret-service funds once he became a reforming magistrate at Bow Street.

NOTES

Author’s Note 1.

H. Fielding, A History of Tom Jones, A Foundling. By Henry Fielding, Esq; In Six Volumes, 6 vols (London: A. Millar, 1749), vol. 1, pp. iv–v. Unless stated otherwise, all quotations from Tom Jones are from this edition.

Introduction 1.

2. 3. 4. 5. 6.

7.

8.

9.

[H. Fielding], A Serious Address to the People of Great Britain (London: M. Cooper, 1745), pp. 3–4. On these points, see also [H. Fielding], A Dialogue between a Gentleman of London, Agent for two Court Candidates, and an Honest Alderman Of the Country Party (London: M. Cooper, 1747) in which Fielding not only argues that ‘all Civil Power [is] originally and absolutely placed … in the People’, but that ‘the Sovereign Power devolved to the People by the Forfeiture and Abdication of King James the Second’ (pp. 12, 15). These doctrines appear to derive directly from Locke’s Two Treatises of Government. Fielding, Tom Jones, vol. 3, p. 85. M. C. Battestin, ‘Fielding’s Changing Politics and Joseph Andrews’, Philological Quarterly, 39:1 (1960), pp. 39–55. J. B. Owen, The Rise of the Pelhams (London: Methuen, 1957), p. 4. R. Sedgwick, The House of Commons 1715–1754, 2 vols (London: Her Majesty’s Stationery Office, 1970), vol. 1, p. 19. W. B. Coley, ‘Henry Fielding and the Two Walpoles’, Philological Quarterly, 45:1 (1966), 162, citing A. S. Foord, His Majesty’s Opposition 1714–1830 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1964), pp. 145 et seq. H. Fielding, Contributions to The Champion and Related Writings, ed. W. B. Coley, The Wesleyan Edition of the Works of Henry Fielding (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2002), pp. lxxxiv–cvi. T. R. Cleary, Henry Fielding, Political Writer (Waterloo, ON: Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 1984). Cleary acknowledges that ‘[m]uch’ of his opening chapter, ‘Prolegomena: George Lyttelton, the Broad-Bottoms, and the Pattern of Fielding’s Political Career’, ‘will be based on Wiggin [The Faction of Cousins: A Political Account of the Grenvilles, 1733–63 (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1958)] and Foord’, (p. 303, n. 1). Foord, His Majesty’s Opposition, p. 174 (see also pp. 164, 167). As far as I am aware, the term, ‘Broad Bottom’, was first used not in the middle of the 1730s, but immediately after Walpole’s fall in 1742 (see above, p. 10), while it has yet to be demonstrated (let alone – 209 –

210

10. 11. 12. 13.

14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22. 23.

24. 25. 26. 27. 28.

29. 30. 31. 32.

Notes to pages 3–7 documented) that Bolingbroke influenced Fielding’s actions or informed his political ideas (see above, p. 156). Ibid., p. 20. R. Harris, Politics and the Nation: Britain in the Mid-Eighteenth Century (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002), p. 24. L. Colley, In Defiance of Oligarchy: The Tory Party 1714–60 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1982), p. 7. Craftsman, 366 (7 July 1733). It is important to stress that anti-party arguments were neither invented by nor the exclusive property of Bolingbroke. See, for instance, An Answer To One Part of a late Infamous Libel, Intitled, Remarks on the Craftsman’s Vindication of his two honourable Patrons; In which The Character and Conduct of Mr. P[ulteney] is fully Vindicated (London, 1731), p. 17: ‘The senseless Distinction of Whig and Tory is, God be praised! almost sunk in a general Concern for the national Interest; and will I hope be soon intirely abolished, notwithstanding all your Endeavours, for vile Ends, to keep those fatal Animosities alive’. In fact, anti-party arguments can be traced back via Cato’s Letters and Swift’s Examiner essays and political pamphlets to the reign of Queen Anne and beyond. Some Materials towards Memoirs of the Reign of King George II By John, Lord Hervey, ed. R. Sedgwick, 3 vols (London: Eyre & Spottiswoode, 1931), vol. 1, p. 182. Cleary, Henry Fielding, Political Writer, pp. 4, 71, 82, 101; M. C. Battestin with R. R. Battestin, Henry Fielding: A Life (London and New York: Routledge, 1989), p. 198. H. Fielding, Pasquin. A Dramatick Satire on the Times (London: J. Watts, 1736), p. 38. Harris, Politics and the Nation, p. 23. Fielding, Contributions to The Champion, ed. Coley, p. lxv. ‘Pasquin’ [i.e. Fielding] in Common Sense: Or, The Englishman’s Journal, 16 (21 May 1737). H. Fielding, An Enquiry Into the Causes of the late Increase of Robbers, &c. with some Proposals for Remedying this Growing Evil (London: A. Millar, 1751), pp. v, xiv. Ibid., p. vii. [ J. Locke], Two Treatises of Government (London: A. Churchill, 1690 [for 1689]), p. 353. Champion, 153 (4 November 1740), reprinted in Fielding, An Address to the Electors of Great Britain, Wherein the Power of the People is traced from its Original (Edinburgh: Drummond and Co., 1740), pp. 15–16. Locke, Two Treatises of Government, p. 271. London Journal, 727 (2 June 1733). H. T. Dickinson, Liberty and Property: Political Ideology in Eighteenth-Century Britain (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1977), p. 156. The London Journal, 727 (2 June 1733). J. G. A. Pocock, ‘Varieties of Whiggism from Exclusion to Reform’, in Virtue, Commerce, and History: Essays on Political Thought and History, Chiefly in the Eighteenth Century (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985), p. 240. H. Fielding, A Proper Answer To A Late Scurrilous Libel (London: M. Cooper, 1747), p. 14. A Serious Address to the People of Great Britain, p. 6. J. Trenchard and T. Gordon, Cato’s Letters, ed. R. Hamowy, 2 vols (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1995), vol. 2, pp. 607, 614–15. Fielding, An Enquiry Into the Causes of the late Increase of Robbers, p. 22.

Notes to pages 7–10

211

33. [H. Fielding,] The History of the Adventures of Joseph Andrews, And of his Friend, Mr. Abraham Adams, 2 vols (London: A. Millar, 1742), vol. 1, p. 4. Unless stated otherwise, all quotations from Joseph Andrews are from this edition. 34. H. Fielding, An Enquiry into the Causes of the Late Increase of Robbers and Related Writings, ed. M. L. Zirker, The Wesleyan Edition of the Works of Henry Fielding (London and Middletown, CT: Oxford University Press and Wesleyan University Press, 1974), p. xxii. 35. Pocock, Virtue, Commerce, and History, p. 232. 36. ‘Pasquin’ [i.e. Fielding] in Common Sense: Or, The Englishman’s Journal, 16 (21 May 1737). See also Fielding’s reference to ‘a general Corruption’ in the Dedication to Chesterfield of Don Quixote in England (London: J. Watts, 1734), sig. A3, and his remark in An Address to the Electors of Great Britain that ‘tho’ Corruption is not universal, it is too general’ (p. 39). 37. Pocock, Virtue, Commerce, and History, p. 240. 38. Pasquin, p. 4, font reversed. 39. What Fielding might have intended by signing himself ‘Scriblerus Secundus’ is touched on in Chapter 2, above, pp. 23–4. 40. Pocock, Virtue, Commerce, and History, p. 240. 41. R. Paulson, The Life of Henry Fielding (Oxford: Blackwell, 2000), pp. 73, 76. 42. I. Rivers, Reason, Grace, and Sentiment: A Study of the Language of Religion and Ethics in England, 1660–1780: Volume I: Whichcote to Wesley (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991), pp. 87, 26. 43. Pocock, Virtue, Commerce, and History, pp. 23–4. 44. The Covent-Garden Journal, 46 (9 June 1752). See also Fielding’s ‘A Fragment of a Comment on L. Bolingbroke’s Essays’ appended to The Journal of a Voyage to Lisbon (London: A. Millar, 1755), p. 204, in which he described Bolingbroke’s deist notions as ‘some very weak and slender hypotheses … built on the revival of old chimerical principles, which have been confuted and exploded long ago’. 45. The Champion: Containing a Series of Papers, Humorous, Moral, Political, and Critical, 2 vols (London: J. Huggonson, 1741), vol. 2, p. 40. 46. Ibid., vol. 2, p. 46. 47. Dickinson, Liberty and Property, p. 167. 48. J. Swift, Prose Works of Jonathan Swift, ed. H. Davis et al., 16 vols (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1941–75), vol. 1, p. 244. 49. B. McCrea, Henry Fielding and the Politics of Mid-Eighteenth-Century England (Athens, GA: Georgia University Press, 1981), p. 15. 50. J. Brewer, Party Ideology and Popular Politics at the Accession of George III (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1976), pp. 33–4. 51. McCrea, Henry Fielding and the Politics of Mid-Eighteenth-Century England p. 105. 52. Cleary, Henry Fielding, Political Writer, pp. 1, 303. 53. M. C. Battestin, New Essays by Henry Fielding: His Contributions to the Craftsman (1734–1739) and Other Early Journalism (Charlottesville, VA: Virginia University Press, 1989), p. xx. See also R. D. Hume, Henry Fielding and the London Theatre 1728– 1737 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1988), p. 211: ‘Whatever details in Cleary’s picture of Fielding future scholars may want to quibble over, challenging his basic picture of Fielding’s Broad Bottom allegiance will be difficult’. 54. Fielding, Tom Jones, vol. 1, pp. xi, iv–v.

212

Notes to pages 10–14

55. T. Lockwood, ‘Fielding and The Craftsman’, Review of English Studies, 59:1 (2008), pp. 86–117. 56. Horace Walpole’s Correspondence with Sir Horace Mann, I, ed. W. S. Lewis, W. H. Smith and G. L. Lam, The Yale Edition of Horace Walpole’s Correspondence (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1953), vol. 17, p. 337 n. 57. The London Magazine, and Monthly Chronologer (London, 1742), vol. 11, p. 100. Cf. Perceval’s extensive account of the meeting (which he attended, although he says it took place on 11 February) in Faction Detected, by the Evidence of Facts (London: J. Roberts, 1743), pp. 41–4. Two months earlier, in a letter to Lyttelton, Bolingbroke had written: ‘It is doubtful you say whether your Leaders will employ their Strength in this Parliament, to insist the more on national points, or to give them up att an higher price, and you are sure that they would rather come in on a narrow than a broad bottom’ (Memoirs and Correspondence of George, Lord Lyttelton, From 1734 to 1773, ed. R. J. Phillimore, 2 vols (London: James Ridgway, 1845), vol. 1, p. 197: 4 November 1741. I am grateful to Frederick G. Ribble for drawing my attention to this reference. 58. Horace Walpole’s Correspondence, vol. 17, pp. 336–7. Interestingly, Perceval also described ‘the Broad-Bottom’ as ‘a Cant Word, which … was understood to imply, a Party united to force the Tories into the Administration’ (Faction Detected, p. 46). 59. F. G. Ribble, ‘Fielding’s Rapprochement with Walpole in Late 1741’, Philological Quarterly, 80:1 (2001), pp. 74–5. 60. Horace Walpole’s Correspondence, vol. 17, pp. 336–7. 61. The Jacobite’s Journal, 22 (30 April 1748). 62. The True Patriot: and The History of Our Own Times, 2 (12 November 1745). 63. This is an issue about which many – perhaps most – critics appear to be blissfully untroubled. See for example J. Campbell, Natural Masques: Gender and Identity in Fielding’s Plays and Novels (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1995), p. 282 n. 3: ‘I use the term “Whig” throughout in a general and inclusive fashion, rather than to indicate precise political alignments and platforms. In the context of the Jacobite movement of the 1740’s, the term often serves primarily to denote a political position opposed to Jacobitism; but I also assume that it suggests support of the 1688 revolution, of a Lockean notion of limited kingship and constitutional monarchy, and, more broadly, of the new economic order of early- and mid-eighteenth-century England’.

1 ‘So Dissipated, Though Well Born and Well-Educated a Youth’ 1. 2.

3. 4. 5. 6.

E. Gibbon, The Memoirs of the Life of Edward Gibbon, ed. G. B. Hill (London: Methuen, 1900), pp. 4–5. J. P. Hunter, Occasional Form: Henry Fielding and the Chains of Circumstance (Baltimore, MD and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1975), p. 9. See also p. 4: ‘Time took away his inherited expectations and diluted the allusive power of the past, instead thrusting upon Fielding occasions and audiences that hardly seemed promising for one whose intellectual and personal ancestry was humanistic and aristocratic’. Battestin with Battestin, Henry Fielding: A Life, p. 3. Jacobite’s Journal, 26 (28 May 1748). Fielding, An Enquiry Into the Causes of the late Increase of Robbers, p. 3. M. R. Zirker, Jr., Fielding’s Social Pamphlets: A Study of An Enquiry into the Causes of the Late Increase of Robbers and A Proposal for Making an Effectual Provision for the Poor (Berkeley and Los Angeles, CA: University of California Press, 1966), p. 30.

Notes to pages 15–23 7. 8. 9. 10. 11.

12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18.

19.

213

D. Thomas, Henry Fielding (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1990), p. 10. An Enquiry Into the Causes of the late Increase of Robbers, p. v. Joseph Andrews, vol. 2, p. 296. Tom Jones, vol. 3, p. 79; vol. 2, pp. 30, 29. National Archives, Cii 259/37, f. 1. Lady Gould’s complaint against Colonel Edmund Fielding, filed in chancery on 10 February 1731, quoted in Battestin with Battestin, Henry Fielding: A Life, p. 11. As Battestin notes (p. 629 n. 81), all the affidavits in the Register of Affidavits for Chancery in The National Archives have this call number and, unless stated otherwise, all subsequent references to the litigation between Lady Gould and Edmund Fielding are to Cii 259/37. Sir Henry’s will, quoted in Battestin with Battestin, Henry Fielding: A Life, p. 12. Ibid., p. 19. NA, Cii 259/37. Ibid. Ibid. H. Fielding, Miscellanies, by Henry Fielding Esq; In Three Volumes, 3 vols (London: Printed for the Author, 1743), vol. 1, p. 39. All the quotations in this paragraph are from the Lyme Regis Register Book, 14 November 1725, as quoted in Thomas, Henry Fielding, pp. 40–3, which offers by far the fullest and most convincing narrative of the affair. The document is reproduced in Battestin with Battestin, Henry Fielding: A Life, Plate 8 facing p. 15.

2 ‘Unshap’d Monsters of a wanton Brain!’ 1. 2. 3.

4.

5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.

11. 12. 13.

Hume, Fielding and the London Theatre, p. 20. Ibid., pp. 20, 36. Craftsman, 85 (17 February 1728), reprinted in [C. Bullock], Women’s Revenge: Or, A Match in Newgate. A Comedy, 2nd edn (London: J. Roberts, 1728), pp. 69–76 as ‘A Key to the Beggar’s Opera. In a Letter to Caleb Danvers, Esq;’. J. Gay, The Beggar’s Opera (London: J. Watts, 1728), pp. 1, 2. The potential allusion was hardened in Gay’s suppressed sequel, Polly, when the heroine, Peachum’s daughter, referred to her ‘father’s affairs as a thief or a thief-taker’ (Polly: An Opera. Being the Second Part of The Beggar’s Opera (London: T. Thomson, 1729), p. 7). The Correspondence of Jonathan Swift, D.D., ed. D. Woolley, 4 vols (Frankfurt: Peter Lang, 1999–2007), vol. 3, p. 162: 26 February 1728. I. Kramnick, Bolingbroke and His Circle: The Politics of Nostalgia in the Age of Walpole (Cambridge, MA, and London: Harvard University Press, 1968), pp. 17–18. Correspondence of Jonathan Swift, ed. Woolley, vol. 3, p. 171. Ibid., vol. 3, p. 52: Alexander Pope to Swift, 16 November 1726. Craftsman, 6 (23 December 1726). H. Fielding, Miscellanies by Henry Fielding, Esq; Volume One, ed. H. K. Miller, The Wesleyan Edition of the Works of Henry Fielding (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1972), vol. 1, p. xxviii. Hunter, Occasional Form, p. 10. P. Rogers, Henry Fielding: A Biography (London: Paul Elek, 1979), p. 43. Paulson, Life of Henry Fielding, p. 50.

214

Notes to pages 23–6

14. C. J. Rawson, Henry Fielding and the Augustan Ideal Under Stress (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1972), p. 19. 15. H. Fielding, The Journal of a Voyage to Lisbon, p. 161. 16. See Ribble, ‘Fielding’s Rapprochement with Walpole in Late 1741’, pp. 71–81. For a full discussion of these episodes in Fielding’s life, see above, pp. 30–1, 100–3. 17. I. M. Grundy, ‘New Verse by Henry Fielding’, PMLA, 87:2 (March 1972), pp. 213–45. For a discussion of these verses, see above, pp. 33–5. 18. Correspondence of Jonathan Swift, ed. Woolley, vol. 2, p. 204. The most sustained argument that we should take Swift seriously when he describes himself as ‘a Whig in Politicks’ can be found in J. A. Downie, Jonathan Swift, Political Writer (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1984). See also D. Oakleaf, A Political Biography of Jonathan Swift (London: Pickering & Chatto, 2008). 19. A. Murphy, ‘An Essay on the Life and Genius of Henry Fielding, Esq.’, in The Works of Henry Fielding, Esq.: with the Life of the Author (London: A. Murphy, 1762), vol. 1, p. 10. 20. Quoted in H. Fielding, Plays, ed. T. Lockwood, The Wesleyan Edition of the Works of Henry Fielding, 2 vols so far published (Oxford: Clarendon Press, from 2004), vol. 1, p. 2. Lockwood explains that the ‘Comedy of Shakespear’s’ was in fact Lewis Theobald’s Double Falsehood. 21. H. Fielding, Love in Several Masques (London: J. Watts, 1728), Preface, italics reversed. 22. Ibid., sig. A2r–sig. A2v. 23. I here follow Lockwood in quoting from the transcript of Fielding’s letter in Complete Letters of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, ed. R. Halsband, 2 vols (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1966), vol. 2, p. 96, rather than from that printed in The Correspondence of Henry and Sarah Fielding, ed. M. C. Battestin and C. T. Probyn (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1993), p. 3. 24. Until Battestin suggested that it referred to Love in Several Masques, this undated letter was thought to refer to The Modern Husband. See M. C. Battestin, ‘Dating Fielding’s Letters to Lady Mary Wortley Montagu’, Studies in Bibliography, 42 (1989), p. 246. 25. Hume, Fielding and the London Theatre, p. 29. 26. Battestin with Battestin, Henry Fielding: A Life, p. 8; T. Lockwood, ‘Early Poems by – and not by – Fielding’, Philological Quarterly, 73:2 (1994), pp. 177–9. 27. Fielding, Miscellanies, vol. 2, p. 206. 28. H. Fielding, A True State of the Case of Bosavern Penlez (London: A. Millar, 1749), p. 49. 29. H. Fielding, The Masquerade, A Poem. Inscribed to C—t H—d—g—r (London: J. Roberts, 1728), pp. 1–2. 30. Ibid., Dedication. 31. The earliest reference to Walpole as ‘Brass’ of which I am aware was published in 1710 and refers to the seamy side of his activities as Treasurer of the Navy from January 1710 to January 1711: ‘And young Brass of Corinth can never deceive ye, / For he pays off the Cause just as well as the Navy’ (The Old Pack Newly Reviv’d, reprinted in Poems on Affairs of State: Augustan Satirical Verse, 1660–1714: Volume VII: 1704–1714, ed. F. H. Ellis (New Haven, CT and London: Yale University Press, 1975), p. 402). (I owe this reference to Bill Speck.) Walpole was of course often compared to Colley Cibber and represented by satirists as the manager of a theatre or puppet-show, the implication being that his government was a farce. It therefore seems perfectly possible that, in implicitly

Notes to pages 26–31

32.

33. 34.

35.

36. 37. 38. 39. 40. 41. 42.

43. 44. 45. 46. 47. 48. 49. 50. 51. 52. 53. 54. 55. 56. 57. 58. 59. 60.

215

comparing Walpole to Heidegger, Fielding was suggesting that his government was a masquerade. See in particular Fielding’s disquisition on ‘the Art of Prime-Ministry’ in the Champion for 28 February 1740 (The Champion, vol. 1, pp. 314–9) in which he offers a detailed account of ‘Corinthian Brass, or rather Wash’ (vol. 1, p. 318). H. Fielding, The Author’s Farce, in The Dramatic Works of Henry Fielding, Esq., 3 vols (London: A. Millar, 1755), vol. 1, p. 25. Swift, Prose Works, vol. 10, p. 67. The clever ambiguity of Swift’s phrasing is that it contrives to confuse the ownership of the ‘Brass’ – Wood’s halfpence – which Walpole will ‘cram … down our Throats’. Is it Wood’s? Or Walpole’s? Quoted in C. B. Woods, ‘Cibber in Fielding’s Author’s Farce: Three Notes’, Philological Quarterly, 44:2 (1965), p. 149. Cf. The Country Journal: Or, The Craftsman, 35 (1 February 1729). Grundy, ‘New Verse by Henry Fielding’, p. 229. Plays, ed. Lockwood, vol. 1, p. 244, n. 2. Fielding, Love in Several Masques, p. 69. Ibid., p. 5. Ibid., p. 40. Ibid., pp. 69–70. The Champion, vol. 1, pp. 10–1. Fielding appears to be alluding to Walpole’s notorious reference to those who petitioned against his excise scheme in 1733 as people ‘whom the law calls sturdy beggars’. See W. Coxe, Memoirs of the Life and Administration of Sir Robert Walpole, Earl of Orford, 3 vols (London: T. Cadell and W. Davies, 1798), vol. 1, p. 401. It is also worth taking note of Fielding’s comment on ‘beneficial Trade’. See above, pp. 98–100. Fielding, Love in Several Masques, p. 38. Fielding, Tom Jones, vol. 6, p. 10. W. A. Speck, Stability and Strife: England 1714–1760, The New History of England 6 (London: Edward Arnold, 1977), p. 225. Fielding, Love in Several Masques, p. 63. Robert D. Hume’s phrase. See Hume, Fielding and the London Theatre, p. 212. Craftsman, 85 (17 February 1728). Love in Several Masques was advertised in the next number of the Craftsman, that for 24 February 1728, as ‘This Day is publish’d’. Fielding, Love in Several Masques, Preface, italics reversed. Hume, Fielding and the London Theatre, pp. 27, 38. Quoted in Battestin and Battestin, Henry Fielding: A Life, p. 271. See K. C. Strien, ‘Henry Fielding in Holland’, English Studies, 85 (2004), pp. 405–16. Battestin and Battestin, Henry Fielding: A Life, pp. 67–8. Ibid., pp. 70, 68. ‘Marforio’, An Historical View of the Principles, Characters, Persons, &c. of the Political Writers of Great Britain (London: W. Webb, 1740), p. 38. For the part played by the ‘Vision of the Golden Rump’ in the passing of the Licensing Act of 1737, see above, pp. 81–2. Quoted in Ribble, ‘Fielding’s Rapprochement with Walpole in Late 1741’, pp. 74–5. H. Fielding, Of True Greatness. An Epistle to The Right Honourable George Dodington, Esq; (London: C. Corbet, 1741), p. 4. Battestin and Battestin, Henry Fielding: A Life, p. 69. Fielding, Miscellanies, vol. 1, p. 44.

216

Notes to pages 32–8

61. Ibid., p. 43. Interestingly, this poem also refers to Walpole’s levee. It should be noted that it has been argued, without any supporting evidence, that these verse epistles were in fact written in around 1738. See H. Amory, ‘Henry Fielding’s Epistles to Walpole: A Reexamination’, Philological Quarterly, 46:3 (1967), pp. 236–47. 62. Hume, Fielding and the London Theatre, p. 78. 63. The Historical Register For the Year 1736 and Eurydice Hissed, ed. W. W. Appleton (London: Edward Arnold, 1968), p. 13. 64. Grundy, ‘New Verse by Henry Fielding’, pp. 213–45. 65. Thomas, Henry Fielding, p. 53. 66. Battestin and Battestin, Henry Fielding: A Life, p. 78. 67. Grundy, ‘New Verse by Henry Fielding’, p. 219. 68. Ibid., p. 220. 69. A. Pope, The Dunciad, ed. J. Sutherland, 3rd edn (London and New Haven, CT: Methuen and Yale University Press, 1963), p. 61. 70. Grundy, ‘New Verse by Henry Fielding’, pp. 230–1. 71. Ibid., pp. 220–1. 72. The Champion, vol. 2, p. 35. 73. Grundy, ‘New Verse by Henry Fielding’, p. 225. 74. Ibid., pp. 231–2. 75. Battestin and Battestin, Henry Fielding: A Life, pp. 78–9: ‘As the satire develops, Fielding, in parody of the councils of the Greeks in the Iliad, introduces Pope’s fellow Scriblerians – Swift (Ochistes) and Gay (Ilar) – vying for superiority with their colleagues in political mischief ’. 76. Grundy, ‘New Verse by Henry Fielding’, p. 232 77. Ibid., p. 215. 78. Cleary, Henry Fielding, Political Writer, p. 211. 79. Battestin and Battestin, Henry Fielding: A Life, pp. 73–6. 80. Fielding, Don Quixote in England, Preface. 81. Fielding, Miscellanies, vol. 1, pp. vii, ix. 82. Hume, Fielding and the London Theatre, p. 51. 83. H. Fielding, The Temple Beau (London: J. Watts, 1730), pp. 4, 5, 7. 84. Fielding, Plays, ed. Lockwood, vol. 1, p. 194. 85. [H. Fielding], The Author’s Farce; and the Pleasures of the Town (London: J. Roberts, 1730), pp. 28–9. 86. Historical Manuscripts Commission, Report on the Manuscripts of the Earl of Egmont. Diary of Viscount Percival Afterwards First Earl of Egmont, ed. R. A. Roberts, 3 vols (London: His Majesty’s Stationery Office, 1920), vol. 1, p. 97. 87. Fielding, The Author’s Farce, p. 21. See S. Baker, ‘Political Allusion in Fielding’s Author’s Farce, Mock Doctor, and Tumble-Down Dick’, PMLA, 77:3 ( June 1962), 222. 88. B. A. Goldgar, Walpole and the Wits: The Relation of Politics to Literature, 1722–1742 (Lincoln, NE and London: University of Nebraska Press, 1976, p. 103. 89. Fielding, Plays, ed. Lockwood, vol. 1, pp. 189, 187. 90. P. Lewis, Fielding’s Burlesque Drama: Its Place in the Tradition (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1987), p. 89. 91. Fielding, The Author’s Farce, pp. 8–9, 18, 41. 92. Baker, ‘Political Allusion in Fielding’s Author’s Farce, Mock Doctor, and Tumble-Down Dick’, p. 223. 93. Paulson, Life of Henry Fielding, p. 49.

Notes to pages 38–48

217

94. [H. Fielding], Tom Thumb. A Tragedy (London: J. Roberts, 1730), p. 15. 95. McCrea, Fielding and the Politics of Mid-Eighteenth-Century England, p. 54. 96. W. L. Cross, The History of Henry Fielding, 3 vols (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1918), vol. 1, p. 79. 97. Fielding, The Author’s Farce, p. 8. 98. Hume, Fielding and the London Theatre, pp. 57, 55, 61. 99. R. Steele, The Tatler, ed. D. F. Bond, 3 vols (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1987), vol. 1, p. 1, italics reversed. 100. Plays, ed. Lockwood, vol. 1, p. 410. 101. H. Fielding, Rape upon Rape; Or, The Justice Caught in his own Trap (London: J. Watts, 1730), p. 32. 102. Goldgar, Walpole and the Wits, p. 106. 103. Fielding, Rape upon Rape, p. 67. Cf. Goldgar, Walpole and the Wits, p. 107. 104. Hume, Fielding and the London Theatre, p. 78. 105. For example: ‘and BOBBY the Screen too was put to his Trumps, / Which nobody can deny’ (quoted in Goldgar, Walpole and the Wits, p. 107). 106. Country Journal: Or, The Craftsman, 220 (19 September 1730). 107. Correspondence, ed. Battestin and Probyn, p. 4. The year of Fielding’s letter is not given, but the editors of his correspondence, referring to the notice in the Craftsman, state that it ‘was probably written on Fri., 4 Sept[ember] 1730’. 108. [H. Fielding], The Welsh Opera: Or, The Grey Mare the better Horse (London: E. Rayner, 1731), p. iii. 109. [H. Fielding], The Tragedy of Tragedies, Or, The Li[ f ]e and Death of Tom Thumb the Great (London: J. Roberts, 1731), Dramatis Personæ. 110. H. Fielding, The Grub-Street Opera, in The Dramatic Works, vol. 1, Dramatis Personæ. 111. Fielding, The Welsh Opera, p. 1. 112. The Dramatic Works of Henry Fielding, Esq., vol. 1, Dramatis Personæ. 113. Ibid., p. 4.. 114. Ibid., p. 20. 115. HMC Egmont Diary, vol. 1, p. 92. 116. Robin’s over-friendly friend, John, is clearly meant to stand for John, Lord Hervey – Pope’s Lord Fanny – although it is far from clear whom Will’s friend, Thomas, is meant to represent. The most obvious candidate, Thomas Pelham-Holles, Duke of Newcastle, was a Walpole supporter, and none of the other candidates suggested by critics seems remotely plausible. 117. Fielding, The Welsh Opera, p. 27, italics reversed. 118. Fielding, The Grub-Street Opera, Introduction. 119. Ibid., p. 26. 120. Ibid., pp. 28–9. 121. Hume, Fielding and the London Theatre, p. 93. 122. Goldgar, Walpole and the Wits, p. 110. My italics. 123. Fielding, The Grub-Street Opera, Introduction. 124. Ibid., p. 34. 125. H. Fielding, The Grub-Street Opera, ed. L. J. Morrissey (Edinburgh: Oliver and Boyd, 1973), p. 6. 126. Fielding, The Grub-Street Opera (1731), p. 53. 127. Goldgar, Walpole and the Wits, p. 111.

218

Notes to pages 48–56

128. St. James’s Evening Post for 24–27 March 1733, quoted in P. Langford, The Excise Crisis: Society and Politics in the Age of Walpole (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1975), p. 46. 129. It should be noted, however, that Morrissey presents ‘an inconclusive bit of evidence that all three versions of the play were set from holograph copies’ (The Grub-Street Opera, ed. Morrissey, p. 21). 130. Daily Post, 21 May 1731. 131. A. J. Rivero, The Plays of Henry Fielding: A Critical Study of His Dramatic Career (Charlottesville, VA: University of Virginia Press, 1989), p. 91. 132. The Doctrine of Innuendo’s Discuss’d, or the Liberty of the Press Maintain’d: Being some Thoughts upon the present Treatment of the Printer and Publishers of the Craftsman (London: Printed for the author, 1731), p. 6. 133. [W. Hatchett], The Fall of Mortimer (London: J. Millan, 1731), pp. 3, 63. 134. Ibid., p. 50. 135. The Grub-Street Journal, ed. B. A. Goldgar, 5 vols (London: Pickering & Chatto, 2002), 2:75, p. 3. 136. For Doeg the Edomite, ‘the chiefest of the herdsmen that belonged to Saul’, see 1 Samuel 21:7 and 22:9. 137. Battestin with Battestin, Henry Fielding: A Life, p. 119. 138. Fielding, Plays, ed. Lockwood, vol. 2, p. 21 n. 2. 139. The Grub-Street Journal, ed. Goldgar, 3:77, p. 2. 140. Hume, Fielding and the London Theatre, p. 99. Lockwood suggests that E. Rayner was ‘probably Elizabeth … William Rayner’s wife and business stand-in, who kept “The New Pamphlet Shop” next to the George Tavern in Charing Cross’ (Plays, ed. Lockwood, vol. 2, pp. 24–5). 141. Fielding, The Welsh Opera, p. i. 142. Ibid., p. 27, italics reversed. 143. See above, p. 28. 144. Fielding, Contributions to The Champion, p. 475 n. 1. 145. Fielding, Of True Greatness, p. 4. 146. ‘The Genuine Grub-street Opera. Pr. 1s. 6d.’ was included in a list of ‘Books and Pamphlets published since our last’ published in The Grub-Street Journal for 19 August 1731. Rayner has been identified as the printer from his printer’s ornaments by Morrissey. See The Grub-Street Opera, ed. Morrissey, p. 17. 147. Fielding, Of True Greatness, p. 4. 148. Hume, Fielding and the London Theatre, p. 104.

3 ‘Court Poet’? 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.

Battestin with Battestin, Henry Fielding: A Life, p. 124. Cleary, Henry Fielding, Political Writer, p. 54. Fielding, The Grub-Street Opera, ed. Morrissey, p. 3. Goldgar, Walpole and the Wits, pp. 112–13; cf. McCrea, Fielding and the Politics of MidEighteenth-Century England, pp. 66–7. Battestin with Battestin, Henry Fielding: A Life, pp. 131, 132. Hume, Fielding and the London Theatre, p. 113.

Notes to pages 56–61 7.

8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21.

22. 23. 24. 25. 26.

27. 28. 29. 30. 31.

32. 33. 34. 35. 36. 37. 38. 39.

219

Anon., See and Seem Blind: Or, A Critical Dissertation on the Publick Diversions, &c. … In a Letter from the Right Honourable the Lord B— to A[aron] H[ill], Esq; (1732), ed. R. D. Hume (Los Angeles, CA: University of California at Los Angeles, 1986), pp. 7–8. [H. Fielding], The Lottery. A Farce (London: J. Wat[t]s, 1732), p. 1. The Grub-Street Journal, ed. Goldgar, vol. 3, 117, p. 1. H. Fielding, The Modern Husband (London: J. Watts, 1732), Prologue, italics reversed. The Grub-Street Journal, ed. Goldgar, vol. 3, 117, p. 1. Hume, Fielding and the London Theatre, pp. 122, 123. Fielding, The Modern Husband, Dedication. Rogers, Henry Fielding, p. 54. Cf. Hunter, Occasional Form, pp. 56–7. Battestin with Battestin, Henry Fielding: A Life, p. 132. Cleary, Henry Fielding, Political Writer, p. 58. The Grub-Street Journal, ed. Goldgar, vol. 3, 117, p. 1. Hume, Fielding and the London Theatre, p. 118. I am discounting here the revival of The Author’s Farce in 1734. The Grub-Street Journal, ed. Goldgar, vol. 3, 117, p. 1. One of Fielding’s most vigorous complaints against the Old Pretender was that ‘of all the Professors of that cruel Religion, he is known to be the most bigotted’ (A Serious Address to the People of Great Britain, p. 8). The Grub-Street Journal, ed. Goldgar, vol. 3, 128, p. 3. Ibid., vol. 3, 127, p. 3. [H. Fielding], The Covent-Garden Tragedy (London: J. Watts, 1732), pp. 8, 1. Ibid., p. 2. Grub-Street Journal (29 June 1732), reprinted in Henry Fielding: The Critical Heritage, ed. R. Paulson and T. Lockwood (London and New York: Routledge & Kegan Paul and Barnes and Noble, 1969), p. 48. The Daily Post, 31 July 1732, reprinted in Henry Fielding: The Critical Heritage, ed. Paulson and Lockwood, p. 63. The Grub-Street Journal, ed. Goldgar, vol. 1, p. ix. Ibid., vol. 3, 135, p. 3. Goldgar, Walpole and the Wits, p. 110. Or ‘pimp to the Prince of Wales’, as Hume has it (Fielding and the London Theatre, p. 115). Calhoun Winton has presented convincing evidence that the real author of The Modish Couple was the Revd. James Miller (‘Benjamin Victor, James Miller, and the Authorship of The Modish Couple’, Philological Quarterly, 64:2 (1985), 121–30). Battestin, ‘Four New Fielding Attributions’, p. 72. Grub-Street Journal, (16 September 1734). [ J.] Mitchell, A Familiar Epistle To the Right Honourable Sir Robert Walpole (London: A. Cruden, 1735), p. 6. E.g., Cleary, Henry Fielding, Political Writer, p. 73: ‘I do not think there is any truth in either’ reference. J. Swift, The Poems of Jonathan Swift, ed. H. Williams, 3 vols (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1937), vol. 2, p. 654. Quoted ibid., vol. 2, p. 654, italics reversed. Quoted ibid., vol. 2, p. 654. E. Cruickshanks, ‘The Political Management of Sir Robert Walpole, 1720–42’, in Britain in the Age of Walpole, ed. J. Black (Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1984), 35–6.

220

Notes to pages 62–7

40. Cleary, Henry Fielding, Political Writer, p. 1 and passim. Battestin observes that: ‘One of the most helpful contributions of Cleary’s book is his persuasive argument that the apparent inconsistencies in Fielding’s political career can be accounted for as the effects of his unswerving loyalty to George Lyttelton, his boyhood friend at Eton and, after 1735 presumably, his patron’ (New Essays, p. xx); while even the sceptical Hume refers to Cleary’s ‘convincing explanation for the marked change in Fielding’s outlook evident in his plays of 1736 and 1737’ (Fielding and the London Theatre, p. 211). 41. A. Pope, Imitations of Horace, ed. J. Butt, 2nd edn. (London and New Haven: Methuen and Yale University Press, 1961 [1953]), p. 13. 42. Grundy, ‘New Verse by Henry Fielding’, p. 242. 43. Cleary, Henry Fielding, Political Writer, p. 211. 44. Grundy, ‘New Verse by Henry Fielding’, p. 242. Fielding almost certainly contributed Wade’s obituary published in the Jacobite’s Journal for 19 March 1748 in which he was not only praised for his ‘great Ability and Integrity’, but ‘in private Life, [as] a Gentleman of the highest Honour, Humanity and Generosity, [who] hath done more good and benevolent Actions than this whole Paper can contain’. 45. Cleary, Henry Fielding, Political Writer, p. 64. 46. Baker, ‘Political Allusion in Fielding’s Author’s Farce, Mock Doctor, and Tumble-Down Dick’, pp. 226–8. 47. Battestin, New Essays, p. xxii. 48. Ibid., p. xi. Lockwood has recently argued strongly against any notion that Fielding contributed to the Craftsman. See T. Lockwood, ‘Fielding and The Craftsman’, Review of English Studies, 59:1 (2008), pp. 86–117. 49. Langford, The Excise Crisis, p. 101. 50. The Author’s Farce (1734) in The Dramatic Works of Henry Fielding, Esq., (1755), vol. 1, pp. 25, 12, 37, 47, 50, 30. 51. Cleary, Henry Fielding, Political Writer, pp. 307–8. 52. H. Fielding, The Intriguing Chambermaid (London: J. Watts, 1734), ‘An Epistle To Mrs. Clive’. 53. Ibid., ‘To Mr. Fielding, occasioned by the Revival of the Author’s Farce’, italics reversed. 54. Fielding, Don Quixote in England, sig. A2–A2v. 55. Ibid., sig. A3. 56. Ibid., pp. 17. 57. Ibid., p. 19. 58. Gay, The Beggar’s Opera, p. 40. 59. Don Quixote in England, p. 39. Cf. Gay, Polly, p. 55. 60. Ibid., p. 19. 61. Mitchell, Familiar Epistle, p. 6. 62. Cleary, Henry Fielding, Political Writer, p. 75. 63. Correspondence of Jonathan Swift, ed. Woolley, vol. 4, p. 277. 64. Cleary, Henry Fielding, Political Writer, p. 1. 65. See in particular ibid., p. 2. 66. Hume, Fielding and the London Theatre, p. 182. 67. Battestin with Battestin, Henry Fielding: A Life, p. 186. 68. Ibid., pp. 186, 190. 69. Cleary, Henry Fielding, Political Writer, pp. 2, 75–7. 70. Battestin, New Essays, p. 119. Battestin attributes four Craftsman essays to Fielding from 1735, including this one for 20 December, and five from 1736, again entirely on internal

Notes to pages 67–72

221

or circumstantial evidence. None of these essays, in my opinion, constitutes evidence to support the contention that Fielding was now writing as a spokesman for the Patriot Opposition. 71. Correspondence of Jonathan Swift, ed. Woolley, vol. 4, p. 482.

4 ‘Dramatick Satire’ 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.

8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22.

23. 24.

Daily Gazetteer, 7 May 1737, reprinted in Fielding: The Critical Heritage, ed. Paulson and Lockwood, p. 98. Common Sense, 21 May 1737, reprinted in Fielding: The Critical Heritage, ed. Paulson and Lockwood, p. 103. Old Whig, 8 April 1736, reprinted in Fielding: The Critical Heritage, ed. Paulson and Lockwood, p. 81. ‘No one doubts that Pasquin is highly topical’, Hume perceptively remarks, ‘but in what sense it is political is far less clear’ (Fielding and the London Theatre, p. 209). Old Whig, 8 April 1736, reprinted in Fielding: The Critical Heritage, ed. Paulson and Lockwood, p. 81. Grub-Street Journal, 330 (22 April 1736), in Fielding: The Critical Heritage, ed. Paulson and Lockwood, pp. 84, 86. Quoted from a notice in the London Daily Post, and General Advertiser for 5 March 1736 which, in its entirety, reads: ‘By the Great Mogul’s Company of English Comedians, Newly Imported … N.B. Mr. Pasquin intending to lay about him with great Impartiality, hopes the Town will all attend, and very civilly give their Neighbours what they find belongs to ’em. N.B. The Cloaths are old, but the Jokes intirely new’. Fielding, Pasquin, p. 4, italics reversed. Ibid., p. 8. Journals of the House of Commons, vol. 22, pp. 550, 593, 613, 629, 632, 641, 652, 667, 681, 688, 713. Fielding, Pasquin, p. 7. Ibid., p. 8 Ibid., p. 6. Ibid., pp. 9–10. Ibid., p. 11. Ibid., p. 6. The Historical Register, ed. Appleton, p. 27. Fielding, An Address to the Electors of Great Britain, p. 42. Craftsman, 366 (7 July 1733). Langford, The Excise Crisis, p. 106. Fog’s Weekly Journal, 13 January 1733, quoted in Langford, The Excise Crisis, pp. 106–7. On this point, see J. A. Downie, ‘The Development of the Political Press’, in Britain in the First Age of Party 1680–1750: Essays Presented to Geoffrey Holmes, ed. C. Jones (London: Hambledon Press, 1987), pp. 123–4. Cleary, Henry Fielding, Political Writer, p. 71. Battestin, New Essays, p. xx. While disagreeing with both Cleary and Battestin on a series of points, Coley, without presenting any evidence, also refers to Lyttelton as Fielding’s ‘patron’. See Fielding, Contributions to The Champion and Related Writings, ed. Coley, p. xxxvi.

222

Notes to pages 73–7

25. Langford, The Excise Crisis, p. 144. 26. Fielding, Pasquin, p. 29. 27. Cleary, Henry Fielding, Political Writer, p. 82. So intent is Cleary is on arguing that the key to Fielding’s politics is his connection with the ‘Broad-Bottoms’ that he misreads his sources. Thus he not only claims that Pasquin ‘convinced the Earl of Egmont that Fielding was now “a protege [sic] of Lyttleton and the Cobham group”’, but also that Egmont said Fielding’s play made ‘the usual points against the court’, and that ‘[s]ome of the lines were pertinent to … pending bills’ (Cleary, Henry Fielding, Political Writer, pp. 82, 84, 310 n. 24). The source given by Cleary for all these quotations is Egmont’s diary entry for 25 March. In its entirety this reads: ‘In the evening I went to the Haymarket Playhouse to see Pasquin again, which was extremely crowded, though the 17th day of its acting’ (HMC Egmont, vol. 2, p. 250). Cleary is actually quoting not Egmont, but W. T. Laprade, who writes: ‘Egmont went Thursday, March 25, to a theater in the Haymarket to see Henry Fielding’s Pasquin and found the house still crowded after a fortnight’s run. The author was a protégé of Lyttelton and the Cobham group. A character in the play was “Queen Common Sense”. Some of the lines were pertinent to the pending bills; others made the usual points against the court’ (W. T. Laprade, Public Opinion and Politics in Eighteenth Century England to the Fall of Walpole (New York: Macmillan, 1936), pp. 376–7). The ‘pending bills’, according to Laprade, were the Mortmain Bill and the Tithe Bill. 28. See above, p. 10. 29. See above, p. 8. 30. Fielding, Pasquin, p. 43. 31. The Champion, vol. 2, p. 77. 32. Ibid., vol. 2, p. 318; Joseph Andrews, vol. 1, p. 1. 33. Cleary, Henry Fielding, Political Writer, pp. 87, 88. 34. Prompter (2 April 1736). 35. Battestin, New Essays, pp. 147–96, 525–30. 36. For details of these incidents, see Battestin with Battestin, Henry Fielding: A Life, pp. 210–11. 37. See T. Lockwood, ‘John Kelly’s “Lost” Play The Fall of Bob (1736)’, English Language Notes, 22 (1984), pp. 27–32. 38. Battestin with Battestin, Henry Fielding: A Life, p. 212. Coley has also asserted, without offering any evidence, that Lyttelton ‘may also have been behind HF’s plans to build a new theatre in 1737’ (Fielding, Contributions to The Champion and Related Writings, ed. Coley, p. xxxvi). 39. B. A. Goldgar, ‘Why was Eurydice Hissed?’, Notes and Queries, 36 (1991) pp. 186–8, contradicts the traditional view, repeated by all biographers and commentators on Fielding’s plays and politics, that Eurydice’s première was disrupted by a riot of footmen. All we know is that Eurydice was damned. 40. Hume, Fielding and the London Theatre, pp. 222–3. 41. Ibid., p. 229. 42. Aaron Hill wrote a letter, probably to William Hatchett rather than Fielding himself (as the editors of his Correspondence assume), which concluded: ‘Upon the whole, if it were possible, in so short a time as is left you, to substitute any other of your pieces, in place of this Rehearsal of Kings, I am convinced you would avoid a disappointment, and perhaps a mortification’. Hill felt that the play was dangerous ‘from the choice of your subject, and allegorical remoteness of your satire’ because ‘among the few, who can pen-

Notes to pages 77–83

43. 44. 45. 46. 47. 48. 49. 50. 51. 52. 53. 54. 55. 56. 57.

58. 59. 60. 61. 62. 63. 64. 65. 66. 67. 68. 69. 70.

71. 72. 73. 74. 75.

223

etrate purpose, and unravel the satire, as fast as they hear it, you will find some persons malignantly disposed, upon a supposition, that royalty, in general, should never be the mark of contempt’ (Correspondence, ed. Battestin and Probyn, p. 5) The Historical Register, ed. Appleton, p. 16. Ibid., p. 45. Cleary, Henry Fielding, Political Writer, p. 101. Fielding: The Critical Heritage, ed. Paulson and Lockwood, p. 100. For The Opposition. A Vision, see above, pp. 111–18. Quoted in Battestin with Battestin, Henry Fielding: A Life, p. 222. Common Sense, or the Englishman’s Journal. A Collection of Letters, Political, Humorous, and Moral, 2 vols (London: no publisher, 1738, 1739), p. 4. Battestin with Battestin, Henry Fielding: A Life, p. 222. Fielding: The Critical Heritage, ed. Paulson and Lockwood, p. 99. HMC Egmont, vol. 2, pp. 375, 390. Goldgar, Walpole and the Wits, p. 154. Lord Hervey’s Memoirs, ed. R. Sedgwick (London: William Kimber, 1952), pp. 157, 158–9. Ibid., p. 175. HMC Egmont, vol. 2, p. 352. The Historical Register, ed. Appleton, p. 60. True, if the version of Eurydice printed in the second volume of the Miscellanies is anything to go by, Spatter is right to point out that ‘in the farce of Eurydice a ghost of an army beau was brought on the stage’ but, in Eurydice Hiss’d, Fielding seems to be using this merely a pretext to allow him to allude to Cobham’s dismissal from his regiment at the time of the Excise Crisis. Hume, Fielding and the London Theatre, p. 232. Ibid., p. 6. Ibid., pp. 240, 241. Sedgwick, The House of Commons 1715–1754, vol. 2, p. 330. Quoted in Hume, Fielding and the London Theatre, p. 243. Cobbett’s Parliamentary History of England, 12 vols (London: R. Bagshaw; Longman’s & Co., 1806–12), vol. 10, p. 327 n. Journals of the House of Commons, vol. 22, pp. 889, 890, 891, 892, 893; Journals of the House of Lords, vol. 25, pp. 137, 138, 139. Cobbett’s Parliamentary History, vol. 10, pp. 323–6. Fielding: The Critical Heritage, ed. Paulson and Lockwood, pp. 109–10. Ibid., p. 104. Fielding, Contributions to The Champion and Related Writings, ed. Coley, p. 4 n. 5. Battestin with Battestin, Henry Fielding: A Life, p. 235. See M. Harris, London Newspapers in the Age of Walpole: A Study of the Origins of the Modern English Press (London and Cranbury, NJ: Associated University Presses, 1987), p. 107. On this point, see above all R. D. Hume, ‘The Economics of Culture in London, 1660– 1740’, Huntington Library Quarterly, 69 (2006), pp. 503, 511. See also Lockwood, ‘Fielding and The Craftsman’, pp. 86–117. T. Lockwood, ‘Fielding and the Licensing Act’, Huntington Library Quarterly, 50:4 (1987), pp. 379–93. The Champion, vol. 1, pp. 92–3. McCrea, Fielding and the Politics of Mid-Eighteenth-Century England, pp. 79–80.

224

Notes to pages 83–90

76. Lockwood, ‘Fielding and the Licensing Act’, pp. 387–8. 77. Champion (4 October 1740), quoted in Battestin with Battestin, Henry Fielding: A Life, p. 285. 78. Fielding, Of True Greatness, p. 4. 79. Ribble, ‘Fielding’s Rapprochement with Walpole in Late 1741’, pp. 74–5. 80. Quoted in F. G. Ribble, ‘New Light on Henry Fielding from the Malmesbury Papers’, Modern Philology, 103:1 (2005), p. 53. 81. Quoted in Hume, Fielding and the London Theatre, p. 243. 82. Quoted in Ribble, ‘New Light on Henry Fielding from the Malmesbury Papers’, p. 53. 83. Quoted in Hume, Fielding and the London Theatre, pp. 245–6. The letter was first published by J. Paul de Castro in Notes and Queries, 182 (1942), p. 346. As Hume notes, transcriptions of the bill and the letter by John Payne Collier are preserved in Folger MS T.b.3. 84. Fielding, Contributions to The Champion and Related Writings, ed. Coley, p. xxxix. 85. Common Sense, 67 (13 May 1738). 86. The Young Senator. A Satyr. With an Epistle to Mr. Fielding, on His Studying the Law (London: D. Jones, 1738), p. 16. 87. Quoted in Ribble, ‘New Light on Henry Fielding from the Malmesbury Papers’, p. 53. 88. Battestin with Battestin, Henry Fielding: A Life, p. 235. 89. Ibid. Both Fielding and his wife also received generous bequests on the death in August of his uncle Lieutenant-Colonel George Fielding. However, as the will was contested by his widow, Fielding eventually sold his interest in his legacy before judgment was pronounced in his favour on 30 June 1749. See ibid., p. 251. 90. Correspondence, ed. Battestin and Probyn, p. 8. 91. Ibid., pp. 8–9. 92. The Champion, vol. 1, pp. 13–14. 93. M. Harris, ‘Literature and Commerce in Eighteenth-Century London: the Making of The Champion’, in Telling People What To Think: Early Eighteenth-Century Periodicals from The Review to The Rambler, ed. J. A. Downie and T. N. Corns (London and Portland, OR: Frank Cass, 1993), p. 103.

5 ‘Writ in Defence of the Rights of the People’ 1. 2.

3.

The Champion: Containing a Series of Papers, Humorous, Moral, Political, and Critical, 2 vols (London: J. Huggonson, 1741), Dedication. For a brief account of Hampden’s early-eighteenth-century reputation which, interestingly, twice refers to Chesterfield, see B. Worden, Roundhead Reputations: The English Civil Wars and the Passions of Posterity (London: Penguin, 2002), pp. 175–7. A bust of Hampden was included in Cobham’s original Temple of British Worthies at Stowe and celebrated in these lines by Gilbert West (Stowe, the Gardens Of the Right Honourable Richard Lord Viscount Cobham. Address’d to Mr. POPE (London: L. Gilliver, 1732), p. 7): Then had not Britain wanted Hambden’s Hand, Weak and oppressive Counsels to withstand: Nor had the Patriot, on his native Plain, Dy’d for the Laws he struggled to maintain. Dickinson, Liberty and Property, p. 125.

Notes to pages 90–2 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12.

13. 14. 15. 16. 17.

18. 19. 20.

21.

225

Fielding, An Enquiry Into the Causes of the late Increase of Robbers, p. v. Fielding, A Serious Address to the People of Great Britain, p. 4. Dickinson, Liberty and Property, p. 126. For ‘Fielding’s Lockean bent’, see in particular McCrea, Fielding and the Politics of Mid-Eighteenth-Century England, pp. 14–15. Fielding, Contributions to The Champion and Related Writings, ed. Coley, p. lxxix. Cato’s Letters, ed. Hamowy, vol. 1, p. 11. Ibid., p. 262. Ibid., p. 188. Daily Gazetteer (31 July 1741). Cleary, Henry Fielding, Political Writer, p. 121. However, this does not prevent Cleary from subsequently asserting that: ‘The Champion was not simply an opposition, but a Broad-Bottom opposition journal’ (p. 135). McCrea, Fielding and the Politics of Mid-Eighteenth-Century England, pp. 82, 84. ‘Marforio’, An Historical View of … the Political Writers of Great Britain, p. 39. [Fielding], The Opposition. A Vision (London: T. Cooper, 1742 [for 1741]), p. 17. Fielding, Contributions to The Champion and Related Writings, ed. Coley, p. lxxvi. G. M. Godden, Henry Fielding: A Memoir (New York and London: Barse & Hopkins, Sampson Low, Marston & Co Ltd, 1910), p. 115. Godden is the sole authority for the story that Fielding voted against selling the edition to Chappelle, and her references to a lost minute-book of the partners of the Champion are far from unambiguous. While it is sometimes stated that Fielding voted against a collected edition, the document as quoted by Godden simply related to the sale by auction of ‘Impressions of the Champion in two Volumes, 12o, No. 1000’ – in other words, the sale to Chappelle of what was presumably an impression of 1,000 copies which had already been printed. If the absence of Fielding’s signature from the list of those partners who ‘confirmed the bargain’ means he voted against selling to Chappelle, this might have been because he preferred to sell the impression to a different bookseller. He may even have wished to retain the copyright to his Champion essays so that they could be included in his Miscellanies. Finally, it will not do to argue that, because Fielding voted against the publication of a collected edition which included his essays, the Champion was not an outspoken critic of Walpole. On the contrary, if Fielding was afraid that a collected edition might jeopardize the understanding he was trying to reach with Walpole it surely means that he was conscious of the virulence of the Champion’s anti-ministerial satire during its first year. For Fielding’s reconciliation with Walpole late in 1741, see above, pp. 109–11. The Champion, vol. 1, p. 177. Ibid., vol. 2, p. 318. As late as 1 March 1740, Fielding was explaining how, in order to appease his bookseller, he had been ‘forced to condescend to agree … to make my Paper appear like a Spectator’ (ibid., vol. 1, p. 326). The way in which Fielding introduces Hercules Vinegar and his family is not only similar to the way in which the Spectator introduces his ‘Club’, the political agenda of the opening numbers of the Spectator is often overlooked. On this point, see J. A. Downie, ‘Periodicals and Politics in the reign of Queen Anne’, in R. Myers and M. Harris (eds) Serials and their readers 1620–1914 (Winchester and New Castle, DE: St Paul’s Bibliographies and Oak Knoll Press, 1993), pp. 51–6, 59; and B. Cowan, ‘Mr. Spectator and the Coffeehouse Public Sphere’, Eighteenth-Century Studies, 37:3 (2004), pp. 345–66. The Champion, vol. 1, p. 105.

226

Notes to pages 92–9

22. Battestin with Battestin, Henry Fielding: A Life, p. 258; Cleary, Henry Fielding, Political Writer, p. 124. 23. The Champion, vol. 1, p. 12. 24. Ibid., p. 87. 25. Daily Courant (18 November 1740). 26. The Champion, vol. 1, pp. 57–8. 27. Ibid., p. 67. 28. For particularly important examples of the form being used for political purposes, see Spectator, 3 (2 March 1711); the ‘The First Vision of Camilick’ in Craftsman, 16 (27 January 1727); and the ‘Vision of the Golden Rump’ in Common Sense (9 and 16 March 1737). An important common source for such dream visions is An Account of a Dream at Harwich (London: B. Bragg, 1708). See J. A. Downie, Robert Harley and the Press: Propaganda and Public Opinion in the Age of Swift and Defoe (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1979), pp. 106–10. 29. The Champion, vol. 1, p. 87. 30. Ibid., pp. 87–90. 31. Ibid., pp. 91–2. 32. Ibid., pp. 98, 99–100. 33. Ibid., p. 105–6. As Coley’s note to this passage explains, George II had issued a proclamation on 26 November 1739 for a fast to be observed on 9 January 1740 ‘to implore God’s Blessing and Assistance on our Arms against Spain’ (Fielding, Contributions to The Champion and Related Writings, ed. Coley, p. 76 n. 1. 34. The Champion, vol. 1, p. 130. 35. Battestin with Battestin, Henry Fielding: A Life, pp. 277, 258. 36. Cleary, Henry Fielding, Political Writer, p. 124. 37. Harris, ‘Literature and Commerce in Eighteenth-Century London: the Making of The Champion’, pp. 94–5. 38. Cleary, Henry Fielding, Political Writer, p. 120. 39. Cross, The History of Henry Fielding, vol. 1, p. 250. Cf. McCrea, Fielding and the Politics of Mid-Eighteenth-Century England, p. 153: ‘a journal supervised by a “Friend” of Lyttelton’s, and written with Lyttelton’s encouragement’. 40. Harris, ‘Literature and Commerce in Eighteenth-Century London: the Making of The Champion’, p. 95. 41. The Champion, vol. 1, p. 57. 42. The Champion, 28 June 1740. On this point, compare The Journal of a Voyage to Lisbon, pp. 139–46. 43. Daily Gazetteer, 1595 (30 July 1740). 44. Champion (6 September 1740). 45. Swift was equally critical of ‘Standing-Armies in Time of Peace, Projects of Excise, and Bribing-Elections … not forgetting Septennial Parliaments, directly against the old Whig-Principles, which always have been mine’ (Correspondence of Jonathan Swift, ed. Woolley, vol. 3, p. 731). 46. Fielding, An Address to the Electors of Great Britain, p. 7. 47. Fielding, Contributions to The Champion and Related Writings, ed. Coley, p. lxxix. 48. Fielding, An Address to the Electors of Great Britain, p. 14. 49. Ibid., p. 21. 50. London Journal, 727 (2 June 1733). 51. Fielding, An Address to the Electors of Great Britain, pp. 12–13.

Notes to pages 99–107 52. 53. 54. 55. 56. 57. 58. 59. 60. 61. 62. 63. 64.

65. 66. 67. 68.

69. 70. 71. 72. 73. 74. 75.

76. 77. 78. 79. 80. 81. 82. 83. 84. 85. 86.

227

Ibid., p. 40. Ibid., p. 107. Trenchard and Gordon, Cato’s Letters, ed. Hamowy, vol. 1, p. 189. Ibid., p. 41. Ibid., p. 72. Fielding, Contributions to The Champion and Related Writings, ed. Coley, p. lxxix. Dickinson, Liberty and Property, pp. 171–2. Champion (4 October 1740), quoted in Battestin with Battestin, Henry Fielding: A Life, pp. 284–5. Ibid., p. 284. Quoted ibid., p. 285. ‘Marforio’, An Historical View of the … Political Writers in Great Britain, p. 49. Fielding, Of True Greatness, pp. 3–4. [H. Fielding], The History of Our Own Times (1741) Attributed to Henry Fielding: A Facsimile Reproduction, ed. T. Lockwood (Delmar, New York: Scholars’ Facsimiles & Reprints, 1986), p. 22. Fielding, Of True Greatness, pp. 3–4. Fielding, Miscellanies, vol. 1, pp. 3–4. Ibid., p. 13. Battestin with Battestin, Henry Fielding: A Life, p. 279. According to Dodington’s diary, Fielding dined with him on eight separate occasions between 28 April 1750 and 12 July 1752 (see The Political Journal of George Bubb Dodington, ed. J. Carswell and L. A. Dralle (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1965), pp. 67, 130, 132, 134, 143, 148, 149, 163), but in the absence of evidence it would be imprudent to assume that he did so in the late 1730s or early 1740s. Daily Gazetteer (13 May 1741). Battestin with Battestin, Henry Fielding: A Life, pp. 279–80. Fielding, Contributions to The Champion and Related Writings, ed. Coley, p. lxxxvii. [H. Fielding], The Vernoniad (London: C. Corbet, 1741), pp. 1–2. [Fielding], The History of Our Own Times, ed. Lockwood, p. 48. Ibid. Although ‘B---’ quite clearly stands for ‘Bob’ (Walpole), Fielding’s note to this line reads: ‘This word, as well as that at the End of the Verse being easy to be filled up, we shall leave the Original to our Reader as we found it’ (ibid.). Ibid., pp. 48–9. Ibid. [Fielding], The Vernoniad, p. 3. Ibid., pp. 5–6. Ibid., pp. 8–9, 11. Ibid., p. 22. Ibid., pp. 24. Ibid., pp. 25–6. Harris, A Patriot Press, pp. 96–7. Battestin with Battestin, Henry Fielding: A Life, p. 297. J. Nichols, Literary Anecdotes of the Eighteenth Century, 9 vols (London: Nichols, Son, and Bentley, 1812–15), vol. 8, p. 446. Battestin notes that two of the booksellers for whom The Crisis was printed – Dodd and Chappelle – ‘were associated with Fielding at exactly this period’ (Henry Fielding: A Life, p. 657 n. 57), but the fact remains that were

228

Notes to pages 107–12

it not for Nichols’ third-hand anecdote this pamphlet would be unlikely to be linked with his name. 87. Fielding, Contributions to The Champion and Related Writings, ed. Coley, p. cvii. 88. Ibid., p. 655. 89. Cleary, Henry Fielding, Political Writer, pp. 142, 150. 90. [H. Fielding], An Apology for the Life of Mrs. Shamela Andrews (London: A. Dodd, 1741), pp. xiv, 49, 48, 49. 91. Cleary, Henry Fielding, Political Writer, p. 150. 92. Fielding, Miscellanies, vol. 1, pp. xxviii, xxvi. 93. Daily Gazetteer (30 March 1741). 94. Godden, Henry Fielding: a Memoir, pp. 138–9. 95. Battestin with Battestin, Henry Fielding: A Life, p. 288. 96. Ibid., pp. 295–6. 97. Daily Gazetteer, 11 March 1741. 98. Cleary, Henry Fielding, Political Writer, p. 120. 99. Daily Gazetteer (30 October 1741). 100. Ibid. (13 November 1741). 101. Ribble, ‘Fielding’s Rapprochement with Walpole in Late 1741’, pp. 74–5.

6 The Political Significance of The Opposition. A Vision 1. 2. 3.

Cleary, Henry Fielding, Political Writer, p. 158. Cross, The History of Henry Fielding, vol. 1, p. 298. Coley, ‘Henry Fielding and the Two Walpoles’, pp. 157–78. Coley essentially repeats this view in his introduction to Contributions to The Champion and Related Writings, pp. xciii–cvi. Some support for his position can be found in Chesterfield’s disparaging comments on Carteret and Pulteney in a letter he wrote to Dodington dated 8 September 1741, quoted Memoirs of the Life and Administration of Sir Robert Walpole, ed. Coxe, vol. 3, pp. 579–81. However, it appears to have been Argyll who first coined the phrase, ‘Broad Bottom’, in a meeting of Opposition politicians on 12 February 1742, and it is clear that Chesterfield and Cobham were both cooperating with Argyll in the political manoeuvring which followed on from Walpole’s resignation. On this point, see Owen, The Rise of the Pelhams, pp. 96–104. 4. Cleary, Henry Fielding, Political Writer, pp. 158, 161. 5. Goldgar, Walpole and the Wits, p. 206. 6. Ribble, ‘Fielding’s Rapprochement with Walpole in Late 1741’, pp. 71–81. It is unfortunate that Coley was unable to make use of Ribble’s discovery in his Wesleyan edition of Contributions to The Champion and Related Writings which includes The Opposition. A Vision, and in which Coley continued to question the validity of Battestin’s thesis about Fielding’s ‘changing politics’. 7. Horace Walpole’s Correspondence, ed. Lewis, Smith and Lam, vol. 17, p. 243. 8. Ibid., p. 233. 9. Owen, The Rise of the Pelhams, p. 21. 10. Horace Walpole’s Correspondence, ed. Lewis, Smith and Lam, vol. 17, p. 244. Horace Walpole was scathing about the conduct of The Hon. Charles Ross (1721–45) of Balnagowan, Ross: ‘Young Ross, son of a commissioner of Customs, and saved from the

Notes to pages 112–18

11.

12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19.

20. 21. 22. 23. 24. 25. 26. 27. 28. 29. 30. 31. 32. 33. 34. 35. 36. 37. 38. 39. 40. 41. 42. 43. 44. 45. 46. 47.

229

dishonour of not liking to go to the West Indies when it was his turn, by Sir R[obert]’s giving him a lieutenancy, voted against us’ (ibid.). C. Cibber, An Apology for the Life of Mr. Colley Cibber, Comedian, and Late Patentee of the Theatre-Royal. With an Historical View of the Stage during his Own Time (London: J. Watts, 1740), p. 34. Fielding, The Opposition, p. 4. Ibid., p. 5. Ibid., p. 6. Ibid., p. 11–2. Ibid., p. 14–5. Ibid., p. 16. Fielding, Contributions to The Champion and Related Writings, ed. Coley, pp. 589 n. 4, 591 n. 2. Coley observes gratuitously and somewhat misleadingly that: ‘It was another sign of the coalition’s vulnerability on this point that Bolingbroke, its chief ideologue, was another “Stranger to the English Roads”’ (ibid., p. 591 n. 2). Fielding, The Opposition, p. 5. Ibid., p 6. Ibid., p. 8. Ibid., p. 12. Ibid., p. 14. Fielding, Contributions to The Champion and Related Writings, ed. Coley, p. xciii. Fielding, The Opposition, p. 14. Ibid., p. 7. Ibid., p. 17. Ibid., p. 17–8. Ibid., p. 18–9. Cross, The History of Henry Fielding, vol. 1, p. 298. Fielding, The Opposition, p. 17. Ibid., pp. 19–20. Ibid., p. 20. Ibid., pp. 21–2. Ibid., p. 20. Ibid., p. 22. Ibid., p. 20–1. Fielding, Contributions to The Champion and Related Writings, ed. Coley, p. 597 n. 2, quoting Battestin, ‘Fielding’s Changing Politics’, p. 45. Fielding, The Opposition, pp. 23–4. Ibid., p. 24. Ibid. Fielding, Contributions to The Champion and Related Writings, ed. Coley, p. 599 n. 2. Cleary, Henry Fielding, Political Writer, pp. 153, 157. Fielding, Contributions to The Champion and Related Writings, ed. Coley, p. xcix. Cleary, Henry Fielding, Political Writer, p. 58. According to An Address of Thanks to the Broad-Bottoms, for the Good Things they have done, and the Evil Things they have not done, Since their Elevation (London: M. Cooper, 1745), p. 16: ‘the Name of Broad-bottoms, [was] occasion’d by a Word fortuitously dropp’d … about three Years before’.

230

Notes to pages 118–23

48. Without presenting any evidence, Battestin has written that: ‘Late in 1741 he found himself in debt and neglected by his friends among the Patriots, his wife ill and his favorite daughter dying’ (M. C. Battestin, The Moral Basis of Fielding’s Art: A Study of Joseph Andrews (Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press, 1959), p. 151). 49. Ribble, ‘Fielding’s Rapprochement with Walpole in Late 1741’, pp. 74–5. I find it hard to believe that this phrase refers merely to Walpole’s subscribing to ten sets on royal paper of Fielding’s Miscellanies. Even if Fielding exaggerated the ‘very advantageous Terms’ in informing Harris of the ‘Secret’ arrangement, the phrase surely implies a great deal more than a twenty-guinea subscription to a publication in three volumes. 50. Fielding, The Opposition, p. 23. 51. Cleary, Henry Fielding, Political Writer, p. 154. 52. While this was the constant call of the Opposition coalition throughout the 1730s and into the 1740s, on this occasion the phrase quoted is from the Craftsman, 366: 7 July 1733. 53. Fielding, Pasquin, p. 4. 54. Anon., The Case of the Opposition Impartially Stated (London: J. Roberts, 1742), p. 3. 55. London Journal, 727 (2 June 1733). 56. The Champion, vol. 2, p. 336. For the ‘Remarkable Queries’, see W. B. Coley, ‘The “Remarkable Queries” in the Champion’, Philological Quarterly, 41:4 (1962), pp. 426– 36. 57. Fielding, Pasquin, p. 6. 58. Dickinson, Liberty and Property, p. 103. 59. Anon., The Case of the Opposition Impartially Stated, pp. 5–6. 60. Anon., A Proper Answer to the By-Stander (London: T. Cooper, 1742), p. 44. 61. A Dissertation on Parties in The Works of Lord Bolingbroke, 4 vols (Philadelphia, PA: Carey and Hart, 1841), vol. 3, p. 168. 62. See Foord, His Majesty’s Opposition, pp. 174; Coley, ‘Henry Fielding and the Two Walpoles’, p. 162; and Cleary, Henry Fielding, Political Writer, p. 3 and passim. 63. Pocock, Virtue, Commerce, and History, p. 232. 64. [ John, Lord Perceval], Faction Detected, by the Evidence of Facts (London: J. Roberts, 1743), pp. 41–2. 65. Ibid., p. 43. 66. Ibid., p. 41. 67. Anon., A Defence of the People: Or, Full Confutation of the Pretended Facts, Advanc’d In a late Huge, Angry Pamphlet; Call’d Faction Detected. In a Letter To the Author of that Weighty Performance (London: J. Robinson, 1744), pp. 3, 7. 68. Anon., Faction Detected, p. 38. 69. Ibid., p. 46. 70. Coley’s phrase, see Contributions to The Champion and Related Writings, ed. Coley, p. xcvii. 71. Cleary, Henry Fielding, Political Writer, pp. 153, 159. 72. Ibid., pp. 159, 168. My italics. 73. Fielding, Miscellanies, vol. 1, pp. xxvi–xxvii. 74. Miller points out not only that ‘Fielding forgets his translation, with William Young, of Aristophanes’ Plutus (May 1742); and perhaps The Wedding Day and Some Papers Proper to be Read before the Royal Society (both published February 1743)’, but also that he ‘withdrew his promise’ not to publish anything in future to which he did not put his name ‘in the Preface to the second edition of his sister Sarah’s Adventures of David Simple

Notes to pages 123–9

231

(1744)’ (Miscellanies by Henry Fielding, Esq; Volume One, ed. Miller, p. 15 n. 1). At the same time it should be noted that, without this acknowledgement of authorship, it is highly unlikely that The Opposition. A Vision would have been attributed to Fielding. 75. See Harris, A Patriot Press, pp. 40–1, 131–6, and above, pp. 143–6. 76. Fielding, The Journal of a Voyage to Lisbon, p. 161. 77. Fielding, Joseph Andrews, vol. 1, p. v.

7 ‘There are Several Boobies who are Squires’ 1. 2. 3.

4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12.

13. 14. 15. 16.

17.

18. 19. 20. 21. 22. 23. 24.

Cleary, Henry Fielding, Political Writer, pp. 168–9. Battestin with Battestin, Henry Fielding: A Life, p. 335. Fielding, Joseph Andrews, vol. 2, p. 270. It might be worth pointing out simply as an aside that Chesterfield subsequently referred to ‘Tory Boobys’ and ‘Whig Boobys’ in a letter to the Duke of Newcastle (BL, Add. MS 32804, f. 292: 13 April 1745 (New Style)). Ibid., p. 10. Ibid., vol. 1, pp. 2, 1. Ibid., vol. 2, p. 170. A. Pope, Epistles to Several Persons (Moral Essays), ed. F. W. Bateson (London and New York: Methuen and Yale University Press, 1951; 2nd edn 1961), p. 153. Fielding, Joseph Andrews, vol. 2, pp. 89–90. Pope, Epistles to Several Persons, p. 134. Ibid., p. 137. M. Mack, The Garden and the City: Retirement and Politics in the Later Poetry of Pope 1731–1743 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1969), p. 126. [Fielding], The Vernoniad, p. 7. See above, p. 104. Fielding’s note on the subject of the ‘huge dark Lantern’ actually includes remarks on ‘the Ostentation, and … the Uselessness of Riches: nor can the Reader be presented with an Idea so capable of inspiring him with a Contempt of over-grown Wealth, as that of a huge Lantern never lighted’. Fielding, Joseph Andrews, vol. 2, p. 114. Ibid., p. 303. Ibid., vol. 1, p. 266–7. Ibid., p. 276. A similar emphasis on the intimate connection between charity and good works is made by Adams when, in conversation with Peter Pounce, he defines the former as ‘a generous Disposition to relieve the Distressed’ (ibid., vol. 2, p. 164). R. D. Lund, ‘The Problem with Parsons: Joseph Andrews and the “Contempt of the Clergy” Revisited’, in Henry Fielding In Our Time, ed. J. A. Downie (Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2008), pp. 257–86. See also T. Ruml, III, ‘Henry Fielding and Parson Adams: Whig Writer and Tory Priest’, Journal of English and Germanic Philology, 97 (1989), p. 206. The Champion, vol. 2, p. 77. Fielding, Joseph Andrews, vol. 1, pp. 119–20. Ibid., p. 122. Rivers, Reason, Grace, and Sentiment, pp. 27, 26. Fielding, Tom Jones, vol. 2, pp. 22–3. Ibid., vol. 1, p. 209. Romeo and Juliet, Act III, Scene 1, line 108. It should be noted that Fielding also satirizes the ‘Rule of Right-men’ (III. iii) in Joseph Andrews (vol. 2, p. 49).

232

Notes to pages 129–36

25. See, in particular, Paulson, The Life of Henry Fielding, pp. 73–6. 26. Ruml, III, ‘Henry Fielding and Parson Adams: Whig Writer and Tory Priest’, p. 206. 27. Lund, ‘The Problem with Parsons: Joseph Andrews and the “Contempt of the Clergy” Revisited’, p. 258. 28. Rivers, Reason, Grace, and Sentiment, p. 87. 29. Ruml, III, ‘Henry Fielding and Parson Adams: Whig Writer and Tory Priest’, p. 206. 30. Ibid. 31. R. Molesworth, An Account of Denmark, As It was in the Year 1692 (London: no publisher, 1694), pp. 75–6. 32. Joseph Andrews, vol. 1, p. 216. 33. Quoted in Langford, Excise Crisis, p. 117. 34. Fielding, Pasquin, p. 4, italics reversed. 35. Fielding, Joseph Andrews, vol. 1, pp. 216–7. 36. Ibid., pp. 306–7. 37. Fielding, Miscellanies, by Henry Fielding, Esq.; Volume Two, ed. B. A. Goldgar and H. Amory, p. xxv. 38. Fielding, Joseph Andrews, vol. 2, pp. 5, 8–9. 39. In his notes to the Wesleyan edition, Martin Battestin writes that the peer is ‘[i]n all probability Philip Dormer Stanhope, fourth Earl of Chesterfield (1694–1773)’, and that the commoner is ‘Ralph Allen (1693–1764), philanthropist and patron of letters’ (Joseph Andrews, ed. Battestin, p. 190 nn. 1, 2). Interestingly, the notes to almost all subsequent editions of Joseph Andrews, while more succinct, begin with a slightly different formulation, thus the peer is simply identified as ‘Philip Dormer Stanhope, fourth Earl of Chesterfield’ while it is suggested that the commoner is ‘Probably Ralph Allen’. 40. Battestin, The Moral Basis of Fielding’s Art, p. 151. 41. Ribble, ‘Fielding’s Rapprochement with Walpole in Late 1741’, p. 75. 42. Fielding, The Opposition. A Vision, p. 17. 43. With Walpole’s Houghton in mind, Fielding had referred satirically to palaces in several issues of the Champion (e.g. vol. 2, pp. 50, 141). He did so again in Jonathan Wild (Miscellanies, vol. 3, p. 34) and, even more pointedly, in the notes to his translation of Aristophanes’s Plutus, The God of Riches (London: T. Waller, 1742), p. 5: ‘Some have erected private Palaces more magnificent than the Publick Edifices’. However, Frederick G. Ribble has kindly pointed out to me that Prior Park is described as a palace in C. Christie, The British Country House in the Eighteenth Century (Manchester and New York: Manchester University Press, 2000), pp. 42–3. 44. Fielding, Joseph Andrews, vol. 2, pp. 91–2. 45. Battestin with Battestin, Henry Fielding: A Life, p. 315. 46. Ibid., p. 344. 47. For the Committee of Enquiry, see Owen, The Rise of the Pelhams, pp. 105–6. 48. Correspondence, ed. Battestin and Probyn, p. 21. 49. Ibid. 50. Cleary, Henry Fielding, Political Writer, p. 173. 51. [H. Fielding], A Full Vindication of the Dutchess Dowager of Marlborough (London: J. Roberts, 1742), pp. 37–8. 52. According to Millar’s note on the back of a document preserved in the Forster Collection in the Victoria and Albert Museum. See Fielding, Joseph Andrews, ed. Battestin, pp. xxx–xxxi. 53. Fielding, Miscellanies, vol. 1, p. xxvii.

Notes to pages 136–41 54. 55. 56. 57. 58. 59. 60. 61.

62. 63.

64. 65. 66.

67. 68.

69. 70. 71.

72.

73. 74. 75. 76. 77. 78. 79. 80. 81. 82. 83.

233

Daily Post (5 June 1742). Ibid. (18 November 1742). Fielding, Miscellanies, by Henry Fielding, Esq.; Volume One, ed. Miller, p. xlvi. Daily Post, 5 June 1742. Fielding, Miscellanies, vol. 2, p. 7. Ibid., vol. 2, p. 61. Fielding, Miscellanies, by Henry Fielding, Esq.; Volume Two, ed. Goldgar and Amory, p. xxv. H. Fielding, Miscellanies, by Henry Fielding, Esq.; Volume Three, ed. B. A. Goldgar and H. Amory (Oxford and Hanover, NH: Oxford University Press and University Press of New England/Wesleyan University Press, 1997), p. xxxiii. Thomas, Henry Fielding, p. 164. Cf. Cleary, Henry Fielding, Political Writer, p. 192. Fielding, Miscellanies, by Henry Fielding, Esq.; Volume Three, ed. Goldgar and Amory, p. xxxiii. See also H. Rinehart, ‘Fielding’s Chapter “Of Proverbs” (Jonathan Wild, Book 2, Chapter 12): Sources, Allusions, and Interpretation’, Modern Philology, 77:3 (1980), pp. 291–6. Fielding, Miscellanies, vol. 1, pp. xvii–xviii. Fielding, Miscellanies, by Henry Fielding, Esq.; Volume Two, ed. Goldgar and Amory, pp. xxix, xxviii. See above, p. 28. For a different view, which argues that ‘“great Man” was a term commonly used to indicate a member of the ruling classes, a matter of birth or social status’, see H. Rinehart, ‘The Role of Walpole in Fielding’s Jonathan Wild’, English Studies in Canada, 5 (1979), p. 422. Ribble, ‘Fielding’s Rapprochement with Walpole in Late 1741’, pp. 74–5. T. Keightley, ‘On the Life and Writing of Henry Fielding’, Fraser’s Magazine, 57 (1858), pp. 213–7, 762–3 (at p. 213). See also in particular J. E. Wells, ‘Fielding’s Political Purpose in Jonathan Wild’, PMLA, 28:1 (1913), pp. 1–55. Cleary, Henry Fielding, Political Writer, p. 192. Fielding, The Journal of a Voyage to Lisbon, p. 161. H. Fielding, The Life of Mr. Jonathan Wild the Great. A New Edition. With considerable Corrections and Additions (London: A. Millar, 1754), ‘Advertisement From the PUBLISHER To the READER’. The Champion, vol. 1, p. 318; vol. 2, p. 188; Fielding, An Address to the Electors of Great Britain, p. 36.See also Fielding, An Enquiry Into the Causes of the Late Increase of Robbers, p. xiv. Fielding, Miscellanies, vol. 3, p. 32. Fielding, The Life of Mr. Jonathan Wild the Great, p. 21. Fielding, Miscellanies, vol. 3, p. 75. Fielding, The Life of Mr. Jonathan Wild the Great, p. 59. Fielding, Miscellanies, vol. 3, p. 91. Interestingly, although 1754 retains ‘Prime Minister’, ‘great’ is printed lower case, dropping the small capitals of the first edition. Fielding, Miscellanies, vol. 1, p. xviii Ibid., vol. 3, p. 261. The Historical Register for the Year 1736 (Edinburgh [i.e. London], 1737), pp. 25–7. Ibid., ‘Dedication to the Publick’. Fielding, Miscellanies, vol. 1, p. xviii. Fielding, The Life of Mr. Jonathan Wild the Great, ‘Advertisement From the PUBLISHER To the READER’.

234

Notes to pages 141–8

84. 85. 86. 87.

Fielding, Miscellanies, vol. 3, pp. 277–8. Ibid., pp. 279–80. Swift, Prose Works, vol. 11, p. 38. Fielding, Miscellanies, by Henry Fielding, Esq.; Volume Three, ed. Goldgar and Amory, p. 197. 88. Ibid., vol. 3, p. xxix. 89. After discussing the substitution of lower-case letters for small capitals, Amory concluded that ‘by 1754, Fielding has become timid’ (ibid., pp. 211–12). 90. Ribble, ‘New Light on Henry Fielding from the Malmesbury Papers’, p. 64. 91. Correspondence, ed. Battestin and Probyn, p. 29. 92. Godden, Henry Fielding: a Memoir, pp. 138–9. 93. See especially H. Amory, ‘Virtual Readers; The Subscribers to Fielding’s Miscellanies’, Studies in Bibliography, 48 (1995), pp. 94–112. 94. Battestin with Battestin, Henry Fielding: A Life, p. 369. 95. Fielding, Miscellanies, by Henry Fielding, Esq.; Volume Three, ed. Goldgar and Amory, pp. 332, 315. 96. Ribble, ‘New Light on Henry Fielding from the Malmesbury Papers’, p. 64. 97. The Opposition. A Vision, p. 17. However, it should also be acknowledged that Dodington subscribed for six sets on royal paper, and Chesterfield for five (Miscellanies, by Henry Fielding, Esq.; Volume Three, ed. Goldgar and Amory, pp. 318, 314). 98. Owen, The Rise of the Pelhams, p. 110. 99. Ibid., pp. 116, 115. 100. Quoted in J. W. Wilkes, A Whig in Power: The Political Career of Henry Pelham (Chicago, IL: Chicago University Press, 1964), p. 22. 101. Harris, A Patriot Press, pp. 123, 40. 102. [S. Fielding], The Adventures of David Simple. Revised and Corrected. With a Preface by Henry Fielding Esq (London: A. Millar, 1744), sig. A2. 103. BL, Add. MS 35337, f. 85. 104. Fielding, The Adventures of David Simple, sig. A2. 105. Correspondence, ed. Battestin and Probyn, p. 42. 106. Battestin weighs Murphy’s account of Fielding being ‘in danger of losing his reason’ at this time against another tradition which has him appearing at Bath in the pursuit of pleasure. See Battestin with Battestin, Henry Fielding: A Life, pp. 384–5. 107. Cleary, Henry Fielding, Political Writer, p. 204. 108. Fielding, Contributions to The Champion and Related Writings, ed. Coley, p. cxvii. 109. Jacobite’s Journal, 31 (2 July 1748).

8 ‘A Strenuous Advocate for the Ministry’ 1. 2. 3. 4.

5.

Quoted in Owen, The Rise of the Pelhams, p. 280. BL, Add. MS 33073, f. 229: the Duke of Newcastle to the Duchess of Newcastle. BL, Add. MS 32705, ff. 201–3. Hardwicke to Thomas Herring, Archbishop of York, 31 August 1745 (Life and Correspondence of Philip Yorke Earl of Hardwicke, Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain, ed. P. C. Yorke (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1913), vol. 1, pp. 442–3). A Speech made by His Grace, the Lord Archbishop of York, At Presenting an Association, Enter’d into at the Castle of York, Sept. the 24th, 1745 (London, E. Say, 1745), p. 4. On 28

Notes to pages 148–52

6. 7. 8.

9.

10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22. 23. 24. 25. 26.

27. 28. 29. 30. 31.

235

September, Hardwicke told Herring that: ‘His Majesty read it from beginning to end, and gave it the just praise it so highly deserves, and said it must be printed. I said I believed it was printed at York, but it is determined to print it in the Gazette’ (R. Garnett, ‘Correspondence of Archbishop Herring and Lord Hardwicke during the Rebellion of 1745’, English Historical Review, 19 (1904), p. 546). General Advertiser, 30 September 1745. [Fielding], A Serious Address to the People of Great Britain, pp. 1–2. Fielding acknowledged his authorship of A Serious Address on a number of occasions. See in particular the title-page of the ‘Second Edition’ of A Dialogue between a Gentleman from London … and an Honest Alderman of the Country Party which states that it is ‘By the Author of the True Patriot and A serious Address to the People of Great-Britain’. Coley lists the ‘five interlocking pieces of external evidence’ for Fielding’s authorship of A Serious Address in The True Patriot and Related Writings, ed. W. B. Coley, The Wesleyan Edition of the Works of Henry Fielding (Oxford and Middletown, CT: Oxford University Press and Wesleyan University Press, 1987), pp. xxxvi–xxxvii. Compare, in particular, J. Trenchard and W. Moyle, An Argument, Shewing. That a Standing Army Is inconsistent with A Free Government, and absolutely destructive to the Constitution of the English Monarchy (London: no publisher, 1697), p. 2, with A. Marvell, An Account of the Growth of Popery, and Arbitrary Government in England (Amsterdam [for London]: no publisher, 1678), pp. 3–4. Trenchard repeats the essentials of his argument in Trenchard and Gordon, Cato’s Letters, ed. Hamowy, vol. 1, pp. 107–8. [Fielding], A Serious Address to the People of Great Britain, p. 12. Ibid., pp. 12–3. Marvell, An Account of the Growth of Popery, and Arbitrary Government in England, pp. 3–4. Battestin with Battestin, Henry Fielding: A Life, p. 335; Contributions to The Champion and Related Writings, ed. Coley, p. lxv. Locke, Two Treatises of Government, p. 271. [Fielding], A Serious Address to the People of Great Britain, pp. 3–4. Ibid., p. 5. Ibid., p. 3. J. A. Stevenson, ‘Tom Jones and the Stuarts’, ELH, 61:4 (Fall 1994), pp. 571–95. Locke, Two Treatises of Government, p. 353. [Fielding], A Serious Address to the People of Great Britain, p. 3; Locke, Two Treatises of Government, p. 271. A Serious Address to the People of Great Britain, pp. 3–4. Fielding’s italics. Ibid., p. 4. Champion, 153 (4 November 1740). [Fielding], A Serious Address to the People of Great Britain, p. 6. Fielding’s italics. Fielding, Tom Jones, vol. 3, pp. 85, 286. Also see above, pp. 174–5. Coley suggests that ‘the Serious Address must have been one of the most widely distributed of Fielding’s writings on behalf of the Pelhams’ (Fielding, The True Patriot and Related Writings, p. xxxvii). Correspondence, ed. Battestin and Probyn, p. 51. Fielding, Life of Hardwicke, ed. Yorke, vol. 1, pp. 442–3. Correspondence, ed. Battestin and Probyn, p. 51. Daily Advertiser (5 October 1745). Fielding, The True Patriot and Related Writings, ed. Coley, p. xlviii.

236

Notes to pages 152–7

32. Garnett, ‘Correspondence of Archbishop Herring and Lord Hardwicke during the Rebellion of 1745’, pp. 543–5. 33. [H. Fielding], The History of the Present Rebellion in Scotland (London: M. Cooper, 1745), pp. 46–7. 34. Cleary, Henry Fielding, Political Writer, p. 209. 35. Fielding, The True Patriot and Related Writings, ed. Coley, p. 103 n. 1. 36. Fielding, Tom Jones, vol. 3, p. 85. 37. The True Patriot: and The History of Our Own Times, 1 (5 November 1745). 38. Ibid. 39. Cleary, Henry Fielding, Political Writer, p. 211. 40. The Champion, vol. 1, p. 325. 41. Fielding, The True Patriot and Related Writings, ed. Coley, p. lxxi. 42. On this point, see in particular An Apology for the Conduct of the Present Administration (London: M. Cooper, 1744), pp. 1–7. See also Harris, A Patriot Press, p. 177: ‘the principal architect of the anti-Hanoverian press campaign of 1742–4, the Earl of Chesterfield’. 43. The Champion, vol. 1, p. 57. 44. True Patriot, 1 (5 November 1745). 45. On this point, see my essay, ‘Stating Facts Right About Defoe’s Review’, in Telling People What To Think, ed. Downie and Corns, pp. 8–22. 46. Cleary, Henry Fielding, Political Writer, p. 210. 47. True Patriot, 2 (12 November 1745). 48. Ibid., 1 (5 November 1745). 49. Ibid. 50. Ibid. 51. Ibid., 2 (12 November 1745). 52. Ibid., 17 (18–25 February 1746). 53. BL, Add. MS 32706, f. 25. 54. See Owen, The Rise of the Pelhams, p. 293. 55. BL, Add. MS 9224, f. 3: Winnington to the King. 56. True Patriot, 17 (18–25 February 1746). 57. True Patriot and Related Writings, ed. Coley, pp. lxii–lxiii. 58. The Champion, vol. 1, p. 325; True Patriot, 1 (5 November 1745). 59. Fielding, The Journal of a Voyage to Lisbon, pp. 201, 203, 208. 60. The phrase, ‘Bolingbroke and the “broad-bottoms”’, derives from Foord, His Majesty’s Opposition, p. 174; the notion that Fielding was an adherent of ‘Bolingbroke and the “broad-bottoms”’ and that he wrote for this non-existent faction from 1735 onwards is to be found in Cleary, Henry Fielding, Political Writer, pp. 1–11. See also above, p. 157. 61. True Patriot, 14: 28 January–4 February 1746. 62. Battestin with Battestin, Henry Fielding: A Life, p. 401. 63. Fielding, The True Patriot and Related Writings, ed. Coley, p. lxviii. 64. Cleary, Henry Fielding, Political Writer, p. 220. 65. True Patriot, 16 (11–18 February 1746). 66. Fielding, The True Patriot and Related Writings, ed. Coley, p. lxviii. 67. See True Patriot, 19 (4–11 March); 23 (1–8 April); 26 (22–29 April); 29 (13–20 May 1746). 68. Gentleman’s Magazine, vol. 16 (1746), p. 260.

Notes to pages 158–61

237

69. True Patriot, 17 (18–25 February 1746). Even Pitt was accommodated in the ministry by being appointed to the lucrative post of Vice-Treasurer of Ireland, although the King continued to stand out against his being made Secretary at War until May 1746. 70. [S. Fielding], Familiar Letters between the Principal Characters in David Simple, And Some Others. To which is added, A Vision, 2 vols (London: For the Author, 1747), vol. 2, p. 295. 71. Jacobite’s Journal, 31 (2 July 1748). 72. True Patriot, 33 (17 June 1746). 73. Fielding, The True Patriot and Related Writings, ed. Coley, pp. lxviii, lxx. 74. True Patriot, 10 (7 January 1746). 75. Battestin with Battestin, Henry Fielding: A Life, p. 408. 76. Cross, The History of Henry Fielding, vol. 2, pp. 18, 44. 77. Battestin with Battestin, Henry Fielding: A Life, p. 409. Joseph Warton wrote to his brother Thomas on 29 October 1746 to tell him about two evenings he had spent in the company of ‘Fielding and his sister’ (quoted ibid., pp. 412–13). 78. Fielding, The Journal of a Voyage to Lisbon, Shamela and Occasional Writings, ed. Battestin, pp. 396, 413. 79. Fielding, Familiar Letters, vol. 2, pp. 295–6. My italics. Interestingly, according to Newcastle, George II had spoken of Chesterfield’s achievements in Ireland in similar terms. See BL, Add. MS 32706, f. 23: Newcastle to Chesterfield, 6 January 1745/6. 80. Gentleman’s Magazine, 16 (1746), p. 260 81. Cleary, Henry Fielding, Political Writer, p. 108. 82. ‘See the Earl of C— noble in his Birth, splendid in his Fortune, and embellished with every Endowment of Mind; how affable, how condescending! Himself the only one who seems ignorant that he is every Way the greatest Person in the Room’; ‘that noble Person whom we have already mentioned in this Essay, and who can never be mentioned but with Honour, by those who know him’ (Miscellanies, vol. 1, pp. 126, 138). 83. Battestin with Battestin, Henry Fielding: A Life, p. 417. 84. Fielding, Familiar Letters, vol. 2, p. 303. See also ibid., p. 304: ‘’Till some Patron then of the Muses shall again arise in this Nation, you will not be very curious in inquiring after their Productions’. 85. A circumstance which Battestin describes as ‘curious’ (Tom Jones, ed. Battestin, vol. 1, p. xxviii). 86. Ribble, ‘New Light on Henry Fielding from the Malmesbury Papers’, p. 79. 87. Ibid. Cf. H. Fielding, The History of Tom Jones A Foundling, 2 vols (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1974), vol. 1, p. xli; H. Amory, ‘The History of “The Adventures of a Foundling”: Revising Tom Jones’, Harvard Library Bulletin, 27:3 (1979), pp. 277–303. 88. Ribble, ‘New Light on Henry Fielding from the Malmesbury Papers’, pp. 80, 86. 89. On this point, see Harris, A Patriot Press, p. 220: ‘For the final stages of the war Henry Fielding was almost alone in defending the ministry’s conduct in his heavyweight election pamphlet of 1747, A Dialogue between a Gentleman of London and an Honest Alderman of the Country Party [sic]’. 90. Horace Walpole’s Correspondence, ed. Lewis, Smith and Lam, vol. 19, p. 360. 91. BL, Add. MS 32710, f. 361. 92. Cleary, Henry Fielding, Political Writer, p. 231. 93. Owen, The Rise of the Pelhams, p. 311. 94. BL, Add. MS 35397, f. 45. 95. BL, Add. MS 35397, f. 49. 96. BL, Add. MS 35397, f. 51v: 27 June 1747.

238

Notes to pages 161–7

97. General Advertiser (29 June 1747). 98. Fielding, The Journal of a Voyage to Lisbon, ed. Battestin, p. 562 n. 58. 99. Fielding, A Dialogue between a Gentleman of London, Agent for two Court Candidates, and an Honest Alderman Of the Country Party, p. 4. 100. Ibid., p. 3. 101. Fielding, The Jacobite’s Journal and Related Writings, ed. Coley, p. 4 n. 2. 102. Fielding, A Dialogue between a Gentleman of London, Agent for two Court Candidates, and an Honest Alderman Of the Country Party, pp. 6–7 103. General Advertiser (26 June 1747). 104. Fielding, A Dialogue between a Gentleman of London, Agent for two Court Candidates, and an Honest Alderman Of the Country Party, p. 6. 105. Ibid., pp. 9, 7. 106. Ibid., p. 90. 107. Ibid., p. 16. 108. E. Burke, Reflections on the Revolution in France, and on the Proceedings in Certain Societies in London Relative to that Event (London: J. Dodsley, 1790), p. 33. 109. Fielding, A Dialogue between a Gentleman of London, Agent for two Court Candidates, and an Honest Alderman Of the Country Party, p. 16. 110. Ibid., p. 3. 111. Ibid., pp. 47–8. 112. Ibid., p. 49. 113. Ibid., p. 34. 114. Quoted in Cleary, Henry Fielding, Political Writer, p. 239. 115. BL, Add. MS 35397, f. 55: 11 July 1747. 116. [H. Fielding], A Proper Answer To A Late Scurrilous Libel, Entitled, An Apology for the Conduct of a late celebrated Second-rate Minister (London: M. Cooper, 1747), pp. 12–13. 117. Fielding, A Dialogue between a Gentleman of London, Agent for two Court Candidates, and an Honest Alderman Of the Country Party, pp. 12, 15. 118. Fielding, A Serious Address to the People of Great Britain, p. 3. 119. Fielding, A Proper Answer To A Late Scurrilous Libel, p. 13. 120. Anon., An Apology For the Conduct of a Late Celebrated Second-Rate Minister (London, [1747]), pp. 17, 22, 25, 33, 39, 41, 42, 43, 45, 47, 48. 121. Ibid., pp. 21–2. 122. Fielding, The Jacobite’s Journal and Related Writings, ed. Coley, p. xxxix. 123. Battestin with Battestin, Henry Fielding: A Life, p. 427. 124. Anon., An Apology For the Conduct of a Late Celebrated Second-Rate Minister, p. 16. 125. Anon., The Patriot Analized (London: M. Cooper, 1748), p. 38. 126. Cleary, Henry Fielding, Political Writer, p. 240; Battestin with Battestin, Henry Fielding: A Life, p. 427. 127. Anon., The Patriot Analized, p. 37. 128. Old England, 236 (12 November 1748). The practice of ministers buying copies of proministerial publications, including periodicals, to ‘give away’, goes back at least to the days of Swift’s Examiner. For documentary evidence, see J. A. Downie, ‘Swift and the Oxford Ministry: New Evidence’, Swift Studies, 1 (1986), pp. 2–8. 129. Old England, 256 (25 March 1749). 130. Ibid., 265 (27 May 1749). 131. London Evening-Post (12–15 March 1748). 132. Ribble, ‘New Light on Henry Fielding from the Malmesbury Papers’, p. 86.

Notes to pages 167–73

239

133. Old England, 236 (12 November 1748). 134. Jacobite’s Journal, 24 (14 May 1748). 135. Harris, A Patriot Press, p. 238. 136. Jacobite’s Journal, 49 (5 November 1748). 137. Jacobite’s Journal, 1 (5 December 1747). 138. Ibid. 139. Ibid., 17 (26 March 1748). 140. Ibid., 18 (2 April 1748). 141. Old England, 190 (23 April 1748). For Fielding’s involvement in the puppet theatre, a non-political venture which he evidently thought was ‘a Scheme for getting above a hundred thousand pounds in about two years time’, see M. C. Battestin, ‘Fielding and “Master Punch” in Panton Street’, Philological Quarterly, 45:2 (1966), pp. 191–208; and Ribble, ‘New Light on Henry Fielding from the Malmesbury Papers’, p. 77. 142. Anon., An Apology For the Conduct of a Late Celebrated Second-Rate Minister, p. 40. 143. Jacobite’s Journal, 12 (20 February 1748). See Cleary, Henry Fielding, Political Writer, p. 231: ‘He [Chesterfield] would leave the ministry in February 1748, and immediately be dropped by Fielding, whose real loyalty was to Lyttelton and, increasingly, Bedford’. 144. Fielding, Tom Jones, vol. 1, p. vi. 145. Correspondenceof Jonathan Swift, ed. Battestin and Probyn, p. 92: 29 May 1750. 146. Fielding, Tom Jones, vol. 1, p. vi. 147. Jacobite’s Journal, 33 (16 July 1748). 148. See, for example, ibid., 8 (23 January 1748); 15 (12 March 1748); 31 (2 July 1748). 149. Ibid., 43 (24 September 1748). 150. Old England, 189 (16 April 1748). 151. Harris, A Patriot Press, p. 238. 152. Jacobite’s Journal, 20 (16 April 1748). 153. Paulson, The Life of Henry Fielding, p. 187. 154. Correspondence, ed. Battestin and Probyn, p. 59. See also ibid., p. 93 n. 1: ‘For at least six years HF had been borrowing sums of money from Harris which he was slow to repay’. 155. Ribble, ‘New Light on Henry Fielding from the Malmesbury Papers’, p. 86. 156. A transcription of the original document is printed in Tom Jones, ed. Battestin, p. xliv. See also Appendix II of Battestin with Battestin, Henry Fielding: A Life, p. 712, for a record of Millar’s payments to Fielding between 11 May 1749 and 15 June 1754 totalling £1565 19s. 0d. 157. Fielding, An Enquiry into the Causes of the Late Increase of Robbers and Related Writings, ed. Zirker, p. xvii. 158. Jacobite’s Journal, 49 (5 November 1748). 159. ‘I have been very well entertained lately with the first two Volumes of the Foundling, written by Mr. Fielding, but not to be published till the 22d of January’, the Countess of Hertford wrote on 20 November (Select Letters between the Late Duchess of Somerset …and others, ed. [T.] Hull, 2 vols (London: J. Dodsley, 1778), vol. 1, p. 85.

9 ‘A Hearty Well-Wisher to the glorious Cause of Liberty’: Tom Jones and the Forty-Five 1. 2.

Fielding, History of Tom Jones, vol. 3, pp. 84–5. Hunter, Occasional Form, p. 184.

240 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22.

23. 24. 25.

26.

27.

Notes to pages 174–8 H. O. Brown, ‘Tom Jones: The “Bastard” of History’, in Institutions of the English Novel: From Defoe to Scott (Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1997), p. 87. J. A. Stevenson, The Real History of Tom Jones (New York and Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2005), p. 19. Ibid., p. 162. F. S. Dickson, ‘The Chronology of “Tom Jones”’, Library, 3rd series, 8 (1917), p. 221. Fielding, Tom Jones, vol. 3, pp. 285–6. Ibid., p. 286. Jacobite’s Journal, 49 (5 November 1748). Battestin with Battestin, Henry Fielding: A Life, p. 425. Fielding, Tom Jones, vol. 3, pp. 285–6. Ibid., vol. 3, p. 85. Ibid., p. 287. Ibid., pp. 85, 89. H. Fielding, The History of Tom Jones, A Foundling. In Four Volumes. By Henry Fielding, Esq; 4 vols (London: A. Millar, 1749), vol. 2, pp. 273–4. Jacobite’s Journal, 49 (5 November 1748). Journals of the House of Commons, vol. 10, p. 14. [Fielding], A Serious Address to the People of Great Britain, pp. 4–5. Fielding, The History of Tom Jones, A Foundling. In Four Volumes, vol. 2, p. 274. Tom Jones …In Six Volumes, vol. 3, p. 85. Stevenson, The Real History of Tom Jones, p. 29; cf. Brown, Institutions of the English Novel, pp. 93–5. Fielding, Tom Jones, ed. Battestin, vol. 1, p. li. Battestin also describes the ‘extensively rewritten … passages’ as an attempt ‘to reinforce the attack on Jacobitism’ (ibid.). Cf. Cleary, Henry Fielding, Political Writer, p. 10. According to Amory, however, ‘the text of this section in the third edition … was descended from a cancellandum sheet in the first edition; so that the restoration of the cancellans text in the fourth edition was authorized’ (Amory, ‘The History of “The Adventures of a Foundling”: Revising Tom Jones’, p. 298). Even if Amory’s argument is accepted, it does not mean that the importance of the Man of the Hill episode is diminished, rather the reverse: that is, Fielding was taking immense care to ensure that the dialogue between Tom and the old Man achieved whatever polemical objective he had set himself. Jacobite’s Journal, 49 (5 November 1748). Stevenson, The Real History of Tom Jones, p. 25. Hence the extraordinary concession in His Majesties Answer to the xix. Propositions of Both Houses of Parliament (London, 1642) that: ‘In this Kingdom the Laws are joyntly made by a King, by a House of Peers, and by a House of Commons chosen by the People, all having free Votes and particular Priviledges’ (p. 18). On this point, see in particular H. Fielding, A Charge Delivered to the Grand Jury, at the Sessions of the Peace held for the City and Liberty of Westminster, &c. (London: A. Millar, 1749), pp. 41–2: ‘I might, perhaps, have a fairer Title to your Patience, in laying open the tyrannical Proceedings of later Times, while the Crown was possessed by four successive Princes of the House of Stuart. But this, Gentleman, would be trespass on your Patience indeed: For to mention all their Acts of absolute Power, all their Attempts to subvert the Liberties of this Nation, would be to relate to you the History of their Reigns’. Fielding, An Enquiry Into the Causes of the late Increase in Robbers, p. vii.

Notes to pages 178–86

241

28. [Fielding], A Serious Address to the People of Great Britain, p. 3. 29. Fielding, An Enquiry Into the Causes of the late Increase in Robbers, p. vii. See also the Covent-Garden Journal, 47 (13 June 1752): ‘It may seem strange that none of our political Writers, in their learned Treatises on the English Constitution, should take Notice of any more than three Estates, namely King, Lords, and Commons’. 30. [Fielding], A Serious Address to the People of Great Britain, pp. 3–4. 31. Stevenson, The Real History of Tom Jones, p. 162. 32. Brown, Institutions of the English Novel, p. 88. 33. Stevenson, The Real History of Tom Jones, pp. 98–9. 34. Fielding, A Proper Answer To A Late Scurrilous Libel, p. 13. 35. Fielding, Tom Jones, vol. 3, p. 95. 36. Ibid., vol. 2, p. 22–3. 37. Ibid., vol. 1, p. 169. 38. Ibid., vol. 6, p. 300. 39. Ibid., vol. 1, pp. 168, 167. See J. Locke, An Essay concerning Human Understanding, ed. P. H. Nidditch (1975; Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1979), p. 614: ‘Before a Man makes any Proposition, he is supposed to understand the Terms he uses in it’. 40. Fielding, Tom Jones, vol. 1, pp. 208–9. 41. Ibid., vol. 6, pp. 192, 194. 42. Ibid., p. 300. 43. Ibid., p. 190. 44. Jacobite’s Journal, 49 (5 November 1748). 45. Fielding, Tom Jones … In Four Volumes, vol. 2, pp. 273–4. 46. Fielding, Tom Jones, vol. 6, p. 228. 47. Ibid., p. 249. 48. [R. Allestree], The Whole Duty of Man (London: T. Garthwait, 1659), pp. 278, 281. 49. Fielding, Tom Jones, vol. 6, p. 249. Compare Allworthy’s own stated opinion on the matter, ibid., p. 105 (XVII. iii). 50. Ibid., vol. 2, p. 229. 51. Ibid., pp. 234–5. 52. Ibid., vol. 3, p. 64. 53. Ibid., vol. 1, p. 186 54. Ibid., vol. 3, p. 286. 55. Ibid., vol. 4, pp. 283–4. 56. Ibid., p. 291. 57. Fielding, An Address to the Electors of Great Britain, p. 55. 58. Fielding, Tom Jones, vol. 4, p. 292. 59. Ibid., pp. 292–3. 60. Ibid., pp. 294–5.

10 ‘This Botcher in Law and Politics’ 1. 2. 3.

Fielding, Correspondence, ed. Battestin and Probyn, p. 182. Printed in M. C. Battestin with R. R. Battestin, ‘Fielding, Bedford, and the Westminster Election of 1749’, Eighteenth-Century Studies, 11:2 (1977–78), p. 178. Fielding, The Journal of a Voyage to Lisbon, p. 26n.

242 4.

5.

6. 7.

8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22. 23. 24. 25.

26. 27. 28. 29.

Notes to pages 186–91 Defoe received a quarterly £100 for his various services to the government, including his political propaganda. See J. A. Downie, ‘Secret Service Payments to Daniel Defoe, 1710–1714’, Review of English Studies, 30:4 (1979), pp. 437–41. I do not agree with Battestin’s decision in the recent Wesleyan edition of the Journal to follow Tom Keymer in interpreting the phrase, ‘my great patron’, as an ironic dig at Bedford’s colleague and rival as Secretary of State, the Duke of Newcastle. See Fielding, The Journal of a Voyage to Lisbon, Shamela, and Occasional Writings, ed. Battestin, p. 559 n. 50; H. Fielding, The Journal of a Voyage to Lisbon, ed. T. Keymer (London: Penguin, 1996), p. 119 n. 10. My principal reservation is that there is no evidence Fielding had any dealings with Newcastle until after Bedford’s resignation in June 1751, while he had already openly acknowledged Bedford’s protection and patronage. See above, pp. 198–201. Fielding, The Journal of a Voyage to Lisbon, pp. 25–6. J. Fielding, An Account of the Origin and Effects of a Police Set on Foot by His Grace the Duke of Newcastle in the Year 1753, upon a Plan presented to his Grace by the late Henry Fielding, Esq; To which is added A Plan for preserving those deserted Girls in this Town, who become Prostitutes from Necessity (London: A. Millar, 1758), pp. 16–17. See J. Langbein, ‘The Criminal Trial before the Lawyers’, University of Chicago Law Review, 45:2 (1978), pp. 263–316. See J. Langbein, ‘Shaping the Eighteenth-Century Criminal Trial: A View from the Ryder Sources’, University of Chicago Law Review, 50:1 (1983), pp. 57–60. Westminster Sessions Book, cited in Godden, Henry Fielding: A Memoir, p. 204. BL, Add. MS 48800, f. 71. See also BL, Add. MS 35590, f. 334. A Charge Delivered to the Grand Jury, pp. 7–8. Ibid., pp. 8, 10, 12. [Fielding], A Serious Address to the People of Great Britain, pp. 3–4. Battestin with Battestin, Henry Fielding: A Life, p. 471. Fielding, A Charge Delivered to the Grand Jury, pp. 45–6. BL, Add. MS 33054, ff. 406–13, printed in Battestin with Battestin, Henry Fielding: A Life, pp. 706–11. Fielding, A Charge Delivered to the Grand Jury, p. 20. Ibid., pp. 36–8. Gentleman’s Magazine ( July 1749), p. 329. H. Fielding, A True State of the Case of Bosavern Penlez, Who suffered on Account of the late Riot in the Strand (London: A. Millar, 1749), pp. 45–6. Printed in Battestin with Battestin, ‘Fielding, Bedford, and the Westminster Election of 1749’, p. 180. Old England (15 July 1749). Battestin with Battestin, Henry Fielding: A Life, p. 475. P. Linebaugh, ‘The Tyburn Riot Against the Surgeons’, in D. Hay, P. Linebaugh, J. G. Rule, E. P. Thompson and C. Winslow, Albion’s Fatal Tree: Crime and Society in Eighteenth-Century England (London: Allen Lane, 1975), pp. 91, 98 90 n. 1. [ J. Cleland,] The Case Of the Unfortunate Bosavern Penlez (London: T. Clement, 1749), pp. 22–3. Linebaugh, ‘The Tyburn Riot Against the Surgeons’, p. 98. N. Rogers, ‘Aristocratic Clientage, Trade and Independency: Popular Politics in PreRadical Westminster’, Past and Present, 61 (1973), p. 99. Cleary, Henry Fielding, Political Writer, p. 277.

Notes to pages 191–5 30. 31. 32. 33.

34. 35. 36. 37. 38.

39. 40. 41.

42. 43. 44. 45. 46. 47. 48. 49. 50. 51.

52. 53. 54. 55. 56.

243

General Advertiser (14 November 1749). [Fielding], A True State of the Case of Bosavern Penlez, pp. 1–2. Ibid., p. 2. See in particular Old England, 256 (25 March 1749). Interestingly, the only letter from Fielding to Lyttelton to have survived, written to congratulate the latter on his second marriage, is dated 29 August 1749. See Correspondence, ed. Battestin and Probyn, pp. 86–7. Unfortunately, it offers little insight into their relationship other than the opening sentence’s confirmation of what we already knew: that Fielding regarded himself as one of Lyttelton’s ‘Friends’. Old England, 256 (25 March 1749). Ibid., 290 (25 November 1749). Cleary, Henry Fielding, Political Writer, p. 277. Rogers, ‘Aristocratic Clientage, Trade and Independency: Popular Politics in Pre-Radical Westminster’, p. 77. See in particular the General Advertiser, 4711–16 (27 November–2 December 1749). Many of the adverts and handbills issued during the election were conveniently collected and reprinted in T—t—m and V—d—t. A Collection of the Advertisements and Handbills, Serious, Satyrical and Humourous, Published on both Sides during the Election for the City and Liberty of Westminster, Begun November 22d, 1749 (Dublin: Printed and sold by the Booksellers, 1749), pp. 12–13. See Battestin with Battestin, ‘Fielding, Bedford, and the Westminster Election of 1749’, pp. 161–3, where the Queries are conveniently reprinted. Rogers, ‘Aristocratic Clientage, Trade and Independency: Popular Politics in Pre-Radical Westminster’, p. 102 n. 100. Old England, 292 (9 December 1749). The Duke of Richmond’s agent sent him a copy of The Covent-Garden Journal No. 1, adding the information that: ‘The enclosed is a paper generally given to Mr. Fielding, as the author’ (quoted in Battestin with Battestin, Henry Fielding: A Life, p. 492). Old England, 293 (16 December 1749). Battestin with Battestin, Henry Fielding: A Life, p. 498. Ibid., p. 502. BL, Add. MS 48800, f. 71v. Correspondence, ed. Battestin and Probyn, p. 92. General Advertiser (9 October 1750). Fielding, An Enquiry Into the Causes of the late Increase in Robbers, p. iii. An Enquiry into the Causes of the Late Increase of Robbers and Related Writings, ed. Zirker, p. lxv. Fielding, An Enquiry Into the Causes of the late Increase in Robbers, p. vii. J. Swift, A Discourse of the Contests and Dissentions Between the Nobles and Commons in Athens and Rome With the Consequences they had upon both those States, ed. F. H. Ellis (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1967), pp. 83–4. Fielding, An Enquiry Into the Causes of the late Increase of Robbers, p. viii. Cato’s Letters, ed. Hamowy, vol. 1, p. 189. Ruml, III, ‘Henry Fielding and Parson Adams: Whig Writer and Tory Priest’, p. 206. See above, pp. 129–32. Fielding, An Enquiry Into the Causes of the late Increase of Robbers, p. xiv. Ibid., p. xi.

244

Notes to pages 195–200

57. Fielding, An Enquiry into the Causes of the Late Increase of Robbers and Related Writings, ed. Zirker, p. lxvii. 58. H. Fielding, Amelia, 4 vols (London: A. Millar, 1752 [for 1751]), vol. 1, p. 1. 59. Cleary, Henry Fielding, Political Writer, pp. 290–1 60. Fielding, Amelia, vol. 1, sig. A2. 61. Fielding, The Journal of a Voyage to Lisbon, Shamela, and Occasional Writings, ed. Battestin, p. 516. 62. Fielding, Amelia, vol. 1, pp. 6, 7. 63. C. A. Knight, ‘The Narrative Structure of Fielding’s Amelia’, Ariel, 11 (1980), p. 31. 64. Fielding, Amelia, vol. 1, p. sig. A2. 65. Ibid., vol. 4, p. 124. 66. Correspondence, ed. Battestin and Probyn, p. 98. 67. Covent-Garden Journal, 8 (28 January 1752). 68. Ibid., 1 (4 January 1752). 69. Old England, 236 (12 November 1748). 70. T. Smollett, The Adventures of Peregrine Pickle, ed. J. L. Clifford, Oxford English Novels (London: Oxford University Press, 1964), pp. 658–9. 71. Covent-Garden Journal, 2: 7 January 1752. 72. For the evidence of Smollett’s authorship of this pamphlet, see O M Brack, Jr, ‘Tobias Smollett’s Authorship of Habbakkuk Hilding (1752)’, The Eighteenth-Century Intelligencer, 20:3 (September 2006), pp. 5–17, and L. Bree, ‘Smollett and Fielding’, Tobias Smollett: Scotland’s First Novelist, New Essays in Memory of Paul-Gabriel Boucé, ed. O M Brack, Jr. (Newark, DE: University of Delaware Press, 2007). 73. H. Fielding, The Covent-Garden Journal and A Plan of the Universal Register-Office, ed. B. A. Goldgar, The Wesleyan Edition of the Works of Henry Fielding (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1988), p. xl. 74. Covent-Garden Journal, 11 (8 February 1752). 75. For the Universal Register Office, see above all A Plan of the Universal Register-Office, Opposite Cecil-Street in the Strand (London, 1751). An interesting perspective on the venture is offered in L. Bertelsen, Henry Fielding at Work: Magistrate, Businessman, Writer (New York and Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2000). 76. Gentleman’s Magazine, 22 (1752), p. 27, quoted in The Covent-Garden Journal and A Plan of the Universal Register-Office, ed. Goldgar, p. xxxvi. 77. Covent-Garden Journal, 72 (25 November 1752). 78. London Daily Advertiser, 25 (November 1752). 79. Fielding, An Enquiry into the Causes of the Late Increase of Robbers and Related Writings, ed. Zirker, p. lx. Zirker places the Proposal, which in many ways is simply an extension of the argument of his earlier Enquiry, in the context of other contemporary workhouse proposals. See Zirker, Fielding’s Social Pamphlets, p. 117 onwards. 80. See Battestin with Battestin, Henry Fielding: A Life, p. 512. 81. The best place to read about Canning is Fielding’s own A Clear State of the Case of Elizabeth Canning (London: A. Millar, 1753). The alleged facts of her abduction are given on pp. 8–11, although they were seriously disputed at the time. 82. Ibid., p. 45. 83. Perhaps the concluding paragraph will suffice: ‘For you, Mr. Fielding! I have no Right to call your Behaviour as a Magistrate in Question; nor have I Abilities to judge of it: I have, therefore, no where alluded to it: But certainly your private Treatment of this Subject,

Notes to pages 200–7

84.

85. 86. 87. 88.

89. 90. 91.

245

both before and in your Pamphlet, merits the strongest Censure’ ( J. Hill, The Story of Elizabeth Canning Considered (London: M. Cooper, 1753), p. 53). See, for example, Eliza Haywood’s periodical, The Invisible Spy, reprinted as The Invisible Spy. By Exploralibus, 4 vols (London: T. Gardner, 1755), vol. 4, p. 205: ‘The mean artifices which I found some men, miscall’d the great, make no scruple of putting in practice to gain their ends, fill’d me with an equal share of indignation and contempt’. I owe this reference to the kindness of Kathryn R. King. The opportunity the Canning affair offered for social comment with a political slant was exploited extensively by Haywood in The Invisible Spy, Book VIII, Chapter i (see in particular pp. 177–91, 201–8). NA, S.P. 36/127, pt. 2, ff. 140–1, quoted in Battestin with Battestin, Henry Fielding: A Life, p. 574. NA, S.P. 36/127, pt. 2, ff. 142–3, quoted in Battestin with Battestin, Henry Fielding: A Life, p. 575. Fielding, The Journal of a Voyage to Lisbon, p. 20. Ibid., pp. 20–1. The incident of Newcastle sending for Fielding a second time was omitted from the first edition of the Journal, but see Journal of a Voyage to Lisbon, Shamela and Occasional Writings, ed. Battestin, p. 555. Fielding, The Journal of a Voyage to Lisbon, p. 22. Ibid., pp. 24, 30. Ibid., 43–4.

Conclusion 1. 2. 3.

4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16.

Fielding, An Enquiry Into the Causes of the late Increase of Robbers, pp. xiv–xv, xi, 17, 15. Ibid., p. xi. ‘The Letters of Henry St John to the Earl or Orrery, 1709–1711’, ed. H. T. Dickinson, Camden Miscellany, 26 (Camden Society, 4th series, 14, 1975), p. 146. Cf. Swift, Prose Works, vol. 3, pp. 5–6. Cato’s Letters, ed. Hamowy, vol. 1, pp. 81, 189, 82, 42. An Address to the Electors of Great Britain, p. 41. Ibid., p. 36. Fielding, The Journal of a Voyage to Lisbon, p. 141. Fielding, The Dramatic Works of Henry Fielding (1755), p. 34. Ibid., p. 29. A Dialogue between a Gentleman of London … and an Honest Alderman Of the Country Party, p. 3. Cleary, Henry Fielding, Political Writer, p. 1. Fielding, The Journal of a Voyage to Lisbon, p. 26. Ribble, ‘New Light on Henry Fielding from the Malmesbury Papers’, p. 86. Fielding, Tom Jones, vol. 1, pp. iv–v. London Evening-Post (12–15 March 1748). Old England, 256 (25 March 1749).

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INDEX

Works by Fielding (HF) appear directly under title; works by others under author’s name. Account of the Conduct of the Dowager Duchess of Marlborough, 135 Act of Settlement, 163, 178, 183 Addison, Joseph, 55, 92, 94, 95, 97, 197 Cato, 55 see also Spectator Address to the Electors of Great Britain (HF), 5–6, 91, 99–100, 120, 204 Alfred the Great, 194 Allen, Ralph, 133–4, 195 Allestree, Richard, Whole Duty of Man, 7, 181 Amelia (HF), 195–6 Amhurst, Nicholas, 86 Amory, Hugh, 142, 232n89, 240n22 Andrew, Sarah, 19, 21 Anne, Queen, 5, 131, 135, 178, 186, 187 anti-clericalism, 8–9, 74, 129–30 ‘Apology for the Clergy’ (HF), 8–9, 74, 128 Apology For the Conduct of a Late SecondRate Minister, 165–6, 170 Arbuthnot, John, 35, 50 Argyll, John Campbell, Duke of, 2, 10, 102, 103, 109, 111, 114, 118, 121, 228n3 Aristophanes, 69, 136 atheism see under deism Attempt towards a Natural History of the Hanover Rat, 145–6 Augusta, Princess, 80 Author’s Farce (HF), 8, 26, 31, 36–40, 41, 42, 60, 63, 73 Baker, Sheridan, 38

Barebone’s Parliament, 93 Barker, Dr John, 151 Barrow, Isaac, 74 Battestin, Martin C., ix, 1–2, 9–10, 13, 29–31, 50–1, 55, 59, 60, 63, 72, 75, 76, 83, 86, 95, 101, 107, 111, 117, 125, 134, 143, 157, 159, 160, 166, 175, 187, 190, 193, 196 Battestin, Ruthe R., 13 Bedford, John Russell, Duke of, ix, 4, 144, 156, 158, 170, 185–6, 189, 191, 192, 193, 199, 242n5 Bennet, Thomas, 66, 75 Bentham, Mary, 17 Bill of Rights, 178 Birch, Thomas, 161, 164, 193 Bodens, Captain Charles, 55, 60 Bolingbroke, Henry St John, Viscount, ix, 2–3, 8, 22, 24, 33–5, 50, 62, 75, 118, 121, 143, 153, 156–7, 194, 203, 105, 209n9, 210n13, 211n44, 212n57 Bolton, Duke of, 61, 80 Booth, Barton, 36 Bow Street, 172, 185–6, 193, 195, 198, 203, 207 Brewer, John, 9, British Journal, 24, 25 ‘Broad-Bottom’ faction, 3, 9–10, 61–2, 65, 73, 78, 86, 107, 118–19, 120–2, 123, 145, 153, 157, 164, 205, 209n9, 212n58, 229n47 ‘Broad-Bottom’, ministry, 145, 150, 159 Brogden, Joshua, 198, 200

– 261 –

262

Index

Brown, Homer Obed, 173, 178 Buckingham, George Villiers, Duke of, The Rehearsal, 157, 197 Burke, Edmund, Reflections on the Revolution in France, 163 burlesque of The Dunciad (HF), 23–4, 33–5, 37, 46, 61, 73 Butcher, Robert, ix

Cleary, Thomas R., 2–3, 9–10, 55, 61–2, 63, 65, 66, 72, 73, 78, 95, 107, 109, 111, 118, 119, 122, 125, 145, 152, 153, 157, 160, 192, 209n8, 222n27 Cleland, John, Case of the Unfortunate Bosavern Penlez, 190, 191 Cobbett’s Parliamentary History, 81–2 Cobham, Sir Richard Temple, Viscount, 2, 4, 9–10, 61, 65–6, 67, 75, 78, 80, 118, Calvinism, 128–9, 179–80 143, 144, 155, 205, 222n27, 224n2, Campbell, Colin, 127 228n3 Campbell, Jill, 212n63 ‘Cobham’s Cubs’, 2, 4, 9–10, 61, 65, 67, Canning, Elizabeth, 199–200, 245n84 72–3, 78, 79 Caroline, Queen, 34–5, 43, 47 Coffee-House Politician (HF), 41 Carteret, John, Lord Granville, 2, 103, 111, Coley, W. B., 2, 52–3, 82, 86, 91, 98, 100, 114, 118, 120, 121–2, 138, 142, 143, 107, 111, 114, 117, 118, 145–6, 152, 145, 146, 156, 228n3 153, 156, 157, 158, 166, 221n24, Case of the Opposition Impartially Stated, 222n38 119, 121 Colley, Linda, 3 Catholicism, 17, 33–4, 58, 150–1, 165, Collier, Arthur, 159 174–7, 179 Committee of Privileges and Elections, 73, Cato’s Letters, 6, 90, 98, 100, 194, 210n13, 111, 112, 116, 117, 119, 206 235n9 Common Sense, 78–9, 81, 82, 83, 86, 92, 93, Centlivre, Susanna, 36 96, 113, 114, 133, 144, 154, 197 Champion (HF), 5, 27, 29, 34, 52, 74–5, Commons, House of, 2, 4, 61, 70, 73, 80, 81, 83–4, 86–110, 113, 120, 128, 132, 138, 89, 111–12, 117, 134, 176, 178, 194 143, 151, 153–4, 156, 163, 166, 167, Concannen, Matthew, 60 204, 205, 206, 225n17 Congreve, William, 36 Channon, Joseph, 19 Cope, Lieutenant-General Sir John, 148 Chappelle, Henry, 91, 225n17 corruption, 4, 7, 40, 64, 70–1, 89–90, 95, Charles I, 165, 178, 179, 187 96, 99–100, 105–6, 113, 135, 163–4, Charles II, 90, 165, 177, 179 204 Charge Delivered to the Grand Jury (HF), Cottington, Katherine (HF’s great-aunt), 187–8 16, 18, 19 Charge to the Jury (HF), 146 ‘Country’ principles, 7, 64–5, 69–70, 72–3, Charteris, Colonel Francis, 40–1 115, 117, 118, 119, 120–1, 131, 161–2, Chesterfield, Philip Dormer Stanhope, Earl 181–2, 203 of, ix, 2, 4, 23, 61, 63, 64, 65, 74, 78–9, Covent-Garden Journal (HF), 196–7 82–3, 86, 102, 103, 109, 113, 114, Covent-Garden Journal. No. 1, 192 115, 118, 122, 123, 133, 134, 144, 147, Covent-Garden Tragedy (HF), 58–9, 62 153–4, 155, 159–60, 166, 170, 185, Cradock, Charlotte see under Fielding, 205, 206, 228n3, 232n97, 237n82 Charlotte Christianity, 8–9, 74, 128–9 Craftsman, 10, 22–3, 25, 28, 29, 41, 42, 50, ‘Church in Danger’, 131 52, 63, 67, 72, 75, 83, 86, 92, 93, 113, Cibber, Colley, 21, 24, 26–7, 36, 38, 60, 61, 138–9, 154, 197 77, 94, 112, 155 Crisis: A Sermon, 107 Cross, Wilbur L., 39, 77, 96, 111, 115, 159 Apology for the Life, 112, 126 Cruickshanks, Eveline, 61 Provok’d Husband, 21, 24, 56

Index

263

Cumberland, William Augustus, Duke of, 155, 159, 160, 173–4

Excise Crisis of 1733, 3, 6, 61, 62, 72, 79, 80, 196

Daily Advertiser, 75–6, 77, 132, 152 Daily Gazetteer, 69, 78, 82, 90–1, 95, 96, 98, 103–4, 106, 108–10, 111, 132 Daily Journal, 53 Daily Post, 37, 48, 49, 50, 51, 53, 54, 81, 131, 136, 137 Daniel, Mary see under Fielding, Mary Day, William, 17 Deborah (HF), 63 Defoe, Daniel, 154, 186, 242n4 deism, 8–9, 74, 129, 179–80, 211n44 De La Borde, Anne, 16, 17–18 Denbigh, William Feilding, Earl of, 14, Devonshire, Duke of, 147 Dialogue between a Gentleman of London … and an Honest Alderman of the Country Party (HF), 158, 160–4, 168, 182, 188, 206, 209n1, Dialogue between The Devil, the Pope, and the Pretender (HF), 152–3 Dickinson, H. T., 9, 90, 100, 120 Dickson, F. S., 174 Dodington, George Bubb, 30, 80, 102–4, 107, 109, 114, 118, 122, 144, 153–4, 205, 227n68, 228n3, 232n97 Dodwell, Henry, Christianity not Founded on Argument, 8 Don Quixote in England (HF), 4, 35–6, 61, 63, 64–5, 66, 120, 131, 160, 196 Drury Lane theatre, 21, 24, 29, 35, 39, 55, 56, 60, 61, 62, 63, 66, 69, 77, 174

Farinelli, Carlo Broschi, 67 Farquhar, George, 36 Beaux’ Stratagem, The, 21 Faulkner, George, 61 Feilding, John (HF’s grandfather), 14 Female Husband (HF), 159 Fielding, Allen (HF’s son), 201 Fielding, Charles, 75 Fielding, Charlotte (HF’s first wife), 65–6, 86, 134–5, 145 Fielding, Charlotte (HF’s daughter), 75, 143 Fielding, Edmund (HF’s father), 15–19, 135 Fielding, Edmund (HF’s brother), 18 Fielding, George (HF’s uncle), 17, 224n89 Fielding, Henry life birth, 13–14, 15–16 infancy, 16–18 education, 18–19, 29 playwright, 21–86 law career, 83, 86, 97, 102 journalist, 86–110, 153–72, 196–8 government writer, 151–72, 186, 191, 205–6 Justice of the Peace at Bow Street, 171, 185–6, 188–9, 190, 193, 198–201, 207 death in Lisbon, 201 political loyalties , ix, 3–4, 9, 57–8, 64– 6, 78–9, 82–3, 85, 102–4, 108–10, 111–23, 143, 169–70, 205–7 relations with Walpole, 23, 26, 28–35, 52–3, 55–7, 83–4, 85, 97–8, 100–10, 205–6 ‘Scriblerus Secundus’, 8, 23–4, 38, 57, 198 political ideas, 1, 4–5, 11, 98–100, 119, 161–4, 174–9, 182–3, 183–4, 187–8, 193–5, 203–7 on benevolent paternalism, 15, 125–7, 129–30, 182, 205 on the constitution, 1, 4–5, 7, 11, 15, 71, 90, 99, 139, 149–51, 154, 163, 164–5, 176–8, 183–4, 187–8, 193–5, 196, 203, 241n29

Earle, Giles, 112 Egmont, John Perceval, Earl of, 36, 79 Enquiry Into the Causes of the late Increase in Robbers, An (HF), 4, 7, 15, 178, 187, 193–5, 203 ‘Epistle to Mr Lyttleton’ (HF), 61 ‘Essay on Conversation’ (HF), 160 Eton College, 14, 18–19, 59 Eurydice; or, the Devil Henpeck’d (HF), 77, 222n39, 222n57 Eurydice Hiss’d (HF), 77, 78, 79, 80, 81, 83, 86, 103, 140, 204, 205, 222n57

264

Index

on corruption, 4, 7, 64, 70–1, 92–3, 95, 96, 99–100, 105–6, 113, 135, 163–4, 204 on liberty, 1, 6, 11, 33–4, 64, 96–7, 99–100, 151, 173, 175, 177–8, 183–4, 187 on the Protestant religion, 1, 6, 151, 174–9, 183–4 on trade, 95, 98, 99–100, 105, 132, 195 social conservatism, 7, 15, 71, 129–30, 194–5, 198–9, 205 Whig radicalism, 89–91, 99–100, 120–1, 205–6, 207 religious views alleged deist tendencies, 8–9, 74, 129, 179–80 anti-clericalism, 74, 129–30 anti-Catholicism, 17, 33–4, 58, 148–9, 174, 176 latitudinarian tendencies, 8–9, 74, 128–30, 179 orthodox Christian beliefs, 8, 74, 128–9, 174–6, 179–80 Fielding, John (HF’s half-brother), 198 Fielding, Mary (HF’s second wife), 171 Fielding, Sarah Gould (HF’s mother), 16, 18 Fielding, Sarah (HF’s sister), David Simple, 144–5 Familiar Letters, 158, 159, 170–1 Lives of Cleopatra and Octavia, 146 Fielding, Sophia (HF’s daughter), 201 Fielding, Ursula (HF’s sister), 185 Fielding, William (HF’s son), 201 Fog’s Weekly Journal, 26 Foord, Archibald S., 2–3 Forty-Five Rebellion, 11, 147–56, 173–9, 206 Frederick, Prince of Wales, 2, 44–5, 47, 52, 59, 60, 63, 79, 80, 82, 85, 143, 144, 160, 161, 195 see also under Leicester House Frowde, Philip, 60 Full Vindication of the Dutchess Dowager of Marlborough (HF), 123, 134–6, 143 Garrick David, 36, 174, 193 Gay, John, 8, 11, 21–2, 23, 29, 33–5, 40, 65, 84, 98, 198, 204

Beggar’s Opera, 21–2, 25, 28, 29, 38, 39, 40, 41, 45, 46, 52, 65, 138–9, 139–40, Polly, 65, 213n4 General Advertiser, 148, 161, 162, 191, 193 General Election of 1734, 61, 63, 64, 72, 131 General Election of 1741, 3, 98, 107, 108, 112, 118 General Election of 1747, 160, 162 Gentlemen’s Magazine, 198 Genuine Grub-street Opera (HF), 53, 54, 60 George I, 22, 72, 178, 197 George II, 5, 22, 25, 34–5, 41, 43, 47, 59, 72, 75, 80, 106, 122, 145, 147, 154, 160, 161, 163, 177, 178, 188, 197 George III, 4 Gibbon, Edward, 13 Glover, Richard, Leonidas, 94 Godden, G. M., 225n17 Godschall, Sir Robert, 137 Golden Rump see under ‘Vision of the Golden Rump’ Goldgar, Bertrand A., 37, 41, 47, 79, 111, 132, 138, 142, 197, 198 Goodman’s Fields theatre, 29, 36, 39, 55 Gordon, Thomas, 9, 98, 100, 120, 203 see also Cato’s Letters Gould, Davidge, 17 Gould, Sarah, Lady, 15–19 Gould, Sir Henry, 13–14, 16 Gower, Lord, 156 Grafton, Duke of, 85 Grenville, George, 61, 80 Grenville, Richard, 61 Grub-Street Journal, 50, 51, 53, 56, 57, 58–9, 60, 69–70, 71 Grub-Street Opera (HF), 44, 45, 46, 47–54, 57, 97, 101, 205 Grundy, Isobel M., 33, Hall, Virtue, 199 Hampden, John, 9, 89–90, 91, 93, 205, 224n2 Hamilton, Mary, 159 Hanoverian succession, 1, 2, 11, 72, 164, 184 Hardwicke, Philip Yorke, Earl of (Lord Chancellor), ix, 148, 151, 152, 161, 170, 171, 187, 193, 199, 200 Harrington, James, 6, 9, 203, 205

Index Oceana, 6, 203 Harrington, William, Lord, 147, 156, 158 Harris, Bob, 106, 144, 168, 171 Harris, James, ix, 84, 86, 110, 134, 142, 143, 145, 151, 159, 160, 167, 171, 196 Harris, Michael, 87, 95–6 Harris, Thomas, 110, 136, 137, 139 Hatchett, William, 222n42 Fall of Mortimer, 48–50, 51, 51, 53, 54 Rehearsal of Kings, 76–8, 222n42 Haywood, Eliza, 38 Invisible Spy, 245n84 Heidegger, John James, 26–7, 31 Henley, John, 38, 50–1 Henry VII, 165 Henry VIII, 165 Herring, Archbishop Thomas, 148, 151, 152 Sermon Preached at the Cathedral Church of York, 148 Speech made by His Grace, the Lord Archbishop of York, 148 Hervey, John, Baron Hervey of Ickworth, 60, 80, 107 Hill, Aaron, 55, 75, 222n42 Hill Dr John, 197, 200 Story of Elizabeth Canning Considered, 200, 244n83 Historical Register for the Year 1736 (HF), 4, 32, 71, 77–8, 79, 80, 83, 86, 103, 132, 140–1, 204, 205 Historical View of the Principles, Characters, Persons, &c. of the Political Writers of Great Britain, 30–1, 102 History of Our Own Times (HF), 102, 104–5 History of the Present Rebellion in Scotland (HF), 152 Hoadly, Bishop Benjamin, 103, 129, 130 Plain Account of the Nature and End of the Sacrament, 128–9 Hoadly, John, 142 Holmes, Geoffrey, 2 Horace, 169 Howard, Mary, 17 Hume, Robert D., 21, 24–5, 29, 32, 36, 39, 41, 46–7, 54, 55–6, 57, 77, 80–1 Hunter, J. Paul, 13, 23, 173 Hyp-Doctor, 50–1

265

Intriguing Chambermaid (HF), 63 Jacobite’s Journal (HF), 158, 166, 167–72, 174–5, 176, 180, 184, 188, 197 Jacobitism, 3, 11, 35, 46, 72, 113, 144, 149–51, 153, 161–70, 174–7, 181–3, 187, 204, 206 James I, 165, 178, 179 James II, 5, 6, 151, 165, 174–6, 179, 181, 183, 209n1, Joe Miller’s Jests, 138 Johnson, Samuel, 89–90 Johnson, Samuel of Cheshire, 39 Hurlothrumbo, 39, 40 Jonathan Wild (HF), 101, 104, 132, 137–42, 206, 232n43 Jonson, Ben, 40 Joseph Andrews (HF), 8, 15, 27, 75, 107, 111, 123, 125–34, 136, 137, 142, 143, 144, 152, 166, 195, 196, 204, 206 Journal of a Voyage to Lisbon (HF), 139, 186, 200–1, 206, 242n5 Journey from This World to the Next (HF), 25, 132, 137–8, 142 Keightley, Thomas, 139 Kelly, John, The Fall of Bob, Alias Gin, 76 Kent, William, 127 Keymer, Tom, 242n5 King, Joseph, 143 King, Kathryn R., 245n84 Knatchbull, Katherine, 84, 86 Knight, Charles A, 196 Kramnick, Isaac, 22 Langford, Paul, 63 latitudinarianism, 8–9, 74, 128–30, 179 Lee, Sir William, 103 Leicester House, 164, 168 Letter-Writers (HF), 43 Lewis, Joseph, 19 Lewis, Peter, 38 Leyden, University of, 29, 35–6 liberty and property, 3, 63, 71, 90, 93, 151, 184 Licensing Act of 1737, 81–2, 83, 86 Lillo, George, Fatal Curiosity, 75, 77

266

Index

Limborch, Peter, Brief Account of the Cruel and Barbarous Proceedings against Protestants in the Inquisition, 149 Lincoln’s Inn Fields theatre, 21, 25, 42, 66, 81, 84 Linebaugh, Peter, 190 Little Haymarket theatre, 23, 36, 39, 42, 54, 55–6, 59, 66, 67, 70, 75, 76, 77, 80, 82, 84, 85–6, 103 Locke, John, 5, 89, 91, 141, 150 Essay concerning Humane Understanding, 180 Reasonableness of Christianity, 180 Two Treatises of Government, 5–6, 150, 163, 165, 178, 209n1 Lockwood, Thomas, 10, 27, 36, 38, 40, 51, 83 London Daily Advertiser, 197, 198 London Journal, 5, Lords, House of, 61, 81, 82, 178, 194 Lottery (HF), 55, 56, 58 Love in Several Masques (HF), 15, 21, 24, 25, 27–9, 31, 32, 35, 52, 55 Lund, Roger D., 130 Lyttelton, George, ix, 4, 19, 61, 62, 65–6, 72, 75, 78–9, 80, 82–3, 85, 94, 102–3, 107, 109, 113, 114, 115, 118, 122, 143, 144, 153–4, 167, 169–70, 189, 191, 197, 205, 206–7, 221n24, 222n27, 243n33 Marchmont, Alexander Campbell, Lord, 80 Marlborough, Charles, 3rd Duke of, 4 Marlborough, John, 1st Duke of, 135–6 Marlborough, Sarah, Dowager-Duchess of, 135–6 Marvell, Andrew, 149, 205 Account of the Growth of Popery, and Arbitrary Government in England, 149, 235n9 McCrea, Brian, 9, 83, 226n39 Methodism, 128, 179 Millar, Andrew, 123, 137, 142, 146, 171, 196, 201 Miller, Henry Knight, 23 Miller, Revd. James, The Modish Couple, 55, 60 Milton, John, Paradise Lost, 35, 105

Miscellanies (HF), 19, 29, 30, 31–2, 36, 77, 107, 123, 132, 136, 137–43, 144, 145 Miser, The (HF), 4, 63 Miss Lucy in Town (HF), 123, 136, 143 Mist’s Weekly Journal, 27, 29 Mitchell, Joseph, 60, 65 Familiar Epistle to the Right Honourable Sir Robert Walpole, 60 Mock Doctor (HF), 62 Modern Husband (HF), 4, 32, 42, 45, 55, 56–8, 59, 60, 61 Molesworth, Robert, Viscount, 98, 130, 203, 205 Account of the State of Denmark, 130 Molière, Jean-Baptiste Poquelin de, Le Médecin Malgré Lui, 62 Monmouth, James Stuart, Duke of, 174 Monmouth Rebellion, 174 Monson, John, 156 Montagu, Lady Mary Wortley, 23, 24–5, 33, 42, 62 Moore, James (‘Jemmy’), 60 Morrissey, L. J., 47, 218nn129, 146 ‘motion’, 106 Mullart, William, 48, 53 ‘Mum Budget’ letter (HF), 86 Murphy, Arthur, 13, 24, 66 Namier, Sir Lewis, 2–3, 4, 72 Newcastle, Thomas Pelham-Holles, Duke of, ix, 147, 155–6, 158, 160, 199–201, 242n5, 245n88 ‘Norfolk Lanthorn’, 29–32 Nourse, John, 86 Odell, Thomas, 36 Of True Greatness (HF), 30–1, 53, 84, 102–3, 104, 137 Old Debauchees (HF), 58, 62 Old England, 154, 164, 167, 169, 171, 189, 191, 192, 197 Old Man Taught Wisdom (HF), 66, 136 ‘Old Whigs’, 6–7, 89–90, 121, 130, 149, 203, 205 Old Whig, 69 Opposition. A Vision (HF), 2, 10, 78, 91, 106, 107, 110, 111–18, 119, 120, 123, 131, 133, 137, 143, 206

Index Opposition, The, 2, 10, 33, 62, 63–4, 72–3, 76, 78, 79, 82, 83, 86, 94, 95, 102–3, 104, 106–7, 111–18, 119, 121–2, 131, 133, 134, 138, 143, 144, 157, 170, 181–2, 195, 206 ‘New’ Opposition, 118, 122, 134, 136, 145, 160 Otway, Thomas, Venice Preserv’d, 66 Ovid’s Art of Love Paraphrased (HF), 159 Owen, John, B., 2, 112 Oxford, Robert Harley, Earl of, 61, 165–6 Parliament of Great Britain, 1, 3, 6, 63, 65, 70, 89, 93, 96, 98, 99, 106, 112, 131, 147, 149, 160, 163, 178, 194 parties, political (‘factions’), 1–3, 10, 154–5 Pasquin (HF), 4, 7, 65, 66, 67, 69–75, 76, 78–9, 82, 83, 86, 91, 104, 119, 120, 131, 132, 166, 196, 204, 205, 206, 222n27 ‘Pasquin’ letter (HF), 82–3 Patriot Analized, 166–7 ‘Patriot’ Opposition, 72–3, 78, 83, 85, 133, 194 Paulson, Ronald, 8, 9, 23, 38, 129 Peace of Aix-la-Chappelle, 168, 175 Pelham, Henry, ix, 2, 81, 144, 146, 147, 154, 155–6, 157, 158, 159, 170–1, 175, 182, 187, 189, 198–9 Pembroke, Henry Herbert, Earl of, 156 Pendarves, Mary, 67 Penlez, Bosavern, 189–90, 199, 200 Pentlow, William, 199 Pitt, Thomas, 66 Perceval, Sir John, later Earl of Egmont, Faction Detected, By the Evidence of Facts, 121–3, 212n57 Pitt, William, ix, 4, 19, 61–2, 65, 80, 82, 134, 144, 156 Plumb, J. H., 2 Plutus, the God of Riches (HF), 136, 230n74, 232n43 Pocock, J. G. A., 7–8 Pope, Alexander, 8, 11, 23, 33–5, 60, 62, 66, 94, 98, 127, 134, 197, 198, 204 Dunciad, 22, 26, 33–5, 38, 73, 104, 105 Epistle to Burlington, 126–7

267

First Satire of the Second Book of Horace Imitated, 62 Potter, John, 84–5 Probyn, Clive T., ix Proper Answer To A Late Scurrilous Libel (HF), 164–5 Proper Answer to the By-Stander, 121 Proposal for Making an Effectual Provision for the Poor (HF), 15, 199, 244n79 Pulteney, William, Earl of Bath, 2, 45, 46, 50, 62, 80, 102, 111, 114, 118, 120, 121–2, 138, 142, 143, 156, 157, 228n3 Pym, John, 93 Ralph, James, 60, 89, 91, 94, 108, 109, 114, 115, 120, 143, 205 Rape upon Rape (HF), 31, 40–3 Rapha, Anne (HF’s stepmother), 16, 17 Rawson, Claude, 23 Rayner, E., 51, 53, 54 Read’s Weekly Journal, 55 Review of the late Motion, 106–7 Revolution of 1688 (‘Glorious’), 1, 2, 11, 72, 90, 113, 121, 141, 149, 150–1, 163, 164, 165, 178, 181, 183, 187 ‘Revolution Principles’, 1, 5, 11, 183, 207 Ribble, Frederick G., 111, 134, 143, 160, 167, 171 Rich, John, 38, Richardson, Samuel, Pamela, 125–6 Richmond, Charles Lennox, Duke of, 4, 243n41 Riot Act, 189 Ripley, Thomas, 127 Rivers, Isabel, 8, 129, 130 Rogers, Nicholas, 191, 192 Rogers, Pat, 23, 57 Rookes, Mary, 18 Ross, Hon. Charles, 112, 228n10 Ruml III, Treadwell, 129–30, 195 Russell, Richard, 69 Sacheverell, Henry, 131 Sandwich, Earl of, 144 Sandys, Samuel, 120, 121–2 Serious Address to the People of Great Britain (HF), 1, 5, 123, 146, 148–51, 169, 175–7, 188, 206

268

Index

Sedgwick, Sir Romney, 2 Septennial Act, 98, 160 Shaftesbury, Anthony Ashley Cooper, 3rd Earl of, Characteristicks, 179 Shakespeare, William, 24, 191 Hamlet, 174 Shamela (HF), 107, 137 Shippen, William, 2 Sidney, Algernon, 6, 9, 89–90, 91, 120, 203, 205 Discourses concerning Government, 6, 90, 91, 100, 194–5, 203 Smollett, Tobias, 197 Habbakkuk Hilding, 197 Peregrine Pickle, 197 Sophia, Dowager-Duchess of Hanover, 5, South, Robert, 74 South-Sea Bubble, 22, 36, 100 Speck, W. A., 2 Spectator, 40, 92, 93, 95, 97, 197, 225n20 Squires, Mary, 199–200 Strand riots of 1749, 188–9 Steele, Sir Richard, 40, 86, 92, 94, 97, 197 Tatler, 40, 86 see also Spectator Stevenson, John Allen, 173–4, 177, 178–9 Stuart, Charles Edward (the Young Pretender), 11, 147–8, 152–3, 155, 158 Stuart, James Francis Edward (the Old Pretender), 148, 151, 166, 175, 177, 187, 219n21 Swift, Jonathan, 8, 9, 11, 22–4, 25, 26, 33–5, 50, 60, 66, 67, 98, 169, 197, 198, 204, 205, 226n45 Conduct of the Allies, 168 Discourse of the Contests and Dissensions, 194 Drapier’s Letters, 26 Examiner, 197, 203, 210n13 Gulliver’s Travels, 22, 26, 96, 142 Modest Proposal, 197–8 On Poetry: A Rapsody, 60–1 Tale of a Tub, 197 Temple Beau (HF), 29, 31, 36, 91 Ten Queries, submitted to every Sober, Honest and Disinterested Elector, 192 Test and Corporation Acts, 131

Thatcher, Margaret, 64 Theobald, Lewis, 38, 60 Orestes, 59–60 Thomas, Donald, 14 Thomson, James, 60, 98, 153 Tillotson, John, Archbishop of Canterbury, 74 Tindal, Matthew, 8, Christianity as Old as the Creation, 8 Tom Jones (HF), vii, ix, 1, 8, 10, 13, 14–15, 19, 27, 28, 107, 150, 151, 152, 153, 160, 167, 170, 171, 172, 173–84, 185, 191, 195, 206 Tom Thumb (HF), 8, 31, 36, 37–8, 39, 40, 41, 43, 55 Toryism, 2–3, 7, 10, 22–3, 35, 46, 70, 72–3, 80, 98, 100, 106, 113, 119, 120, 121–2, 129–30, 131, 161, 164, 175, 195 ‘Tory satirists’, 7, 23, 204 Tragedy of Tragedies (HF), 8, 23, 32, 38, 43, 48, 49 Trenchard, John, 6, 8, 9, 89–90, 98, 100, 120, 121, 130, 149, 194–5, 203, 205 Argument Shewing that a Standing Army is Inconsistent with a Free Government, 121, 235n9 Short History of Standing Armies in England, 121 see also Cato’s Letters Trentham, Granville Leveson-Gower, Viscount, 191–3 True Patriot (HF), 146, 151, 153–9, 169, 197 True State of the Case of Elizabeth Canning (HF), 199–200 True State of the Case of the Unfortunate Bosavern Penlez (HF), 190, 191–2, 193 Tucker, Andrew, 19–20 Tucker, John, 20 Tumble-Down Dick (HF), 75 Universal Gallant (HF), 65, 66 Universal Register Office, 198 Universal Spectator, 75 Upton, John, 160, 167 Vanbrugh, Sir John, 21, 24 Vandeput, Sir George, 192

Index Vernon, Admiral Edward, 104–6 Vernoniad (HF), 104–6, 115, 127, 204, 206 ‘Vision of the Golden Rump’, 30, 81, 84, 96 Voltaire, François-Marie Arouet de, 93 Wade, General George, 62 Waller, Edmund, 144 Walpole, Horace, 10, 112 Three Letters to the Whigs, 169 Walpole, Sir Robert, later Earl of Orford, ix, 3, 4, 10, 22–4, 26–32, 37, 38, 40–1, 44–8, 51–3, 55–7, 59, 60–5, 69, 72–3, 75, 77–86, 89–110, 111, 112, 113, 115–19, 121, 122, 123, 127, 132–5, 139–44, 146, 163, 165–6, 170, 196, 204, 205, 207 War of the Austrian Succession, 161, 168, 175 War of the Spanish Succession, 135, 168 Warburton, William, 153 Wedding Day (HF), 36, 230n74 Wells, Susannah, 199–200 Welsh Opera (HF), 43–7, 48, 49, 51, 52, 53, 54, 59, 63, 77 Welsted, Leonard, 60 Westminster Election of 1749, 191–3, 199

269

Wharton, Philip, Duke of, 35 Whiggism, 1, 2–3, 7–8, 9, 10–11, 22–3, 46, 70, 72–3, 90–1, 98, 106, 113, 119, 120–2, 129–30, 131, 149, 161, 175, 178, 182, 195, 197, 205–6, 207 radical Whiggism, 5–6, 8, 9, 89–90, 95, 98–100, 120–1, 149, 180, 194–5, 207 ‘real’ Whigs see under ‘Old Whigs’ Whitefield, George, 128 Wild, Jonathan, 22, 137–8 Wildman, Major John, 91 Wilkes, Robert, 24 William III, formerly Prince of Orange, 5, 121, 178 Williams, Sir Charles Hanbury, 143 Williams, Sir Harold, 61 Windsor, Lord, 143 Winnington, Thomas, 165–6 Yorke, Philip, 161, 193 Young, Edward, 60, 98 Night Thoughts, 138 Young, William, 136 Zirker, Malvin R., 7, 171, 194, 199