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HOBBES'S PUBLISHER AND THE POLITICAL BUSINESS OF ENLIGHTENMENT*

  • WILLIAM J. BULMAN (a1)
Abstract
ABSTRACT

This article argues for an ideologically neutral understanding of the early Enlightenment, the Enlightenment public, and later Stuart religious politics. It approaches these topics from the perspective of the book trade. Thomas Hobbes's publisher and man of business in the 1670s, William Crooke, set up his London bookshop as a public forum on ‘Hobbism’ that showcased the confrontation between the Anglican clergy and their most formidable foe. In his shop, Crooke set scribal copies of illicit Hobbes tracts alongside the works of his second prized author, an Enlightened Anglican apologist named Lancelot Addison. The stationer's projects included two separate schemes to publish a controversial Hobbes tract and a bishop's response to it in a single volume. The shop was frequented not only by some of the period's foremost republicans, tolerationists, and freethinkers, but also by powerful members of the political and religious establishment, many of whom condoned and actively supported Crooke's schemes. This case-study shows from the ground up why the early Enlightenment is most profitably understood as a site of struggle between competing schemes for making internecine bloodshed a thing of the past.

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Department of History, Lehigh University, 9 West Packer Ave., Bethlehem PA 18015, USAbulman@lehigh.edu
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*

For invaluable commentary, assistance, and advice on previous versions of this article, the author would like to thank Justin Champion, Mark Goldie, Anthony Grafton, Peter Lake, Noel Malcolm, Meghan Roberts, Jacqueline Rose, Phil Withington, the anonymous peer reviewers, and audiences at the Northeast Conference on British Studies, Dalhousie University's Lawrence D. Stokes History Seminar, and Princeton University's Center for the Study of Books and Media.

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1 Noel Malcolm, Aspects of Hobbes (Oxford, 2002), pp. 457–545; Jon Parkin, Taming the Leviathan: the reception of the political and religious ideas of Thomas Hobbes in England, 1640–1700 (Cambridge, 2007).

2 For an introduction, see Johann P. Sommerville, Thomas Hobbes: political ideas in historical context (New York, NY, 1992).

3 Thomas Hobbes, Correspondence, ed. Noel Malcolm (2 vols., Oxford, 1994), ii, pp. 744–50, 918–19; Thomas Hobbes, Epistola ad Dominum Antonium à Wood (London, 1674).

4 Ogilby and Morgan's large scale map of the city as rebuilt by 1676 (n.p., 1676), www.british-history.ac.uk/no-series/london-map-ogilby-morgan/1676; Morgan's map of the whole of London in 1682 (n.p., 1682), www.british-history.ac.uk/no-series/london-map-morgan/1682; John Timbs, Clubs and club life in London (London, 1899), pp. 417–19.

5 Giles Mandelbrote, ‘Workplaces and living spaces: London book trade inventories of the late seventeenth century’, in Robin Myers, Michael Harris, and Giles Mandlebrote, eds., The London book trade: topographies of print in the metropolis from the sixteenth century (London, 2003), pp. 24–6.

6 Timothy Crist, ‘Francis Smith and the opposition press in England, 1660–1688’ (Ph.D. thesis, Cambridge, 1977); Knights Mark, ‘John Starkey and ideological networks in late seventeenth-century England’, Media History, 11 (2005), pp. 127–45.

7 Bryant Lillywhite, London coffee houses (London, 1963), pp. 190–1, 466–7.

8 Brian William Cowan, The social life of coffee: the emergence of the British coffeehouse (New Haven, CT, 2005), pp. 184, 204–5; Harold Love, Scribal publication in seventeenth-century England (Oxford, 1993), pp. 20–1.

9 James Raven, The business of books: booksellers and the English book trade, 1450–1850 (New Haven, CT, 2007), pp. 113–14.

10 Malcolm, Aspects, pp. 337–82; Stationers' Company of London, Court Book D (reel 56), fo. 242r.

11 Cf. Malcolm, Aspects, p. 348; Hobbes, Correspondence, ii, p. 824.

12 Hugh Macdonald and Mary Hargreaves, Thomas Hobbes: a bibliography (London, 1952), pp. 67–8, 73–4; Paul Seaward, ‘General introduction’, in Thomas Hobbes, Behemoth, ed. Paul Seaward (Oxford, 2010), pp. 15–16; Hobbes, Correspondence, ii, p. 772.

13 A catalogue of the works of Mr Hobbes (London, 1675). See also Seaward, ‘General introduction’, pp. 6, 10–17; Alan Cromartie, ‘General introduction’, in Thomas Hobbes, Writings on common law and hereditary right, ed. Alan Cromartie and Quentin Skinner (Oxford, 2005), pp. xvi–xix; Love, Scribal publication, pp. 70–9.

14 Seaward, ‘General introduction’, pp. 14, 16.

15 Adrian Johns, The nature of the book: print and knowledge in the making (Chicago, IL, 1998), pp. 116–20.

16 Love, Scribal publication, pp. 40, 70–1, 73, 79.

17 Hobbes, Correspondence, ii, pp. 767–70.

18 John Locke, Correspondence, ed. E. S. De Beer (8 vols., Oxford, 1976), i, pp. 199–200; Seaward, ‘General introduction’, p. 11.

19 John Aubrey, ‘Brief lives’: chiefly of contemporaries, ed. Andrew Clark (Oxford, 1898), i, pp. 108, 110; Henry Blount, A voyage into the Levant (London, 1636), title page: ‘Printed by I. L. for Andrew Crooke, and are to be sold at the sign of the Beare in Pauls church-yard’.

20 David Wilson, ‘Reading Restoration freethought: Charles Blount's impious learning’ (Ph.D. thesis, London, 2003), p. 106; Hobbes, Correspondence, ii, pp. 759–66. Stubbe also owned Lancelot Addison's West Barbary and used it in his history of Islam. See British Library (BL) Sloane MS 35, fo. 15v, Sloane MS 1709, fos. 102v, 109v.

21 Raven, Business of books, p. 92.

22 The following discussion of Andrew and William Crooke's bookselling is based on a thorough review of the works they sold, as well as Hobbes, Correspondence, ii, pp. 823–5; Mark Goldie, ‘Crooke, Andrew (c. 1605–1674)’, Oxford dictionary of national biography.

23 On publics, see, e.g., Randall David, ‘The prudential public sphere’, Philosophy and Rhetoric, 44 (2011), pp. 205–26; Bulman William J., ‘Publicity and popery on the Restoration stage: Elkanah Settle's Empress of Morocco in context’, Journal of British Studies, 51 (2012), pp. 308–39; Bronwen Wilson and Paul Yachnin, Making publics in early modern Europe (New York, NY, 2009); Angela Vanhaelen and Joseph P. Ward, Making space public in early modern Europe (New York, NY, 2013); Amanda Flather, Gender and space in early modern England (Woodbridge, 2007); Michael Warner, Publics and counterpublics (New York, NY, 2002); Bruno Latour, Reassembling the social: an introduction to actor-network-theory (Oxford, 2005).

24 Johns, Nature of the book, pp. 116–20.

25 Ibid., pp. 138, 140, 144–5; Anne Goldgar, Impolite learning: conduct and community in the Republic of Letters, 1680–1750 (New Haven, CT, 1995), pp. 49–51.

26 Lancelot Addison, West Barbary (Oxford, 1671), ‘Preface to the reader’.

27 See, e.g., The National Archives, SP 29/29, fo. 163.

28 Lancelot Addison, The first state of Mahumedism (London, 1678).

29 Bodleian Library, Oxford, MS Smith 141, fo. 120v.

30 Bodleian MS Smith 59, p. 337.

31 Bodleian MS Smith 63, p. 8.

32 On both Addison's works and late seventeenth-century historical methods, see William J. Bulman, Anglican Enlightenment: orientalism, religion and politics in England and its empire, 1648–1715 (Cambridge, 2015).

33 Malcolm, Aspects, pp. 541–5.

34 Hobbes, Correspondence, ii, pp. 772, 819–20; Aubrey, ‘Brief lives’, i, p. 340; Seaward, ‘General introduction’, pp. 11–13.

35 Seaward, ‘General introduction’, pp. 10–11.

36 Hobbes, Correspondence, ii, p. 693; Seaward, ‘General introduction’, pp. 2, 6; Milton Philip, ‘Hobbes, heresy, and Lord Arlington’, History of Political Thought, 14 (1993), pp. 501–46, at pp. 525–32.

37 Hobbes, Correspondence, ii, pp. 916–17.

38 Ibid., p. 699.

39 Donald McKenzie and Maureen Bell, eds., A chronology and calendar of documents relating to the London book trade (3 vols., Oxford, 2005), ii, p. 112. Williamson owned this work: see Queen's College Library, Oxford (QCL), MS 42, p. 98.

40 See Bulman, Anglican Enlightenment, chs. 1–2; Peter Fraser, The intelligence of the secretaries of state (Cambridge, 1956); Alan Marshall, Intelligence and espionage in the reign of Charles II, 1660–1685 (Cambridge, 1994).

41 Love, Scribal publication, pp. 177–91.

42 For a similar judgement on a different case, see Lindenbaum Peter, ‘Authors and publishers in the late seventeenth century, ii: Brabazon Aylmer and the mysteries of the trade’, Library, 3 (2002), pp. 36–7.

43 See Nicholas D. Jackson, Hobbes, Bramhall and the politics of liberty and necessity (Cambridge, 2007).

44 Thomas Hobbes and Benjamin Laney, A letter about liberty and necessity (London, 1676).

45 Stationers' Company of London, A transcript of the registers (3 vols., London, 1875–1914), iii, p. 14.

46 George Croom Robertson, Hobbes (Philadelphia, PA, 1886), p. 202.

47 Compare Malcolm, Aspects, ch. 10. Contrast John Spurr, The Restoration Church of England (New Haven, CT, 1991), pp. 226, 236, 261, 268; John Marshall, John Locke, toleration, and early Enlightenment culture (Cambridge, 2006), pp. 195–466.

48 D. F. McKenzie, ‘The London book trade in 1668’, in idem, Making meaning (Amherst, MA, 2002), pp. 109–25.

49 Dzelzainis Martin and Patterson Annabel, ‘Marvell and the earl of Anglesey: a chapter in the history of reading’, Historical Journal, 44 (2001), pp. 703–26; Douglas Greene, ‘Arthur Annesley, first earl of Anglesey, 1614–1686’ (Ph.D. thesis, Chicago, 1972).

50 QCL MS 204, fo. 137r, MS 339, fo. 70r.

51 Hobbes, Correspondence, i, pp. 271–2, 293–4, 311–12, 333–5, 379–80, 384, 395, 420–40, 448.

52 QCL MS 204, fos. 131r–182v. Contrast Justin Champion, ‘An historical narration concerning heresie: Thomas Hobbes, Thomas Barlow, and the Restoration debate over “heresy”’, in David Loewenstein and John Marshall, eds., Heresy, literature, and politics in early modern English culture (Cambridge, 2007), pp. 221–53.

53 Contrast the partial but compatible discussions in Noel Malcolm, ‘Private and public knowledge: Kircher, esotericism, and the Republic of Letters’, in Paula Findlen, ed., Athanasius Kircher: the last man who knew everything (New York, NY, 2004), pp. 300–2; Malcolm, Aspects, pp. 535–45; Martin Mulsow, Die unanständige Gelehrtenrepublik (Stuttgart, 2007).

54 Hobbes, Correspondence, ii, p. 771. The expiration lasted from 1679 to 1685.

55 Thomas Hobbes, An historical narration concerning heresie (London, 1680; Wing H2238).

56 QCL MS 339, fo. 70r; Hobbes, Narration, sig. f2r; Macdonald and Hargreaves, Bibliography, p. 73.

57 QCL MS 339, fo. 71v.

58 BL MS Add 72852, fo. 199r, MS Add 72850, fos. 194r, 196r, 298r, 302r.

59 See Mark Goldie, ‘Sir Peter Pett, sceptical toryism and the science of toleration in the 1680s’, in W. J. Sheils, ed., Persecution and toleration (Oxford, 1984), pp. 247–73.

60 Sir Peter Pett, The obligation resulting from the oath of supremacy (London, 1687), p. 22.

61 Ibid., title page: ‘Printed for…William Crook at the Green Dragon’ (this work was sold by two others as well); idem, The genuine remains of that learned prelate Dr. Thomas Barlow (London, 1693), pp. 185–8; idem, Memoirs of the right honorable Arthur, earl of Anglesey (London, 1693); idem, The happy future state of England (London, 1688); Goldie, ‘Sir Peter Pett’, p. 250.

62 QCL MS 339, fo. 70r. See also QCL MS 204, fos. 134–5.

63 William Gulston, Articles of enquiry (London, 1682), title page: ‘Printed for William Crook’.

64 QCL MS 339, fo. 70 (all quotations), MS 449.

65 An answer to a book published by Dr. Bramhall (London, 1682); Tracts of Mr. Thomas Hobbs of Malmsbury (London, 1682).

66 [John Shafto], The great law of nature (London, 1673), sigs. a2r–a3r, title page: ‘to be sold by Will. Crook at the Green-Dragon’.

67 [William Howell], The spirit of prophecy (London, 1679), sigs. a2r–v, title page: ‘Printed for W. Crook at the Green Dragon’.

68 Edward Arber, The term catalogues, 1668–1709 (3 vols., privately printed, 1903), i, p. 268; Journals of the House of Commons, ix, p. 382; Robert Yard et al., London Gazette (London, 1666–), number 1177 (26 Feb. – 1 Mar. 1677).

69 Lancelot Addison, A modest plea for the clergy (London, 1677), title page and epistle dedicatory; Tacitus, The histories: books 4–5. Annals: books 1–3, trans. C. H. Moore and J. Jackson (Cambridge, MA, 1931), pp. 190–1: ‘honor sacerdotii firmamentum potentiae’.

70 Addison, Modest plea for the clergy, p. 4.

71 Ibid., pp. 12–14, 145–6.

72 See Bulman, Anglican Enlightenment, ch. 4.

73 George Hickes, ‘To the reader’, in idem et al., Three short treatises (London, 1709). See also Bodleian Ballard MS 12, fo. 170.

74 The most prominent recent examples of this conflation are Jonathan Israel, Radical Enlightenment: philosophy and the making of modernity, 1650–1750 (Oxford, 2001) (see pp. 159, 602); idem, Enlightenment contested: philosophy, modernity, and the emancipation of man, 1670–1752 (Oxford, 2006); idem, Democratic Enlightenment: philosophy, revolution, and human rights, 1750–1790 (Oxford, 2011). For a study of freethinking that avoids this conflation see Sarah Ellenzweig, The fringes of belief: English literature, ancient heresy, and the politics of freethinking, 1660–1760 (Stanford, CA, 2008).

75 For an example, see Justin Champion, ‘Godless politics: Hobbes and public religion’, in William J. Bulman and Robert G. Ingram, eds., God in the Enlightenment (Oxford, forthcoming, 2016), ch. 1.

76 See Bulman, Anglican Enlightenment, ch. 4. On the way in which historians have traditionally described Anglican divines who were partial to Hobbes, see Marshall John, ‘The ecclesiology of the latitude-men’, Journal of Ecclesiastical History, 36 (1985), pp. 407–27; Spurr John, ‘“Latitudinarianism” and the Restoration Church’, Historical Journal, 31 (1988), pp. 6182.

77 Examples include Tim Harris, Restoration (London, 2006), esp. pp. 54–6; Mark Goldie, ‘Priestcraft and the birth of Whiggism’, in Nicholas Phillipson and Quentin Skinner, eds., Political discourse in early modern Britain (Cambridge, 1993), pp. 209–31; Tim Harris, Politics under the later Stuarts (London, 1993), pp. 40–74; Marshall, Locke, toleration, and early Enlightenment culture; Gary De Krey, London and the Restoration (Cambridge, 2005).

78 For a broader, more detailed, and corroborating treatment of early Enlightenment culture, the politics of religion in later Stuart England, and historiographical debates on these fronts, see Bulman, Anglican Enlightenment; idem, ‘Enlightenment for the culture wars’, in Bulman and Ingram, eds., God in the Enlightenment. For similar continental perspectives, see, e.g., David Sorkin, The religious Enlightenment (Princeton, NJ, 2008); Ian Hunter, The secularization of the confessional state: the political thought of Christian Thomasius (Cambridge, 2007).

79 For recent examples, see Jonathan Sheehan, The Enlightenment Bible (Princeton, NJ, 2005); William Warner and Clifford Siskin, eds., This is enlightenment (Chicago, IL, 2010).

80 For a compatible notion of a single Enlightenment public, see John Roberston, The case for the Enlightenment: Scotland and Naples, 1680–1760 (Cambridge, 2005), p. 40.

81 Mark Curran, Atheism, religion and Enlightenment in pre-revolutionary Europe (Woodbridge, 2012). See also Didier Masseau, Les ennemis des philosophes (Paris, 2000); Oliver Ferret, La fureur de nuire: échanges pamphlétaires entre philosophes et antiphilosophes (1750–1770) (Oxford, 2007).

82 See, e.g., Dan Edelstein, The Enlightenment: a genealogy (Chicago, IL, 2010).

83 Contrast Robertson, Case for the Enlightenment, pp. 34–40; Reinhart Koselleck, Critique and crisis: Enlightenment and the pathogenesis of modern society (Cambridge, MA, 1988). Compare Jeremy Caradonna, The Enlightenment in practice: academic prize contests and intellectual culture in France, 1670–1794 (Ithaca, NY, 2012). On the relationships among the Republic of Letters, the Enlightenment, and the eighteenth-century ‘public sphere’, see, e.g., James Van Horn Melton, The rise of the public in Enlightenment Europe (Cambridge, 2001); Dena Goodman, The Republic of Letters (Ithaca, NY, 1994); Charles W. Withers, Placing the Enlightenment (Chicago, IL, 2007); Roger Chartier, The cultural origins of the French Revolution (Durham, NC, 1991).

* For invaluable commentary, assistance, and advice on previous versions of this article, the author would like to thank Justin Champion, Mark Goldie, Anthony Grafton, Peter Lake, Noel Malcolm, Meghan Roberts, Jacqueline Rose, Phil Withington, the anonymous peer reviewers, and audiences at the Northeast Conference on British Studies, Dalhousie University's Lawrence D. Stokes History Seminar, and Princeton University's Center for the Study of Books and Media.

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