London: Printed by E.C. Henry Seile, 1655. 8vo. [viii], 184 pp. FIRST EDITION. Woodcut initial and headpiece. Contemporary calf, rebacked; interior in excellent condition. Item #17496
First edition. Howell (c. 1594–1666) was an Anglo-Welsh author who wrote dictionaries, fictions, and political pamphlets. He began writing in earnest between 1643 and 1650 during his imprisonment for debt. Even though he was a Royalist, he was also a pacifist, which drew criticism from both sides. After Cromwell took control of Parliament in 1653, Howell dedicated Som sober inspections to the new Protectorate; in the dedication, he compares Cromwell to Hercules saying that he “quell’d a Monster with many heads” referring to the former regime. Throughout the work he viciously attacks Charles I, who he once supported, in the form of a dialogue between Philanglus, “a good Patriot and great lover of the English,” and Polyander who had studied men around the world. The two discuss different ways of ruling and eventually decide that a commonwealth with one person as the head of the government (not dissimilar from Cromwell’s Protectorate) is the best system. Notwithstanding, after the Restoration in 1660 Howell once again sought favor with the monarchy and was eventually named “historiographer royal” to Charles II.