Amsterdam: n.p, 1692. 4to. [viii], 72 pp. FIRST EDITION. Half-calf and marbled boards, spine label; red fore-edge. Dated (1860) armorial bookplate of North Library (Earl of Macclesfield Library). Item #17543
First edition. This text is one of many in a “pamphlet war” between the author General Ludlow, a republican, and Dr. Richard Hollingwoth, a Royalist. Hollingwoth sought to defend the late King Charles I against those who criticized his reign. He also argued that Charles I was the true author of Eikon basilike (1649), a work published just before his execution which was the subject of great debate as to its authorship. Republicans like Ludlow agreed with John Milton and others who questioned the authenticity of the claim that Charles was the author, and furthermore viciously attacked not only Charles but the current monarch, James II. Ludlow published his first attack in 1691 in a pamphlet entitled A letter from Major-General Ludlow to Sir E.S. In response, Hollingworth issued A defence of King Charles I: occasion’d by the lyes and scandals of many bad men of this age (1691). This work is the rebuttal, in which Ludlow scathingly characterizes Hollingworth’s pamphlets as “pieces of flattery compiled by a hungry Levite, gaping at a deanery or chaplainship at Whitehall.” To add insult to injury, he amplifies his attack on the monarchy by including a critique of Charles II. Hollingworth continued to assail Ludlow in his writings. This back-and-forth demonstrates the continued importance of pamphlet wars in the decades after the English Civil War.
The authorship of this work is dubious. The name “General Ludlow” was possibly a reference to Edmund Ludlow (1617?–1692), a radical republican and soldier who fought for Parliament against Charles I and the Royalists. In 1648, he assisted the Independents (radical Puritans) in ousting the Presbyterians (modern Purtians) from Parliament, and the following year was one of the judges against Charles I (and actually signed the warrant for his execution). However, when Oliver Cromwell declared himself Lord Protector in 1653, Ludlow openly opposed him. He continued to fight against the Protectorate until the Restoration in 1660 when he was forced to flee to Switzerland.