The Beginnings of English Feminism

A tradition of the learned lady was carried through the Commonwealth period in England to the Restoration by women of Puritan birth and upbringing. In matters of learning England was not isolated and the most famous woman scholar in Europe, Anna Maria à Schurman, was in correspondence with Englishmen and women of similar tastes to her own. Of German extraction, she had settled in Holland, where she was a zealous member of the reformed Church1. In 1645 she wrote to Sir Simonds D’Ewes from Utrecht in reply to a letter from him. She was, she said, ‘not a little encouraged’ to write to him by his ‘most equitable sentence concerning our sexe’. Sir Simonds had desired to meet her because her ‘industry in the sublimer studies’ had been so highly commended by ‘the most learned matron, Madam Bathshua Makin’. Anna Maria asked to be informed about ‘what is achieved by your most honourable assembly—that is, the Long Parliament—either in peace or war’ and concluded ‘Farewell, Great Patron of learning, with your most generous Wife, whom I entreat you most humbly to salute in my name’.

This letter was added by Clement Barksdale to his translation of the best known of Anna Maria à Schurman’s writings, The Learned Maid or Whether a Maid may be a Scholar?’ which he published in 1659, with the sub-title, A logick exercise2. It had first appeared in Latin in 1641. The author concludes that ‘maids may and ought to be excited and encouraged by the best and strongest reasons, by the testimonies of wise men: and lastly by the examples of illustrious women, to the embracing of this kind of life, especially those who are above others provided of leisure, and other means and aides for their studies. And because it is best that the mind be seasoned with Learning from Infancy: therefore the Parents themselves are chiefly to be stirred up, as we suppose, and to be admonished of their Duty’1. An engraving, purporting to be a picture of the author at the age of fifty-two, forms the frontispiece to the book. Clement Barksdale prefixed to his translation a letter of dedication to ‘the honourable lady A. H.’ ‘This strange maid’, he wrote, ‘being now for the second time dressed up in her English Habit, cometh to kiss your hand. She hopes you will admit her to your closet, and speak a good word for her to your worthy friends, and endear her to them also. Her company will be the more delightful because her discourse is very rational and much tending to the perfection of that Sexe, whereof you, Excellent Lady, by your Noble Virtues are so great an ornament and Example. The honourer of your Piety, more then of your Fortune. C. B.’2 It is a pity that the honourable lady A. H. cannot be identified.

Clement Barksdale was a true friend to women’s education, who deserves better treatment than history has given him. Anthony Wood described him as ‘a writer and translator of several little tracts most of which are mere scribbles’3. He was certainly indefatigable in writing, translating, and publishing. He was born in 1609 at Winchcombe and educated at Abingdon Grammar School. At Oxford he was ordained; in 1637 went to Hereford to be master of the free school and a vicar choral. In 1646 he retreated from Hereford before the Parliamentary army to Sudeley Castle, where for a time he acted as chaplain. Then he went to Hawling in the Cotswolds and set up a school. At the Restoration he was presented to the livings of Naunton, near Hawling, and Stow-on-the-Wold. He died in 1687, aged seventy-eight, leaving behind him ‘the character of a frequent and edifying preacher and a good neighbour’4.

It may be supposed that, like Dr. Denton, Barksdale was more of a royalist than a Parliamentarian, but both men were less interested in politics than in following their professions. Barksdale was a schoolmaster who believed in teaching girls properly as well as boys. One of his numerous tracts deals with the possibility of setting up what he described as a college of maids or a virgin-society. He was not alone in feeling that women had lost something by the destruction of the nunnery schools which the seventeenth-century schools had not replaced. The nuns’ schools were by no means efficient, but in the retrospect their defects were forgotten and imaginary virtues attributed to them. In later years girls belonging to Roman Catholic families were sometimes sent to France for education, and religious houses for English Catholics were in time established abroad. But for members of the Church of England this was of no help. In the early seventeenth century it had been dangerous to send a girl to a foreign nunnery and in 1612 a Lady Parkins forfeited her estate for doing this1. The author of The Ladies Calling, published in 1673, went so far as to say ‘As for the religious orders of Virgins in the present Roman Church, tho some and those very great abuses have crept in; yet I think ‘twere to be wished that those who supprest them in this nation, had confin’d themselves within the bounds of a reformation, by choosing rather to rectify and regulate, then abolish them’2.

The Ladies Calling is one of a group of devotional works attributed to the author of The Whole Duty of Man.3 With this famous book they set out the orthodox Church of England view and may perhaps be regarded as the Church’s answer to the extreme religious reformers of the day. All these books were published anonymously, but their authorship, or at least that of The Whole Duty, has been several times claimed for a woman, the royalist Lady Pakington, who died in 1679. She was the daughter of Thomas, Lord Coventry, who became guardian of Sir John Pakington when, at the age of five, he inherited his title and the estate of Westwood, Worcestershire. The year when Sir John married his guardian’s daughter is unknown, like the year of her birth. But from 1649 until his death in 1660 the royalist divine, Dr. Hammond, made his home at Westwood with Sir John and Lady Pakington4. Eminent royalist clergymen, Dr. Fell and Richard Allestree among them, frequently visited their friend Hammond there. Lady Pakington was not only the generous hostess but the understanding friend of these men. She was well educated and could write unusually clear and well-turned prose. She was deeply interested in religion. The first suggestion that she had any part in writing The Whole Duty of Man came from Dr. George Hickes, the nonjuror and founder of Anglo-Saxon studies in England. In dedicating his Thesaurus to Lady Pakington’s grandson he recalled that ‘her practical piety, talents, and the excellence of her composition entitles her to be called and esteemed the author of the Whole Duty’1. Richard Allestree, who at the Restoration became a canon of Christchurch, Oxford, in 1663 Regius Professor of Divinity, and in 1665 Provost of Eton, is now generally regarded as the author, perhaps in association with Dr. Fell, of all seven books in question. But the evidence which Hickes acquired, as he himself records, from divines who were friends of Hammond and Lady Pakington, is enough to suggest that she not only gave shelter to the author, but discussed the work with him and helped to refashion his sentences into a smoother style.

Clement Barksdale cast his tract about a women’s college into the form of a letter dated 12 August 1675 and beginning ‘Noble Sir, You may expect I should give you some account of our design mentioned yesterday at our Venison (where we had half a dozen fair young ladies, rich and virtuous) concerning the Colledge of Maids, or the Virgin-Society’2. The end of the plan was, he explained, ‘to improve ingenuous Maids in such qualities as best become their Sex, and may fit them both for a happy life in this and much more in the next world’. ‘The meanes’ to secure this was by separating them from ‘the contagion of common Conversation’ in a convenient house where they could find employment and exercise, and live and eat together, ‘somewhat like the Halls of Commoners at Oxford’. On entering the society each should put caution money into the hands of the Steward, ‘an aged, grave Gentleman, of known integrity’, five pounds or more or less according to her quality. In the common dining-room those of higher quality should sit at the higher table, presided over by the chief governess and those of lower at the lower table presided over by the pro-governess. Maids of meaner birth and estate whose friends cannot at all or cannot fully maintain them shall wait upon the two tables. An ‘ancient Divine, of competent Gravity and learning, should be appointed by the Lord Bishop of the Diocese’ ‘to attend at the Chappel or Dining-room once or twice a day for prayers; and he also preacheth once or twice a week’. The two governesses, chosen yearly, would ‘appoint the ladies a method of private reading and Devotion’. The virgins’ fathers, or two among them, were to be visitors. They could ‘when they please, take their daughters home for a few days; and dispose of them in marriage when they please, taking a fair farewell of the Society’. The ladies would learn the use and virtue of the herbs in the ‘fair garden’.

This letter sets out the first considered plan for a women’s college on the lines of those to which their brothers went. It is possible that in putting forward this design Clement Barksdale was remembering how Lady Falkland had wished to establish such colleges in various parts of England1. His inclusion of an account of Lady Falkland, the only woman thus honoured, in his Memorials of Worthy Persons is significant2. In drawing up the plans for the college Clement Barksdale considered also the work to be done in it. The students’ library, kept in the dining-room, was to contain ‘authors of History, Poetry, and especially Practical Divinity and Devotion: Not only English, but of learned and Modern languages, Wherein divers of the Society are skilled and willing to teach the rest, as many as are inclined and apt to learn’. There will also be among them those who can teach ‘music and dancing (besides needlework and drawing), so far as, at least (which is enough) as concerneth decent motion and gesture of body, and may serve for recreation or for the service of God, I mean music of voice or instrument’. ‘Some of them’, he continues, ‘are capable and well-affected to studies of Philosophy, especially Natural and Moral; and are delighted with making some of the easier experiments in natural things’. The ‘chambers and liberty of going abroad’ can be regulated by their parents and their governesses. Their apparel should be modest and suitable, ‘a loose gown girt about them and a large Hood, the gentlewomen wear silk of some sad colour, their maids fine serge. But when with their friends they go in any becoming habit, not showing any part naked, except their face and hands’. Finally they should go to their parish church on holy days. Barksdale added a postscript about a house which had evidently been considered as suitable for the venture, saying that it would contain twenty gentlewomen and their ten maids, two for the kitchen, two for the buttery and six for the dining-room. ‘The Persons’, he thought, ‘may be found within seven miles compass’.

Nothing came of this suggestion, the day-dream of a happy company of friends, but Clement Barksdale felt strongly enough about it to put his letter into print and circulate it. The idea of a college for girls was mooted again nine years later. In his sermon upon almsgiving preached on Easter Tuesday, 1 April 1684, before the Lord Mayor and aldermen of London, Dr. George Hickes, then Dean of Worcester, suggested various suitable objects of charity to the congregation. Among them he suggested the ‘building of schools or colleges for the Education of young Women, much like unto those in the universities for the Education of Young Men, but with some Alteration in the Discipline Oeconomy, as the nature of such an Institution would require’. He argued that not only would daughters be safer in such colleges than in private schools but they would be bred up in the religion now established in the land. Women were, he thought, in danger of being led into enthusiasm and schism ‘for want of Ingenious and Orthodox Education, and not for want of Parts’1. There are many indications that in the ‘seventies and ‘eighties of the seventeenth century much thought was put into the problems of educating girls. The author of The Ladies Calling, whose third paragraph of his section ‘Of Virgins’ Clement Barksdale quoted at the end of his Letter, was more concerned with manners, morals, and general behaviour than the subjects which girls should study. But he fully realized that the folly of many girls and women was the result of bad upbringing.

Between 1670 and 1675 two professional teachers, Mrs. Hannah Woolley and Mrs. Bathshua Makin, separately published their views on the education and upbringing of women. All that is known of Hannah Woolley’s family and youth is what she tells in one or other of her own books. Thrown on the world at fourteen, she was the sole mistress of a little school by the time she was fifteen. She owed her advancement in life to a lady who employed her to teach her daughter1. From her mother and elder sisters Hannah Woolley had learned something of the art of healing2. She could even treat wounds ‘not desperately dangerous’3. Since she was born in 1623 she may well have found her skill useful in the civil war. From her first employer she learned much about the management of a great house and the way to behave at court. After this lady died, Hannah entered the service of another as governess, rising during the next seven years to be her mistress’s ‘Stewardess, and her Scribe and Secretary’. Hannah continued her education, reading all the collections of published letters which she was able to consult4. In the supplement to her book The Queen-like Closet, published in 1675, she printed examples of bad and good letter-writing as a guide to her readers, saying that she did so because ‘in writing most Women are to seek’5. Hannah Woolley improved her knowledge of ‘Physick and Chyrurgery’ both by practice as her mistress’s almoner, and by reading and instruction. When she was twenty-four she married Mr. Woolley, the master of the free school at Newport, Essex. She had four sons of her own and a large number of boarders both at Newport and afterwards at Hackney, the fashionable suburb for schools6.

Hannah Woolley’s first cookery book was published in 1661, perhaps in the hope of making money to maintain her family after her husband’s death. She married again in 1666, but again was widowed7. By 1674, when the second edition of The Queen-like Closet was issued, she was living ‘at Mr. Richard Wolley’s house in the Old Bailey in Golden Cup Court’. He was probably her son. ‘He is’, wrote Hannah Woolley proudly, ‘Master of Arts, and Reader at St. Martin’s Ludgate’. There she sold remedies ‘at reasonable Rates’. She was prepared to train gentlewomen who wished to enter service and to recommend them to her friends8. Her best known book is The Gentlewoman’s Companion, published in 1675 with a preface signed by Hannah Woolley and dated 1672. Her publisher kept the copy by him and at last issued it with some additions by another hand. Hannah Woolley therefore produced an enlarged edition of The Queen-like Closet, first published in 16701. Both books were popular and ran through many editions. There was nothing of the scholar about Hannah Woolley. She was a practical woman, who always supported herself by hard work. It had taught her to admire learning and to resent the limitations of every woman’s life.

‘The right education of the female sex’, she wrote in the Introduction to The Gentlewoman’s Companion, ‘as it is in a manner everywhere neglected, so it ought to be generally lamented. Most in this depraved later Age think a woman learned enough if she can distinguish her Husband’s bed from anothers. Certainly Mans soul cannot boast of a more sublime original than ours; they had equally their effulux from the same eternal immensity, and are therefore capable of the same improvement by good Education. Vain man is apt to think we were meerly intended for the world’s propagation and to keep its inhabitants sweet and clean; but by their leaves had we the same Literature, he would find our brains as fruitful as our bodies. Hence I am induced to believe that we are debarred from the knowledge of humane learning lest our pregnant wits should rival the touring conceit of our insulting Lords and Masters.

‘Pardon the severity of this expression since I intend not thereby to infuse the spirit of Rebellion into the sweet blood of females; for know I would all such as are entered into the honourable estate of matrimony to be loyal and loving Subjects to their lawful (though lording) Husbands. I cannot but complain of, and must condemn the great negligence of Parents, in letting the fertile ground of their daughters lie fallow, yet send the barren Noddles of their sons to the University, where they stay for no purpose than to fill their empty sconces with idle notions’2.

Hannah Woolley’s experience as a writer of cookery books and guides to housekeeping had taught her that more attention is paid to an exaggerated advertisement than to a sober statement. She felt bitter about the casual way girls were educated and envious for them of their brothers’ chances at the universities. She had sensible views about the qualities which should be looked for in a governess. ‘Those who undertake the difficult employ of being an instructress of children should be persons of no mean birth and breeding, civil in deportment, and of an extraordinary winning and pleasing conversation’3. When she discussed the qualities which become a gentlewoman she again reverted to the relation between the sexes saying ‘I have already endeavoured to prove that though Nature hath differed mankind into sexes, yet she never intended any great difference in the intellect’1. In proof of this statement she cited the treatise in vindication of the female sex by Cornelius Agrippa2, and ‘the many learned and incomparable Writings of Famous Women’ such as Anna Comnena and Anna Maria à Schurman3. That Hannah Woolley was serious in her advice to young girls to become scholars is shown by her recommendation of Latin as a subject for their serious study. ‘Apply yourselves to your Grammar by time’, she says, ‘and let your endeavours be indefatigable, and not to be tired in apprehending the first principles of the Latin tongue. Your understanding of the Latin tongue will enable you to write and speak true and good English, next it will accommodate you with an eloquent style in speaking, and afford you matter for any discourse’. French and Italian should also be learned ‘by reason of our Gentries travelling into foreign parts occasioned by our late unhappy and inhumane home-bred distractions’4.

Bathshua Makin’s An Essay to revive the Ancient Education of Gentlewomen in Religion, Manners, Arts, and Tongues was published in 1673 and, as well as a treatise on education, it was a prospectus of Mrs. Makin’s own school where this education could be acquired at reasonable charges5. Here again the author’s wares were cried up and shown to more advantage by stressing the evils of the time. In her dedication addressed ‘To all ingenious and virtuous ladies and especially to her highness the Lady Mary, eldest daughter to his royal highness the Duke of York’—the future Queen Mary II—Mrs. Makin said ‘The barbarous custom to breed Women low is grown general amongst us, and hath prevailed so far, that it is verily believed (especially amongst a sort of debauched Sots) that Women are not endoued with such Reason as Men; nor capable of improvement by Education, as they are. It is lookt upon as a monstrous thing, to pretend the contrary. A learned Woman is thought to be a Comet, that bodes Mischief, whenever it appears. To offer to the World the liberal Education for Women is to deface the Image of God in Man, it will make Women so high, and men so low, like Fire in the Housetop it will set the whole world in a Flame’6. The tract is prefaced by two letters, one purporting to come from a supporter and the other from an opposer of the proposals set out by Mrs. Makin. The man who opposes female education states roundly ‘Women do not much desire Knowledge; they are of low parts, soft fickle natures, they have other things to do they will not mind if they be once Bookish; The end of learning is to fit one for publick Employment, which Women are not capable of. Women must not speak in the Church, its against custom. Solomon’s good Housewife is not commended for Arts and Tongues, but for looking after her Servants; And that which is worst of all, they are of such ill natures, they will abuse their Education, and be so intolerably Proud, there will be no living with them: If all these things can be answered, they would not have leisure’1.

The treatise took up and answered, point by point, all the objections contained in this letter. Mrs. Makin pointed out that women have in the past been educated in the Arts and Tongues and been eminent in those studies. Like all who wrote of education in the sixteenth century she went to the classical period for examples, but Lady Jane Grey could not be overlooked. Also the ‘present Duchess of New-Castle, by her own Genius, rather than any timely Instruction, over-tops many grave Gown-men’. She went on to quote her own pupil, the Princess Elizabeth, daughter of Charles I, ‘who at nine years old could write, read, and in some measure understand, Latin, Greek, Hebrew, French, and Italian. Had she lived, what a miracle would She have been of her Sex!’ She cited also Mrs. Thorold, daughter of Lady Carr in Lincolnshire, Lady Mildmay, and Dr. Love’s daughters, all of whom were, presumably, her pupils also2. Queen Elizabeth was, of course, mentioned as pre-eminent in languages and oratory. Women who have understood Logic, have been profound philosophers, mathematicians, and poets are named to confound her opponent. Finally in. a postscript enquirers are informed that this education can be acquired at ‘a school lately opened at Tottenham-high-Cross within four miles of London, in the road to Ware, where Mrs. Makin is Governess, who was sometimes Tutoress to Princess Elizabeth, Daughter to King Charles the First’. The fees were £20 per annum, but if ‘a competent improvement be made in the Tongues, and other things aforementioned … something more will be expected’. Further ‘information could be obtained every Tuesday at Mr. Mason’s Coffee-House in Cornhil, near the Royal Exchange; and on Thursdayes at the Bolt and Tun in Fleetstreet, between the hours of three and six in the Afternoon, by some person whom Mris. Makin shall appoint’1.

Bathshua Makin was a more fashionable teacher than Hannah Woolley. As the woman chosen to teach the king’s daughter her position in the world was secure. Her father had been the rector of Southwick, Sussex, and her brother was Dr. John Pell, an eminent mathematician. Her friendship with Anna Maria à Schurman and with Sir Simonds D’Ewes indicates, as does her name, that she leaned to the Puritan side of religion. She claimed to have taught Lucy, Countess of Huntingdon2, who must have been of about the same age as Bathshua herself. Probably they read classical authors together when Bathshua Makin was governess to the countess’s daughter, Lady Elizabeth Hastings, who married Sir James Langham of Cottesbrook, Northamptonshire, and died in 1664, little more than a year after her marriage. Her funeral sermon, preached by Simon Ford of Northampton, was printed in the next year together with a number of poems written in her honour3. Among the poems is one by Bathshua Makin, who in it mentions how the Lady Elizabeth

‘in Latine, French, Italian, happilie

Advanced in with pleasure’4.

One story told by the preacher suggests that learning had not always come easily to the Lady Elizabeth. ‘She was known once in her younger years to address herself to her Governess with tears, intreating her pardon for that in her very child-hood she was conscious that she had been defective in affection to her, for she thought, that she did not love her’5.

Both Hannah Woolley and Bathshua Makin were trying to make a living in a hard world. Each was advertising her wares with all the eloquence at her command. It would be grossly unfair to their contemporaries to take their strictures on the education of women at their face value. Yet this has often been done. The implication that the heads of sons were ‘barren noddles’ while the brains of daughters were sharper than swords was as far from the truth as the suggestion that there was no desire to educate daughters. The fact that these women of the middle class were making a living by writing and teaching indicates that the education of daughters has become a matter of general concern. The question that troubled many minds was not how much education women should be given but what schools or tutors were available.

It should not be forgotten that one woman who survived through nineteen years of Charles II’s reign was respected for her intellectual power by the leading Cambridge philosopher of the day, the learned Dr. Henry More. Anne Finch, later Viscountess Conway, was the sister of one of More’s Cambridge pupils, John Finch. Their father, Sir Heneage Finch, recorder of London and Speaker of the House of Commons, died in 1631. Richard Ward, a younger contemporary of Henry More, wrote an account of his life and in it described Lady Conway as his ‘Heroine pupil’ of ‘Incomparable Parts and Endowments.1 Between ‘this Excellent Person and the Doctor there was’, writes Ward, ‘from first to last a very High Friendship.… And I have heard him say: That he scarce ever met with any Person, Man or Woman, of better Natural Parts than the Lady Conway’2. Nearly every summer for many years More stayed with Lady Conway at Ragley Castle, in Warwickshire. Ward records that ‘some of his learned Treatises are expressly owing to her own Desire or Instigation’ and that ‘we have peculiar obligations to Ragley, and its Woods, as the place of his composing divers of them’3. Lady Conway was tormented by headaches, which even the most rigorous remedies did nothing to alleviate, but ‘notwithstanding these great Impediments, and hard Batterie laid against her intellectuals, her Understanding continued quick and sound, and had the greatest facility imaginable for any, either Physical, Metaphysical, or Mathematical Speculations’. She had learned Latin and read in that language the ancient philosophers. When a proposal to print ‘some remains of this Excellent Lady’ was made More wrote a Preface for them in which he described them as ‘Writings abruptly and scatterdly, I may say also obscurely, written in a Paper-Book, with a Black-lead Pen, towards the latter end of her long and tedious Pain and Sickness; which She never had opportunity to revise correct or perfect. But so sincere and Pious a Spirit breathing in them it was thought fit by some to make them public’4. The relationship between Lady Conway and Henry More is a classic example of platonic friendship5. For nearly thirty years they kept up a close correspondence, only failing when More was spending the summer months at Ragley. They wrote to each other as friends together engaged in the endless search for truth1.

In another social sphere and a different mental environment an unregarded contemporary of Lady Conway was giving perhaps a more effective proof of the education available to women in her day. In 1672 there appeared an account of the life of Joseph Alleine who had been an assistant to the incumbent of Taunton, Mr. Newton, and with him was ejected in 1662. The book was ‘drawn up by several of his most worthy and judicious friends’, each chapter being the work of a different hand2. His widow, Theodosia Alleine, wrote the account of the last years of his life, from his ejection in 1662 to his death in 1668 at the early age of thirty-four. She added also something of their life together and her husband’s devoted work at Taunton3. For a woman to share in such a publication was unheard of. Hence the publisher inserted a note at the end of the table of contents desiring the reader to take notice that Mrs. Theodosia Alleine sent her account to the editor ‘to be published in his own Stile, she not imagining that it should be put forth in her own words. But that worthy Person, and divers others, upon perusal, saw no reason to alter it, but caused it to be printed as it is’. The Puritan tendency to encourage women to use their intellects which was strong in the sixteenth century had not weakened in the generations between the Reformation and the Restoration.

Theodosia Alleine was the daughter of Richard Alleine, rector of Batcombe, Somerset, who, like his son-in-law, was ejected in 1662. Joseph and Theodosia Alleine were married young, for he was only twenty-one. They had intended ‘to have lived much longer single’, but Mr. Newton, whose curate Joseph Alleine was at Taunton, ‘seeing him restless in his Spirit and putting himself to many tedious Journeys to visit me, (as he did once a Fortnight 25 miles) he persuaded him to marry’. She describes how they lived for nearly two years with Mr. Newton. Then ‘hoping to be more useful in our Station we took a house, and I having been alwayes bred to work, undertook to teach a School, and had. many Tablers’ (i.e. boarders) ‘and Scholars, our Family being seldom less than Twenty, and many times Thirty; my School generally [had] fifty or sixty of the Town and other places’1. Theodosia Alleine’s account of her husband’s ministry at Taunton and the day-by-day story of his last years is moving in its simplicity and candour. She was still a young woman when Joseph Alleine died, but of her life after his death she says nothing.

The new interest in educating women and the occasional appearance of a woman who could write something more than a good letter serves but to throw into sharper relief the greedy and lascivious society of which the Restoration court was the centre. No statesman could expect to keep office if he ignored the reigning mistress of the king. No great lady could refuse to meet and entertain her. Royal mistresses were flattered and royal bastards considered eligible to marry into the best families in the land. John Evelyn was distressed to see the only daughter and heiress of the first Earl of Arlington married at the age of twelve to the Duke of Grafton, then sixteen, although he was ‘exceeding handsome, by far surpassing any of the King’s other naturall Issue’. All the bride’s mother could reply when Evelyn said that he could not wish her joy of the marriage was ‘the King would have it so, & there was no going back’2.

Though every man of position expected his own wife to be chaste, he had no scruples about taking mistresses himself. One of the most handsome men about the court was Henry Sidney, the best-loved brother of Dorothy, Countess of Sunderland. He was one of the seven men who invited William, Prince of Orange, to England in 1688, and was rewarded with the Earldom of Romney. He never married, but lived for many years with a mistress, Grace Worthley, some of whose pathetic letters to him have survived. His reduction of her allowance from £80 to £50 a year made her appeal to Charles II for help in 1682, telling him that she had become acquainted with Mr. Sidney after her husband had been killed in the Dutch war in the pestilence year. Grace Worthley came of a good Cheshire family and in 1694 wrote to Sidney ‘How I wish I were to accompany King William in his progress into Cheshire that I might once before I die make a visit to the good old wooden house at Stoak, within three miles of Nantwich, where I was born and bred’3.

The notorious immorality of courtiers and the irresponsible pens of some contemporary literary men have perhaps made people too ready to assume that women were little better than their husbands. It has, for example, often been implied that Anne, Countess of Sunderland, was Sidney’s mistress, but her letters to him give no colour to this tale. The Earl of Sunderland was Sidney’s nephew and close friend. There was only a year between their ages. Lady Sunderland was a lively woman, keenly interested in the uneasy politics of the day. Her letters to Sidney are affectionate, but there is no hint of any warmer feeling than that which a close kinsman and friend might expect. She constantly refers to her ‘Lord’, who sends political news to Sidney by his wife’s pen. Princess Anne disliked both Lord and Lady Sunderland: ‘Sure there was never a couple so well matched as she and her good husband, for as she is throughout in all her actions the greatest jade that ever was, so he is the subtillest workinest villain that is on the face of the earth’1. John Evelyn was another of Lady Sunderland’s correspondents, but no one has ever suggested that they were more than friends.

By long tradition the chastity of maids of honour, who often entered the queen’s service as children, was protected. Queen Elizabeth had imprisoned Sir Walter Raleigh for his intrigue with Elizabeth Throckmorton, a maid of honour, who subsequently became his wife2. Evelyn’s affection for the maid of honour, Margaret Blagge, later Mrs. Godolphin, moved him to write an account of her life. She had entered the household of the Duchess of York when she had ‘scarcely yet attained the twelfth year of her age’3. Her father had been a royalist colonel and her mother ‘a woeman soe eminent in all the vertues and perfections of her sex, that it were hard to say whether were superior her Beauty, Witt, or Piety’1. She was left in difficult circumstances but lived to provide ‘an honourable competency’ for her three daughters. All three became maids of honour to the Duchess of York. The eldest, Henrietta Maria, married Sir Thomas Yarburgh of Snaith Hall, Yorkshire, and their daughter became a maid of honour to Queen Catherine of Braganza and Queen Mary. The second of the three sisters, Mary, was still unmarried in 16782. Margaret, the youngest, was born in 1652. As a child of six she was sent to France and put into the charge of the Countess of Guilford, groom of the stole to the queen mother. Lady Guilford tried hard to persuade the child to become a Papist, but without success. She did not stay long in France, but returned to her mother with whom she lived until she became a maid of honour. She attended the death-bed of the Duchess of York and passed into the service of the queen. John Evelyn owed his introduction to Margaret Blagge to Anne Howard, one of the two daughters of the second Earl of Berkshire, who were also maids of honour. To Anne Howard, who became Lady Sylvius, Evelyn addressed his account of their friend. It is worth remembering that Anne’s sister Dorothy, who married Colonel John Grahme of Levens, Westmorland, was one of the ladies whose virtues are commemorated by Dr. George Hickes in the preface to his Thesaurus3. Although he already knew the two Howard sisters Evelyn was still slow to believe that young women at court could preserve their innocence, virtue and love of religion. He expected to find Margaret Blagge ‘some airy thing that had more Witt than Discretion’4. He ‘was not a little pleased’ to find ‘that soe young, soe elegant, soe charming a Witt and Beauty should preserve soe much Virtue in a place where it neither naturally grew nor much was cultivated’5.

The friendship between Evelyn and Margaret Blagge became so close that he looked upon her as a daughter and she confided in him all her difficulties6. She had early fallen in love with Sidney Godolphin, later Lord Godolphin and a Whig politician. There were difficulties in the way of their marriage. She wanted to serve God in a life of retirement and found ‘in him none of that tormenting passion to which I need sacrifice myself’. He was perpetually engaged in business and had to ‘follow the court and live always in the world’7. She determined to leave the court and live with Lady Berkeley. Evelyn was at court when she asked permission from the king and queen to go. She took leave in seemly fashion of the mother of the maids, but she wept on parting with Dorothy Howard, and left to the Howard sisters ‘her pretty Oratorye, soe often consecrated with her prayers and devotions’1. For a time Margaret Blagge even thought of leaving the world of fashion and retiring to Hereford to live under the direction of her ‘spiritual father’, the dean. But she was still sufficiently worldly to be anxious to secure her maid of honour’s marriage portion and in 1674 she returned to court to take part in a play in which the princesses, Mary and Anne, and Sarah Jennings, later Duchess of Marlborough, took part. Margaret was Diana, the goddess of chastity, and is said to have worn jewels worth twenty thousand pounds2. The marriage of Margaret Blagge and Sidney Godolphin at last took place privately on 16 May 1675. She did not tell Evelyn about it for some time, although she had previously promised him that he should give her away. He had forgiven her long before she died on 9 September 1678 after giving birth to a son six days before. Evelyn wrote of her as a saint and her husband, who lived until 1712, did not take a second wife.

John Evelyn dedicated his treatise on medals to Margaret Godolphin’s only son, Francis. A chapter in this book deals with the possibility of striking medals bearing the heads of men who deserve to be remembered. But Evelyn also considered the possibility of commemorating ‘some instances of the Learned, Virtuous and Fair Sex’. He listed the women whom he thought worthy of the honour, beginning by saying ‘How should one sufficiently value a Medal of the Famous Heroina Boadicia Queen of the Iceni! The British Lady Cardelia; the Chast Queen Emma, Elfreda, Abbess Hilda were it possible to meet with them, or at least their true Pourtraits, with that of Julian Barnes who wrote a Poem on Hunting’. His list differs little from that which lies behind this book3.

When he drew nearer his own time he mentioned the names of Margaret, Duchess of Newcastle, famous for her learning and her love of learning, ‘Mrs. Philips, and our Sappho Mrs. Behn; Mrs. Makins, the Learned Sister of the Learned Dr. Pell’1. The success of Aphra Behn, who earned her living by writing plays and novels, is a sign of the increasing opportunities opening for women. Her tomb lies in Westminster Abbey, but she remains a romantic and elusive creature. The authority for the main facts of her life is ‘The Life and Memoirs of Mrs. Behn, Written by one of the Fair Sex’ and prefixed to the collected edition of her novels, first published in 16982. Fortunately this lady’s statement that Aphra was the daughter of a man called Johnson is born out by an entry in the parish register of Wye, Kent, which records the birth in 1640 of Ayfara to John and Amy Johnson. Her father obtained an appointment in the West Indies, at Surinam, then in English hands, and left England with his family when Aphra was still a child. She could already write ‘the prettiest soft engaging Verses in the World’3. Her father died before the party reached ‘that land flowing with milk and honey, that Paradise’4, but her stay there gave Aphra material for her novel Oroonoko or The Royal Slave. The author of her memoirs wrote in a high-flown style which gives a sense of unreality to her story. She included a number of letters, mostly love-letters, written to, or by Aphra, who signed them, in the fashion of the day, with a poetical name, Astrea, and concealed her lover’s identity under the name Lycidas’5. Her biographer’s reference to the ‘unjust aspersions’ which were circulating about the relations between Astrea and the Prince Oroonoko illustrates the intellectual level of the first generation of English novel-readers. The writer assured ‘the World that there was no affair between the Prince and Astrea’. ‘I knew her intimately well, and I believe that she would not have concealed any Love-Affair from me, being one of her own Sex, whose Friendship and Secrecy she had experienced’6.

In 1658 Surinam was handed to the Dutch and Aphra returned home. She ‘gave King Charles II so pleasant and rational an Account of his Affairs there, and particularly of the misfortunes of Oroonoko, that he desired her to deliver them publicly to the world’7. After she had married Mr. Behn, a city merchant of Dutch extraction, her biographer says that the king ‘committed to her Secrecy and Conduct, Affairs of the highest importance in the Dutch War’1. Astrea thus became in her own person the prototype of the beautiful secret service agent. She herself knew very well that simple people reading stories like to think that they are true, hence her story of the noble savage purports to be an account, put out with royal encouragement, of a prince she knew in Surinam. ‘Her stay at Antwerp, presented her with the story of Prince Tarquin and his false wicked Fair-one Miranda. The full account of which you will find admirably writ in the following volume’2. After her husband’s death Astrea chose to go to Amsterdam because there she expected to meet with a former lover through whom she hoped to get news for the king. From him she obtained intelligence ‘which might have saved the Nation a great deal of Money and Disgrace, had credit been given to it’3, for she learned of the projected Dutch raid on Chatham in 1667. No notice was taken of her information, so that Astrea ‘gave over all sollicitous Thought of Business’4 and turned to her own affairs. She agreed to marry the man who had given her news of the raid, but he died of fever at Amsterdam. Astrea returned to England and ‘the rest of her life was entirely dedicated to Pleasure and Poetry’.

This phrase is a flowery way of saying that Aphra Behn thenceforward made her living by writing for the amusement of the town. She felt, as other women have felt since her day, that her wares would be more readily accepted if it were thought that a man had produced them. Her first plays were therefore anonymous, but in 1681 she brought out the second part of an early play with her name on the title-page. She enjoyed a few years of great prosperity, although ‘the envious of our sex and the malicious of the other’ put it about that a man was the author of most of her work. A successful dramatist of the Restoration period was bound to write freely of love. Hence her biographer felt it necessary to explain that ‘she was a Woman of Sense, and by consequence a Lover of Pleasure, as indeed all both Men and Women are; but only some wou’d be thought to be above Conditions of Humanity, and place their chief Pleasure in a proud vain Hypocrisy. For my part, I knew her intimately, and never saw ought unbecoming the just Modesty of our Sex, tho more gay and free than the Folly of the Precise will allow. She was, I’m satisfied, a greater Honour to our Sex than all the Canting Tribe of Dissemblers, that die with the false Reputation of Saints5. Aphra Behn’s death occurred on 16 April 1689 ‘occasion’d by an unskilful Physician’. As an offset to the follies and immoralities of the Restoration period it is worth remembering that it at least allowed a woman writer to make a great reputation by her pen1.

Restoration society also permitted women to earn their livings on the stage. Although the court of Charles I entertained itself with amateur theatricals in which the queen took part, women’s parts on the professional stage were played by boys until the victory of the army over the king resulted in the closure of theatres. Before Cromwell died Sir William Davenant had been permitted in 1656 to produce an entertainment in the style of opera. Mrs. Coleman, wife of Dr. Coleman, a successful teacher of music and singing, took part with her husband in The Siege of Rhodes. She thus has the distinction of being the first woman to appear professionally upon the English stage. The Colemans were friends of Pepys and often spent an evening and sang in his house. Pepys records that he himself first saw women acting on the stage on 3 January 1661. When in 1663 Davenant revived and enlivened The Siege of Rhodes Mrs. Coleman did not appear in it, but four women, whom Davenant lodged in his house, were in the cast. One of them was Mrs. Saunderson, who soon married Thomas Betterton, an actor and dramatist who died in 1710. Mrs. Betterton was a good actress and a woman of high character, but few of her immediate successors withstood the temptations lavishly spread before youth and beauty in the late seventeenth century. Mrs. Barry was trained to speak and act by the Earl of Rochester and bore him a son. Mrs. Bracegirdle was thought to be either Congreve’s wife or his mistress. Mrs. Oldfield had at least one illegitimate son. Nell Gwyn, who began life as an orange seller in Drury Lane, is the best remembered of them all2.

In the two hundred years which had passed since the first Tudor prince was king much had happened which was of good omen for women. No one had forgotten that a woman had ruled England when the Spanish Armada was defeated. Nor had it been forgotten that Queen Elizabeth was a scholar as well as a great queen. Some men, though a small minority, were conscious of the unfair treatment the law gave to women. Others desired to give women an education more nearly equivalent to that of men. The shrill insistence of other men on the superior qualities of men over women is, perhaps, equally significant. Individual women in ever-increasing numbers had displayed qualities of mind and character which have carried them into history. By the end of the Restoration period the movement which at long last was to carry women to freedom and independence had begun.

Nevertheless, the famous tract written by Lord Halifax as a new year’s gift for his youngest daughter shows that in the last decade of this period there were men of position who had hardly moved from their medieval attitude to women. The child for whose guidance Advice to a Daughter was written was married in 1692, so that her father, who felt that her understanding had not yet grown up to all he wished to say, probably wrote his tract a little time before it was first printed in 1688. It is significant that he hardly expected his daughter to be happy in the world, but hoped that, aided by his advice, she might live with dignity and not ‘make an ill figure’. He set out his discourse under the headings Religion; Husband; House, Family, and Children; Behaviour and Conversation; Friendships; Censure; Vanity and Affectation; Pride; Diversions. His love for his daughter and his fears for her inform his words with such sincerity that his tract was again and again reprinted through the eighteenth century1. Much of what he says is timeless, particularly his discussion of religion, the relations between parents and children and between mistress and maids. It is still good advice to tell a woman to grow old gracefully and not to ape youth. But Lord Halifax was particularly concerned to teach his daughter as best he could how to live as happily as might be with her husband. That section of his tract is longer by far than any other. It was not for women ‘to make their own choice’ of husbands. ‘Their Friends’ Care and Experience are thought safer Guides to them, than their own Fancies; and their Modesty often forbiddeth them to refuse when their Parents recommend, though their inward Consent may not entirely go along with it. In this case there remaineth nothing for them to do, but to endeavour to make that easie which falleth to their lot, and by a wise use of every thing they may dislike in a Husband, turn that by degrees to be very supportable, which if neglected, might in time beget an aversion’.

Lord Halifax was too wise to say openly that his daughter might be forced to marry a man she disliked for reasons of family interest, but the reality of such coercion underlies all he says. He advises his daughter to accept the fact of the ‘inequality of the sexes’, since men have ‘the larger share of reason and women are the better prepared for the compliance that is necessary for the better performance of their duties’. He agrees that ‘the Laws of Marriage run in a harsher stile towards your Sex. Obey is an ungenteel word and less easy to be digested, by making such an unkind distinction in the Words of Contract, and so very unsuitable to the excess of Good Manners, which generally goes before it’. The ‘institution of marriage is too sacred to admit a liberty of objecting to it’ and a wife must learn how to live with her husband. Men may claim ‘grains of allowance’ for frailty which would be criminal in women since ‘the honour of families’ is in their keeping. It is wise to ignore a husband’s infidelities. If a drunken husband should fall to his daughter’s lot he urges her to be ‘wise and patient’ and then ‘his wine shall be of your side’. A husband may be choleric and ill-humoured, covetous or ‘a close-handed wretch’. He may be weak and incompetent. The best husband to be hoped for is a ‘wise husband, one that by knowing how to be master for that very reason will not let you feel the weight of it’.

Lord Halifax describes the position of married women from the standpoint of a humane and intelligent man of the world. The cruder side of contemporary opinion may be gathered from a wedding sermon preached by John Sprint, a Nonconformist, at Sherborne, Dorset, and published in 1700 under the title The Bride-Woman’s Counsellor1. It at once elicited rejoinders in print from two intelligent women of quality. Sprint took for his text ‘But she that is Married careth for the things of the World, how she may please her Husband’ and prefixed his sermon by an ‘Epistle to the Reader’ saying that he was forced to print his sermon because ‘the Doctrine therein contained is so unhappily represented to the World by some ill-natured Females’. He hoped to show ‘that I am not such an impudent Villain as my waspish Accusers have reported me to be’. He assures his readers that ‘I have not met with one Woman amongst all my Accusers whose Husband is able to give her the Character of a Dutiful and Obedient Wife’1. The sermon was short, no more than forty-four small pages of large wide-set type, setting out a crude commentary on the wife’s duty to love, honour, and obey her husband. The fact that at least two women are known to have protested in print against this sermon is an indication both of the movement of opinion against the subjection of women and of the increasing number of women sufficiently well educated to follow an argument.

The present writer’s edition of John Sprint’s sermon is bound up with a little tract entitled The Female Advocate; or A plea for the just Liberty of the Tender Sex, and particularly of Married Women. Being Reflections on a late Rude and Disingenuous Discourse delivered by Mr. John Sprint, in a Sermon at a Wedding, May 11th, at Sherburn in Dorsetshire, 1699. By a Lady of Quality2. The anonymous author dedicated her work ‘To the Honourable Lady W–-ley, assuring her that’ it is ‘not because You have any occasion of a Discourse of this kind that I lay these Reflections at your Ladyship’s feet; but because you are a perfect Example how little need there is of an unsociable Majesty on the one hand, or a vile Submission on the other, where Virtue and Goodness, Noble and Generous Souls, Tender and Sublime Affections are mutually contemplated and enjoyed’.

The author signed her dedication Eugenia and informed her readers that ‘I am one that never came yet within the clutches of a Husband’. Nor could she ‘boast of any great Beauty, or a vast Fortune, two things (especially the latter) which are able to make us Conquerors thro’ the World. But I have endeavoured to furnish myself with something more valuable: I shall not brag that I understand a little Greek and Latin (Languages being only the effect of Confusion) having made some attempt to look into the more solid parts of Learning, and having adventur’d a little abroad into the World, and endeavoured to understand Men and Manners. And having seen something of the Italian and Spanish Humors, I solemnly profess I never observ’d in Italy, nor Spain itself, a Slavery so abject as this Author would fain persuade us to’. Eugenia informed her readers that the sermon was so ill thought of that ‘Mr. L –, the minister who is resident at Sherborn, looked on himself as obliged to tell the World in the public News, that he was not the Author of that Discourse, lest it being preach’d where he lives, they who knew not his name might impute it to him’. She concluded her preface by recommending women ‘to furnish their Minds with true Knowledg, that (as an Ingenious Lady tells us) you may know something more than a well-chosen Petticoat, or a fashionable Commode. Learning becomes us as well as the Men. Several of the French Ladies, and with us the late incomparable Mrs. Baynard, and the lady that is Mr. Norris’s Correspondent, and many more, are Witnesses of this. Hereby we shall be far enough from being charmed with a great Estate, or mov’d with the flowing Nonsense and Romantic Bombast of every foppish Beau; and shall learn (if we choose Companions for our Lives) to select the Great, the Generous, the Brave and Deserving Souls, Men who will as much hate to see us uneasy, as this Gentleman is afraid of coming under the discipline of the Apron’1.

Eugenia took up every point which Sprint had made and answered it, pouring ridicule upon the author, who indeed had laid himself open to attack on every side. It was unwise of him to declare that ‘Subjection and Obedience unto Husbands is required as peremptorily as unto Christ himself, P. 40’. Eugenia could remark,’I thought the Authority of Husbands had been at least one degree inferior to the Authority of Christ’2. He commended Sarah for calling her husband Lord and remarked that it was ‘a custom more common than comely, for Women to call their Husbands by their Christian Names’. Eugenia cannot refrain from remarking that ‘it would look a little odd for a Man of low degree to be greeted, My Lord, Your Lordship’s most obedient Servant, etc., by his Lady in a blew Apron, or a high-crowned Hat’3.

In disposing of Sprint’s argument, Eugenia concealed her own identity. The second woman who protested against his abuse was well known as an author in her own day. Lady Chudleigh was born at Winslade, Devon, in 1656 and married Sir George Chudleigh, of Ashton, Devon, where she died in 1710. She wrote a poetical dialogue, called The Ladies Defence, in 1700 in answer to John Sprint and was persuaded by her friends to publish it anonymously. Her printer afterwards included it in a second edition of her poems without her consent and caused her some distress. Her first volume of poems had appeared under her own name in 1703 and was dedicated to Queen Anne. She published a volume of essays in 1710 dedicated to the Electress Sophia. She took the opportunity of explaining in the Preface to her essays that in her poetical dialogue she had made no aspersions against anyone except John Sprint, the author of the offensive sermon. ‘Him I only blame’, she added, ‘for his being too angry, for his not telling us our Duty in a softer, more engaging way’1. When she wrote these words in 1710 her anger at Sprint’s infelicitous remarks had faded, but in all her writings she shows as much concern as Eugenia about the welfare of women. She wrote both her poems and essays for women in particular to read. She hoped that they would be persuaded ‘to cultivate their Minds, to brighten and refine their Reason, and to render their Passions subservient to its dictates’. That Lady Chudleigh and Eugenia were friends is proved by the poem addressed ‘To Eugenia’ in the first edition of Lady Chudleigh’s poems2.

Her poetry was, as she herself says, ‘the innocent Amusement of a solitary Life’. When her mother died and, again, when her daughter died she found relief in writing a poem3. She herself declared that in her poetry her readers would find ‘a Picture of my Mind, my Sentiments all laid open to their view’4. It is therefore not unfair to regard her poem addressed ‘To the Ladies’ as a revelation of her own unhappiness and resentment at the inevitable subjection of a woman in a loveless marriage:

Wife and Servant are the same,

But only differ in the Name:

For when that fatal Knot is ty’d,

Which nothing, nothing can divide:

When she the word obey has said,

And Man by Law supreme has made,

Then all that’s kind is laid aside,

And nothing left but State and Pride:

Fierce as an Eastern Prince he grows,

And all his innate Rigor shows:

Then but to look, to laugh, or speak,

Will the Nuptial Contract break.

Like Mutes she Signs alone must make,

And never any Freedom take:

But still be govern’d by a Nod,

And fear her Husband as her God:

Him still must serve, Him still obey,

And nothing act, and nothing say,

But what her haughty Lord thinks fit,

Who with the Pow’r, has all the Wit.

Then shun, oh! shun that wretched State,

And all the fawning Flatt’rers hate:

Value yourselves, and Men despise,

You must be proud, if you’ll be wise1.

Here is real bitterness.

1 Her autobiography, written in Latin, was published at Altona in 1673.

2 Written in Latin by that incomparable Virgin Anna Maria à Schurman of Utrecht.

1 The Learned Maid or Whether a Maid may be a Scholar?, p. 32.

2 Unpaged, 4. A and dorse.

3 Athenæ Oxonienses, ed. P. Bliss, London, 1820, vol. iv, col. 221.

4 Ibid., col. 227.

1 D.N.B, under Perkins or Parkins, Sir Christopher, quoting Cal. State Papers, 1611–18, p. 107.

2 Fifth impression, 1677, p. 157.

3 The Practice of Christian Graces or the Whole Duty of Man, for T. Garthwaite, 1659. The Gentleman’s Calling, for T. Garthwaite, 1660. The Causes of The Decay of Christian Piety, 1667. The Ladies Calling, Oxford, 1673. The Government of the Tongue, Oxford, 1674. The Art of Contentment, Oxford, 1677. The Lively Oracles given to us, Oxford, 1678. Each of these books is said on the title-page to be ‘by the Author of the Whole Duty of Man, etc.’ A paper by Michael Lort on the authorship of The Whole Duty and the kindred works is printed in Nichols, Literary Anecdotes, vol. ii, pp. 597–604. The many tastefully bound copies of these works in existence, most of them in decorated calf and fully gilt-edged, suggest that they were popular as presents for many years.

4 John Fell, The Life of the most Learned, Reverend and Pious Dr. H. Hammond, 1661, pp. 65 and 163.

1 D.N.B. The translation of Hickes’s difficult Latin given by W. D. Macray.

2 A Letter concerning a Colledge of Maids, or a Virgin-Society, written 12 August 1675. The letter is printed on a single folded sheet and is signed B. C.

1 See above, p. 140. In 1638 Drunken Barnaby described (1822 ed., p. 95) Little Gidding as a ‘new founded college’ and when John Evelyn read Mary Astell’s Proposal (see below, p. 225) he remembered how under Mrs. Ferrer a household devoted to religion had lived at Little Gidding. But members of the Ferrer household were bound by no vows. In his visitation Bishop Wilhams of Lincoln refused to allow two of the daughters to take vows of chastity. (John Hackett, Scrinia Reserata, London, 1693, Part II, pp. 502.) Several of the girls brought up at Little Gidding married. Something of the way of life there can be discerned from The Story Books of Little Gidding, London, 1899.

2 Memorials of Worthy Persons, London, 1661, pp. 2014.

1 A Collection of Sermons, formerly preached by the Reverend George Hickes, D.D., London, 1713, vol. i, pp. 397–8.

1 Hannah Woolley, The Gentlewoman’s Companion, London, 1675, p. 11.

2 Hannah Woolley, The Queen-like Closet, London, 1675, Supplement, p. 10. This book was first published in 1670 by Richard Lowndes, Ada Wallas, Before the Bluestockings, p. 31.

3 The Gentlewoman’s Companion, p. 10.

4 Ibid., p. 11 fF.

5 The Queen-like Closet, Supplement, p. 148.

6 Ibid., pp. 1115.

7 Ada Wallas, Before the Bluestockings, pp. 28 and 29.

8 The Queen-like Closet, Advertisement to Supplement (1675), unpaged.

1 The Queen-like Closet, Supplement, pp. 1313.

2 The Gentlewoman’s Companion, 1675, pp.1–2

3 Ibid., p. 4.

1 The Gentlewoman’s Companion, p. 29.

2 See above, p. 128.

3 The Gentlewoman’s Companion, p. 29.

4 Ibid., pp. 302.

5 London. The prospectus is headed ‘Postscript’, pp. 423.

6 Essay, p. 3.

1 Essay, p. 6.

2 Ibid., p. 10.

1 Essay, pp. 423.

2 Ibid., p. 10.

3 Simon Ford, A Christian’s Acquiescence in all the Products of Divine Providence, London, 1665.

4 Ibid., pp. 1623.

5 Ibid., p. III.

1 Richard Ward, The Life of the Learned and Pious Dr. Henry More, London, 1710, p. 192.

2 Ibid., p. 193.

3 Ibid., p. 202.

4 Ibid., p. 2035.

5 Many of the letters which passed between them were edited by M. H. Nicolson, Conway Letters, London, 1930. Ward, op. cit., in 1710 was in possession of some of Lady Conway’s letters to More and printed part of one of them in his book, pp. 28990.

1 It is a striking testimony to the quality of thought which shaped the beliefs of the early Quakers that Lady Conway, despite the protests of Henry More, joined the society and adhered to it until her death in 1679, Ward, pp. 195 ff.

2 The Life and Death of that most excellent minister of Christ Air. Joseph Alleine, Late Teacher of the Church of Taunton in Somerset shire. Assistant to Mr. Newton. London, 1672, p. 25.

3 Ibid., pp. 6270 and 79–100.

1 The Life and Death of that most excellent minister of Christ Mr. Joseph Alleine, Late Teacher of the Church oj Taunton in Somerset shire; Assistant to Mr. Newton, p. 95.

2 The Diary of John Evelyn, ed. E. G. de Beer, Oxford, 1955, vol. iv, pp. 1845.

3 Diary of the Times of Charles II, ed. R. W. Blencowe, London, 1843, vol. i, p. xxxii.

1 Diary of the Times of Charles II, vol. ii, p. 265.

2 Edmund Lodge, Illustrations of British History, vol. iii, p. 67.

3 The Life of Mrs. Godolphin by John Evelyn of Wootton, Eng., ed. Samuel Wilberforce, Bishop of Oxford, London, 1848; p. 9. Too much stress has been laid by Mr. Hiscock (John Evelyn and Mrs. Godolphin, 1951, and John Evelyn and his Family Circle, 1955) on his own highly imaginative interpretation of Evelyn’s relations with Margaret Blagge, derived from reading their correspondence and Evelyn’s religious writings. It would have been extremely unlikely and, indeed, unnatural, that some carnal love for a charming and devout young woman should not have arisen in the middle-aged Evelyn’s heart. That he tried to sublimate it is to his credit. That Margaret Blagge should have become restive under it is natural. It seems to this reader of Mr. Hiscock’s pages that neither party was left with anything to be ashamed of. It is greatly to be hoped that Mr. Hiscock will print in full the important material which he has exploited.

1 Mrs. Godolphin, p. 6.

2 C. B. Robinson, History of the Priory and Peculiar of Snaith, London, 1861, pp. 6970. The author records that when he wrote ‘My Lady Yarburgh’s Book of Meditations, made by herself when she lived at Snaith Hall’ still survived.

3 See below, p. 235.

4 Mrs. Godolphin, p. 29.

5 Ibid., p. 32.

6 Ibid., p. 42.

7 Ibid., p. 53.

1 Mrs. Godolphin, p. 60.

2 Ibid., p. 97.

3 Evelyn included among his learned ladies ‘Mrs. Weston, who besides other things, writ a Latin poem in praise of Typography’, p. 264. She was Elizabeth Jane Weston (1582–1612), who came of a Surrey family and was herself born in London. Her parents had settled in Bohemia some years before her father’s death in 1597, so that it is not clear whether Elizabeth acquired her learning in England or Bohemia. She corresponded with scholars and wrote verses in Latin, which were collected and published at his own expense by a Silesian nobleman at Frankfurt in 1602. She married in Prague and bore four sons, who predeceased her, and three daughters. D.N.B.

1 J. Evelyn, Numismata. A discourse of Medals, London, 1697, pp. 2645.

2 The copy which I possess is the 6th ed., 1718.

3 Ibid., p. 2.

4 Loc. cit.

5 Ibid., pp. 3850.

6 Ibid., p. 3.

7 Loc. cit

1 ‘The Life and Memoirs of Mrs. Behn’, p. 4.

2 Loc. cit.

3 Ibid., p. 5.

4 Ibid., p. 7.

5 Ibid., pp. 28, 50–1.

1 Aphra Behn soon had many imitators of whom the best known is Mrs. Susannah Centlivre, wife of Mr. Joseph Centlivre, chief cook to Queen Anne and George I. She wrote a number of successful plays between 1700 and 1722 and died in 1723. The most successful woman novelist of the period was Mrs. Manley, who wrote about current political and society figures in the form of romance. Her most popular work was Secret Memoirs and Manners of Several Persons of Quality of both Sexes. From the New Atalantis, 1709. Two further volumes appeared in 1710. She died in 1724. In the 1720 edition of this work is inserted an advertisement of seven volumes of novels by the same author on the subject of The Power of Love.

2 The Story of Nell Gwyn and the sayings of Charles II, related and collected by Peter Cunningham, London, 1852.

1 1688, 1692, 1696, 1699, 1700, 1701, 1704, 1707, 1717, 1734, 1741, 1765, 1784, 1791, 1794, and more than once in French. H. C. Foxcroft, Life and Works of the Marquis of Halifax, vol. ii, pp. 379–88.

1 London, price 6d.

1 The ‘Epistle to the Reader’ is unpaged.

2 London.

1 The Female Advocate, pp. v—viii.

2 Ibid., p. 46.

3 Ibid., p. 42.

1 Essays upon Several Occasions, written by the Lady Chudleigh, London, 1710, ‘To The Reader’, unpaged.

2 Poems on Several Occasions, by the Lady Chudleigh, London, 1703, p. 29.

3 Ibid., pp. 88 and 94.

4 Ibid., Preface, unpaged.

1 Poems on Several Occasions, p. 40.

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