Main Text



1712 was a year of acrimonious political debate. The War of the Spanish Succession had seen the armies commanded by the Duke of Marlborough destroy, in one decade, the threat of Bourbon hegemony which had hung over Europe for two generations. Louis XIV had sued for an ignominious peace and Queen Anne was willing to accept his offers; but she presided over a European alliance which grew ever more factious in proportion to its success and she ruled over a divided kingdom. The war, and the peace negotiations at Utrecht, had exacerbated the bitter divisions between the Whig and Tory parties;1 and no matter how non-partisan a man might have wished to be, he was with the Tory government if he supported the peace, and he was with the Whig opposition if he agreed with the allied demands for a resumption of hostilities.

At least he could claim to make a reasonably well-informed choice. Polemics of every description poured from the London presses during the first half of the year, among them five pamphlets from the printing-house of the Tory bookseller John Morphew which allegorized the war against France as John Bull's lawsuit against Lewis Baboon. The first, Law is a Bottomless-Pit, was published on Tuesday, 4 March; the second, John Bull in his Senses, on Monday, 17 March; the third, John Bull still in his Senses, on Wednesday, 16 April; the fourth, An Appendix to John Bull still in his Senses, on Friday, 9 May; and the last, Lewis Baboon Turned Honesty and John Bull Politician, on Thursday, 31 July.2

The popularity of this Tory satire can be gauged by the many 'editions' of the pamphlets and of the Key to their allegory3 (for example, the first pamphlet appeared in six London 'editions', an Edinburgh 'reprint', and a Dublin piracy), and by the volume of pg xviiiWhig criticism they provoked. On 14 April the Medley argued its anti-Tory case with an 'affadavit' signed by John Bull, and on 24 April the Protestant Post Boy included the pamphlets in a list of the most notorious Tory Manufactures' which would be destroyed by the proposed tax on paper:

  • No Conduct now must rise from Fairy-ground; No dull Tom Double, or John Bull appear To make us what in Truth we never were.

The same newspaper devoted large sections of its next two issues (26 and 29 April) to angry and wayward explication of the allegory; and even the Flying Post—less given to editorial elaboration—was moved to comment on 3 May: 'I wonder that the Examiner should be such an ungrateful Calf as to forget that his Father John Bull is still in his Senses, and that Law is a Bottomless Pit; but perhaps he was afraid of dropping into it from the Triple tree.' Whig polemicists attacked 'the Rage' of party in 'the Conducts and the Bulls'1 and— assuming the allegory to be the work of Swift—condemned it as a treasonable expression of anti-war sentiment by the leading Tory propagandist. One wrote with heavy irony, 'The worthy Author of a Tale of a Tub and John Bull… will, I hope, very suddenly gratifie the Public with a more ample Eulogy' of Louis XIV.2

One of the Tory pamphleteers who dutifully took up the defence continued the satirical allegory of the Duke of Marlborough as the dextrous attorney, Humphrey Hocus: 'we have seen … the Hocus's … carrying all before them, and charming almost the whole Country',3 and Charles Leslie castigated the Duke as one who 'Ruins poor John Bull. … And Magnifies his Allies'.4 Yet another Tory paid the pamphlets the compliment of imitation in the story of'Bonenetto' ('Benenato' or Prince Eugene) and 'the impregnable Fortress of Ecclesdon' ('Ecclesdown' or Dunkirk).5 A Whig writer paid a similar if unintended compliment in an elaborate five-part 'answer' to John Bull which followed the allegorical scheme and the structural outline of the original but which succeeded only in demonstrating its pg xixown imaginative and literary inferiority.1 Presumably Law not a Bottomless Pit: or, Arguments against Peace (advertised in the Supplement, 2 April 1712) was even less successful, for no copy seems to have survived. John Bull has survived, partly because contemporaries regarded it as more than a series of five ephemeral pamphlets to be forgotten with their topical concerns.


Lester M. Beattie realized that the genesis of the allegory of John Bull cannot be traced to any single source:

The real framework is the lawsuit, war pictured as a process of litigation, a formula capable of varied use… . The author's shrewdness is attested by his picking up a fable close to the homely interests of life and yet not too simple to sustain an unfolding situation of some intricacy. But Arbuthnot did not invent the formula. Periodical literature of the time which he cannot have missed contains hints which seem to have dropped down into his mind and lain waiting till he had need of them.2

But Beattie's assertion that Arbuthnot could neither have identified nor consulted his disparate raw materials is more open to question. It is at least possible that Arbuthnot's choice of the lawsuit 'formula' was determined by a conscious resolve to challenge its common employment in Whig polemic. It is of course true that the progress from actual war to figurative law was contextually and even phonetically logical: 'The Reason is plain, War and Law having so near a Correspondence … we must allow the Men of Law are Men of War, and have something in them Synonymous to a Soldier; particularly that tho' they are not raised by the same Steps, they may be Ruin'd by the same Method, for Peace would undue them all.'3 Only a few days before the publication of the first John Bull pamphlet on 4 March 1712, the whiggish Protestant Post Boy for 1 March had recounted a tale of a farmer who unwisely terminated his lawsuit against an aggressive neighbour, and had drawn an unequivocal moral:

  • Since without Spain, for which Thou'st fought, Thou must be Ruin'd on the spot; … a Bad Peace is worse by far, Than all the Miseries of War.

pg xxBeattie discussed a number of such analogues from, for example, Leslie's Rehearsal, Defoe's Review, and Ned Ward's Nuptial Dialogues (1710); and without materially affecting his argument it would be possible to detail others more directly applicable to Arbuthnot's allegory from polemics such as Defoe's Worcestershire-Queries about Peace (1711). But it is difficult to accept that Arbuthnot was not in some way consciously stimulated by two other Whig allegories not considered by Beattie: another tale from the Protestant Post Boy, and an earlier pamphlet, Seldom Comes a Better: or, a Tale of a Lady and Her Servants (1710).1

There are clear comparisons to be drawn between the narration of Lewis Baboon's activities2 and the opening paragraphs of this Whig pamphlet:

There is a certain Great Man, that has an Estate sufficient to content any one besides himself, much advanc'd in years, but from his very Youth exceedingly litigious: In his Nature so injurious and oppressive, that for above fifty years he has not so much as suffer'd his own Tenants to live with any sort of Ease; but contrary to his Leases and most solemn Engagements, and his own Interest, he has almost beggar'd them all, and made them meer Slaves… .

There being no One near him that could singly be a Match for him, the whole Neighbourhood, bordering upon him, have rais'd a Joint-Stock to oppose him: and there being a very Good and Wise Lady that lives near him, and has a fine large Mannor, divided from His only by a broad River, and who had been as ill us'd by him as any of the rest; by common Consent they agreed, about Eight Tears since, to exhibit a Bill in Chancery against him, to reduce him to the antient Bounds of his Mannor, and settle the same: and at their general Request this Lady undertook to carry on the Suit in her own name and theirs.3

The allegory soon descends into a crude eulogy of the 'Chief Steward' (Godolphin) and an attack on the Lady's (Tory) enemies. Yet there are very interesting correspondences between this Whig satire and John Bull in points of detail such as the description of Sacheverell as 'a busy, forward, pragmatical Parson';4 and although it would be foolish pg xxito attach too much significance to such parallels, it is clear that the Whig version of the lawsuit allegory was ripe for reversal. Even if Arbuthnot had not seen this variation on the theme it seems unlikely that he was unaware of another, in the form of a letter from 6 John Grub, Malster' to the Protestant Post Boy for 23 February 1712— only nine days before the publication of his first pamphlet concerning the lawsuit of John Bull, clothier.

You mun know that I have been long entangled in a joint Law-Suit against one Dobson the Miller [Louis XIV], a plaguey, crabbed, peevish old Fellow, who is perpetualy Wrangling and Jangling with all his Neybours far and near. Now, that we might the better deal with him, my Neybour Derrick the, Button-Maker [the Emperor], my Cousin Clinch, the Cheese-Factor [the Dutch], and some more on's, enter'd into Bonds, not to lay down the Cudgels till we had made old Dobson return us all our own, and find sufficient Security for his good Behaviour for the Future. We cast him at Common-Laaw some Years agoe… . We have now had him in Chancery about 9 Terms, and have got the better of him in several Hearings; and are in fair Way of getting a Decree, whereupon he has several Times offer'd to come to Composition, which our Councel still advis'd us against … so that when all his Tricks fail'd, what do's me, this Old Fox, but go's underhand and wheedles with Cousin Bob Scribble [Harley], my Clerk in Court … [who] turn'd Cat in Pan, and betray'd the Cause; he first persuaded me to change my Councel [Marlborough, relieved of command in 1711] … then he … says I shall be undone if I don't make a Composition … and calls my Neybour Derrick and the rest of my Friends a Parcel of Rogues, tho', I believe, they are as Honest Men as any under the Sun. Now I have shew'd the Offers he has made me to … most of the Head Gentry of the Cuntry [the Whig Junto], who all tell me that he's a shuffling old Raskal, and designs only to Trick me as he did formerly … and say, they have it from my Old Council, That if I will but stand it another Term or two, we shall certainly have a Decree for Possession of the whole Estate.

There are so many direct parallels with Arbuthnot's John Bull in these idiomatic sentences that it is tempting to make insupportable claims for this polemic letter as a source. It is, however, certain that when Swift, in his celebrated portrait of Marlborough as Crassus, wrote, 'Cowardice in a Lawyer is more supportable than in an Officer of the Army',1 he did so in the sure knowledge that his readers were conversant with the correlation of war and law in Whig polemic. Whether or not Arbuthnot was consciously stimulated by pg xxiisuch antecedents, they certainly provided more than mere 'hints' on which a Tory reply might be formulated.


When the Protestant Post Boy for 26 April 1712 dismissed the ironic suggestion that the pamphlets were 'Publish'd … by the Author of the NEW ATALANTIS' (Mary de la Riviere Manley)1 and identified Swift, in the persona of Sir Humphry Polesworth, as the narrator of John Bull, it was voicing a common opinion:

one who Midwife's John Bull into his Senses ought not to be out of her own. This puts me in Mind of a Pamphlet which goes by that Name, written by a Gentleman whose Hands are Swift to do Mischief… tho' said to be publish'd by that vertuous Gentlewoman … . this amazing Performance … has [so] put upon People's Understandings, as to get into a Reputation with the whole Faction.

Any Tory satire which 'got into a Reputation' would be attributed to Swift by men who had learned to fear his political writings, and neither Swift nor Arbuthnot made any public attempt to confirm or deny the common opinion. Indeed, true to their practice of anonymity, they maintained and savoured a discreet silence, even among their friends. On 4 August 1712 Peter Wentworth wrote to his brother about the rumours that Bolingbroke had left secretly for France to negotiate with Louis XIV:

The conjectures thereupon are various, some think that Lewis Baboon … is shuffling off from what he had promised for the Allies… . The fourth part of John Bull [i.e. the fifth and last pamphlet] is come out, wch I suppose my Lady will send you … I have heard this part much commended, but in my poor opinion I think the humour flags and does not come up to the two first, tho the Author is the same, who I din'd with t'other day and by his friend's sly commendation of the admirable banter, and his silence, 'twas plain to me he had a secreet pleasure in being the reputed Authour.2

Both Swift and Arbuthnot were at Windsor on this date and had been there for some days.3 The editor of the Wentworth papers was correct in attributing John Bull to Arbuthnot, but he may well have pg xxiiibeen wrong in identifying him as the 'reputed Authour' in this anecdote. As a 'sly friend' Arbuthnot was fond of practical jokes at the expense of Swift, who was not unused to being identified by Arbuthnot as the author of the mischievous doctor's own creations.1 Yet in a letter to Stella on 10 May 1712 Swift protested, 'I hope you read John Bull. It was a Scotch Gentleman a friend of mine that writ it; but they put it upon me',2 and Pope, who had no axe to grind, said quite categorically in 1735, 'Dr. Arbuthnot was the sole writer of John Bull'3

The authorship of the John Bull pamphlets remained a subject of contention for over two centuries, and in 1925 Herman Teerink used his edition to argue an ingenious case for Swift. This occasioned a flurry of scholarly dispute4 until, in 1935, Lester M. Beattie refuted the proposition in a detailed examination of the evidence provided by Teerink.5 There is no need here to reconsider the case so expertly sifted by Beattie but there may be some value in an ad melius inquirendum which takes into account the textual history of the allegory and the vexed question of eighteenth-century copyright. Quite simply, much of the confusion over authorship has arisen because John Bull appeared in so many editions of Swift's works. A full textual history would therefore require a largely irrelevant formal history of the Swift canon and we make no pretence to such an ambitious project. What follows is an abbreviated survey of the four main stages in the publication history of John Bull.

1. The Early Miscellanies

After 1712 the first significant publication was a collected edition of the pamphlets which appeared on 24 June 1727 in the second volume of Miscellanies in Prose and Verse, by Pope, Swift, Gay, and Arbuthnot,6 pg xxivunder the title Law is a Bottomless Pit. Or, the History of John Bull. Publish'd from a Manuscript found in the Cabinet of the Famous Sir H. Polesworth, in the Tear 1712. In the preface to the first volume Pope and Swift wrote 'The second … will consist … of several small Treatises in Prose, wherein a Friend or two are concerned.' John Bull also appeared in the second volume of further editions of the Miscellanies in 1731 and 1733.

The Miscellanies text of the pamphlets was in two parts, the first comprising the first two pamphlets, abridged in places but expanded at certain points, and the second the remaining three pamphlets similarly treated. The preface to the fifth pamphlet, expanded by a brief historical introduction, was made to serve as a general preface; cryptic footnotes were added to explain those basic allusions that were no longer topical; and a postscript of chapter headings for a non-existent continuation of the allegory was appended.1 In consequence this text made significant alterations to the structure and the content of the satire.

2. The Faulkner Editions

In 1735: Arbuthnot died in London, and in Dublin George Faulkner published a four-volume edition of the Works of Swift which did not include John Bull but did contain much that had previously appeared in the Miscellanies. Faulkner was, of course, safe from the legal wrath of the London booksellers who owned the English copyright of the Miscellanies and whose inability to agree on a full and accurate edition of Swift was, he claimed, his original stimulus.

Swift's protestations of the little interest he took in Faulkner's venture, even of unwillingness to countenance it, of his readiness to leave the affair largely to his friends, were but parts of the disguise behind which throughout life he hid connexion with his own writings. The set of Miscellanies corrected in his own hand, which happily has survived,2 was almost certainly in Faulkner's hands while he was engaged in assembling material for the first four volumes of his edition of the Dean's Works.3

In the corrected Miscellanies 'Most of the annotations are of the type that an author makes when revising for a new edition, i.e. pg xxvminor textual corrections and changes in punctuation', and although John Bull is not marked as the work of Arbuthnot it comprises the bulk of the second volume, which contains only a few small pieces by Swift and 'is scarcely annotated at all'.1 It seems that Swift had no intention of claiming the allegory as his own by including it in the Dublin Works, for it did not appear in any of Faulkner's editions from the initial four volumes of 1735 to the final twenty volumes of 1771. 'It is true that when the Miscellanies was reprinted in 1736, with a warning to the reader that pieces not marked with an asterisk were not by Swift, John Bull was in fact so marked; but as the asterisk was missing from A Tritical Essay upon the Faculties of the Mind) a piece certainly by Swift, the distinction is obviously untrustworthy.'2

Since a suspect reprint was no match for Faulkner's Works, a further reprint was quickly forthcoming.

After Motte's death (1738) the principal owners of the copyright of Swift's works in England were his partner and successor Charles Bathurst (with Gilliver) and Charles Davis (with Woodward), who had already experienced, and continued to feel, the result of Faulkner's competition… .No doubt induced by their rival's success they resolved to co-operate … for the reprint of Swift's works, and the outcome was the Miscellanies, sm. 8vo, 1742.3

There were thirteen volumes in this reprint, with John Bull and three other prose pieces by Arbuthnot listed under his name in The Third Volume by Dr. Arbuthnot, Mr. Pope and Mr. Gay. The attribution is all the more impressive since

There is clear evidence not only that Pope directed this edition, but that his warm friends George and Anne Arbuthnot, the Doctor's son and daughter, were consulted about what should and what should not be included. George Arbuthnot was more than thirty years old when his father died in 1735. That in a matter of such moment John Arbuthnot should have allowed an impression unfair to Swift to remain permanently fixed in the minds of his own family is utterly beyond belief.4

In 1751 the Miscellanies were again published in London, in a new format and expanded by a further volume, with volumes I–VII as the Works and VIII–XIV as the Miscellanies of Swift.5 The sixth volume contained John Bull, but the allegory was still unequivocally signified to be 'by Dr. Arbuthnot'.

pg xxvi3. The Copyright Disputes

Printing began in 1755 on a new edition of Swift's Works prepared for the London trade by John Hawkesworth. It was to appear in various formats and sizes during the next few years,1 and all versions were to include John Bull. As Thomas Sheridan complained to William Strahan on 5 June 1784, this was a series of editions 'thrown together in the most irregular undigested form'.2 He proposed a new edition; but as John Nichols observed:

A material obstacle in respect to the then existing state of Literary Property, as far as it related to Copyright (a right still held sacred by every respectable Bookseller), prevented my undertaking at that period a regular Edition of Swift. Strange as it may appear, the actual property in the Dean's Writings was then vested in no less than FIVE different sets of Proprietors… . Of the Twenty-five Volumes Five only were my exclusive property, and an eighth share of Six others, which had been purchased by Mr. Bowyer and myself; and any proposal for an amalgamation was constantly opposed by some of the other proprietors, particularly Mr. Bathurst, who possessed an exclusive right to Six of the Volumes.3

Sheridan persuaded all parties to settle their differences, and his seventeen-volume edition of Swift's Works was published in 1784.4 In the preface to the second volume he warned that,

The 17th and last volume, consists of Martinus Scriblerus, John Bull, and various other Pieces in prose and verse, published in Pope's Miscellanies. As these Pieces are admirable in themselves, and as it is well known that Swift had a great share in some of the most capital, tho' according to his usual practice, he never claimed any, but let his friends Arbuthnot and Pope enjoy the whole reputation as well as profit arising from them; and as these have always made a part of Swift's Works, where only they are now found collected, it was thought proper to add this volume to the rest.

In other words, volume seventeen was a sort of appendix which was primarily designed to maintain intact the whole copyright claim to those contents of the Miscellanies not by Swift. It is ironic that Sheridan, who was the first editor to suggest that Swift 'shared' the composition of John Bull with Arbuthnot, was also the first to omit the preface, which, it has been argued, may have been Swift's only significant contribution to the allegory.5

pg xxviiJohn Nichols himself undertook the revision of Sheridan's work at the request of the other sharers in the copyright.1 The result was a new nineteen-volume Works (with John Bull again in the seventeenth volume) which ran through four different editions between 1801 and 1810.2 But Nichols's manifest pride in his achievement received a rude shock when, in 1814, Sir Walter Scott's edition of Swift was published in Edinburgh:3

having made a solid breakfast on John Dryden, [Scott] conceived the idea of a pleasant dinner and supper on Jonathan Swift; which, from the entertainment I had prepared, he found a task of no great difficulty … he very soon, by a neat shuffling of the cards, and by abridging my tedious annotations … presented to the Booksellers of Edinburgh an Edition somewhat similar to mine.4

This was grossly unfair to Scott, even allowing for the fact that it was the righteously indignant outburst of a rival frustrated by a series of legal decisions against the principle of perpetual copyright. Indeed, Scott's John Bull exemplifies the intelligent work he had put into the whole project. True, he followed Nichols's 1808 text,5 and he reprinted many of the notes from the earlier edition, but here the resemblances ended. Scott had no personal stake in the English copyright and his only reason for printing John Bull was its literary merit.

Among the pieces usually published in Swift's works, of which he is not the author, there is none which can bear comparison with the 'History of John Bull'. It is not only a satire original in its outline, but the exquisite simplicity, brevity, and solemnity of the narrative, is altogether inimitable… . Dr. Arbuthnot, author of this excellent jeu d'esprit, is well known as the intimate and confidential friend of Swift, Pope and Gay. With the disadvantage of northern birth and education, he wrote a pure English style, although it may be remarked that he sometimes calls in the aid of national idiom, where he conceives it will add force to his picture. Lewis Baboon is for example termed a 'false loon', and the whole character, conduct, and language of Sister Peg is traced with a Scottish pencil.6

Scott was also the first editor to attempt recovery of the 1712 text, pg xxviiifor although he printed the text of Nichols's 1808 edition—itself based on the various editions which followed the 1727 Miscellanies text—he reintroduced the original pamphlet divisions and restored the preface to its rightful place before the fifth pamphlet, working from the 1712 Edinburgh reprint of the pamphlets. In addition he made some attempt to find parallels among literature contemporaneous with John Bull, and he quoted from histories such as Abel Boyer's Annals or polemics such as The Dutch Better Friends than the French, 1713. In fact he was the first editor to consider the allegory worthy of serious textual and critical attention.

4. Modern Editions

Thomas Roscoe has the dubious distinction of being the last editor to print John Bull in a Works of Swift (published in 1841). By the late nineteenth century it was generally accepted as the work of Arbuthnot and, on rare occasions, printed separately as such. There has, however, been some variation in the actual text chosen by subsequent editors. The principal modern editions may be tabulated as follows.


An edition by Edward Arber, who preferred an expurgated version of the 1712 text for An English Garner. George A. Aitken supervised a reprint of this edition in 1903.


Henry Morley printed the 1727 Miscellanies text for The History of John Bull in the 'Cassell's National Library' series.


George A. Aitken also chose the 1727 text for his edition in The Life and Works of John Arbuthnot.


K. N. Colvile followed the 1727 text for A Miscellany of the Wits.


Herman Teerink 'reissued' the 1712 pamphlets in an edition which sought to prove that John Bull was the work of Swift.

It must, of course, be admitted that Swift, Pope, Bolingbroke, or indeed any member of the Tory circle may have collaborated to a greater or lesser degree with Arbuthnot during the composition of the pamphlets. It is certain that we shall never know what happened when the Tory wits met to discuss their literary ventures over a good dinner and a few bottles of claret in Arbuthnot's rooms at St. James's. Yet the informed evidence all points one way. John Arbuthnot was the author of the John Bull pamphlets.


Herman Teerink's contention that Swift wrote John Bull may have been misguided, but the ingenuity and enthusiasm of his argument did Arbuthnot studies a notable service by reawakening scholarly interest in the allegory. His edition also implicitly posed the question of copy-text when he 'reissued' the original pamphlets in preference to the text which first appeared in the 1727 Miscellanies. Clearly the substantive changes of the 1727 text moved some considerable way from the author's original intention; but if these could be proved the result of authorial revision, the 1727 text would have to be taken into account as an independent witness.

The Miscellanies project was planned during Swift's stay in England in 1726. Pope took on the responsibility for the editing, and Swift, on his return to Dublin, began to assemble pieces for inclusion. On 15 October he reported to Pope, 'I am mustring as I told you all the little things in verse that I think may be Safely printed,1 but I give you despotick Power to tear as many as you please.'2 It was a convenient arrangement, as Pope, 'with Homer and Shakespeare off his hands … was free to enter into new fields'.3 Moreover 'In the publication of his own writings Pope was wont to exercise constant care, and he would not be less meticulous if entrusted with the writings of a friend for whom, of all his contemporaries, he held the highest regard.'4 The two friends worked quickly, and on 5 December Swift again mentioned the verses he had selected, with a parenthetical jibe at Pope's editorial fussiness: 'Since you have receiv'd the verses, I most earnestly intreat you to burn those which you do not approve, and in those few where you may not dislike some parts, blot out the rest, and sometimes (tho' it may be against the laziness of your nature) be so kind as to make a few corrections, if the matter will bear them.'5

There are few surviving letters written by Arbuthnot during the later months of 1726, but what correspondence is extant suggests that he was busy enough with his own many and varied activities, though he was conversant with the Miscellanies project. In late October Pope was recovering from an illness, complicated by injury, pg xxxduring which the doctor attended him. On 5 November Arbuthnot wrote to Swift:

Gay has had a little feaver, but is pretty well rccoverd; so is Mr Pope. We shall meett at Lord BolingBrokes on Thursday in town, at dinner, & Remember yow… . I had the honor to see Lord Oxford, who askd kindly for yow, & said he would write to yow. if the project go's on for printing some papers [i.e. the Miscellanies], he has promisd to give Copys of some things, which I beleive cannot be found else wher.1

Edward Harley, upon the death of his father Robert in 1724, succeeded as Lord Oxford and came into possession of the great Harleian library which was to be especially useful to the Scriblerians in the compilation of their Miscellanies. Oxford took seriously the task of collecting pieces for his library, but when in late 1726 he asked Arbuthnot for copies of some brief verses, he received a harassed apology from the busy doctor: 'It was not possible for me at this Time to send the Ballad but your lordship shall have it ther are a hundred incorrect Copys of it about town… . I happen to be so unlucky as to have twenty things to do at this moment, else your lop should have had the ballad.'2

On 8 December 1726 Pope asked Oxford to return to London and mentioned the Miscellanies to him, apparently for the first time: 'I want you for many reasons; & among the rest, to hear what you say of a Book called Gullivers Travels; and to desire you to lend us, John Bull &c. for a good End, in order to put together this winter many scatterd pieces of the same kind, which are too good to be lost.'3 Why is there no mention of John Bull in any of the letters written by Arbuthnot between the time when the Miscellanies were first mooted early in 1726, and 18 February 1727 when Pope reported to Swift that the first two volumes were in print? Why did Pope not ask Arbuthnot rather than Oxford for John Bull? Perhaps the author had not bothered to keep copies of his celebrated polemics? Does the 'us' in Pope's letter refer to himself and Arbuthnot, to the other Tory wits, or is it simply a form of authorial plural? There is no evidence to provide answers to such questions.

pg xxxiWe know chat Arbuthnot was supposed to share the burden of editing the πєρι Βαθους‎ for 'The Last Volume' of Miscellanies (published on 7 March 1728), and in a letter probably composed in January of that year Pope complained to Swift: 'The third Volume of the Miscellanies is coming out post now, in which I have inserted the Treatise πєρι Βαθους‎ I have entirely Methodized and in a manner written, it all, the Dr grew quite indolent in it, for something newer, I know not what.'1 From what we know of the doctor it is not unreasonable to postulate, that he reacted in a similar manner to any editorial labour expected of him apropos of the previous volume. Arbuthnot was the only Tory satirist to marry and raise a family, and it seems unlikely that this dedicated physician, whose 'imagination was almost inexhaustible, and … at anybody's service, for … he did not care what became of it', would have relished the editing of his five occasional pamphlets fifteen years after their first publication, particularly as he was reputedly so careless of his writings 'that his sons, when young, have frequently made kites of his scattered papers of hints which would have furnished good matter for folios'.2 Certainly such charming reminiscences concern the Arbuthnot of Pope's Epistle and anecdotal legend; but while we must suspect some nostalgic distortion in them, it is an undeniable fact that the composition of John Bull was a unique spate of pamphleteering for a man who was always more concerned with his profession and personal relationships than with his literary reputation: 'Not being in the least jealous of his fame as an author, he would neither take the time nor the trouble of separating the best from the worst; he worked out the whole mine, which afterwards, in the hands of skilful refiners, produced a rich vein of ore.'2 Of course this general account of Arbuthnot's attitude to his literary works is of little value as evidence. But it does suggest a possible explanation for another matter of historical fact: there is not a shred of external evidence to suggest that Arbuthnot revised his pamphlets for the Miscellanies edition. Indeed, what scraps of evidence survive point to the conclusion that Pope did the job.

Internal evidence also suggests an editor other than the author, the changes made in the 1727 text falling into five principal categories.

pg xxxii1. The Continuous Narrative

Any editor might have been tempted to fashion a continuous History of John Bull which would be aesthetically and even physically more attractive than the original pamphlets. Inconvenient passages such as the preface to the third pamphlet and phrases such as 'in my last part' were emended as necessary. Such changes were not seriously prejudicial but it is difficult to make sense of the bipartite division of the text. The second part contains the last three pamphlets, dividing the allegory where the original departed from its treatment of the European war to concentrate on the historical background. It thus includes the fourth pamphlet, the Appendix, the very name of which is enough to suggest how unhappily it sits with the third and fifth pamphlets to form a continuous narrative. In fact, only the first and last pamphlets were predominantly concerned with foreign affairs, and no bipartite division would be satisfactory. Any attempt to give the pamphlets coherence within a subdivided or chronological format would have involved a complete reworking of the text. The occasional emendations without the necessary drastic revision could only be attributed to Arbuthnot on the grounds that they reflect his careless attitude towards his literary creations— the very grounds on which it could be argued, conversely, that he was unlikely to have undertaken revision in the first place.

2. The Footnotes

Signposting the topical satire of 1712 was an obvious necessity in an edition published fifteen years later. William Wagstaffe was the putative author of the Complete Key to the 1712 pamphlets,1 but he had died in 1725, and the two sets of annotations provided by the Key and the 1727 edition of the Miscellanies are far too brief to provide evidence of anything except Tory bias.

3. The Censoring of Personal Satire

The largest single change effected in the 1727 text was the omission of the last chapter of the first pamphlet which attacked the Tory turncoat Nottingham, alias Don Diego Dismallo the Conjurer. The most logical explanation for this omission seems to be that the dramatic-dialogue form of this chapter (a form used frequently in the pg xxxiiilater pamphlets, and there retained by the 1727 editor) was considered inappropriate after a sequence of twelve narrative chapters. If the editor was determined to remove the personal attack on Nottingham, why did he not also omit the satirical destruction of Don Diego in the fourth pamphlet? Admittedly he there dropped 'Dismallo', a transparent allusion to the nickname 'Dismal' Nottingham; but an intelligent reader of 1727 would have had no difficulty in identifying the intended victim from a passage of satire which is a far more pointed condemnation of Nottingham's actions than the omitted earlier parody of his sententious oratory. It would be folly to seek logical reasons for all the editorial changes in the 1727 text, for Nottingham was not the only character left, like Jack in the allegory, neither reprieved nor decently hanged. In the ninth chapter of the first pamphlet the Duke of Somerset was pilloried as 'Signior Cavallo, an Italian Quack' in a satire which captured his arrogant stupidity. Yet in the 1727 text 'Signior Cavallo' was replaced by 'some quacks'. Since the only justification for the interlude was the expressly personal attack on Somerset it was a debilitating change. The Duke of Marlborough was also treated less harshly in 1727. For example, the intrigue between 'Hocus [Marlborough] and Frog [the Dutch] … to throw the Burden of the Law-Suit' on John became the stratagem of 'the Tradesmen, Lawyers and Frog'.1 The cumulative effect of such changes is to reduce the stature of Hocus as the cunning manipulator of Bull's domestic enemies.

Equally prejudicial is the censoring of personal satire against the Duchess of Marlborough. In the twelfth chapter of the first pamphlet there is an hilarious parody of the stormy final interview between the Duchess and Queen Anne when Mrs. Hocus berates Mrs. Bull. In 1727 the speech was retained, but as the outburst of one of the tradesmen (i.e. a Whig). It lost little of its broad humour, but it lacked the satirical edge of the original. A critic would have to place a great deal of emphasis on Arbuthnot's reputation for carelessness to argue that he would have so diluted his satire. In addition, the changes in question are too systematic, if occasionally puzzling. This again might be a clue to the editor's identity, for Pope not only remained on friendly terms with the Duchess of Marlborough but also never sought to offend influential personages unless his conscience or his art demanded that he should. No political end would have been served by reprinting every detail of the attack on the pg xxxivMarlboroughs in 1727, and, as David Foxon has pointed out to us, in comparisons between Pope–s manuscripts and his printed satires there is a good deal of evidence that he censored his personal attacks in a manner very comparable with the emendations to the satire of John Bull.

4. Additions to the Satire

There is a significant number of interpolations of new material into the 1727 text. The most substantial additions are those which elaborate satiric points or facilitate penetration of the allegorical disguise. Nothing could be more harmful to pamphlets written with a fine sense of pace and witty indirection. In the tenth chapter of the first pamphlet Mrs. Bull braves the wrath of her recalcitrant husband to tell him that he will never realize his dream of becoming a lawyer:' John heard her all this while with patience, 'till she prick'd his Maggot, and touch'd him in the tender point; then he broke out into a violent Passion, "What, I not fit for a Lawyer".'1 The 1727 text inserted twelve lines of tautological elaboration between Mrs. Bull's statement and John's violent retort. In the original his anger is dramatic: in the 1727 text it is anti-climactic. It seems unlikely that Arbuthnot would have so jeopardized the character he had been at such pains to establish in the preceding chapters.

5. The Correction of Accidental Errors

When Angus Ross examined the peculiarities in Arbuthnot's use of English he noted that, unlike most of the doctor's correspondents, who wrote in a manner close to the norms of contemporary printing, Arbuthnot 'shows a singular disregard for punctuation, capitalization, or any indication of sentence division'.2 We do not suggest that there is a direct relationship between private letters and published works, but it is interesting that the original John Bull pamphlets were marked by unusual eccentricity in the three respects noted by Ross, and that the great majority of the 1727 emendations were concerned with their rationalization. Arbuthnot also habitually doubled medial and final consonants,3 a usage which occurs in the original pamphlets, for instance in 'Cudgell', 'Linnen', or 'accute'. The 1727 text emended 'Cudgell' to 'Cudgel' in one instance, but pg xxxvretained the original spelling in others; and it preferred 'Linen' to 'Linnen' twice in its version of the first pamphlet, but retained the original spelling on its third appearance. Similarly, the Scots doctor's 'accute' (retained by the 1712 Edinburgh reprint) was emended to 'acute' in the 1727 London text. But any comparative analysis is atrophied by the inconsistency of the revisions. Some obvious misprints such as 'Suecess' were corrected, but others, such as 'Quean', were left to the editors of later editions; some obvious infelicities such as dittographies were removed, but others were not; and some of the changes made in 1727, such as 'too' to 'se' or 'Soup' to 'Soupe', defy explanation as the decisions of an editor.

Perhaps the most significant failures of the 1727 text in its movement towards the correction of accidental errors are to be found in the idiomatic passages. The London 1712 editions printed two lines of the pidgin English quack announcement by Ptschirnsooker (Bishop Burnet) as: 'this White Powder from Amsterdam, and the Red from Edinburgh, but the chief Ingredient', when, to be consistent, they should have read: 'dis White Powder … de Red … de chief'.1 The 1712 Edinburgh reprint made the necessary changes, but the 1727 text reprinted the inconsistent version. Similarly, in the speech of Peg (the Scots people), the 1727 text twice retained 'mun' (for may), and yet twice anglicized 'auld' to 'old', while the Edinburgh reprint retained all the dialectal usages.2 It is ironic that the Edinburgh text, for all its failings, made relatively few (if logical) changes, but no concerted attempt to rationalize the far less important (if eccentric) punctuation and spelling of the original pamphlets. True, the 1727 text did have its successes, perhaps significantly in its handling of the more formal rhetoric of Frog's letter to Bull, Habakkuk's deception of Jack, or the lament for declining Grubstreet. In all of these the tone was maintained by the more regular use of, for example, archaic participles. Certainly the 1727 John Bull is more consistent in terms of physical presentation, but, for all its emendations, it is not a particularly good text in many other respects.

In short, although both external and internal evidence are inconclusive, it seems that someone, probably Pope, went through the pamphlets making a number of significant if unhelpful changes and a few historical annotations, and that the rest was left to the printer William Bowyer.3 Bowyer, ordinarily a capable and respected pg xxxviprofessional, did full justice neither to himself nor to the text in the case of John Bull.

It is obviously necessary to distinguish between manuscript revisions, and emendations to a printed text which has already been partly normalized by the printer; but there may be a clue as to what happened to John Bull in 1727 from an altogether different source, in the shape of a fragment of the Memoirs of Scriblerus discovered by George Sherburn among Pope's scrap papers.

The first draft of the passage is in the handwriting of Arbuthnot and superimposed on it are drastic alterations in the hand of Pope. Later one or the other, probably Pope, produced a third version which was the one finally to appear in print… the extreme illegibility of the manuscript as the result of Pope's editing and the fact that both he and Arbuthnot made corrections and changes in their versions suggest either that Pope took the trouble to copy the page for the benefit of the person who was to make the fair copy for the press, or that, desiring to make the further changes that appear in the printed version, he was simply driven to using a clean sheet.1

The passage concerns Indamora's debate with herself over Martin's love for her Siamese twin sister, and, in Arbuthnot's version, shows a more esoteric name-finding, more of a sense of psychological struggle on the part of a young woman who contemplates the actualities of married life, a more vivid prose style, and over all a strong sense of the all too human ironies of the twins' inextricable condition. But even from this short fragment it is clear that Pope's first concern was with the presentation of Arbuthnot's original. One section by Arbuthnot,

if Tryphena will never any more see Martin—Martin must never more bless the eyes of Tabitha. but why do I say wretched since my Rival can never enjoy my lover without me, the pangs that other lovers feel

was revised by Pope to read,

if Tryphena must never more see Martin—Martin must never more bless the eyes of Tabitha. Yet why do I say wretched since my Rival can never enjoy my lover without me? the pangs that others feel

and appeared in the printed version of 1741 as,

if Lindamira must never more see Martin, Martin shall never again bless the pg xxxviieyes of Indamora: Yet why do I say wretched? since my Rival can never possess my Lover without me. The pangs that others feel.1

Kerby-Miller argues that Pope primarily contracted and refined the work of his collaborators2 (mainly Arbuthnot); but the 1727 text of John Bull shows both pruning and addition, sometimes for no apparent reason. If Pope had gone to work on the allegory as he did on the whole Double Mistress episode, it would have been considerably cut down. Perhaps he was more respectful of work that had already appeared in print to popular acclaim. Yet if one compares the Scriblerus alterations and changes with the texts of John Bull, it is as though the 1727 text had reached the second stage of relative formal purity, and had progressed to the third stage in isolated instances. The 1727 text was a rough job. Probably a batch of the original pamphlets, marked with marginal deletions and revisions, was sent to William Bowyer. The correction of accidentals was the normal business of the printer, but he (and the editor) did not pay it enough attention, probably on the erroneous assumption that the work had already been done satisfactorily in the first printing of the pamphlets.

The Scriblerus fragment also highlights another failing of the 1727 text in relation to the 1712 pamphlets, which was implicit in our discussion of the 1727 emendations: it is not only invalid as an independent witness, but also inferior as literature. Kerby-Miller wrote of the Scriblerus manuscript: 'there is a rich burlesque tone and an easy movement in Arbuthnot's version which makes it preferable to Pope's highly condensed revision and in some ways more successful than the polished version that was finally published.'3 The same might be said of the John Bull texts. Gone in 1727 is the flavour of an older spelling ('shreveled' for shrivelled, 'stiffled' for stifled, 'whither' for whether, 'cursying' for curtsying, 'choul' for jowl, 'poinant' for poignant). Changed too are such vulgar phrases as 'there wants', 'many a black and blue Gash and Scars', 'as I hop'd to be sav'd' People no longer 'talk Politics', they 'talk of Politicks'; 'Paul's' is now 'St. Paul's'; beggars are no longer 'randy'. Lewis Baboon, 'it is the cheatingest, contentious Rogue upon the Face of the Earth', is now merely 'the most cheating, contentious Rogue'. And when Sir Humphry on occasion indulges in a hard word, 'contranitent' pg xxxviiibecomes 'contrary'. Corrections such as 'Comets fiery Tale' to 'Tail' destroyed puns;1 and emendations such as the omission of 'Loyal' from Mrs. Bull's 'Loyal Heart', which removed vital allusions,2 suggest that the sense of decorum which guided the editor or proof-reader was of a kind unresponsive to the text.

If Pope was responsible for the major changes made in 1727, it is no reflection on either his art or Arbuthnot's polemics to admit that he was not really at ease in the good doctor's less refined world of political pamphleteering;.

pg xxxixCONTEXTS


We tend to see Arbuthnot in the mind's eye as part of an illustrious company, as a member of the Scriblerus Club, as a public servant, and less as an 'individual'. Swift rears darkly above his time, Pope has emerged as a complex critic of his age, but Arbuthnot exists for us as he seems to have existed for most of his contemporaries—a witty, cheerful, self-effacing adjunct to Augustan life. 'By all those who were not much acquainted with him', wrote Chesterfield, 'he was considered infinitely below his level; he put 110 price upon himself, and consequently went at an undervalue.'1 From those who knew him best, however, we receive a picture of hyperbolic goodness: Arbuthnot was 'a perfectly honest man' (Swift), possessing all the 'genuine marks of a good mind' (Pope), with 'Candor, Generosity, & good sense' (Lady Mary), in sum 'the best conditioned creature that ever breathed' (Erasmus Lewis).

Perhaps Arbuthnot's character eludes the modest estimate of posterity and the eulogies of friends, and only a delicate but knowing irony, like Swift's in a letter to Pope, can do justice to the rare quality of goodness which the doctor expressed in the whole course of his life:

Mr. Lewis sent me an Account of Dr. Arbuthnett's Illness which is a very sensible Affliction to me, who by living so long out of the World have lost that hardness of Heart contracted by years and generall Conversation. I am daily loosing Friends, and neither seeking nor getting others. O, if the World had but a dozen Arbuthnetts in it I would burn my Travells but however he is not without Fault. There is a passage in Bede highly commending the Piety and learning of the Irish in that Age, where after abundance of praises he overthrows them all by lamenting that, Alas, they kept Easter at a wrong time of the Year. So our Doctor has every Quality and virtue that can make a man amiable or usefull, but alas he hath a sort of Slouch in his Walk. I pray god protect him for he is an excellent Christian tho not a Catholick and as fit a man either to dy or Live as ever I knew.2

In the wave of anti-Episcopal feeling which swept Scotland after pg xlthe deposition of James II, the Revd. Alexander Arbuthnot of Kincardineshire lost his living, and John, his eldest son, left home to seek his fortune. He resided for a time in London with a woollen-draper, then studied medicine at Oxford, and finally took his doctor's degree at St. Andrews on 11 September 1696. After returning to London, Arbuthnot made a name for himself in scientific circles with his amusing and learned critique of Woodward's theory of the deluge, and a few years later he published his more practical Essay on the Usefulness of Mathematical Learning. These efforts helped earn his election to the Royal Society in 1704, and the following year he was appointed 'Physician Extraordinary to the Queen … in consideration of his good and successful services perform'd as Physitian to his Royal Highnesse'—that is, to Prince George, whom Arbuthnot may have treated at Epsom.1 By 1710 Arbuthnot had been admitted to the Royal College of Physicians and was Physician in Ordinary to Queen Anne. Swift referred to him, in his Journal entry for 8 December 1711, as 'the Queen's favorite physician'.

When the John Bull pamphlets appeared in 1712, Arbuthnot was forty-five years old, settled in his ways and outlook, a man of achieved prominence in the milieux of science and the court. His professional and social walks of life were combined in his service to the Queen in her perpetual illness and to those who moved about her. His success, however, was tempered by his own frequent attacks of stone and fever, and the loss, as he tells Swift in 1713, of six of his children. 'I know by Experience, that the best cure [for grief] is by diverting the thoughts.'2 Perhaps Arbuthnot's gourmandise and fondness for gaming were such diversions, but Swift had a nobler interpretation of his friend's behaviour: 'you are a Philosopher and a Physician, & can overcome by Your Wisdom and your Faculty those Weaknesses which other men are forced to reduce by not thinking on them.'3

The tone of Swift's letters to Arbuthnot is, as Angus Ross has observed, that of discourse 'with a valued and beloved equal', and their mutual correspondence provides an interesting contrast between two kinds of satirical temperament.4 On the one side Swift, pg xliphysically withdrawn from the centre of court affairs for much of his life, is the impatient, combative satirist attacking his victims with all the means at his disposal, from modest proposals to burning-glasses to practical jokes, always eager to impose his satiric hegemony on the course of history, domestic or national; on the other side stands Arbuthnot, all his professional life a Londoner, and until 1 August 1714 an important presence in the court, yet remarkable for having (in Swift's words) 'a Mind so degage in a Court where there is so many Million of things to vex you'. Arbuthnot brought to his daily life, to court politics, to 'history', the same professional combination of detachment and compassion that he had learned as the most trusted physician of a dying queen. His temper of philosophical equanimity was based on a wary scepticism, an ironic 'Theory of human virtue', which, after the Queen's death, took this form: 'I have an opportunity calmly & philosophicaly to consider That treasure of vileness & baseness that I allwayes beleived to be in the heart of man, & to behold them exert their insolence & baseness every new instance instead of surprising & greiving me, as it dos some of my friends, really diverts me, & in a manner improves my Theory.'1 For Arbuthnot, so sardonic and yet at the same time so compassionate, 'history' and human nature are in a continual conspiracy to create the materials for, and even the patterns of, satire, without much active assistance. Arbuthnot's kind of satire is rooted even more firmly than Swift's in the verifiable texture of history, the written record; and his letters and works testify to the enormously diverse stuff of his reading. He was fascinated not so much by the baseness and folly of mankind as by the manifold satiric patterns human nature evolves in history. Behind John Bull is a mind that posits, 'Events will take their course. History will unfold its own absurd drama—will satirize itself—with only a little allegorical help from me.' But here again Arbuthnot would have been characteristically modest. We have tried to show in this edition that he devoted considerable care and skill to the making of John Bull, and the fate of his hero to some degree belies the cynicism of the kind doctor's 'Theory of human virtue'.

BACKGROUND 1698–1712

… The most ingenious and humorous political satire extant in our language, Arbuthnot's History of John Bull.

Lord Macaulay in the History of England

pg xliiDiscussion of the John Bull pamphlets as satire entails a review of the historical events to which they allude. This is no easy task: even a well-informed contemporary of Arbuthnot would have been hard pressed to explain many of the allusions in the work. The chief points of reference are, however, obvious enough, and we have in the following pages outlined chronologically those clusters of events with which the allegory is primarily concerned. This introductory discussion of the period is quite selective, but for the sake of intelligibility we have tried to strike a balance between history as seen by Arbuthnot's contemporaries and as it appears in retrospect. From the point of view of an Englishman living in 1712, the two major events during most of this span of time were Marlborough's—and the Whigs'—war with France and Spain on the Continent ('The War of the Spanish Succession'), and the career of the Godolphin war ministry at home.

1. Partition and Alliance, 1698–1701

In 1697, after a series of wars, the Treaty of Ryswick brought at least a temporary peace to the states of Europe. The French king, Louis XIV, who had initiated wars of conquest since 1667, was left with an impoverished nation, and he and his people seem sincerely to have desired peace. Now the prominent political question for the statesmen of the Maritime powers (England and Holland1), France, and the Austrian Empire was what to do about Charles II of Spain. This king, who reigned over a rich and far-flung empire including much of the Netherlands, the West Indies, and South America, was a dying invalid and would have no issue. There were three claimants to the Spanish throne, the young Prince Philip of Bourbon, Duke of Anjou and grandson of Louis; Charles, youngest son of the Habsburg Emperor Leopold I; and Joseph Ferdinand, Electoral Prince of Bavaria.

pg xliiiFrance was the great rival in trade of the Maritime powers. If the Spanish empire were to fall under French domination, the English and Dutch carrying-trade would be disastrously reduced, England's national security would be threatened by French occupation of the Spanish Netherlands, and Holland itself would be exposed to Louis's armies stationed at her borders.1 Louis well knew that a Bourbon king of Spain would arouse not only the antagonism of William III of England and the States-General of Holland, but that of the Austrians and many minor princes of Europe as well. Yet he wished to prevent the passing of the Spanish empire to a Habsburg. After a series of highly secret discussions, William and Louis signed a Partition Treaty at The Hague recognizing Joseph Ferdinand's right to most of the Spanish empire. The Emperor naturally enough refused to honour the treaty, but William and Louis had preserved the 'balance of power'. Neither Charles II nor any English minister was let into the secret of these negotiations, though the indignant Spanish nobles, aware that something was 'hatching beyond the Pyrenees', induced Charles to make a will naming Joseph Ferdinand heir to the entire inheritance.2 Hardly four months after the will was signed, however, the boy-prince of Bavaria died. Now the self-styled arbiters of European politics, with the approval of Holland, felt called upon to devise a Second Partition Treaty. It is no wonder that Arbuthnot chose to burlesque these manoeuvres as a surveying expedition on the grounds of a hapless nobleman. Louis, in a genuine effort to avert war, consented to let the Habsburg prince, Charles, have most of Spain and its possessions, but Leopold refused this offer in the hope of getting the whole. Matters finally came to a head when the Spanish nobles, who would accept a French (or even a Habsburg) king before dismemberment of their possessions, prevailed upon Charles to sign a second will bequeathing the entire Spanish inheritance to the Bourbon prince. Failing Louis's acceptance of these terms for his grandson, the empire was to go to the Austrian Charles.

Louis was now faced with a dilemma. On the one hand, he could accept the will and risk a second war with Austria and the Maritime powers; on the other, he could refuse the will, stand by the Second Partition Treaty, and watch Spain devolve to the Habsburgs. Whether he accepted the will or not, he would have to fight in order to keep the possessions promised him under the treaty. In November 1700 Louis decided to accept the Spanish bequest, thereby breaking pg xlivhis agreement with the other partitioners. The Grand Monarch then launched upon a series of audacious and aggressive actions (culminating in the proclamation of 'James III' as King of England) which solidified the anti-French sentiment of the Maritime powers and Austria into the Treaty of Grand Alliance, whereby England, Holland, and Austria pledged their mutual support. Leopold of Austria no longer expected to win the whole Spanish empire for his son Charles, and at this time 'neither England nor Holland were ready to fight on those terms, though they changed their minds two years later'.1 The Treaty of 1701 accepted Philip V as King of Spain as long as the crowns of France and Spain were never united, and demanded certain territories for the House of Austria, of which the Spanish Netherlands was to 'serve as a dyke, rampart and barrier' to protect the United Provinces from France. In effect, the Allies agreed to drive France out of Italy and the Spanish Netherlands. All these machinations set the stage for a war in which John Churchill, Duke of Marlborough, proved himself one of England's greatest generals.

2. Marlborough, Godolphin, and the War

From his early years, Churchill exercised a 'judicious foresight' in money matters which laid 'the foundation of his immense fortune'.2 He was to demonstrate this quality throughout a richly rewarded (and miserly) life, despite his imprudent marriage to the volatile Sarah Jennings, attendant to the Princess Anne, in 1677. The marriage delayed Marlborough's military advancement, but he had a chance in the 1690s to distinguish himself in battles against Louis XIV, his old patron in the Dutch wars. When Anne became Queen in 1702, he was made Captain-General of the forces, and his wife, the Queen's loyal but domineering companion, was given important Household offices.

Marlborough, at fifty-three a veteran of siege and diplomacy, saw himself succeeding to William's role as leader of the Protestant forces of Europe. He would carry on 'William's war' under his own command, but 'he could not be sure of money for the war unless a financier in full sympathy with his extensive plans were in control of the national purse'.3 That financier was Sidney Godolphin, a diligent and dextrous civil servant who had transferred himself from James to William as smoothly as had Churchill, his friend and kinsman by marriage. The office of Lord Treasurer was at this time the prime pg xlvministerial post of England, and in this capacity, under William, Godolphin had sufficiently demonstrated his skill at raising money from Parliament for war against the French. Marlborough in fact made his serving as commander-in-chief of the allied armies in 1702 conditional upon Godolphin's leadership of the ministry. Trevelyan notes that the 'Godolphin Ministry', which governed England from 1702 to 1710, 'derived its coherence not from party loyalty, but from the family alliance of Marlborough and Godolphin and their agreement on public affairs'.1 By 1712 it would be a natural, and merciless, allegorical step to represent this alliance as an illicit union between John Bull's extravagant first wife and his unscrupulous 'attorney general', 'Hocus'.

Anne's first ministry was a coalition of moderate to extreme Tories; the Junto, a small group of Whig lords (led by Somers, the lawyer, Halifax, the financier, and 'Honest Tom' Wharton, the campaign manager), whom the Queen could not abide, were excluded. In the early years of the reign Godolphin saw his fellow ministers, the religious conservatives, Nottingham and Rochester, frustrate the business of government, and later (1708–9) the war-hungry Junto demand an increasing voice in the ministry. Along the way, he lost faith in his political ally, Harley, ousting him in 1708, and reluctantly surrendered more and more power to the Junto. Despite his difficulties, Godolphin presided over the Union with Scotland, the most important piece of domestic legislation in Anne's reign, and managed to raise funds every year for the war effort.2 The war itself was going well. Marlborough's mastery of military organization and tactics procured victory after victory (Blenheim, 1704; Ramillies, 1706; Oudenarde, 1709; Bouchain, 1711); but his part in arranging the Methuen Treaty of 1703 helped to alter the war aims of William. The treaty brought Portugal into the alliance, but only on King Peter's terms that English and Dutch armies must be sent to the Peninsula, where the Austrian archduke (proclaimed 'Charles III' by the allies) must fight in person for his inheritance. England was thus committed on two fronts, in Spanish Flanders and in the Peninsula itself. When Louis put out feelers for peace to Holland in 1705, Marlborough convinced the Dutch that Charles must take Philip V's place as King of Spain.3

pg xlviThe Spanish venture, because of inept management and the Spaniards' antipathy to 'Charles III', did indeed prove a 'bottomless pit' for the Allies, and Marlborough's campaign in the north, despite its successes, seemed far from coming to a peaceful conclusion. By 1709 France seemed virtually defeated, and reflective men wondered whether Godolphin, in quietly carrying out the business of government (i.e. supplying the war) was not acting more in good faith to his glorious kinsman on the Continent than in the best interests of his country. It appeared then, as it appears now, that Marlborough was not inclined to end hostilities by diplomatic means, and that his prevailing strategy for peace was simply to make more war. In October 1709 he petitioned the Queen to grant him the office of Captain-General for life. Not surprisingly, the Queen denied his request.

3. Dissension in the Church

Although they differed in their views on the aims and strategy of the war, the High Tories in Godolphin's coalition ministry were united and markedly vociferous on certain domestic issues, especially their cherished project of legislation against 'occasional conformity'. Since the Toleration Act of 1689, the growth of'Dissent' from the Church of England was steady; but the 'Non-conformists' (Baptists, Quakers, Presbyterians, and many other sects) were still hindered by the Corporation Act of 1661 and the Test Act of 1673 which had made the receiving of the Sacrament as administered by the Church of England, at least once a year, the condition of holding offices in corporations and in the government. The Dissenters commonly practised 'occasional conformity' to the Church in order to hold public offices, but otherwise attended their own chapels and meeting-houses.1 Nottingham and his followers engineered Bills against 'occasional conformity' several times during Anne's reign, and finally succeeded in making such a Bill law in 1711.

Dissension over religious toleration reached its height in 1705 in the arena of the Anglican Convocation with its two houses corresponding to the Lords and the Commons of Parliament, an upper house of bishops, and a lower house of the inferior clergy. William had appointed fifteen 'low Church' bishops who dominated the upper house during the early eighteenth century. Led by Gilbert pg xlviiBurnet, Bishop of Salisbury, the noted polemicist and historian, they urged the toleration of Nonconformity. Thus the episcopate was virtually the protector and patron of the Dissenters, whose ranks consisted chiefly of the lower commercial classes. The 'low Churchmen' in Convocation contended for more 'Moderation' in ceremonies of the Church, while the conservative clergy, who predominated in the lower house, advocated stricter observance of ritual. These 'high flyers' thought the Church was in extreme danger because of 'Moderation'; the latitudinarian bishops, on the other hand, made a formal statement that the Church of England was 'in a most safe and flourishing condition'.1 Arbuthnot would zestfully ridicule these high and low factions by drawing upon his medical expertise and familiarity with the practices of his colleagues in telling the story of John's Mother (the Church of England), a decorous matron troubled by a variety of paralysing distempers.

The 'high flyers' did not confine their lamentations to the halls of Convocation. The Memorial of the Church of England by the Reverend James Drake was the most notorious of a spate of tracts which appeared in 1705 attacking Dissenters, moderating clergy, and 'occasional conformity'. In addition, this virulent pamphlet denounced Marlborough and Godolphin as hypocritical traitors to the Church, who with the Junto and the Dissenters had conspired to undermine its discipline and unity.2 The Lord Treasurer was incensed by such attacks, and the resentment he harboured against the High Tory clergy was to take its ill-fated revenge in the Sacheverell trial of 1710.

4. The Union, 1707

One of the liveliest allegorical personifications in the satire is John Bull's ill-fed but spirited hyperborean sister, Peg. Scotland in 1700 was a barren land. Primitive methods of cultivation, frequent drought (especially in the 'dear years' of William's reign), and an export trade consisting almost entirely of food and raw materials forced the Scot's standard of living below that of his English counterpart. Despite tremendous economic hardships, the ordinary Scot refused charity with a passion, and sustained a characteristic vitality and independence.

pg xlviiiJames I had united the crowns of Scotland and England in 1603, but each country kept its own Parliament, except for the brief period of Cromwell's dictatorship. In 1701 the English Parliament, with Harley taking a leading part, passed the 'Act of Settlement', which, among other things, provided for a Hanoverian successor to the English throne upon Anne's death. A see-saw of bitter legislative squabbles between the two traditionally hostile peoples in the following years helped impel Arbuthnot himself to promote the Union by preaching a secular sermon to his fellow Scots at Edinburgh in late 1706. In his sermon, which is generally regarded as the best of the numerous Union tracts, he stressed the trade advantages a union with England would bring to Scotland, a victim of the 'three fatal sisters', Pride, Poverty, and Idleness.

In 1707 the terms of the Union were finally settled and Scotland was offered first chance to ratify the treaty. 'If it were first accepted by England, the pride and suspicion of Scotland would take alarm and regard the Treaty as a piece of English goods … could Scotland trust her neighbour's good faith? With bitter misgivings she decided to try the experiment.'1 Scotland was to keep her Presbyterian Church but to lose her Parliament in an incorporating Union. Her system of law was not altered, she was given representation in the Commons, and was granted a large 'Equivalent' for helping to bear the national debt England had contracted before the Union. But Scotland was a long way from enjoying the economic benefits she had been led to expect. The Scots did not yet possess a sufficient economic basis of business organization for trade with the colonies, and their linen manufacture was injured by English underselling. Mortifying in other respects were the prohibition on Scots lords from becoming peers of Great Britain at the time of the Union, and the necessity for Scots Presbyterians to take the Sacramental Test in order to hold office in England.2

5. The Barrier Treaty, 1709

All five Junto lords sat on the commission for negotiating the Union and played an active part in devising a treaty acceptable to the Scots. As a condition for their supporting the treaty in the ensuing Parliament, they asked that Sunderland, Marlborough's fiery son-in-law, be made one of the Secretaries of State. The Queen, despite pg xlixHarley's objection, finally gave Sunderland the seals in the autumn of 1706, but only after Marlborough and Godolphin had threatened to resign from the government. By placing one of their number in the ministry the Junto thought they were 'driving the nail that would go'. Harley, however, was still a thorn in their side. This man, whom they nicknamed 'Robin the Trickster', was for the Junto a far less trustworthy potential ally than Godolphin. In a deliberate attempt to destroy Harley, the Whigs fanned a scandal. William Greg, an employee in Harley's office, was accused of passing state secrets to the French: a committee of Whig lords inquired into the affair and attempted, unsuccessfully, to implicate Harley in Greg's treason. Owing to Whig pressure and to Godolphin's suspicious distrust of his ambitious fellow minister, Harley was dismissed as Secretary of State in February 1708, along with his fellow Tory the mercurial Henry St. John, Secretary at War.1 As the power of the Tories declined, the Junto pressed forward with their war policy. In the Parliamentary session of 1707–8 Somers and Wharton, going beyond mere support for Marlborough's campaign in the Netherlands, were able to secure approval of the motion 'That no peace can be safe or honourable' which left Spain and the Indies in the possession of the Bourbons. Excluding Philip from the Spanish throne, however, 'proved to be an impossible goal, and for its failure to recognise this fact the Marlborough-Godolphin administration was to pay dearly before two years were out'.2

Somers and Wharton themselves joined the ministry in 1708, but Godolphin and Marlborough still held the reins of government. There is no doubt, however, that the 'Moderates', Marlborough, Godolphin, and their court following, the Junto Whigs, and the 'Lord-Treasurer's Whigs' (one of whom, Robert Walpole, was now Secretary of the Navy) shared a common desire to prolong the war.3 Their motives were mixed. No doubt they believed that keeping up the war meant retaining the benefits of power. They also wished, apparently, to preserve England's trade from the encroachment of a Bourbon; and they knew that a prostrate France could not hinder the Hanoverian Succession. But even in 1709 France had a measure of resilience. As pg lRoderick Geikie neatly observes, 'With the Whig leaders the wish was father to the thought.'1

There was yet another reason for continuing the war, one which concerned England's relation to its chief ally, Holland, and the vexed question of a Dutch barrier. Marlborough's victory at Ramillies in May 1706 opened the way for the allied conquest of the southern Netherlands, but victory had a way of creating problems for the allies. The Emperor claimed this reconquered territory for himself; the Dutch, in opposition, demanded the return of their 'Barrier' fortress-towns in Spanish territory which they desired to maintain as a defensive bulwark against French invasion. In July of 1706 Godolphin wrote to Marlborough, 'I don't think the Dutch are very reasonable, to be so much in pain about their barrier, as things stand; but it is plain argument to me they think of joining their interest to France, whenever a peace comes, and for that very reason the longer we can keep it off, the better.'2 That same July, Louis, hoping to draw the Dutch out of the alliance, privately offered them the whole of the southern Netherlands. The States-General agreed, however, to enter into a 'Condominium' over Belgium with the English till the end of the war, at which time the territory would be handed over to Charles III, with the exception of the barrier. The question of which specific towns were to form the barrier was postponed at this time, 'But the help rendered to [the Dutch] by their ally in the critical months of June and July had left them self-supporting. They could afford to wait for payment, and would not on the day of settlement forget to charge full interest.'3

By 1709 that day had come. Holland was near exhaustion from her part in supplying the war, and to keep her from faltering in the 'common cause' the Godolphin war ministry sent Charles Townshend, a Junto man, to negotiate a 'Barrier Treaty' with the Dutch. By this treaty, Britain promised to help secure the rest of the Spanish low countries in order that Holland might garrison twenty towns and fortresses there, and guaranteed that the Maritime powers would enjoy equal trading privileges in the Spanish Empire. 'The effect of these Dutch rights of garrison and of the financial and commercial provisions that accompanied them, was to strip Austrian Charles of half the value of his property in the Netherlands and to pg liendanger the freedom of British trade.'1 For its part, the States-General promised to assist and maintain the Hanoverian Succession, and offered to furnish sea and land forces for this purpose. When Tory statesmen eventually came to know the terms of the treaty, they felt that Townshend had not only signed away English trading privileges but had given the Dutch a pretence to interfere at their will in English affairs. Similarly, Arbuthnot was to have his gullible hero make Nic. Frog (the Dutch) the «Executor of his Last Will and Testament', with leave 'to enter his House at any Hour of the Day or Night … in order to secure the Peace of … John Bull's Family'2

6. Sacheverell, 1710

By the summer of 1708, most English taxpayers, especially the Tory squires who shouldered the Land Tax, began to look upon supplying the war less as a patriotic duty than as a severe hardship. As the Government sank deeper in debt to the Bank and to Whig financiers in the City, the Allies seemed to pay less and less of their share in the war. By 1709 Britain's annual expenditure had risen to £13 million from £3 million in 1702.3 In this atmosphere of growing disenchantment with the war, Godolphin's Whig ministry was the prime target of popular attack. During the autumn of 1709 the Reverend Henry Sacheverell, perhaps the most flamboyant and reckless of High Church polemicists, chose to preach two incendiary sermons on the necessity of 'non-resistance' or 'passive obedience' to King and Church in all circumstances. The second sermon, based upon the text 'In perils among false brethren', was preached at St. Paul's before the High Tory Mayor of London on the fifth of November, a day held sacred by the Whigs as celebrating both the discovery of the Gunpowder Plot and the landing in England of William of Orange. Sacheverell's fulmination was printed and enjoyed unprecedented circulation. In it, besides attacking Whigs, Dissenters, and «moderate' Tories, he alluded to Godolphin under the thin disguise of his satirical catch-name 'Volpone', and after much political calculation pg lii(which events were to render misdirected) the thin-skinned Lord Treasurer and his Whig ministers decided to impeach Sacheverell before the House of Peers, 'in order to argue out before the highest tribunal of the land the lawfulness of the existing Constitution and the prospective rights of the Protestant Succession'.1

The Sacheverell trial can be considered a touchstone of Whig and Tory sentiment on the question of how England should be governed. The Whig 'managers' of the case against Sacheverell embraced the occasion for publicly restating the foundation of the Revolution Settlement of 1688 in solemn rhetoric which almost deified the principle of revolution itself. Probably the most clever and telling of all the parodies in John Bull is the elaborate 'Vindication of the indispensable Duty of Cuckoldom' (or revolution) by John's 'extravagant' first wife. Mrs. Bull rails against the Anglican doctrine of 'passive obedience', echoing not only the Whig managers but also the rhetoric of dissenting preachers and eighteenth-century proponents of women's liberation.

The impeachment raised the passions of the London mob, but against Dissenters instead of Papists. Many meeting-houses were wrecked, and only the Queen's foot and horse guards, who perhaps 'would have been more at ease charging the French lines',2 were able to quell the riots. On the heels of the riots came the Lords' verdict upon Sacheverell. He was voted guilty by 69 votes to 52 and was forbidden to preach for three years. The slight sentence was tantamount to a Tory victory.

7. The Return of Harley

Their ousting by Godolphin and the Whigs in 1708 made Harley and St. John think seriously, perhaps for the first time, about a genuine policy of peace both as a means of regaining power and as a necessary benefit to the British economy. Sensing the first indications of war-weariness, and apprehensive of Marlborough's growing military and political pretensions, they seized upon the one apparent avenue of escape from the 'bottomless pit': peace could only come if Archduke Charles's claim to the Spanish throne was abandoned; by November St. John would exclaim in a letter to Harley, 'For God's sake, let us be once out of Spain!'

pg liiiHarley's immediate strategy for regaining power derived from his influence over Abigail Masham, the Lady of the Bedchamber who had replaced the Duchess of Marlborough in Queen Anne's affections. Sarah was a staunch friend of the Whigs, and Abigail's Tory proclivities meshed perfectly with Harley's intention of overthrowing the Godolphin ministry. The Duchess's tempestuous final interview with Anne on 6 April 1710 'formed a fitting prelude to the removal of Sarah's political allies from power'1 in that year. The passion for 'High Church and Sacheverell' was now at its height and from April to September 1710 the Queen replaced the war ministry of Godolphin with moderate politicians recommended to her by Harley through his intermediary, Mrs. Masham. After the dismissal of Sunderland in June 'the retreat became a rout, everyone running separately for cover, or secretly intriguing for terms with the victors'.2 In the words of John Bull, 'then happy was the Man that was first at the Door'. Harley was now the new Lord Treasurer, and the country supported him with a landslide Tory election victory in October. He vowed to complete the double task of restoring the financial stability of the country and of bringing Marlborough's war to an end. Edward Harley, for a time auditor of the exchequer, describes the chaos his brother faced in 1711:

When he [Harley] came into the treasury he found the exchequer almost empty; nothing left for the subsistence of the army but some tallies upon the third general mortgage of the customs; the queen's civil list near £700,000 in debt; the funds all exhausted and a debt of £9,500,000 without provision of parliament, which had brought all the credit of the government to a vast discount. In this condition the nation had to pay 257,689 men… . Besides these difficulties, the Bank, stock-jobbers, and moneyed men of the city were all engaged to sink the credit of the government.3

Harley put into effect several schemes for regaining the financial credit of the nation. In 1711 two lotteries were held raising million and £2 million respectively, and the South Sea Company, with a huge monopoly of trade on the east and west coasts of South America, was established. Still England's final debt in the war of the Spanish Succession was £21.5 million.4

pg liv8. The Tory Peace

As early as August of 1710 the Jacobite Earl of Jersey, acting for Harley, had engaged in secret peace negotiations with an agent of the Marquis of Torcy, Louis's chief minister. In the spring of 1711 two accidents altered the course of these preliminary peace talks. In March Harley was stabbed by a would-be assassin, and during the interval of his recovery, St. John, now Secretary of State, stepped into the role of chief English negotiator. A month later the young Habsburg Emperor Joseph I died, and his brother, 'Charles III', was suddenly Emperor Charles VI. At this point it became clear to the ministerial Tories that Charles must be kept from his Spanish inheritance or the 'balance of power' would again go awry. St. John's skilful bargaining throughout the summer and autumn of 1711, under the strict supervision of Harley, helped obtain great trade advantages for England, and the agreement forged that year enabled England and France to dictate terms to the Allies at the general peace conference in Utrecht in 1712 (the 'Salutation Tavern' of John Bull). The 'Preliminary Articles of October', signed by the French, acknowledged the Queen's title to the throne and the Protestant Succession after her; specified that the Crowns of France and Spain should never be united; promised a Barrier for Holland in the Netherlands; and stipulated that Louis would dismantle Dunkirk, the notorious French privateering base.

The public denunciation of the 'October Preliminaries' by the Elector of Hanover (the future George I) was applauded by his friends, the Junto lords and Marlborough, and by the Dutch, who saw in the Tory peace programme a revocation of the Barrier Treaty fashioned by Townshend and the Whigs in 1709. 'The Elector's opposition was not due, as the Whigs represented, to fear for the Protestant Succession, but to the dangers anticipated from the cession of the Spanish crown to a Bourbon.'1 Thus Hanover, Austria, Holland, and the Junto leagued together to prolong the war. Against this formidable alliance, the ministry needed all the skills of the Tory pamphleteers, especially those of Swift, St. John's chef de propagande. In The Conduct of the Allies, 'probably the most influential single publication of the reign of Queen Anne',2 Swift argued that Britain should never have entered the war as a principal contender; revealed to the English people for the first time the actual provisions pg lvof the Barrier Treaty; listed Dutch shortcomings throughout the course of the war; and assailed Marlborough and the Whigs as war profiteers. Both Swift's scathing tract, which appeared on 27 November 1711, and Arbuthnot's more amiable Law is a Bottomless-Pit, which was conceived at about the same time, quickly went through six editions.

The great scene of the battle for peace was the Parliamentary session of 7 December 1711, and the Whigs, observing the growing split between Harley (now Earl of Oxford) and St. John (now Viscount Bolingbroke), were confident that they could bring the ministry down. Oxford had rejected political co-operation with the Junto lords, but the Junto was able to convince the High Tory Nottingham, arch-foe of the Dissenters and of 'occasional conformity', that if he would move an amendment in the House of Lords to the Queen's Address, pledging the Lords against any 'Peace without Spain', they would vote for a bill which would subject any Anglican communicant who attended a Nonconformist place of worship to heavy fines.

The Dissenters were gravely discontented at the bargain, but their lordly latitudinarian patrons said the lesser must give way to the greater cause. Only thus, they argued, would the Pope be checkmated and the Hanoverian Succession secured. The Whigs were sacrificing their principles of religious toleration to their factious desire to overthrow the Ministry and the Peace.1

Indeed, there is some question whether the Whig's principles of religious toleration were not a thing of the past. (Arbuthnot's version of this unsavoury transaction, the hanging of the Calvinist upstart, Jack, is the most poignant episode in the satire.) Nottingham's motion was supported by Marlborough and the Whigs and carried by 62 to 54. The Captain-General then took the floor of the House, and, in a fulsome speech directed to the Queen, who was present at the session incognito, defended himself against the charge that a peace might have been made after Ramillies, 'if the same had not been put off by some Persons, whose Interest it was to prolong the War'.2 The Whig plot had succeeded, or so it seemed, for unless Oxford could reverse the vote, his ministry would fall. But Oxford still had one card up his sleeve: by means of her royal prerogative, the Queen, on 1 January 1712, at Oxford's insistence, reluctantly 'created' pg lvitwelve additional Tory peers. The peace programme and the ministry were saved.

The Tories now had a chance to complete their demolition of the Whigs and Marlborough. Walpole was quickly expelled from the Commons and lodged in the Tower on a well-prepared charge of misappropriating funds; and Marlborough, the chief Tory target, was accused of taking illicit commissions, particularly a cut of 2.$ per cent (amounting to over £280,000) from the pay of foreign troops in English employ.1 On 31 December 1711, before the charges against him had even been examined, he was dismissed by the Queen from all his offices. With Marlborough out of the picture, it was easier for the English to come to terms with their timorous foes, the French, than with their suspicious friends, the Dutch. The States-General was appalled at the secret negotiations by which England, disregarding Dutch claims in the Barrier Treaty, had secured from France the monopoly of trade with Spanish America, and had seized control of the Mediterranean trade for England by annexing Gibraltar and Port Mahon as bases for her fleet.2 At the end of January 1712 the powers in the war, including an extremely reluctant Holland, met at Utrecht for the purpose of making a general peace.

During January and February, Parliament discussed its grievances concerning Dutch deficiencies in the war effort, and the great advantages (detrimental to English trade) which Holland had acquired in the Barrier Treaty of 1709. These discussions were voiced in a Representation, written by Thomas Hanmer with Swift's help, and presented to the Queen by the Commons on 4 March 1712. The Dutch responded first with a conciliating letter to the Queen, but this was followed on 3 April by a strong and able Memorial expressing their grievances with the Tory peace programme. England was determined to have its own way, however, and on 3 June 1712 the Queen, through her representative at Utrecht, announced 'herself disengaged from all alliances and engagements with their high mightinesses',3 to which the Dutch responded with a last conciliatory plea. The three Dutch apologies were published, and were thus ripe for Arbuthnot's parody. England's other ally was no less indignant than the Dutch with the plan for peace. Imperial and English affairs had become embroiled towards the end of 1711 with the dismissal of Count Gallas, the Austrian ambassador to England, who had consorted with the Whigs and published letters against the peace nego-pg lviitiations. On 30 June, after the Queen's break with the States-General and her demand for a cessation of arms, the Austrian envoy at Utrecht read a Memorial to the States outlining five resolutions for the renewal of the Allies' war aims. This Memorial was the fruit of Dutch-Imperial talks concerning, in particular, Dutch claims to the fortified towns in the Spanish Netherlands.

While Holland and Austria were attempting to keep up their alliance, the Duke of Ormonde, Marlborough's Tory replacement in the field, received from the Queen the famous 'Restraining Orders' which forbade him to engage in any siege or battle. This policy, originated by Bolingbroke, was kept a secret from the other ministers, including Oxford. On 25 June 1712 Ormonde declared to the States' deputies his orders from the Queen to publish 'a Suspension of Arms, for Two Months, between his Army and the French';1 two days later the Bishop of Bristol proposed the same suspension of arms at Utrecht. Less than a month later the confederate army, led by Prince Eugene, separated from Ormonde's troops in order to prosecute the campaign. Ormonde now had more to fear from the United Provinces than from France, and, in the course of his march towards Dunkirk, he and his troops were refused entrance by the Dutch at the recently recaptured fortresses of Bouchain and Douai. English resentment of Dutch behaviour gave way to joy when it was learned that a British naval force, cordially welcomed by the French authorities, had taken possession of Dunkirk in the middle of July.


The concept of national character can be traced from Aristotle through Renaissance critics into seventeenth-century textbooks of rhetoric;2 and English fascination with national identity was so ingrained that every facet of John Bull's character (J.B. 9: 12–26) can be found established in traditional caricature and contemporary polemic. 'Bull, in the main, was an honest plain dealing Fellow, Cholerick, Bold, and of a very unconstant Temper, he dreaded not old Lewis either at Back-Sword, single Faulcion, or Cudgel-play', wrote Arbuthnot. Even the sceptical Defoe was moved to delight in 'the Superiority of the English in Strength of Body, and Genius in pg lviiiBattle',1 and Shadwell's audience for The Volunteers (1693) readily identified with Major General Blunt, described in the dramatis personae as 'somewhat rough in Speech, but very brave and honest… of good Understanding and a good Patriot'. Such a generic Englishman as John Bull, lured into the bottomless pit of law by 'visionary prospects', might be 'very apt to quarrel with his best Friends, especially if they pretended to govern him; If you flatter'd him, you might lead him like a Child'; for as Defoe put it, 'The Mischief to our People is, when they are doz'd with Dreams and Delusions, and go hoodwink'd into the Pit. English Men are apter to be wheedled than frighted—When you bully and threaten them, they rouze.'2 Arbuthnot's suggestion that 'John's Temper depended very much upon the Air; his Spirits rose and fell with the Weather-glass' would also have a familiar ring to readers who had been taught that a temperate climate explained both the balanced English character ('Their Manners not too rough, nor too refin'd; / Sincere of Heart, and generous, just and kind')3 and its tendency to fickleness.4 In January 1712 Swift advised the October Club to moderate its demands for revenge on the fallen ministers 'considering the short Life of Ministrys in our Climate',5 and a Whig protest against the proposed peace argued that 'if we are as various as our Climate, our Fortune will be so too'.6 Thus the John Bull who loved 'his Bottle and … spent his Money' was in essence the same generic Englishman admired by Shakespeare's Iago7 and attacked by Defoe.8 The John Bull angered by Frog's suggestion that he should retrench was an appealing personification to readers proud of their freedom to 'Eat pg lixtheir own Beef and Pudding, and Drink their own October unmolested'.1 And since, 'No Country but Great Britain can boast, that … its Natives will … go to Foot-ball … Cricket … Cudgel-playing, or some such vehement Exercise for their Recreations',2 John Bull— even 'in his senses'—'could not help discovering some remains of his Nature, when he happen'd to meet with a Foot-Ball, or a Match at Cricket'.

Arbuthnot may have proved himself the man to create an engaging national character, but the moment was propitious for John Bull's appearance. English national consciousness, nursed by the Tudors and brought to maturity in the wars of the seventeenth century, received a rude shock when the 1688 Revolution established on the throne a man who 'although King of England, was a Native of Holland',3 with his Dutch guards, Dutch favourites, and Dutch politics. In 1700 John Tutchin gave scope to jingoistic hatred with The Foreigners: Defoe's reply, in his ironic deflation of The True-Born Englishman, bore brave witness to his sense of historical perspective, but it served only to increase the swell of patriotic fervour occasioned by the succession of a queen who had the good political sense to declare her heart 'entirely English'. Anne's reign released animus against foreigners which the new European war inevitably confirmed. Parliament debated the wisdom of allowing aliens to hold office, and was urged to take restrictive measures by hysterical pamphlets.4 In 1709, when an influx of refugees from the Palatinate coincided with the introduction of a General Naturalization Bill, the staunch Tories—who were already worried about the long term effects of the Union with Scotland two years previously—raised a howl of protest.5 And if every major political issue became a patriotic tug of war between the parties, many shades of opinion were united by their pg lxconcern for English culture. Swift's Proposal for Correcting the English Tongue (1712) found a ready response in readers concerned lest 'The old graceful Bluntness of our Fore-fathers'1 be lost in the vogue for foreign refinements, and in writers who instinctively used loanwords to increase the impact of their satires:

  • Whole floods of Gore distain'd the guilty Years, Noses ragou'd, and Fricasies of Ears.2

There was, moreover, widespread anxiety over a supposed decline in the quality of life: 'Nothing will go down with the Town now but French Fashions, French Dancing, French Songs, French Wine, French Kickshaws … All Nations love one another better than the English … but we are never satisfied with anything of our own growth.'3

Samuel Johnson was later to note that 'In a time of war the nation is always of one mind, eager to hear something good of themselves and ill of the enemy'.4 Certainly by 1712 the English were growing tired of the seemingly endless military victories against the French which achieved nothing tangible; but these had been successes against the old enemy. Arbuthnot himself trod on dangerous ground by appealing to national consciousness in the name of peace, for he could so easily have stimulated counter-productive hostility towards France. He negotiated the difficulty by confirming traditional prejudices about the enemy, only to demonstrate, by implicit comparison, that England's foreign allies were far less defensible and certainly more dangerous. It was a shrewd polemic ploy. The success of the whole Tory campaign against the war hinged on the destruction of Dutch credibility. The United Provinces provided more money and troops for 'the common cause' than almost all Britain's other allies put together, and the Dutch had assumed a prominence which Defoe recognized when he warned, 'I must be understood, when I mention the Dutch, not to mean the Dutch only… in a strict Literal Sense … but the whole Confederacy.'5 As an extra incentive, the attack was personally satisfying to the many pamphleteers, who—with the notable exception of Defoe—shared the popular and traditional suspicion of all things Dutch.6 Arbuth-pg lxinot's Nicholas Frog, a 'cunning sly Whoreson … Covetous, Frugal' who 'minded domestick Affairs; [and] would pine his Belly to save his Pocket'1 was thus another personification of rooted preconceptions about a people 'rather cunning then wise, crafty then cunning, and close then either; their Commonwealth being managed rather by the subtlety of Tradesmen, then the policy of Statesmen'.2 Very properly, this Frog 'did not care much for any sort of Diversions, except Tricks of High German Artists, and Leger de main; no Man exceded Nic. in these', since the United Provinces was supposed to be the breeding-ground for mountebanks and quacks of all descriptions, a point not lost on the pamphleteers who harassed the many Dutch merchants in England: 'in and about the City, our dearly beloved Darling Dutch-men are continually playing their Dog-tricks … a Jugler cannot play … more nimbly, than these Whipsters'.3 Such sleight of hand was the more bitterly resented when employed in the 'artistry' of satirical prints,4 and even the whiggish Steele had to admit: 'They are a trading people, and … in their very minds mechanics. They express their wit in manufacture, as we do in manuscript.'5 This contra-distinction runs through all anti-Dutch satire, as it connects every facet of Frog's character. The Dutch were feared as ruthless and single-minded trading rivals, and Arbuthnot could depend on his readers to appreciate the irony in his concession, 'it must be own'd … Nic. was a fair Dealer, and in that way had acquir'd immense Riches', even before he revealed Frog as a devious empire-builder in the later pamphlets. Fear of the Dutch was often relieved by scorn, and Arbuthnot's personification was shrewdly calculated to arouse that powerful admixture of apprehension and contempt which characterized so many English responses to an old enemy turned ally.

The Old Hollanders were ormerly despised by their Neighbours, by reason of their Boorish Manners, the Meaness of their Habits and Eating. They were called in derision, Milk-sops, Butter-boxes, and Cheese-eaters. But… they are now thought to be the most subtle and thriving People of Europe… . Those who are sharp and crafty never let these Qualifications lye idle … pg lxiiand miss no opportunity to make an Advantage, either of the Ignorance, or Simplicity of those, they deal with.1

Thus, before the history of John Bull has properly got under way, all the carefully selected prejudices confirmed in the initial character sketches of the English and Dutch peoples suggest that the relationship between Bull and Frog will be one of honest simplicity pitted against opportunist cunning.

To emphasize the seriousness of this undeclared war Arbuthnot omitted some conventional traits of caricature which might have detracted from the fictional credibility and the political severity of his Dutch character. He employed the easy jibe at drunkenness in reverse: when Frog appears to become drunk during the partition meeting he is at best no more culpable than the often inebriated Bull and at worst plays the sociable friend to make his ally more malleable. Nor does Frog use the pidgin English—so beloved by traditional caricaturists2—which would have reduced his stature as a considerable opponent. Yan Ptschirnsooker (the whiggish Bishop Burnet) speaks in conventionally broken English, reminding the reader of the unity of purpose behind Dutch 'quackery' and English whiggery, but Frog himself remains articulate and dangerous. Also pointedly absent from Arbuthnot's first portrait of Frog is the ill-tempered rudeness of the generic Hollander which later emerges as his control over his language, the situation, and Bull begins to slip.3 In his threatening letter to Lewis he reveals the coarse and brutal side of his nature; and as John comes to his senses so Nic. finds it progressively more difficult to hide his violent irascibility.

With such touches of verisimilitude the conventional skeletons of national types are endowed with the brain and sinew of character in action. Benjamin Boyce has observed that the national character 'is a variety . .. most difficult to keep Character-like … the requirement of amplification leads almost irresistibly to picturesque scenes and anecdotes'.4 He also noted that the most successful examples of such characters in the seventeenth century moved inexorably away from the succinct and consciously rhetorical Theophrastan norm towards pg lxiiithe parallel tradition of the essay.1 Arbuthnot took this progression a stage further in John Bull, where his characters are first outlined and then gradually developed through idiom, inter-relationships, historical reminiscences, and the like techniques, just as the members of the Spectatorial club are developed in the periodical essays of Addison and Steele. Yet the uneasy alliance between Bull and Frog provides their creator with a rather special polemic weapon. John may be a shopkeeper drunk on ale and law in the first pamphlet, but as he comes to his senses he is also revealed to be a gentleman trader intent on preserving his country manor of Bullock's-Hatch. Thus the contrast between John's early recklessness and Nic.'s concern to be 'both in Court and in his Shop at the proper Hours' is—in one emotive sense—a distinction of social class, and a satiric technique which Swift was later to employ in his Draper's Letters. Richard Cook noted shrewdly that 'As a prosperous, though petty, tradesman, Swift's Drapier is in the advantageous position of being both humble enough to elicit a sense of self-identification from his lower- and middle-class readers, and at the same time imposing enough to give appropriate force to his sneers at Wood as … a "diminutive, insignificant Mechanick".'2 Advance these characters one rung up the social ladder—with a graceless mechanic Frog the 'drapier' remaining consciously inferior to the ally he addresses as 'John Bull, great Clothier of the World'—and the same discrimination could be applied to Arbuthnot's pamphlets. Cook also observed, 'In keeping with the Drapier's character … Swift writes in a style that is deliberately undistinguished. The Drapier has no hesitation in using the sort of platitudes ("a Word to the Wise is enough") that a purist like Swift normally avoids. Nearly all the Drapier's literary allusions, as might be expected from a man who is largely self-educated, are from the Bible.' Bull's language is full of comparable aphorisms and shows some acquaintance with not only the Bible but the Apochrypha and Church Latin. He is in a similar 'advantageous position', while Frog is left in the same cleft stick as the adversary of the drapier, a 'little, impudent … Mechanick'.3

pg lxivInteraction between characters is crucial to Arbuthnot's satirical method. Frog's attempts to deceive Bull during their settlement of accounts demonstrate that he is not only a lover of 'Tricks … and Leger de main' but an expert performer, a skill seen again in his melodramatic posturings and 'tumblings' at the Salutation. Certainly 'no Man exceded Nic. in these', but a number of quacks challenge his supremacy and in the process create a sinister fictional and political connection between Frog and Cavallo (Somerset), Ptschirnsooker (Burnet), and the trickster Hocus, 'A true State-Jugler'.1 Whig notables such as Shaftesbury and Burnet had resided in Holland for well-publicized periods, the Whigs had been prime movers in bringing William of Orange to the throne, and they had identified the interests of the two countries in the following years. As Defoe complained, 'we cannot send our Honest Englishmen Abroad, but they all turn Whigs, grow Dutchifi'd, and their Principles quite Debauch'd'.2 It was difficult for the Whigs to deny the charge in 1712, when they had no polemicist capable of a satire so enjoyably and allusively resonant as John Bull.

Failure to take sufficient account of the basic structural conflict between Arbuthnot's two main protagonists perhaps explains the attempts to isolate John Bull from the satire in which he operates and to uncover some precise historical model for his character, such as the seventeenth-century musician of the same name; or George Bull, the sturdy High Church Bishop of St. David's, who died in 1710; or— more plausibly—Henry St. John, Viscount Bolingbroke (Bulling-broke). Lester Beattie dealt very competently with these suggestions, only to follow the same lure of particularity by arguing a case for Sir Richard Bulstrode, whose Original Letters to Charles II were published in January 1712.3 Any or all of these 'Bulls' may have been in Arbuthnot's mind during the formulation of his allegory, but such surmise is both vain and gratuitous. Before he became intrigued by Bulstrode, Beattie had himself recognized the essential and emotive origins of Bull and Frog in two Aesopian fables, 'The Frog and the Ox'4 and 'The Frogs Fearing the Sun would Marry'. Of course the hoary old joke about Dutch 'Frogs'—partly explained by the geography and the polders of the Low Countries—had lost none of its appeal in Tory pg lxvsatire: 'not a Frog in any Ditch in Holland but [would] croak' in harmony with the addressee of the Letter to a Modern Dissenting Whig in 1701, and such men were accused of maintaining a 'perfect Understanding … with the Froglanders' throughout the war.1 Here was a precise polemic relevance in the parallel situations of the importunate amphibian of 'The Frog and the Ox', who tries to puff himself up to the size of his great neighbour the bull,2 and of Nicholas Frog, who designs to aggrandize himself and ruin John Bull by their lawsuit. Certainly when John Ogilby moralized 'The Frogs Fearing the Sun would Marry' with explicit reference to:

  • LOw-Country Provinces, United Bogs, Once distrest S[t]ates, now Hogen Mogen Frogs,

in his Fables of Aesop Paraphras'd in Verse (1668), he was reflecting a common insult of seventeenth-century satire. And if, as Earl Miner observed, 'images and meanings, plots and morals, beasts and the men they represent, this and that historical sequence mingle in full Baroque ease' to an unusual degree in Ogilby's collection,3 there is a similar 'mingling' in the John Bull pamphlets, where—amid the restructuring of history in Arbuthnot's burlesque satire of the peace conferences—the story of 'The Frog and the Ox' is even visually evoked as John asks, 'Shall I serve Philip Baboon with Broad cloth, and accept of the Composition? … Then Nic. roar'd like a Bull, O, o, o, o.' Such fabular echoes, which range from direct Aesopian allusions to John's wry picture of himself 'standing in the Market … with Frog's Paws upon his Head' are unobtrusively pervasive in the pamphlets. Even supposing the improbable, that Arbuthnot was oblivious to previous applications of fable to Anglo-Dutch relations, he could hardly fail to make the connections anew when they were so obviously implicit in the Tory strategy against the war.

Its plain that they are our Enemies, or else they wou'd not rob the Pilchards and Heirings out of our Mouths. They have enriched themselves by a War that every year impoverishes us … They design to make a Province of pg lxvius, and are already grown too great… . They break all their Alliances and shall we keep ours with such Frogs?1

Both the contextual implications and the physical associations of Arbuthnot's 'Bull' and 'Frog' are entirely appropriate to the national characters they represent, as are their Christian names. An honest, plain-dealing John, a gentleman trader, has been drawn into dangerous alliance with an ambitious, shopkeeping Frog whose name is redolent of 'Old Nick', 'Nic. Macchiavelli', and 'Nickum, a Sharper; also a rooking … Retailer'.2

Lewis Baboon, the third of Arbuthnot's animalized national characters, represents the French people in the person of their king, Louis of Bourbon. Such a deft confirmation of the Sun King's absolutism did not, however, preclude wider allusiveness. As every reader of English literature must be aware, there was nothing startlingly new in Arbuthnot's portrait of the generic Frenchman (J.B. 6: 15–28) as inconstant and effeminate but quick-witted and inventive: hence, 'The Proverb, That all the French Fools are dead'.3 Nor was Arbuthnot the first satirist to personify these 'apish' characteristics in a Baboon. Thomas D'Urfey tapped a rich vein of chauvinistic scorn in Wonders in the Sun (1706), when (after the fearful hero protests 'I am an Ape … begot in France') the clownish servant admits he is 'a Baboon his Man';4 and in 1704 a whole pamphlet was devoted to repetition of the clichéd contempt for 'These proud, perfidious, haughty French':

  • To Friendship, Constancy and Virtue Foes; In English, Fops and Knaves; in French, they're Beaus: In short, they are an ill-contriv'd Lampoon; And to conclude, A French-Man's a Baboon.5

pg lxviiArbuthnot's Baboon is an animated stock satiric type in the early chapters; but, like Bull and Frog, he develops into a character in his own right as the history unfolds. As with Frog, his creator refused to undermine the stature of his Baboon and eschewed the derisive pidgin English found in so much contemporary caricature of 'de Ape, de Antick, de Baboon, dat can cringe and mauk a de Grimace';1 but unlike Frog, Baboon speaks with the consistent linguistic decorum of a gentleman. This contrast emerges as an important contribution to the political message of the pamphlets.

The Scottish people, in the person of John's sister Peg, is the only national character to speak in a recognizable dialect as opposed to a distinguishing idiom. She is thus differentiated from the other national characters by her sex, her blood-relationship to John, and her language. Having singled out the Scots in this manner, and suggested that north and south Britain were united by more than parliamentary statute, Arbuthnot could afford to draw the sting of traditional caricature by admitting some truth in well-established censures only to give credence to his affirmation of positive virtues. It was an uphill battle against entrenched prejudices.

  • The female kind, are a contentious Brood, Stubborn, perverse, and not a little proud: Addicted to the gossiping infection, Rude in discourse and Swarthy in complection … They're easily provok'd, and out of tune; But flatter'd once, are reconcil'd as soon Peevish and froward; obstinate, and vain. Willing to work,——(they only grudge the pain).2

Certainly John is more prone to flattery and more addicted to gossip than Peg, but many of these characteristics can be found in the portrait of his sister (J.B. 50: 1–29). As usual, Arbuthnot starts with platitudes and unfolds the character with the history. His burlesque satire on the senseless mutual hostility which brings out the worst in them both, explains and comments upon Peg's comically pugnacious reaction to John's reluctant offer of reconciliation (the Union of 1707): 'I mun never pair my Nails on a Friday, nor begin a Journy on Childermas day. … Tell him he may e'en gan his get… . I'll stay like the poor Country Mouse, in my own Habitation.' Such humane pg lxviiiand tolerant objectivity in the work of an exiled Scot during the first bitter years after the Union reveals as much about Arbuthnot's character as it does about his literary technique. Amused detachment was a habit of mind which gave the force of cultured honesty to his political satire and helps explain its continuing attraction.



We have suggested that Arbuthnot's sense of national character took shape out of a matrix of seventeenth-century xenophobia. But John Bull is, above all, a party figure created in response to the political warfare between Whigs and Tories which had raged in England from the 1680s and was reaching boiling-point in 1712, the year John Bull appeared, as the Tories schemed for peace with France and the Whigs for a Hanoverian successor. Since the pamphlets abound in allusions to the political parties and leaders of their time, we should look closely at how those parties were constituted in order to explain how and why Arbuthnot's conception of the party struggle issued forth in a political symbol and weapon like John Bull.

The historiography of the period 1679 to 1725 is almost as striferidden as the very politics under discussion. But political—and perhaps historiographical—strife is a concomitant of intense political awareness, and it should come as no surprise that there were more general elections between 1689 and 1715 than at any other period of the same length in modern history.1 With, for example, an estimated 200,000 voters in William's reign,2 the battle to control the electorate was furious indeed, employing new methods of political management, especially in the realm of propaganda.3 The age witnessed an immense outpouring of pamphlets and newspapers which repeatedly assigned the terms 'Whig' and 'Tory', 'Court' and 'Country' to the major political persuasions. Robert Walcott, unable to discern a consistent two-party trend in Augustan politics, saw the situation as 'a pie' with four major pieces, 'Court, Whig, Country, and Tory—forming as it were, the north, east, south, and west quadrants'.4 J. H. Plumb, however, argued that although the 'Court-Country' frame of reference is vital to an understanding of the period,5 the modern historian's pg lxxpie was half-baked: contemporaries 'rarely had difficulty, at least after the middle 1690s, in distinguishing Whig from Tory'.1 These years saw the two parties develop their traditional eighteenth-century characteristics. At the heart of the Tory party was the squirearchy—country gentlemen of moderate estate; controlling the Whigs, from 1694 on, was a small 'Junto' with shared political aims.

When Plumb discusses the country squire, and his town brother, the lesser merchant, stressing their independent strain, he could almost be describing the behaviour of John Bull, clothier and owner of 'the Mannor of Bullock's Hatch': 'Xenophobic, greedy, unsophisticated, and obstinate, the politically-minded citizens of London could be as suspicious of authority as the squires of Wales.'2 There was a considerable group of independent squires in the Commons of 1694—neither Whig nor Tory by commitment; and these men were alarmed by the rising cost of elections, the growing number of placemen (i.e. king's ministers) in Parliament and of political appointees in lucrative offices, the spreading influence of the Whig aristocracy in country politics, and the rampant corruption not only in the offices of government but also 'in a tax system that seemed designed for their ruin'.3 These members were the political heirs of Shaftesbury's 'Country' party (sometimes called 'old Whigs') who had opposed the 'Court' party of Danby (the first Tories) and who demanded the Exclusion of James II. Robert Harley, descended from 'plain country gentry' with Presbyterian sympathies and a distinguished history of legal service in Herefordshire, became the leader of these independent members. First breaking with the Exclusionists and the Junto lords, he 'set out on his own to capture the Country Members who had hesitated to follow the Junto or cooperate with the Court. To the "old Whigs" he offered himself as the new prophet, calling upon them to follow him rather than the Junto or Williamites… who were renegade "new Whigs" that had forsaken true Country principles.'4 Harley also appealed to the 'Church Party' of older Tories, and 'by the close of the century the real task of his life, the fusion of the Church and the "Country" parties, was to be (to all appearances) nearly accomplished'.5 Harley's coalition of 'old Whigs' and Church Tories was the reconstituted Tory party of 1694. The Whig 'Country' interest had joined with pg lxxithat of the Tories, now more and more the advocates of individual freedom and the separation of executive and legislature.

As the Tories changed, so did the Whigs. From their base of power in the House of Lords, the Junto dominated a coalition consisting of about half the English nobility (many of whom were linked with wealthy City merchants), representatives of the 'new professionalism' (financiers, contractors, estate agents, projectors, attorneys, government officials, 'placemen'), and most of the Dissenters, the clients of the Whig aristocracy.1 Having shed their 'radical' ties with the country Exclusionists and with those of the middle- and lower-class London citizenry who cried for social change, the 'new Whigs' of 1694 concentrated their efforts on allying themselves with the power of the Court and Treasury:

From this time the Whigs, in constitutional principles, become deeply conservative but not, and this must be stressed, in political practice and management. There, they remained innovators … the most powerful groups in the Whig party became preoccupied with the processes rather than the principles of government. They wanted to capture the government machine and run it.2

Of course the Tories wanted to run it too; but they were neither so enterprising nor so adept as the Whigs whose minority position both in the Commons and the country forced them to pull together. Trevelyan and Plumb emphasize that while the minority Whigs were united on the major political issues of the day, the majority Tories were a cohesive force only in opposition, where they could indulge their nostalgic ideals of selfless, thrifty, land-based government in a world which was inexorably becoming more and more dependent on the modern commercial system. The Whigs, a 'Welldrilled battalion' that acted 'together as one man',3 paid lip service to 'Revolution Principles' of parliamentary government, but acted to strengthen the power of the executive, and worked their way to single-party rule (under Walpole) through exploitation of all the ways and means of political domination—which they operated far more effectively than the Tories—such as bribery, propaganda, pg lxxiiconspiracy and purge, control of patronage, manipulation of finance, heavy taxation, and the pursuit of full-scale war.

By 1700 the Tories had evolved from Danby's 'Court' contingent into Harley's 'New Country Party'; at the same time the Whigs had become the party not of the small freeholder and artisan but of 'aggressive commercial expansion' managed by aristocratic financiers.1 The two parties had, in effect, changed roles, as Defoe recognized in his shrewd insistence on Harley's impeccable Whig background and his Tory policy when eulogizing him as the new Tory or 'Old Whig… who prefers the Publick Good to all other Considerations. … That is Zealous against the Mismanagement of the Publick Treasure … for the Rights, and Privileges of Parliament, and the just Prerogatives of the Crown… . That is against Favourites of all kinds… . That is generous, not profuse; Parsimonious of the Nations Wealth, and prudently Liberal of his own.' He summed up the whole tenor of Tory polemic when he demanded 'The Whig Principles indeed, and the Tory Practice for any Money'.2


The 'Junto', or 'Modern' Whigs—the new men of their time who managed the government—and their Dutch friends play a large part in the villainy of John Bull, whether disturbing John's mother at home or driving on the lawsuit in the neighbourhood at large. Part of the aversion felt by Tory pamphleteers towards this new breed lay in what it meant to be a 'Modern'. For someone like Swift's Tale Teller, modernity is a marked concern for activity in the present, accompanied by weak memory. In fact, 'Memory being an Employment of the Mind upon things past, is a Faculty, for which the Learned, in our Illustrious Age have no manner of Occasion, who deal entirely with Invention, and strike all Things out of themselves.'3 The Tale Teller's anti-historical bias reinforces his belief that time has meaning only in so far as it affects him in his present moment of existence and in his constant search for innovation. Swift's representation of the Grub Street hack in A Tale of a Tub set the philosophical tone for an attack upon 'modern whiggism' eagerly taken up by many minor Tory satirists of Anne's reign. What the Tories seem to have pg lxxiiilacked in political unity they more than made up for in the consistency and cohesiveness of their polemic efforts, an aggressive platform which gives us an immediate context for understanding the origins of John Bull.

The most effective satiric portrait of the modern Whig politician during the Godolphin administration (1702–10) was Charles Davenant's 'Tom Double', a rather free caricature of that indefatigable campaign-manager, Thomas, first Marquis of Wharton. Tom Double, like the Tale Teller, reiterates his modernity, and shows that his sense of time is even more cynically concerned with self-aggrandizement: 'We modern Whigs are for Lying, tho' the Lye will last but three Hours', because 'we modern Whigs have no aim but to do our own Business'.1 That is, all we need to achieve our goals is a brief moment of public delusion. Time is expedience, and expedience is politics. In 1711 Joseph Trapp hinted at an even more basic origin for Tom's remarks than mere selfishness. 'As to [the Whigs'] Scheme of Government, it is of the old Chaos-make, without form and void, and Darkness is upon the Face of it. A Scheme it is, in which all Distinctions are lost, all Ranks and Degrees of Men confounded. For the People are the Sovereign, the Representative, the Magistrate, and every Body else.'2 Here the distinction, however crude, is not so much one of a moral category as a metaphysical one: the root image of 'chaos' is the abyss, the void older than creation, and within this vacuum of their own making the 'Business' of 'modern' Whigs originates and flourishes.

All the Tory satirists characterize whiggism as a destructive force, but Swift in particular gives a provocative representation of the Whigs bent on doing their utmost to limit and nullify the royal authority of Anne with 'their endless lopping of the Prerogative, and mincing into nothing her Majesty's Titles to the Crown'.3 For Swift as well as the other Tory pamphleteers, the Whigs' 'Scheme of Government is of the old Chaos-make, without form and void': There was a Picture drawn some Time ago, representing five Persons as large as the Life, sitting in Council together like a Pentarchy. A void Space pg lxxivwas left for a Sixth, which was to have been the Queen, to whom [the Whigs] intended that Honour: But her Majesty having since fallen under their Displeasure, they have made a shift to crowd in two better Friends in Her Place, which makes it a compleat Heptarchy. This Piece is now in the Country, reserved until better times.1

As the sons of chaos, the Whigs flourish in a power vacuum. It was no secret that the royal authority of Queen Anne was assailed on all sides, not just by the Whigs, during her reign. The Duchess of Marlborough domineered in Anne's own household until 1710; the high Tories, Nottingham and Rochester, wanted (in 1705) to invite over Anne's legal successor, Sophia, the Dowager Electress of Hanover, and her son George, to set up a rival court in England while Anne still lived; the Scottish Duchess of Gordon presented a medal with the Pretender's head engraved on it to the Faculty of Advocates in Edinburgh in July 1711; and Marlborough (some thought) had wanted to become general for life and displace the Queen. The choice seemed to be either 'No Queen, or No General', as Defoe put it. The character of Anne herself in some ways abetted this nullifying impulse. Even before her accession, Anne's attempts to assert her 'Presence' by withholding it from public view had too often had the opposite effect of diminishing her regal authority. Anne thus became the 'invisible Queen'. She had numerous miscarriages and no progeny who survived childhood; she was often indisposed with a variety of illnesses; and she was not noted for a commanding intellect.2 Her very authenticity was open to question with her brother, the Prince of Wales ('James III' in French and Jacobite eyes) always in the wings. In the minds of her subjects her image was that of one who lived mainly to be succeeded—but by whom?

The Queen's favourite physician must have been acutely aware of the uncertainty of Anne's role, and he sensed, just as deeply, a similar uncertainty in the hearts of his fellow subjects, for in John Bull Arbuthnot represented, allegorically, a nation torn in two; and modern historians agree with him: 'At the height of the struggle [between Whigs and Tories] in the later years of Anne the whole fabric of national life was permeated by the spirit of party, to a pg lxxvdegree without precedent… . Political history between 1694 and 1716 is the story not just of a divided Parliament, nor even of a divided electorate, but of a divided society.'1 If, as Swift thought, the Whigs' aim was to diminish Anne's authority and fill up her 'void Space' in the political picture with their own oligarchic numbers, the Tory pamphleteers must find some means of countering this tendency. They did so, in part, by addressing various audiences within the 'divided society'. Swift's enterprise of persuasion, aimed chiefly at a 'country squiredom' which must be roused to action, frequently invoked the time-worn virtues of Anne's royal nature, her 'Grace', 'Bounty', 'Tolerance', and so on; but he was undeniably more effective in illustrating how well the Whigs were succeeding with their campaign of diminution than in repairing the damage, and he him-self had grave doubts about the Queen's loyalty to the Oxford ministry. The Lord Treasurer's less public minister of propaganda, Defoe, sought to placate the whiggish 'commercial middle class'.2

When Arbuthnot felt called upon to do his bit for the Tory peace, he devised a unique strategy for reasserting the strength of the nation and at the same time turning the tables on the warmongers. For us the full significance of John Bull's satiric allegory lies in Arbuthnot's awareness of the diversity of his audience. Instead of elevating one party at the expense of the other, he found the means to appeal to both the town-Whig and the country-Tory persuasions at once. If the Whigs wanted to replace Anne's image with their own, he would let them have their way. Perhaps recalling Swift's frequent insistence that he was 'not sensible of any material Difference … between those who call themselves the Old Whigs, and a great Majority of the present Tories',3 and believing with Swift that if anyone examined 'a reasonable honest Man of either Side, upon those Opinions in Religion and Government, which both Parties daily buffet each other about; he should hardly find one material Point of difference between them',4 Arbuthnot fused in the character of John Bull many of the conventional traits of the 'old Whig' country squires (moderate wealth, power in the neighbourhood, loyalty to the Church, political independence, honest business sense, and a taste for violence) with the pg lxxvirole of a similarly obstinate City tradesman—always a dependable Whig adherent—who suddenly falls under the spell of the aristocratic 'new Whigs' and aspires to become a lawyer, the most prominent early eighteenth-century representative of the 'new professionalism' and one of the most frequently satirized. John thinks, 'What immense Estates these Fellows raise by the Law? Besides, it is the Profession of a Gentleman… . What a Fool am I to drudge any more in this Woollen Trade?' The 'divided society' could not have found a more immediate and compelling personification. Swift's 'two better Friends' of the Whigs, intended to occupy Anne's 'void Space', become in Arbuthnot's hands John Bull, the heir of Tom Double, but more complex than Davenant's character because John combines the conflicting personalities of old and new Whig in one body.

Between 1688 and 1712 there was a marked decline in the number of men with enough capital to finance the ever more ambitious governmental schemes, and in consequence a concentration of power and affluence in the hands of the new financiers to the prejudice of the old landed gentry. But the development of large-scale capitalism was equally disadvantageous to the petty artisan and merchant classes: as John Bull remarks, 'The same Man was Butcher and Grasier, Brewer and Butler, Cook and Poulterer', leaving less and less room for the small entrepreneur grappling with his taxes and inflationary prices.1 Arbuthnot, along with the Whig dramatists of the first decade of the new century, recognized that the booming ware-economy discriminated against the little man,2 and only he among the Tory satirists was able to exploit the polemical possibilities of this development by driving a satiric wedge between the whiggish financiers and the whiggish traders. The thoroughgoing Whigs (represented in the satire by Mrs. Bull, Habbakkuk, the Lawyers, and other villains) could thus be isolated from their more down-to-earth whiggish clients, whose financial embarrassment and growing scepticism about the war are represented by John Bull coming 'to his Senses'. Such tradesmen could thus be shown the urgent necessity of ignoring conventional political associations and taking a stand against the threat posed by a coalition of treacherous foreign allies and City moneyed men. Bolingbroke had indeed 'discovered the source of the pg lxxviiconspiracy which depressed aristocracy, gentry, intellectuals, and small traders alike',1 and he articulated that discovery later in the eighteenth century, but only after Arbuthnot had successfully allegorized and condemned the whiggish attempts to impose their 'Scheme of Government' and finances upon a chaos of their own making.


If the History of John Bull were merely satirical reportage of events from 1698 to 1712 we should be disturbed by the lack of historical perspective evident in Arbuthnot's devoting the whole fourth pamphlet to the tangled politics of the 1711 Occasional Bill's passage, as if that event were as important, say, as the origins of the war, which are economically dealt with in the first two brief chapters of the first pamphlet. But Swift's praise of the fourth instalment of the history as 'equall to the rest'2 indicates that he was well aware of Arbuthnot's having written separate but cohesive parts of a moral history in which the deployment of the Occasional Bill warranted careful satiric attention as the apotheosis of Whig villainy. It provided ultimate proof of the immorality and irreligion of a party of men prepared to sacrifice their friends and principles for political ends. At the same time, the outcome of the affair endorsed the very tenets of political honesty they denied: Jack's betrayal was rough poetic justice for years of expedient 'trimming' and proved to be of no benefit to his betrayers. Moreover, it was an eloquent comment on the nature of politics, since the most basic of moral principles became irrelevant when power was at stake, and everyone involved—even Harley on the Tory side—was caught in the growing web of cynical deceit.

It was therefore appropriate that Arbuthnot should choose for his John Bull pamphlets the allegorical 'little history' form so popular with Tory satirists during the reign of Anne, for, despite the great disparities between the pamphlets in this very minor genre, most of them made sententious claims for the moral efficacy of their varied representations of Whig villainy.3 Mrs. Manley, the most celebrated pg lxxviiicontemporary theorist and practitioner of this genre,1 was typically concerned that 'Historical Novels', 'these little pieces which have banished Romances', should be used for moral purposes: 'The chief end of History is to instruct and inspire into men the love of virtue and abhorrence of vice by the examples proposed to them: therefore the conclusion of a story ought to have some tract of morality which may engage virtue.'2 Of course she proceeded to subvert these noble sentiments by loading her little 'histories' with salacious and vindictive gossip. But Arbuthnot, who must have been very familiar with her contentious fictions (especially Queen Zarah, 1705, and Memoirs of Europe, 1710), drew upon more than her moralizing tone. In her allegorical representations of Queen Anne either as a woman vulnerable to the usurping power of a ruthless and aggressive 'modern Politician' (Zarah = Sarah, Duchess of Marlborough), or as a weak boy (Constantine) duped and manipulated by an overpowering mother (Irene = Sarah, in the Memoirs of Europe), Mrs. Manley expressed her version of a monarchy so unstable as to virtually 'uncrown' itself. Despite a total contrast in temperament between the two characters, Arbuthnot's John Bull is a logical extension of Manley's Constantine: both are naive, put upon, deceived (even twice-married), and each comes into his own with the help of loyal and effectual friends.

Arbuthnot's cryptic compliment to Mrs. Manley (as his 'publisher') on the title-pages of his last three pamphlets was meant perhaps to indicate a debt to her as well as to reflect upon his own gossip prone narrator in John Bull. Following Manley's advice that 'every historian ought to be extremely uninterested… ought neither to praise nor to blame those he speaks of… [and] ought to be contented with exposing the actions' of his characters,3 Arbuthnot took more than usual pains to preserve the customary anonymity of the Augustan satirist, letting the fools of his satire expose and reveal themselves. If Mrs. Manley is the ostensible publisher of John Bull, the work itself was 'printed from a manuscript found in the Cabinet of the famous Sir Humphry Polesworth'. Now this name, as Lester pg lxxixBeattie has suggested, may be a fictional amalgam of several contemporaries, particularly Sir Humphrey Mackworth, a pompous Tory pamphleteer and Member of Parliament; Humfrey Wanley, librarian to the Earl of Oxford; and Sir Robert Molesworth, a Whig politician. The name, whatever its origins, has a history of facetious use by Tories like Prior and the younger Edward Harley.1 At the very beginning, then, Sir Humphry Polesworth, the narrator of our little history, is an elusive phenomenon, absorbed into the scene of the satire.

This scene is the European 'Neighbourhood', where everyone involved is on the same footing whether he be a tiny nation or a venerable institution, a famous personage or a social malady. The knowing and ubiquitous Polesworth is the voice of the ordinary Englishman, just as the concrete historical matrix of the John Bull pamphlets is the news media of the common man—the daily newspapers, broadsides, proclamations, penny-pamphlets, newsletters, travel books, sermons, compilations of trial testimony, all the sub-literary ephemera of Grub Street (lampoons, squibs, lurid romances), the almanacs, the annals, the chronicles. Occasionally Arbuthnot drops his narrator altogether to present his history as a dramatic dialogue between neighbours; various speakers are characterized by dialect (Scottish Peg) or speech pattern (Dr. Radcliffe); one chapter may parody a diplomatic note, another a political treaty. What helps make John Bull better than other works of the same kind is the robust language and balanced good humour of its satire, the remarkable density of its historical allusions, and the variety and kind of narrative devices by which Arbuthnot presents his history. These diverse experiments with telling the story of John Bull have, like the diverse productions of the 'news', the uniformity of vivid common speech; and Sir Humphry's story itself is a heightened version, sprinkled with proverbs, Scotticisms, and doggerel, of the common English idiom. The tone of his narrative is that of one Englishman speaking to another, perhaps to a brother in the country who has not heard all the news, or to a small shopkeeper of whiggish inclinations who has begun to question the wisdom of prolonging a ten-year war. Thus Polesworth, like Mackworth, often begins a paragraph with a maxim; and the latter is fond, in characteristic pamphlets such as A Letter from a Member of Parliament to his Friend in the Country (1705), of phrases like 'the plain Meaning … was no more than this', 'I pg lxxxshall not trouble you at present with the History', 'And here I need not tell you', all echoed in John Bull.

Not until the Preface to the final pamphlet, however, do we learn that Sir Humphry Polesworth is John Bull's official historian: 'When I was first call'd to the Office of Historiographer to John Bull, he express'd himself to this purpose: "Sir Humphry, I know you are a plain Dealer; it is for that Reason I have chosen you for this important Trust; speak the Truth, and spare not."' Like Sir Humphrey Mackworth and Abel Boyer (the self-styled Whig annalist of Anne's reign) who are here parodied, or the Gulliver who was to be historiographer of England to the King of Brobdingnag, Sir Humphry professes an unswerving dedication to telling the truth, and his emphasis on the official nature of his function lends an air of certified legality to the narrator in keeping with the legalistic theme of the satire. We should not be surprised at the full revelation of Sir Humphry here. With the third pamphlet the narrator became more than a mere name on a title-page. A 'Publisher's Preface', presumably written by the 'Author of the New Atalantis' (an allusion to Mrs Manley), represents Sir Humphry as a retiring fellow who aimed the first two parts of John Bull at the 'Meridian of Grubstreet'. These were only private memoirs, written in a loose style as 'a help to [his] ordinary Conversation'. By July, apparently, Sir Humphry's authorial reticence has diminished in proportion to the growing fame of his history. He now freely congratulates himself on the beauties of the work and regrets the loss of 'Perfection' it might have achieved had not an illiterate (Tory) Parliament, 'envying the great Figure I was to make in future Ages', set out to silence at once the 'whole University of Grubstreet', Sir Humphry's Alma Mater. Then follows an extravagant mock-panegyric upon the varied productions of this University, the very materials out of which Arbuthnot has fashioned John Bull.

Putting himself forward at the moment of popular acclaim (the first pamphlet had by now gone through several 'editions') Sir Humphry appears curiously like the self-serving new Whigs who exist for the expedient moment and for whom 'John's Cause was a good milch Cow'. In this respect Polesworth recalls the other Humphry of the satire, John's chief lawyer, Hocus. Just as Sir Humphry has been given leave to manage John's historical affairs ('trifling Things' as they are), doling out from his secret strong box just those facts he deems necessary ('he retails it only by Parcels, and won't give us the whole Work'), so on a grander scale Humphry Hocus pg lxxxihas brilliantly managed John's legal affairs, achieving victory after victory, but without bringing the suit to a peaceful conclusion. Sir Humphry is as slippery a customer as his namesake of the legal wars. Like Hocus he divides his labours with an assistant, in this case the Publisher, who—late in the fifth pamphlet—ingenuously informs us that another able pen of the University of Grub Street, and not Sir Humphry, is responsible for an important chapter. The Publisher's part in the narration is left deliberately vague. Finally, both Humphrys use John Bull for their own ends, Polesworth to perpetuate his literary fame, Hocus to multiply his wealth. The one parcels out words as the other parcels out victories. Above all, both Humphrys fear the permanent cessation of their activities: Sir Humphry is appalled by the Tory tax which will muzzle his flow of words, Hocus by John Bull's 'Composition' which will put an end to a lucrative war.

After the Queen's death, Arbuthnot, in one of his most moving letters to Swift, expressed a belief that the 'Constitution … is in no more danger than a strong man that gott a little surfeit by Drunkenness'.1 There is a constant tendency in Arbuthnot and Swift to take a humanizing view of their country: England may be a drunken man, a heedless young heir, a sick man, even a dying man, but almost always an individual capable of a new direction. John Bull is the epitome of this humanizing tendency. He is a troubled man, and his troubles are mirrored by those closest to him in his family, by that 'extravagant Bitch' of a first wife, by his mother, and by his sister. These sexual and blood relationships animate the Tory belief in human rather than contractual values; and appropriately enough it is the human concern of his second wife which helps John to reflect upon his past mistakes and to attempt to overcome them. The Bulls' connubial chats dramatize attempts made by the new Harley ministry to untangle England's affairs in mid 1711. John Bull, reflective and confiding under the tactful ministrations of his second wife, here presents us with the larger issues of the proper governance of a nation, and implicitly the related questions of how history should be made and written. Robert Harley was a master at the game of court intrigue, and with the help of his intelligence network and battery of Tory pamphleteers came as close to omniscience about the affairs of Britain as did any Augustan politician. It is significant then that the homely, candid conversations between pg lxxxiiJohn and his second wife contrast with several more obscure male and female transactions pertinent to the satire (especially the secret correspondence between Hocus and the first Mrs. Bull, and the murky historical collaboration between Sir Humphry and the female 'Author of the New Atalantis') and at this point in the 'history of John Bull' Arbuthnot—despite Harley's known penchant for secrecy —looks with favour upon his good intentions for the country. This passage, in effect, seems to advocate a free and open exchange of ideas between a government and its people, with the government (in this case Mrs. Bull, as she reflects both moderate toryism and Anne's housewifely virtues) responsible to the best interests of the people. The new government will let the people into the truth about their recent past (kept hidden by the self-serving Whigs), and help to guide them out of their difficulties. But the telling of truth is no simple matter.

In the brief space of the John Bull pamphlets, Arbuthnot has managed to satirize not only a period of European history but also two of the prevailing modes of Augustan historiography: arrayed on one side with their secret 'little histories' (often anything but little) are Mrs. Manley and her Tory friends, obsessed with the private vices and public crimes of a few famous personages, like the Duchess of Marlborough; on the other side stand the long-winded political 'annalists' of Anne's reign, especially the Whig Boyer whose volumes exemplify the minute, plodding, cumulative approach to the writing of history. Sir Humphrey Mackworth, the jumped-up Tory capitalist with his patronizing assumption of political savoir-faire and his pedestrian labouring of the obvious, combines elements of both modes, but he is still essentially an official instructor of the people. And as these public historians often miss the wood in their dogged concern to catalogue all the trees, so the secret historians, wrapped in their cloak of scandal and innuendo, mistake the largest trees for the entire wood. Yet the secret histories (in particular those of Mrs. Manley), despite their vindictive and overriding Tory bias, contain a 'substructure of truth' about the activities of the Whig Junto which is too seldom recognized.1 As the history of John Bull enters a new narrative dimension with the Bulls' dialogue, Mrs. Manley, the artist of the 'inside story', is again relevant: 'There is … a distinction to be made between the character of the Historian and the hero, for pg lxxxiiiif it be the hero that speaks, then he ought to express himself ingeniously, without affecting any nicety of points or syllogisms, because he speaks without any preparation.'1 John Bull, it is true, speaks with the 'preparation' of his wife's pointed questions, but it is not too much to say that he now becomes his own historian and achieves a philosophical perspective on his recent past, naming that period the 'Age of Lawyers'. 'There was at least two of everything', a pretender to every estate, and general chaos in the Neighbourhood. Ruefully, 'ingeniously', but with a keen sense of the comic, he tells how he joined a surveying expedition (the Partition Treaties of 1698–9) with Frog and Lewis in order to divide up the old Lord Strutt's estate; how he was drawn into the lawsuit much as a heedless young heir falls into the hands of financiers; how, finally, after five years of drunkenness and muddle, he discovered that his mother had been doped with the 'moderating powder' of latitudinarianism. From then on he began to come to his senses.

What J. Hillis Miller says of Dickens's sympathetic characters is an apt description of what John Bull learns in recounting his own history:

Like members of a primitive or traditional society, Dickens' characters are profoundly fearful of self-initiated novelty. They find their most authentic selves by accepting, after an interval of dissociation, their original place in the world. Their most real and valid actions are repetitions, reaffirmations. Dickens' good people take upon themselves the responsibility of making history.2

Though primitive in outline, John Bull's world is built upon complex moral and political issues, and in his senses John can 'take the responsibility' of making his own history. His personal history of 1698 to 1711 provides a revealing counterpoint to Sir Humphry Polesworth's more conventional narrative of Neighbourhood affairs in the first pamphlet. Sir Humphry, who combines both the 'tatling' and the 'official' aspects of the Augustan historian, began his story in the voice of the common man as an indictment of what the Whigs and the Dissenters were doing to England during the war, but Sir Humphry gradually became infatuated with a sense of his own historical importance. John Bull was infatuated as well, with the legal profession: but he came to his senses, outwitted the forces of pg lxxxivmodern whiggism, and became his own reliable historian and mature politician. In the jargon of eighteenth-century politics, Sir Humphry starts out as an old Whig and becomes a new one; John eventually turns from new Whig to old and reaffirms moderate toryism, for old Whig and new Tory are one.


Early critics of John Bull agreed that it did not exhibit the brilliant formal patterning of the best Augustan satires. Lester Beattie contrasted the dovetailed digressiveness of Swift in A Tale of a Tub with the 'wandering' digressiveness of Arbuthnot, whose 'mind was keenly alive to the next thing, but not to the unity of all things'; and he concluded that 'an organic development in John Bull is not to be sought'.1 Patricia Carstens, however, found an alternative answer to the teasing structural idiosyncrasy of the pamphlets in the tradition of Menippean satire2 as outlined by Northrop Frye:

Petronius, Apuleius, Rabelais, Swift, and Voltaire all use a loose-jointed narrative form … [which] relies on the free play of intellectual fancy and the kind of humorous observation that produces caricature… . The intellectual structure built up from the story makes for violent dislocations in the customary logic of narrative, though the appearance of carelessness that results reflects only the … tendency to judge by a novel-centred conception of fiction.3

Carstens justly noted that,

Looked upon as a history the piece is disorganized; and as a narrative, digressive. When however we regard it as the story of a nation, told in the manner of Menippean satire, we see that none of the digressions are irrelevant, and that there is no need to present all the historical background material in strictly chronological order. Arbuthnot employs whatever forms lie convenient to his hand, and uses the formal character, the dialogue, and the letter as devices of interest in themselves, and as convenient methods of presenting certain facts and comments upon the facts.4

In her analysis of these forms she demonstrates that Arbuthnot may not have commanded the architectonic ability of Swift, but that he animated his 'little history' as a consistent fiction, and that the Menippean strain provides only the most generalized of definitions for Arbuthnot's satiric art.

pg lxxxvAt a climactic point in the satire Arbuthnot's master is Horace rather than 'Menippeans' such as Rabelais or Swift.

John receiv'd this with a good deal of Sang froid; Transeat (quoth John) cum caeteris erroribus: He was now at his Ease; he saw he could now make a very good Bargain for himself, and a very safe one for other Folks. My Shirt (quoth he) is near me, but my Skin is nearer: Whilst I take care of the Welfare of other Folks, no body can blame me, to apply a little Balsam to my own Sores. … This is somewhat better, I trow, than for John Bull to be standing in the Market, like a great Dray-horse, with Frog's Paws upon his Head, What will ye give me for this Beast? … Though John Bull has not read your Aristotles, Plato's and Machiavels, he can see as far into a Milstone as another.1

As James Johnson recognized, 'John Bull's bluff reliance on proverbial wisdom is given an ironic twist by his [evoking] Horace even as he disparages the need of classical learning.'2 To be precise, Arbuthnot echoes Horace's third satire from the second book on 'The Follies of Mankind',3 to which both John Bull and Swift's Tale of a Tub are clearly indebted despite the assertion of Lester Beattie that they represent rhetorical opposites. With the possible exception of Plautus, who is also quoted with unconscious irony by Bull ('My Shirt … is near me, but my Skin is nearer'), Horace was the only Roman satirist to use error for 'madness'; and although 'Transeat cum caeteris erroribus' is not a literal quotation from the third satire, it is an absolutely just reflection of the subject and tenor of this dialogue on madness. Swift borrowed the story of Servius Oppidius (who tried to bind his sons to moderation and sanity with a deathbed will) for his Tale itself, and he dramatized the preamble of Damasippus for the central 'Digression on Madness'.4 Arbuthnot's borrowings are no less structurally important. Horace's interlocutor seeks to prove that the poet's building of a Sabine retreat is a prime example of importunate madness, and he illustrates his argument by reference to Aesop's fable of 'The Frog and the Ox' which we have already pg lxxxvidiscussed as a key allusion behind the fiction of John Bull1 and which is recalled again here by the picture of 'Bull … standing in the Market… with Frog's Paws upon his Head'. In addition, aphoristic statements such as 'sanus utrisque / auribus atque oculis: mentem, nisi litigiosus, /exciperet dominus, cum vederet' (The man was sound in both ears and eyes; but as to his mind, his master, if selling him, would not have vouched for that, unless bent on a lawsuit)2 prefigure Arbuthnot's pamphlets in their implication that lawsuits symptomize insanity.

Yet the temptation to pin a Menippean or even an Horatian label to John Bull (and be done with it) is akin to the temptation to accept Lester Beattie's postulate that the work, however entertaining, is formless. Arbuthnot's deliberate choice of the 'little history' genre provided a dramatic framework for an allegory within which he was free to cross-reference all his social, political, religious, and moral satire in a damning revelation of allied and Whig villainy. Moreover, his format was distinguishable but loose enough to allow scope for his fertile imagination, and for the 'abuse through use' of the myriad themes, images, and conventions beloved by Grub Street.

The first Mrs. Bull's Vindication of the indispensable Duty of Cuckoldom which opens the second pamphlet is justly remembered as an ironic tour de force, which

conveys mock praise through concession of an opposing opinion—i.e., that a nation may dismiss its king at will—and supports this concession with what at that time seemed an obviously fallacious argument by analogy: as a wife may renounce her husband at will. Then the ironist further complicates his irony by pretending to argue in the opposite direction: i.e., that a wife may renounce her husband just as a nation may dismiss a king.3

The argument is also a rich parody of the Whig prosecution speeches at the political show-piece trial of Henry Sacheverell, and as Mrs. Bull propounds a morally sophistical case the reader must conclude that such is the nature of Whig constitutional theory. Thus an apparent digression from the narrative is in fact another illuminating manifestation of the enveloping evil which John is discovering in every facet of his life. Furthermore, as with so many of the local felicities in John Bull, the irony carries a secondary but precise allu-pg lxxxviision, in this case to the reputedly bigamous affair between William Cowper, the Lord Chancellor who presided over the Sacheverell trial, and Elizabeth Cullen. 'Will Bigamy' compounded his crime, according to Swift, by writing a defence of polygamy.1 But Arbuthnot's portrait of the first Mrs. Bull also evoked Shaftesbury's equation of marriage and constitutional monarchy in his Delenda est Carthago speech (reprinted in a 1712 broadside), Whig pamphlet vindications of the 1688 revolution,2 and contemporary caricatures of the generic 'city lady' ('Proud and High-spirited, Self-conceited, Talkative')3 who was whiggish in temper and dissenting in conscience. It was commonly held that any 'Female Hypocrite' such as the first Mrs. Bull would lust after the enthusiasts (like Hocus) and entertain them on her husband's 'own money'.

She is no less Skill'd in Policies of Government, and is an Earnest Contender for the Rights of Woman-kind, which she claims as her Due, and not as a Benevolence from the good Man's Prerogative. She opposes the Monarchy of a Husband, with the Undeterminable Privileges of a Wife. … Doing what she Lists, is her Liberty, a separate Maintenance is her Property, and claims them by her Original Contract. … The Man that Closes with her upon these Principles, of Checking the Arbitrary Powers of Husbands, tho' a Meer Rake, has Won the Fort of her feigned Virtue.4

In short, there was nothing new in Arbuthnot's irony except the application of old ideas, arguments, and images in a densely allusive narrative. Arbuthnot's fund of ephemera was seemingly inexhaustible: any reader who has followed us through the annotation of the pamphlets will have noticed that, for example, Jack's 'trial' is a refinement on previous allegories in the same vein, and any reader of Augustan literature will be aware of the parallels common in contemporary polemic to minor allegories such as Timothy Trim's cloak of deceit5 or John Bull's three daughters.6 We shall probably pg lxxxviiinever know the composition of the 'large parcel of pamphlets' from Arbuthnot's library auctioned in 1779,1 but it is obvious that he had read them to some effect.

The choice and use of Arbuthnot's 'borrowings' was, however, determined by the conception of national affairs in terms of family relationships, in which the idealistic conservatism of Tory Augustan thought found its most characteristic expression. Of course it was partly a reaction to the Whig theory of contractualism,2 but it was also a positive assertion of the hallowed (almost metaphysical) ideal of society as an integrated, hierarchical, country estate. Swift protested that the 'new Whig' economics was an alien transplant from the Low Countries, designed to destroy the ancient and virtuous English tradition of self-sufficient, landed, solvency.3 Nor was the notion of the economy as a family budget exclusive to Tories: even Defoe was worried that Britain might be mortgaged into disaster, and Francis Hare, one of Marlborough's most loyal apologists, did his best to defend an economic situation which he manifestly could not comprehend:

Perhaps it may be objected, that the Case may be the same with a Nation as with a private Gentleman; the Gentleman may exceed in the Splendor of his Living … [but] the Decay of the Gentleman in that Case is visible; he runs over Head and Ears in Debt, till he is torn to pieces by his Creditors; whilst England goes on with all this Splendor.4

If the supporters of the developing credit system could offer only such pious faith and distressingly familiar images, Arbuthnot would be delighted to exploit the widespread bewilderment and the deeply rooted fear that John Bull, 'run so much in Debt', was indeed 'like to be pull'd to Pieces, by Brewer, Butcher, and Baker'.

The immediate cause of Bull's near bankruptcy is his lawsuit, a satirical metaphor which drew upon all the associative force of a long pg lxxxixtradition in which the law was a symbol of moral depravity. Jack was indeed foolish to hang himself when 'Witnesses might have been brib'd, Juries manag'd, or Prosecution stop'd'. Hocus the attorney stood condemned by his profession, for 'If there was one subject, in a divided and bigoted age, upon which all writers were agreed, it was their opinion of the lower branch of the legal profession. No one had a good word to say for attorneys.'1 The stream of abuse flowed unchecked throughout the seventeenth into the first decade of the eighteenth century,2 and the equation of law and whiggery was a common theme of Tory propaganda, shrewdly founded on 'the dependence of the Whigs in the House of Commons on their impressive battery of lawyer-M.P.s'.3 The 'Deceitful Petty-Fogger, Vulgarly call'd Attorney' followed 'Whig Example, and his Actions … [were] guided by … what other Men of the same Cuf' did:4 John Bull may possess a small country manor, but he is primarily a man of the trading classes, and therefore doubly vulnerable to such rapacious parasites. 'Out of his Senses' he is, appropriately, yet another of the caricatured merchants who appeared in the polemic of the war. Even the Whig Steele had censured the haberdasher who became so involved with political dispute that he neglected his business and reduced his family to penury,5 and Bull was, in some respects, a more sympathetic portrait of the generic tradesman who had been the butt of so many Tory jibes, 'Tradesmen … as hard to get out of a Tavern … till they're Drunk, as … to Lug a Dissenter to Church.Sharpers Bubble them, Drawers Cheat them, Coachmen Trick them, and their Wives Cuckold them.'6 By pushing Steele's mild criticisms of his more humble fellow Whigs to a reductio which comprehended the whole populace, Arbuthnot turned their own commercialism upon the men he believed were destroying trade while they claimed to safeguard it. Even if his satire did not wean all the petty merchants from the Whig cause, it served the purpose of confirming the Tory faithful in their prejudices. It flattered their sense of their own political and literary sophistication by encompassing their scorn for Grub Street productions in parodies which supported all their beliefs.7

pg xcV

True to the allegory's 'little history' genre, and despite the deft idiomatic touches which distinguish the tumbling rhetoric of Diego from the eloquence of Hocus or the irascible bluntness of Frog, the speech of all the characters is based on simple constructions and a limited vocabulary.1 Arbuthnot thus maintains the linguistic decorum of his low-life fiction and adds stylistic dimensions to his satire. We find Diego (Nottingham) recanting his opinion of 'the ruinous ways of this Law-suit' only a few pages after Polesworth, the narrator, has praised the efforts of the second Mrs. Bull 'to pay John's clamorous Debts that the unfrugal Methods of his last Wife, and this ruinous Law Suit, had brought him into'. This last wife, says Polesworth, 'was very apt to be Cholerick', which gives an ironic twist to turncoat Diego's questioning of her patient successor, 'For God's sake, Madam, why so Cholerick'? Phrase by phrase such parallels build an appropriate linguistic pattern which develops concurrently with the story of a man beset on all sides. 'Counsel won't tick, Sir; Hocus [Marlborough] was urging'; but it is his fault that Sir Roger (Harley) has to implement stringent measures 'that the Maids might not run a-tick at the Market'. John had no sooner put this necessary domestic 'Cause in Sir Roger's Hands' but at 'the News … the Lawyers … were all in an uproar'; just as when his attempt to reflect, in a tradesman's cautious manner, on his legal 'cause' was hindered by his first wife's so arranging matters that 'when John Bull came Home he found all his Family in an uproar'. In his senses at last, John complains to his servants and lawyers, 'it was an unfair thing in you, Gentlemen, to take Advantage of my Weakness, to keep a parcel of roaring Bulleys about me … never to let me cool'; and he is distressed to see his delirious mother (the Church) throwing 'away her Money upon roaring swearing Bullies … that went about the Streets'. He determines 'to leave off… his [own] roaring pg xciand bullying about the Streets', and he is impervious to the swelling passions of those who, when told of the composition, 'bawl'd … roar'd … [and] stamp'd with their Feet'. For 'John was promis'd, That the next and the next [legal action] would be the final Determination' by the lawyers; Hocus insisted 'one Verdict more had quite ruin'd old Lewis … and put you in the quiet Possession of every thing'; John's servants echoed Hocus in their 'constant Discourse … one Term more, and old Lewis goes to Pot'; and South could only add to the chorus that the advantage would be his, since 'there wants but.. . a Verdict or two more, to put me in the quiet Possession of my Honour and Estate'. When he compares accounts with Frog ('Why all this Higgling… . Does this become the Generosity of the Noble and Rich John Bull?') he realizes with a shock of recognition, 'That ever the Rich, the Generous John Bull … should have his Name in an Advertisement, for a Statute of Bankrupt'; and when his second wife asks 'how is it possible for a Man of Business to keep his Affairs even in the World at this rate? Pray God this Hocus be honest', she draws his attention to the dishonesty of his chief attorney's plea that, 'to keep things even in the World', Frog has bankrupted himself. The linguistic echoes express the disparity between Bull's real and Frog's manifestly pretended problems: they also evoke one of the Tory criticisms of a war which, they argued, was fought by Britain to maintain the balance of power whilst her chief ally built an empire behind the façade of agreement with the same principle. Even partisan editors could not claim on the basis of such examples of fine linguistic propriety that Arbuthnot was as expert a satiric technician as Swift; but no critic should be too eager to accept the old charge that the good doctor was so careless and constitutionally light-hearted as to be unaffected by the rage for order.

The web of stylistic parallels combines with a cyclic scheme of disease, intoxication, and madness to present, in concrete fictional terms, the Tory view of history as an endless circle of triumph and defeat in the struggle against barbarism.1 The Whig Junto was no Walpolean oligarchy, but it was an ominous warning; and the total madness of society in the last book of the Dunciad is already foreshadowed in the madness of John Bull. It is no coincidence that the lawyers (the war-party and the military), the financiers (the moneyed pg xciiWhigs), and Jack (the Dissenters) are all likened to cormorants and harpies: they represent social forces which prey on everything of value in human life. The seriousness of their challenge is witnessed by John's initial madness (which they encouraged) and their ceaseless, purposeful attacks when he struggles out of their clutches into his senses. It is again no coincidence that every major character in the allegory either falls ill or is in some capacity involved with sickness. John's first wife suffers from both her ulcer and the quackery of Cavallo. Even her sober replacement is thrown into a fit by the mad bargain with Frog (the Barrier Treaty), as is Peg by force-feeding (of episcopacy) and old Lord Strutt by the partition of his estate. Quackery spreads through the pamphlets blighting the neighbourhood: Jack, disguised as Trim, attempts to poison his mistress (the Church), who is already delirious after the dubious ministrations of Ptschirnsooker; Frog combines with the servants to keep John drunkenly insane and allies himself with the raving Esquire South to demand that Baboon, now 'a poor old batter'd Fellow', 'should be purg'd, sweated, vomited, and starv'd'. John drinks and roars his way through years of litigation, and Peg is quite right to dismiss his alliances as 'foolish Bargains in his Cups'. The war is an orgy of drunkenness (Polemia 'us'd to come home in her Cups, and break the China'), and even John, when sober, admits he 'was always hotheaded'. His servants were partly to blame, for their design was, 'to take Advantage of my Weakness … never to let me cool, and make me set my Hands to Papers, when I could hardly hold my pen'. Like Davenant's new Whig, Tom Double, these rogues knew that 'as soon as our Friends the Rabble come to be cool, and think a little, they will look into this and several other Designs we are forming for our own Advantage'.1 Although contemporary polemic was full of such metaphors, a comparison demonstrates that, here again, Arbuthnot was true to his genius for transforming the crudely subliterate into considerable art.

No age can have been more obsessed with the metaphors of state sickness and madness than was the English Augustan age.2 Dryden, pg xciiiDefoe, Pope, and the hosts of lesser and justifiably anonymous political commentators used such images almost as a reflex action, while Swift (with his unerring instinct for an emotive formula) 'examined' the whole complex of ideas associated with the concept of national madness. He scorned the fallen Godolphin ministry which was 'so blind, as to imagine some Comfort from this fantastical Opinion, that the People of England are at present distracted, but will shortly come to their Senses again' when 'they grow cool and sober enough'; he theorized on 'the Causes and Symptoms of a People's Madness'; and he concluded with a reversal of the Whig notion:

By .. . Arts, in Conjunction with a great Depravity of Manners, and a weak or corrupt Administration, the Madness of the People hath risen to such a Height, as to break in Pieces the whole Frame of the best instituted Governments. But however, such great Frenzies being artificially raised… and under a wise steddy Prince, will certainly decline of themselves … and then the true Bent and Genius of the People will appear. Ancient and Modern Story are full of Instances to illustrate what I say. In our Island we had a great Example of a long Madness in the People [the Civil War], kept up by a thousand Artifices like intoxicating Medicines, until the Constitution was destroyed; yet the Malignity being spent, and the Humour exhausted that served to foment it … the People suddenly recovered, and peaceably restored the old Constitution. From what I have offered, it will be easy to decide, whether this late Change in the Dispositions of the People were a new Madness, or a Recovery from an old One.1

Similarly, John's troubles began before the death of Strutt. Even the lawyers admit as much when they ask 'what is Twenty Two Years towards the finishing a Law-suit?'; Jack 'has been mad these Twenty Years'; and Diego has 'been railing these Twenty Years at Esquire South, Frog and Hocus, calling them Rogues and Pick-Pockets'. Nor is the 1688 Revolution seen as an absolute break in the tradition. There are reminders that new priests are but old presbyters, and that John has a history of mental instability stretching back to the time when he 'turned out' his mother in a 'civil war' which some of his servants remember as their finest hour. Happily recovered, John 'wrought himself up to a great steadiness of Mind, to pursue his own Interest through all Impediments' as his enemies become proportionately phrenetic: 'Frog, who thought of nothing but carrying John to the Polybius, Diodorus, and Dionysius (Johnson, Formation of English Neo-Classical Thought, pp. 56–8), all of whom Polesworth claims, in his preface to the last pamphlet, to have copied 'with incredible Pains'. pg xcivMarket, and there disposing of him as his own proper Goods, was mad to find that John thought himself now of Age to look after his own Affairs'—or, in other words, became mad when he found John sane. Resolved 'to traverse this new Project, and to make him uneasie in his own Family [Nic.] had corrupted or deluded most of [John's] Servants into the extravagantest Conceits in the World, that their Master was run mad.' As they assume John's previous role he begins 'to think that they were all enchanted; he enquires about the Age of the Moon, if Nic. had not given them some intoxicating Potion', and their reaction to the proposed composition is pointedly similar to that of Esquire South, who came to the Salutation (Utrecht) 'stark staring mad' only to be encouraged by Frog who gave him 'Brandy, and clap'd him on the Back, which made him ten times madder'. Here, in Arbuthnot's fictional pattern, is Swift's theory of cyclical politics. Both Tory satirists propose the same concept of national madness recurrent in history, and have the same belief in the English people when under 'steddy' direction; both connect contemporary upheavals, the madness of the Civil War, and that which possessed the nation under William III; and both employ the same metaphorical conflation of madness, disease, and intoxication encouraged by state quacks. It is hardly surprising that Swift so enjoyed his friend's dramatization of common Tory formulae in an entertaining allegory which reiterated his own exploration of them.

But in one respect Arbuthnot pursued the idea of political madness further than Swift, demonstrating that it was not necessarily an unequivocal state, and that it could be a dangerously shifting mixture of true insanity and a calculatingly antic disposition. If there is an ominous regularity about the mental and physical illness in John Bull, there is also a consistently pragmatic quality in the ambiguous madness of the forces hostile to its hero. The Whigs and their allies turn John's little world into a bedlam so that they may dupe and defraud the populace. Other Tory satirists had been sounding the same alarm for some years: Swift asked 'by what Motives, or what Management, we are thus become the Dupes and Bubbles of Europe?';1 Ned Ward, in The English Foreigners: Or, the Whigs Turn'd Dutchmen (1712), berated his countrymen as 'the spendthrift Bubbles of the War';2 and another polemicist made 'bubbling' his sole concern in pg xcvThe Cheating Age Found Out, when Knaves Was Most in Fashion (also 1712), describing The Many Frauds, Cheats, Abuses, Vast Sums of Money that England Had Been Cheated of in this Long, Bloody and Expensive War. Arbuthnot blended this proposition with his scheme of metaphorical madness and wove it into the texture of his narrative, as when John Bull, fascinated by the lawsuit which was ruining him, 'con'd over such a Catalogue of hard Words [law terms], as were enough to conjure up the Devil; these he used to bubble indifferently in all Companies'.1 The innocent hero of the pamphlets is not even safe from rapacious enthusiasm in the arms of his first wife. She condemns the 'pragmatical Parson' (Sacheverell) who reveals her adultery with Hocus, using her epithet in the sense of 'officious, meddlesome, interfering… opinionated, dogmatic',2 when her own defence of cuckoldom (a parody of Whig arguments at his trial) is not only as 'pragmatical' as the sermon which occasioned it, but also pragmatic in the sense of 'pertaining to… practice' or—as Arbuthnot puts it—scornful of 'the narrow Maxims … That one must not do Evil, that Good may come of it'. John's second wife is 'the reverse of the other', as Frog reveals when he accuses her of 'pragmatical' behaviour. Her arguments are indeed pragmatic, but in a third sense, 'businesslike, methodical… energetic … skilled, shrewd'. She is a woman of strict principle who can say to her husband, 'I don't blame you, for vindicating your Honour … to curb the Insolent, protect the Oppress'd, recover ones own, and defend what one has, are good Effects of the Law'; but implicit in such statements is the wife who balances moral considerations against everyday necessities: 'I wish every Man had his own; but I still say, that Lord Strutt's Money … chinks as well as Esquire South's. I don't know any other Hold that we Tradesmen have of these great Folks, but their Interest; buy dear, and sell cheap, and I'll warrant ye you will keep your Customer.'

pg xcviThe Whig Protestant Post Boy for 29 April 1712 was outraged by this presentation of the second Mrs. Bull: 'it's impossible for any good Subject to see Her M[ajesty] introduc'd, saying We have hardly Money to go to Market, and no Body will take our Words for Six Pence, and not be astonish'd.' At least one opponent had appreciated Arbuthnot's audacity in identifying the Queen so intimately with her ministry. Mrs. Bull is the moderate ideal; she represents all the old Whig virtues in her new Tory policies.

The contrast between Bull's wives is extended to reflect on all the other personifications of modern whiggery in the pamphlets. That 'pragmatical Coxcomb' Jack is one of the new breed; although he is atypically naïve enough 'to try what his [other] new Acquaintance would do for him' in his distress. These same new Whigs, who condoned the partition of Strutt's estate, are uncertain friends and dangerous enemies: 'it was usual for a parcel of Fellows to meet, and dispose of the whole Estates in the Country: This lies convenient for me, Tom; Thou would do more good with that, Dick.' During the period in which he was prepared to accept such cynical pragmatism John Bull was one of the

  • Senseless … Modern Whigish Tools, Beneath the dignity of British Fools! With Beef resolv'd, and Fortify'd with Ale.1

In his senses he determines to do his duty, but with one eye on his own interests. Utterly confused, the new Whigs turn on each other, achieving only the death of their pathetic adherent, Jack. The smaller allies are insistent in their demands that John should help them achieve precisely the same kinds of objective which the three chief characters hoped to gain by the partition of Strutt's estate, 'Acres that lay convenient for them'. But John is now convinced 'that Justice is a better Rule than Conveniency, for all some People make so slight on't'. He is in the same grimly resolved mood as Defoe's Tom Flockmaker: 'I'm a poor Clothier … you used to call me a Whig … and in the Country I am so still; but you Whigs in London, are turn'd quite another sort of Folk … you had rather we should have no Peace, than that it should be made by the Ministry you do not like.'2 Lewis Baboon 'turned honest' echoes the rational advice of John's second wife almost to the letter: 'I know of no particular Mark of pg xcviiVeracity, amongst us Tradesmen, but Interest; and it is manifestly mine not to deceive you at this time.' John Bull 'politician' is now sober enough to recognize the truth when he hears it, and he settles the lawsuit to their mutual advantage. Like Sir Roger, another old Whig or new Tory, he has learned to 'talk to … [the modern Whigs] in their own way'. He abandons the 'inchanted Island' dream of success at law for the tangible 'inchanted Islands' offered by Lewis, but he has an uphill battle against his own worst self and a bewildering array of enemies to achieve this sanity. The very form of the domestic history of John Bull, which places it at one remove from topicality, demonstrates that the struggle against evil has its centre everywhere and not least in the national consciousness.


John Bull was Arbuthnot's 'party piece' in both senses of the phrase. His pamphlets work sub-literary forms and images into an effervescent but damning satire on whiggism which contains many elements of the Augustan Tory myth as it has been defined by Bernard Schilling and Ronald Paulson.1 Like Absalom and Achitophel, which 'brought all the elements together in a characteristic fiction',2 John Bull presents a drama in which a few honest people defend the monarch and morality against the madness of a fickle public misled by a cunning villain and his rabble. But Arbuthnot created a variation on the theme by conflating the dupe (Absalom) and the populace in the one figure of John himself, and by placing him in an intimate relationship with his two wives, especially the second who represents both Queen and government. In this respect John Bull is more tightly knit than its polemic brethren, and is a deliberate simplification of the myth to suggest that 'the Art of Government… requires no more in reality, than Diligence, Honesty, and a moderate Share of plain naturall Sense'.3 Of course John Bull is biased, and what Frank Ellis says of the political satirist—'His art requires him to adopt "some partial narrow" view and to hold up to contempt any deviation from this view'4— applies in some measure to Arbuthnot's practice. Herman Teerink should have considered this when he attempted to make sense of the chronological waywardness of the pamphlets by his ingenious but pg xcviiimisguided theory of staggered composition.1 There can have been few alert contemporary readers of the pamphlets who failed to realize that the settlement of accounts in the fifth pamphlet (which takes place during an impasse at the Salutation, and precedes the conference between Bull and Baboon) was a deliberate confusion of the facts to gloss over a political embarrassment: the examination of domestic abuses and Dutch deficiencies was undertaken by the Commons concurrently with secret negotiations between Britain and France in 1711—negotiations which were expressly forbidden under the terms of the Anglo-Dutch alliance—since these were the twin prongs of a pre-determined campaign to end the war.

Yet for a party work John Bull contains some strange admissions. Arbuthnot was clearly unhappy about the wave of Tory hysteria which followed the Sacheverell trial and swept the Harley ministry into power. That ministry is conceded to be parsimonious, and its leader's reaction to the conflict of conscience and political necessity in the Occasional Bill is recorded in a none too flattering manner.

Sir Roger (quoth Habakkuk) Jack has hang'd himself, make haste and cut him down. Sir Roger turn'd first one Ear and then t'other, not understanding what he said.

Hah. I tell you Jack has hang'd himself up.

Sir Roger. Who's hang'd?

Hab. Jack… .

Sir Roger. Then let him hang. I don't wonder at it, the Fellow has been mad these twenty Years. With this he slunk away.

This is not the mere pose of a satirist concerned to appear objective so that his polemic may carry more force: it is a direct condemnation of the ministry his pamphlets were designed to support. Of course, satire and propaganda can be uneasy associates. Swift seems to have felt satire to be proper and effective in inverse proportion to his own involvement with the business of government; and the ironic gaiety of the Tale of a Tub largely disappeared from his work for Harley (when he was the linchpin of the propaganda effort), only to reappear sobered by pessimism in the virtuosity of Gulliver's Travels, written in physical and political isolation. Perhaps Arbuthnot was never in such close liaison with Harley and Bolingbroke. He was certainly never so committed to party political propaganda as his friend. Indeed, the broad movement of the allegory suggests that Arbuthnot pg xcixcould never have been an outright party writer, for he shows little confidence in political man as a species. Jack's demise is the ironic consequence of an unprecedented act of trust; Peg's relationship with John reflects little credit on either; and although John may be forgiven his reaction to the death of his first wife, when he 'quickly got the better of his Grief, and being that neither his Constitution, nor the Affairs of his Family could permit him to live in an unmarried state, he resolved to get him another Wife', yet the reader cannot have much confidence that the wheel of his madness will ever cease turning when the changes in political climate that make and break governments are built into his 'Constitution'. Such reservations are implicit in Arbuthnot's manipulation of history to point moral lessons by means of a domestic fiction full of proverb, adage, and fabular echoes, all of which serve the same functions as Dryden's biblical allegory and generalizing language in Absalom and Achitophel, to the same end of confirming that the satire is concerned as much with political man as with a particular series of events.

The deceptive urbanity of John Bull is enhanced by the sheer joie de vivre of Arbuthnot's burlesque satire on events such as the passage of the Occasional Bill, or the Utrecht conferences. Richmond P. Bond has written of the early eighteenth century: 'Burlesque prose was not so prominent as burlesque drama or poetry. Satirical prose … abounded … but the lack of an outstanding body of burlesque prose may be attributed partly to the inability to distinguish forms so readily as in the case of poetry.'1 Arbuthnot's deliberate choice of primitive raw materials from Grub Street for his artful allegory provided those distinguishable forms, and, as Patricia Carstens has argued,2 made him a worthy successor to Samuel Butler. His independence of mind did the rest.

Arbuthnot was a man of intellectual aloofness… . His opinion of the people of his age was not flattering, and he escaped cynicism only by the kindness of his heart. … It is true that his satire dealt with current topics, but he never … identified himself with public movements. Thus his Toryism consisted only in a greater readiness to deride the opposite side, but it did not secure the Tories from derision.3

Many party writers claimed that 'the distinction' between political pg cgroups 'was more nominal than real', but few meant it so honestly and none dramatized the absurdities of political life with such a consistently mischievous sense of humour. John Bull is but a short step away from the Poem Address'd to the Quidnunc's (1724),1 which compares political life with the mindless existence of a monkey tribe. Occasionally one monkey more enterprising than the rest climbs to the top of the tree until, stepping on a branch too frail to bear his weight, he falls into the river and is carried away to the momentary confusion of his fellows:

  • Each trembles for the publick Weal, And, for a while, forgets to steal. A while, all Eyes intent and steddy, Pursue him, whirling down the Eddy. But out of Mind when out of View, Some other mounts the Twig anew; And Business, on each Monkey Shore, Runs the same Track it went before.


Our copy-text is the first edition of the 1712 pamphlets. The verbal changes found in the genuinely new editions among the London 'editions' (i.e. the 'sixth edition' of pamphlet I and the 'second edition, corrected' of pamphlet V) are so few, so isolated, so insignificant, and often so careless that there is insufficient evidence of authorial revision to warrant their inclusion. Indeed, they are characteristic of the normal compositorial differences between contemporary reprints. We have therefore minimized editorial tinkering with the copy-text, according to modern bibliographical practice and on the principle that the reader should be presented with a John Bull which retains the physical character of the originals in so far as this does not conflict with clarity and accuracy. Of course it is not the job of editors to produce a facsimile, and we have corrected obvious typographical errors and made changes when sense demanded them. Many of these changes were previously made in editions to which we allow no bibliographical authority, such as the 1712 Edinburgh or the 1712 Miscellanies text; but every variation from the copy-text, whether prefigured by an earlier edition or introduced here for the first time, is our responsibility and is detailed in the textual notes, as are all the variants of the 1712 London reimpressions.

So that the reader might have a preliminary guide to the major events and personages of the allegory, and might the more readily reconstruct the 1727 Miscellanies text, we have given the annotations of that edition at the foot of each page and listed its substantive variants in the textual notes.



The late Lord Strutt

Charles II, King of Spain, died 1700.

The Parson

Cardinal Portocarrero of Toledo.

The cunning Attorney

Marshal d'Harcourt, French Ambassador to Spain in 1697 and 1701.

Philip Baboon, Lord Strutt

Philip, Duke of Anjou, King of Spain from1700.

Esquire South

Charles, Archduke of Austria, pretender to the Spanish crown and (after 1711) Emperor Charles VI.

John Bull

The English people.

Nicholas Frog

The Dutch people.

Lewis Baboon

Louis XIV of France.

Bull's first wife

The Godolphin ministry (1702–10) and its supporters.

The Tradesmen

Smaller states allied to England and Holland.

Ned the Chimney-sweep

Victor Amadeus, Duke of Savoy.

Tom the Dustman

Peter II, King of Portugal.

Humphrey Hocus

John Churchill, First Duke of Marlborough.

Hocus's wife

Sarah Jennings, Duchess of Marlborough.

The Parson of the Parish

Henry Sacheverell.

Signior Cavallo

Charles Seymour, Sixth Duke of Somerset.

Cavallo's wife

Elizabeth Percy, Duchess of Somerset.

Bull's second wife

The Harley ministry (1710–14) and its supporters.

Sir Roger Bold

Robert Harley, from 1711 First Earl of Oxford.

Don Diego Dismallo

Daniel Finch, Second Earl of Nottingham.


Second Guardian (also 'Cuckold of Dover' in III and Dick the Butler, V)

Thomas, First Earl of Wharton.

Third Guardian (also Clum, III)

Charles Spencer, Third Earl of Sunderland.

Signior Benenato (also Hocus's clerk, I)

Prince Eugene of Savoy.

pg ciii


Sir Humphrey Polesworth

Sir Humphrey Mackworth.

Bull's mother (also Martin)

The Church of England.

Bull's sister Peg

The Scots people.


Protestant Dissenters, particularly Calvinists.

Signiora Bubonia (also Peter)

The Roman Catholic Church.

Bull's bookkeeper, Sir William Crawly

Sidney, First Earl of Godolphin.

Yan Ptschirnsooker (also 'Dragon of Hockley')

Gilbert Burnet, Bishop of Salisbury.

Bull's nephew

The Elector of Hanover, later George I.

Young Necromancer

Edward Harley.


Timothy Trim

'jack' in political disguise.

Habbakuk Slyboots (also John the Barber, V)

John, First Lord Somers.



Henry St. John, from 1711 Viscount Bolingbroke.

pg civ


1 See Holmes, pp. 68–74.

2For the full titles and publication details see the bibliographical appendix.

3 These were, in the main, reimpressions rather than editions. The Key ran to six 'editions'. The first and second provided a gloss on pamphlets I to III: the third and fourth added notes on IV and the Story of the St Alb[a]n's Ghost. The fifth contained a gloss on all five pamphlets, as did the sixth (published in 1713) which also added a Key to the History of Prince Mirabel.

1 History of Utrecht, p. 172.

2 French King Vindicated (1712), p. 45: see also Who Plot Best (1712), p. 20.

3 Exhortation to the Love of Our Country (1712), p. 5.

4 Salt for the Leach (1712), p. 8.

5 Prince Eugene not the Man you Took Him. for (1712). Claude Bruneteau has drawn our attention to a similar imitation in a dialogue between Nic. Frog and two kinsmen concerning 'the Hardships intended against John' and submitted to the Examiner, 15 May, by 'the famous Sir Humphrey Polesworth'

1 The five pamphlets were A Postscript to John Bull, A Continuation of the History of the Crown-Inn, A Farther Continuation of the History of the Crown-Inn, An Appendix to the History of the Crown-Inn, and The Fourth and Last Part of the History of the Crown-Inn, all published in 1714.

2 Beattie, pp. 74–5.

3 Defoe, Review, 7 Oct. 1707, iv. 406.

1 In his Checklist of the Writings of Daniel Defoe (Bloomington, 1960), J. R. Moore tentatively attributed this pamphlet to Defoe. But it is highly improbable that in 1710 Defoe would have described Harley, his employer, as 'a cunning Fellow, a Pettifogger, and of a very ill Character, that never was true to any Cause he ingag'd in' (p. 6).

3 Seldom Comes, pp. 3–4.

4 Ibid., p. 5; cf. J.B. 27: 14–15.

1 Examiner, 22 Feb. 1710, iii. 96.

1 See the title-pages of the last three pamphlets.

2 The Wentworth Papers, 1705–1739, ed. J. J. Cartwright (1883), p. 294.

3 Arbuthnot was in attendance on the Queen. For Swift's movements during the first week of August 1712 see The Correspondence of Jonathan Swift, ed. Harold Williams (Oxford, 1963–5), i. 305.

1 Works, pp. 39–40.

2 Journal to Stella, ed. Harold Williams (Oxford, 1948), p.532.

3 Joseph Spence, Observations, Anecdotes, and Characters of Books and Men, ed. J. M. Osborn (Oxford, 1966), i. 57.

4 Teerink was supported by E. J. Morley in Year's Work, vi (1925), 220, A. W. Secord in American Historical Review, xxxii (1927), 357, and by W. Michael in Contemporary Review, cxliv (1929), 314–19. E. Pons took issue with his attribution in Revue Anglo-Americaine, iv (1927), 354, as did T. F. Mayo in PMLA xlv (1930), 274.

5 Beattie, pp. 36–74.

6 'The First Volume' and 'The Second Volume' were published on 24 June, and a third, entitled 'The Last Volume' on 7 Mar. When another was published on 4 Oct. 1732, it appeared as 'The Third Volume'. See the note on publication in Scouten, p. 5.

1 This was not the spurious 'History of John Bull, Part III' published in various editions of the Miscellaneous Works of the Late Dr. Arbuthnot after 1770.

2 In the library of Lord Rothschild.

3 Harold Williams, The Text of Gulliver's Travels (Cambridge, 1952), pp. 93–4.

1 The Rothschild Library; a Catalogue of the Collection … formed by Lord Rothschild(reprinted 1969), i. 367.

2 Beattie, p. 57: see also Scouten, p. 28.

3 Scouten, p. 65.

4 Beattie, p. 58.

5 Scouten, p. 82.

1 See Scouten, pp. 80–3.

2 John Nichols, Illustrations of the Literary History of the Eighteenth Century (1817–58), v. 395.

3 Ibid. v. 394.

4 See Scouten, p. 119.

5 See Beattie, pp. 164–6.

1 Nichols, v. 396.

2 See Scouten, pp. 129–32.

3 Ibid., p. 138.

4 Nichols, v. 396–7.

5 See L. H. Potter, 'The Text of Scott's Edition of Swift', Studies in Bibliography, xxii (1969), 240–55.

6 Scott, vi. 235.

1 In the 'Last Volume' of the Miscellanies.

2 The Correspondence of Alexander Pope, ed. G. Sherburn (Oxford, 1956), ii. 408.

3 B. Dobreé, Alexander Pope (1951), p. 81.

4 Williams, The Text of Gulliver's Travels, p. 71.

5 Pope, Correspondence, ed. Sherburn, ii. 420.

1 Angus M. Ross, 'The Correspondence of Dr. John Arbuthnot, first Collected together and Edited, with a Biographical Introduction, Notes and a Dissertation' (Cambridge Univ. Ph.D. thesis, 1976), p. 489.

2 Arbuthnot to Oxford, 16 Nov. 1726. Ross suggests that the piece in question was 'perhaps the ballad on Molly Lepell' by Pulteney, Chesterfield, and Arbuthnot, which the doctor enclosed in another letter to Oxford on 23 Nov. ('Correspondence', pp. 493–9).

3 Pope, Correspondence, ed. Sherburn, ii. 421.

1 Ibid. ii. 468.

2 From Lord Chesterfield's 'character' of Arbuthnot, The Wit and Wisdom of the Earl of Chesterfield, ed. W. Ernst-Browning (1875), p. 319.

1 See Dictionary of Anonymous and Pseudonymous English Literature (Samuel Halkett and John Laing) ed. J. Kennedy, W. A. Smith, and A. F. Johnson (1932–4).

2 Arbuthnot, 'Correspondence', p. 832.

3 Ibid., pp. 839, 848–53.

3 See J. D. Fleeman, in The Times Literary Supplement, 19 Dec. 1963, p. 1056.

1 Memoirs of the Extraordinary Life, Works and Discoveries of Martinus Scriblerus, cd. C. Kerby-Miller (New Haven, 1950), pp. 364–5.

1 Memoirs of Scriblerus, ed. Kerby-Miller, p. 368.

2 Ibid., pp. 364 ff.

3 Ibid., p. 365.

1 The Wit and Wisdom of the Earl of Chesterfield, ed. W. Ernst-Browning, p. 320.

2 Swift, Correspondence, ed. Harold Williams, iii. 104 (dated 29 Sept. 1725).

1 Arbuthnot, 'Correspondence', ed. Ross, p. 34.

2 Ibid., p. 264 (Nov. 1713). Referring to the Arbuthnot-Swift, Arbuthnot-Pope collections of letters, Ross notes, 'These … place Arbuthnot in an important position in the earliest complete exchange of familiar letters between a group of literary men, which survives … in the original MSS' (p. 859).

3 16 June 1714, Swift, Correspondence, ii. 36–7.

4 Arbuthnot, 'Correspondence', p. 865.

1 Arbuthnot, 'Correspondence', p. 469 (17 Oct. 1725).

1 Names and titles applied at this time to the people of the Netherlands require some clarification. In 1581 the seven northern provinces of the Netherlands, led by the major province, Holland, revolted from Spanish rule. The independence of this 'nation', the 'United Provinces', was formally recognized in 1648; its people were the Dutch, and the state (the modern kingdom of the Netherlands) was variously referred to as the Dutch Republic, or as the States-General (after the title of its governing body), or simply as Holland. The province of Flanders (corresponding to Holland) was, and still is, a synonym for the whole area. Cf. I. F. Burton, The Captain-General: the Career of John Churchill, Duke of Marlborough, from 1702 to 1711 (1968), pp. 202–3 n.

1 See Trevelyan, i. 123.

2 Ibid., i. 126.

1 Trevelyan, i. 147–6.

2 Churchill, i. 60

3 Trevelyan, i. 186.

1 Trevelyan, i. 187.

2 R. Walcott, English Politics in the Early Eighteenth Century (Oxford, 1956), p. 157.

3 Trevelyan, i. 298–304.

1 Everyone knew the story of Sir Humphry Edwin, Lord Mayor of London in 1701, who had ridden to a Presbyterian chapel on Sunday in full mayoral regalia.

1 Trevelyan, i. 284–7; ii. 85–90.

2 James Drake, The Memorial of the Church of England (1705), pp. 6–7, 21; Moderation was the Word, the Passpartout, that open'd all the Place Doors' (p. 7).

1 Trevelyan, ii. 270–3.

2 Ibid., ii. 280–1; cf. also iii. 232–5.

1 Cf. A. Mclnness, Robert Harley, Puritan Politician (1970), chap. v, and Walcott, pp. 143–6.

2 Walcott, pp. 137–8.

3 Cf. J. H. Plumb on the whiggish inclinations of Marlborough and Godolphin at this time, in The Growth of Political Stability in England 1675–1725 (1967: published in the U.S.A. as The Origins of Political Stability …), pp. 152–3.

1 Roderick Geikie and Isabel A. Montgomery, The Dutch Barrier 1705–1719 (Cambridge, 1930), p. 114 n.

2 Trevelyan, ii. 131.

3 Geikie and Montgomery, p. 89.

1 Trevelyan, iii. 30.

2 Long before the signing of the Barrier Treaty, Tory pamphleteers like Charles Davenant had represented Whig and Dutch financiers working hand in glove to direct English affairs: 'I am told the Dutch are deeply concern'd very near in every Fund, which they have bought up here by Commission… . That's true enough, but this … helps to engage Holland in the Measures of our Party', Tom Double Return'd Out of the Country (1702), pp. 41–2. Cf. Coombs, pp. 27, 199, 209.

3 Trevelyan, iii. 45.

1 Trevelyan, iii. 48. For a detailed account of the man, his trial, and its consequences see Geoffrey Holmes, The Trial of Doctor Sacheverell (1973).

2 Trevelyan, iii. 56.

1 Trevelyan, iii. 63.

2 Ibid., iii, 65.

3 I. S. Leadam, The History of England from the Accession of Anne to the Death of George II (1702–1760), (1912), p. 184.

4 Trevelyan, i. 291; Trevelyan's general discussion of war taxation and the national debt (pp. 291–5) is especially applicable to John Bull.

1 Geikie and Montgomery, p. 234.

2 See Coombs, pp. 280–1.

1 Trevelyan, iii. 195.

2 Annals, x. 286.

1 Trevelyan, iii. 200.

2 Cf. Trevelyan, iii. 211.

3 Leadam, p. 199.

1 Annals, xi. 161.

2 'Characters of Nations', Chester Noyes Greenhough Collected Studies, ed. F. W. C. Hersey (Cambridge (Mass.), 1940), pp. 224–45.

1 Review, 27 July 1706, iii. 358.

2 Ibid., 22 Dec. 1709, vi. 445. Both Arbuthnot and Swift were rehearsing wellestablished notions. Cf. Nashe in 1594: 'Englishmen are the plainest dealing soules … they are greedie of newes, and love to bee fed in their humors, and heare themselves flattred' ('The Unfortunate Traveller', Works, ed. R. B. McKerrow (Oxford, 1966), ii. 298).

3 Preface to Sir Richard Blackmore's The Nature of Man (1711) which systematically defined 'the distinct Characters of many European Nations, arising from the different Nature of the air and Soil'. See also, for example, Defoe, 'The True-Born Englishman', ed. A. C. Guthkelch, Essays and Studies, iv (1913), 123, and Shaftesbury, 'Advice to an Author', Characteristics, ed. J. M. Robertson (1900), i. 142.

4 Andrew Boorde, like Arbuthnot a successful doctor, also drew a national character of a pugnacious, fickle Englishman to appeal for civil peace in The First Boke of the Introduction of Knowledge (c. 1547).

5 Some Advice to the October Club, vi. 73.

6 Life and Reign of Henry the Sixth (1712), p. 3.

7 Othello, III. iii. 71–4.

8 'The True-Born Englishman', p. 107.

1 Observator, 17 Nov. 1705.

2 James Puckle, England's Path to Wealth and Honour (1707), p. 39. See also the 'Character of the English' in Collection of Poems on State-Affairs (1712).

3 Swift, Conduct of the Allies, vi. 11.

4 For example, The Rights and Liberties of Englishmen Asserted with a Collection of Statutesagainst Foreigners (1701).

5 Defoe was the almost solitary champion of the Bill against Swift and a chorus of hostile writers. His campaign in Brief History of the Poor Palatine Refugees (1709) fell on deaf ears, and his confident claim in the Review for 15 Mar. that the 'Arguments, Chimeras I should call them, of bringing Strangers in upon us, and giving away our Liberties that our Ancestors fought for to Foreigners—Have had some time to moulder away into the first Dirt they rose from, I mean, our National Pride' (v. 601) was a desperately optimistic pose. National pride was still a rich source of political goodwill in 1712 when the Harley ministry demolished the Naturalization Act.

1 The Hermit, 15 Sept. 1711.

2 'On the Sentence passed … on Dr. Sacheverell', Whig and Tory (1712), ii. 20.

3 Ladies Catechism (1703), p. 2.

4 Idler, 11 Nov. 1758.

5 Eleven Opinions about Mr. H[arle]y (1711), p. 79.

6 Swift was, of course, both intellectually and emotionally hostile to the Dutch: see E. D. Leyburn, 'Swift's View of the Dutch', PMLA lxxvi (1951) 734–5, and J. Kent Clark, 'Swift and the Dutch', HLQ xvii (1954), 345–56.

1 For Arbuthnot's portrait of Frog, see 9: 27–10: 4.

2 Dutch Drawn to the Life (1664), p. 66.

3 Samuel Grascome, Appeal to All True English-Men (1702?), pp. 4–5.

4 Hogan-Moganides (1674) also conflated comments on Dutch artistry and quackery: 'In Landskip hee'd Lampoon a Saint, / Revil[e] in Words, and worse in Paint: / Hee'd draw Apothecaries Bill, / And give a City for a Pill' (p. 81).

5 Tatler, iii. 82.

1 History of the Republick of Holland (1705), ii. 67–8.

2 Cf. the clownish Dutchmen in William Haughton's Englishmen for my Money (1598), Aphra Behn's Dutch Lover (1673), or Thomas D'Urfey's Wonders in the Sun (1706).

3 Compare Frog's testy bickering with Bull over their accounts (in the last pamphlet) with the angry debate over fishing rights between the Englishman and the Dutchman in James Puckle's England's Path to Wealth and Honour (1707).

4 The Polemic Character 1640–1661 (Lincoln (Nebr.), 1955), p. 44.

1 Owen Feltham's Brief Character of the Low-Countries (1652) and John Evelyn's Character of England (1659) illustrate this tendency.

2 Jonathan Swift as a Tory Pamphleteer (1967), p. 136.

3 Ibid., p. 137. Cook argues that Swift's political writings show a developing sense of audience with an increasing technical facility in appealing to that audience, culminating in the brilliantly successful Drapier's Letters. Perhaps Swift's achievement owed something to Arbuthnot's pioneering work in John Bull.

1 Reward of Ambition (bs. 1712).

2 Review, 4 Dec. 1705, ii. 466.

3 Beattie, pp. 104–13.

4 Indeed, a parallel between this fable and Arbuthnot's John Bull was noted much earlier, in NQ Ser. IX, iii (1899), 242–3.

1 Letter to a … Whig, p. 21, and Secret History of Arlus and Odolphus (1710), p. 22: see also Five Extraordinary Letters (1712), p. 11.

2 See John Toland's contemporary version in Fables of Aesop (1704), p. 123.

3 Introduction to a special publication of Ogilby's Fables by the Augustan Reprint Society (1965), p. x. This particular fable (which provided a climactic conclusion to the collection) seems to have caught the public imagination: it was reproduced in a broadside of 1672 as The Holland Nightingale, or the Sweet Singers of Amsterdam.

1 Certain Information of a Certain Discourse (1712), pp. 8–9.

2 Canting Dictionary:'the Dutch' were accused of'beingeffascinated with Machiavel's Pollicies' by Brandy-Wine in the Hollanders Ingratitude (1652), and those in the East Indies had become 'Old Nick sent o're the Flood' in Hogan-Moganides (1674), p. 91. The supporting players in the drama have similarly appropriate names. In particular 'Hocus'—a generic name for mountebanks and jugglers—distinguishes Marlborough as the leader of the attack from within Bull's household in combination with the trickster Frog from without. His whiggish aims and methods are typical of 'a paltry Hocus, whose Jugling Box is a Scheme … and his whole Art but a well contriv'd Faculty of Legerdemain to bubble inquisitive and credulous Fools of their Money', Character of a Quack-Astrologer (1673), A3v.

3 Defoe, Review, 26 Feb. 1704, i. 10.

4 p. 63.

5 Baboon A-La-Mode, p. 22.

1 British Apollo, Nov. 1709.

2 A Trip Lately to Scotland. With a True Character of the Country and People (1705), p. 11.

1 Plumb, The Growth of Political Stability, p. 71.

2 Ibid., p. 29.

3 For a useful discussion of 'the Paper War, 1697–1702', see Frank H. Ellis's introduction to his edition of Swift's Discourse of the Contests and Dissensions … in Athens and Rome (Oxford, 1967), pp. 1–14, 66–79.

4 English Politics in the Early Eighteenth Century (Oxford, 1976), p. 157.

5 Plumb, The Growth of Political Stability, p. 131; see also Holmes, British Politics, chap. 1, and Dennis Rubini, Court and Country 1688–1702 (1967), 'Introduction' and Appendix A, 'Party Revisited'.

1 Plumb, The Growth of Political Stability, p. 130.

2 Ibid., p. 26.

3 Ibid., pp. 129–32.

4 Walcott, pp. 86–7.

5 Keith Feiling, A History of the Tory Party 1640–1714 (Oxford, 1924), p. 316.

1 See Trevelyan, i. 189–200, and Plumb, The Growth of Political Stability, pp. 8–14, 138–40.

2 Plumb, op. cit., p. 135. For a further account of the ante-bellum 'country' Whigs, see J. R. Jones, The First Whigs: the Politics of the Exclusion Crisis 1678–1683 (1961), especially pp. 11–16.

3 Trevelyan, i. 194.

1 Plumb, The Growth of Political Stability, p. xv.

2 R[ogue]'s on Both Sides (1711), pp. 6–9.

3 Swift, Tale, p. 135.

1 Charles Davenant, Tom Double Return'd out of the Country: or, the True Picture of a Modern Whig (1702), pp. 12, 93. Cf. Swift's portrait of the 'original' Tom Double: 'The Ends he hath gained by Lying appear to be more owing to the Frequency, than the Art of them: His Lies being sometimes detected in an Hour, often in a Day, and always in a Week' (Short Character of… Thomas Earl of Wharton, iii. 179),

2 The Character and Principles of the Present Set of Whigs, p. 5.

3 Examiner, 3 May 1711, iii. 143.

1 Examiner, 25 Jan. 1710, iii. 73.

2 See the description of Anne by the astute German traveller and book-collector, von Uffenbach: 'foreigners have a much higher opinion of her parts than her own subjects', London in 1710: from the Travels of Zachartas Conrad von Uffenbach, trans. and ed. W. H. Quarrell and Margaret Mare (1934), p. 116.

1 The Divided Society: Parties and Politics in England 1694–1716, ed. G. S. Holmes and W. A. Speck (1967), p. 2.

2 See R. I. Cook, Jonathan Swift as a Tory Pamphleteer (1967), pp. 112–13. For contrasting estimates of Arbuthnot's intended audience see Beattie, John Arbuthnot, p. 119, and especially Arbuthnot's 'Correspondence', ed. Ross, p. 42.

3 Examiner, 22 Mar. 1710, iii. 111.

4 Ibid., 16 Nov. 1710, iii. 15.

1 See Isaac Kramnick, Bolingbroke and His Circle: the Politics of Nostalgia in the Age of Walpole (1968), p. 59; cf. Holmes, p. 155.

2 See John Loftis Comedy and Society from Congreve to Fielding (Stanford, 1959), pp. 3–6, and Politics of Drama in Augustan England (Oxford, 1963), pp. 42–3.

1 Kramnick, p. 61.

2 Journal to Stella, 10 May 1712, ed. Harold Williams (Oxford, 1948), p. 532.

3 See, for example, The Secret History of Arlus and Odolphus (1710), The History of Prince Mirabel's Infancy, Rise and Disgrace (1712), or William King's Rufinus (1712).

1 She is best known for her 'New Atalantis' pamphlets: Secret Memoirs and Manners of Several Persons of Quality, of Both Sexes. From the New Atalantis, an Island in the Mediterranean (1709), and Court Intrigues, in a Collection of Original Letters, from the Island of the New Atalantis (1711).

2 Preface 'To the Reader', The Secret History of Queen Zarah and the Zarazians (1705).

3 Preface to Queen Zarah.

1 Beattie, pp. 168–74.

1 6 Aug. 1715, Arbuthnot, 'Correspondence', ed. Ross, p. 372.

1 See Gwendolyn B. Needham, 'Mary de la Riviere Manley, Tory Defender', HLQ xii (1948–9), 267.

1 Preface to Queen Zarah (1705).

2 J. Hillis Miller, Charles Dickens: the World of his Novels (Cambridge (Mass.), PP. 325–6.

1 Beattie, p. 64.

2 Carstens, pp. 286 ff.

3 Anatomy of Criticism (Princeton, 1957), PP. 309–10.

4 Carstens, p. 289.

2 'The Classics and John Bull', England in the Restoration and Early Eighteenth Century, ed. H. T. Swedenberg (1972), p. 26. We are deeply indebted to correspondence with the author of this essay in the following discussion of the influence of Horace on Arbuthnot.

3 Horace: Satires, Epistles and Ars Poetica (Loeb Classical Library), ed. and trans. H. Rushton Fairchild (1966), pp. 149–81.

4 'Nunc accipe, quare / desipiant omnes aeque ac tu, qui tibi nomen / insano posuere': Now learn why all, who have given you the name of madman, are quite as crazy as yourself (Horace: Satires, pp. 156–7, ll. 46–8).

1 Horace: Satires, pp. 178–81, ll. 314–23: cf. above, pp. lxiv–lxvi.

2 Ibid., pp. 176–7, ll. 284–6.

3 Norman Knox, The Word Irony and its Context, 1500–1755 (Durham (North Carolina), 1961), p. 124.

1 Examiner, 4 Jan. 1710, iii. 57–8. See also Defoe's satirical defence of Cowper's adultery in 'Reformation of Manners' (1702), Poems on Affairs of State, vol. vi, ed. Frank Ellis (1970), p. 419, and the extended account in Mrs. Manley's Secret Memoirs and Manners ... from the New Atalantis (1709), i. 214–44.

2 For example, Humble Confession and Petition of a Whig (1712), pp. 34 ff.

3 True-Born English-Woman (1703), pp. 4–7.

4 True Characters (1708), p. 9; see also Aesop in Europe (1706), p. 7.

5 Cf. the many complaints that such 'crafty, turn-coat Knaves' (Junto, 1712, p. 4) had adopted some remnants of Anglican ceremony as a 'Politick disguise, / That Skreen'd their Tricks from weaker Eyes' (Ned Ward, Vulgus Britannicus, 1710, v. 173).

6 Defoe was particularly fond of genealogical allegory: cf. 'REVOLUTION, the Eldest Sister, is charg'd with taking up Arms in Conjunction with Foreigners against her Great Grandfather NationToleration, the Second Sister … with Whoredom … Union, the Youngest … with Corruption' (Review, 25 Feb. 1710, vi. 555).

1 Catalogue of the Capital and Well-Known Library of Books, of the Late Celebrated Dr. Arbuthnot, Deceased (1779), p. 3.

2 Isaac Kramnick, Bolingbroke and His Circle, pp. 58–60.

3 See his account of the nation 'household' in Examiner, 8 Feb. 1710, iii. 81–2, and P. G. M. Dickson's discussion of his economic views in Financial Revolution in England (1967), pp. 17–18.

4 Letter to a Member of the October-Club (1711), pp. 31–2. Defoe voiced concern in Reasons why this Nation Ought to Put a Speedy End to this Expensive War (1711), and in Farther Search (1712).

1 M. Birks, Gentlemen of the Law (1960), p. 113.

2 In, for example, A New Dialogue Between an Excise-Man and a Bailiffs Proving which of the Two Is the Greatest Cheats (1703), and The Second Part of the Locusts: Or, Chancery Painted to the Life (1704).

3 Holmes, p. 172.

4 True Characters (1708), p. 4.

5 Tatler, 6 Apr. 1710, iii. 218–22.

6 Daniel de Foe's New Invention (1707), p. 3.

7 W. T. Laprade believed John Bull 'entertained more than it influenced' its readers, which is open to question, and 'reflected a state of mind in St. John's group', which is indisputable (Public Opinion and Politics in Eighteenth Century England, New York, 1936, pp. 111–12).

1 Arbuthnot possessed an astute ear for the idioms and rhythms of low-life prose. Although he was not as sensitive to the nuances of usage as his eminent contemporary William Congreve, there are notable similarities between their colloquialisms. Phrases such as 'ten thousand Devils', 'Heart, Blood and Guts', 'as I hope to be saved', and 'Meat, Drink and Cloth', which vivify the farcical antics of Wittoll and Bluffe in The Old Bachelor (all occur within 200 lines of Act II) are given respectively to Frog, Bull, Hocus, and Jack by Arbuthnot.

1 See Herbert Davis, 'The Augustan Concept of History', Reason and the Imagination, ed. J. A. Mazzeo (1962), pp. 213–29, and J. W. Johnson, The Formation of English Neo-Classical Thought (Princeton, 1967), pp. 31–68.

1 Tom Double Return'd. (1702), p. 23.

2 In Grub Street: Studies in a Subculture (1972), pp. 94–9, Pat Rogers explains this obsession with reference to the conditions of London life and the Augustans' traumatic memories of the Great Plague and the Fire of London, both of which became inextricably associated with the contemporaneous social unrest and revolution. The propriety of the 'metaphor of the body politic' and its 'inevitable decay' was confirmed by its monitory use by revered Roman historians such as Livy,

1 Examiner, 18 Jan. 1710, iii. 64–5.

1 Conduct of the Allies, vi. 40.

2 Poetical Entertainer, iii (1712), p. 10. See also Poor England Bob'd at Home and Abroad (bs. 1712).

1 Such functional puns are common in John Bull. For example, one of Arbuthnot's most daring techniques was to stud his simple linguistic surface with occasional reminders of the convergent yet separate levels of political history and allegorical representation. Thus when Cavallo declares of the dying Mrs. Bull, 'her Constitution mends; if she submits to my Government she will … dance a Jig next October in Westmimter-Hall', the entertaining burlesque is brought firmly down to political earth without a rupture of the allegorical fiction. Another scheme of puns reminds us that the lawsuit is in reality a bloody war: 'Sometimes John's House was beset with a whole Regiment of Attorneys Clerks', Sir Roger is obliged to 'charge thro' an Army of Lawyers', and the second Mrs. Bull finds 'it is impossible to march up close to the Frontiers of Frugality, without entering the Territories of Parsimony'.

2 This and the following definitions of pragmatism are all to be found in OED.

1 'Satyr's Address', Aesop at Court (1702), p. 13.

2 Worcester shire-Queries About Peace (1711), pp. 9–10.

1 See Schilling, Dryden and the Conservative Myth: A Reading of Absalom and Achitophel (1961), and Paulson, The Fictions of Satire (Baltimore, 1967), pp. 120–8.

2 Ibid., p. 120.

3 Swift, Enquiry, viii. 139.

4 Swift, Contests, pp. 11–12.

1 Teerink, pp. 18–38.

1 English Burlesque Poetry (Cambridge (Mass.), 1932), pp. 231–2.

2 Carstens, pp. 24–33.

3 F. Turner, The Element of Irony in English Literature (Cambridge, 1926), pp. 46, 52.

1 The Quidnuncki's, as it was reprinted in the 1727 Miscellanies, has often been attributed to Gay, but was almost certainly written by Arbuthnot (see Beattie, pp. 285–7).

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