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Price: £1,040.00

  

The Character of a Trimmer.

His Opinion of I. The Laws and Government. II. Protestant Religion. III. The Papists. IV. Foreign Affairs.

By the Honourable Sir W.C.

1688 - London - 1688

7.5" by 6.5" , 43pp

 

DETAILS

A early edition of The Character of a Trimmer

Re-bound in quarter leather with marbled paper-covered boards and gilt lettering.

Early edition.

Although published under Coventry's name, the authorship of the work was acknowledged by Lord Halifax to whom it is generally ascribed. Cf. DNB and BM. COPAC.

Of Halifaxs authorship, the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography tells us, Halifax had anonymously distributed three manuscript copies of The Character of a Trimmer, one to the archbishop of Canterbury with a letter asking him to deliver it to the king. It circulated in manuscript until pirated for publication in 1688. In it he alluded to policies that he had opposed in council; the genre of a character and arguments balanced on the notion of the golden mean enabled him to do so without betraying his authorship, which he disclosed after 1688.

George Savile, 1st Marquess of Halifax PC,1633 1695, was an English statesman, writer, and politician. He was nephew of Sir William Coventry, who is said to have influenced his political opinions. He entered public life with all the advantages of lineage, political connections, great wealth and estates, and uncommon abilities. Of his literary life, the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography states, Halifax was better known as a politician than an author. His eight publications, five of which were first circulated in manuscript, were all anonymous and of his political and private opinions, in an age when radical ideas in religion and politics threatened the traditional structure of society in which Halifax was exalted, he could be cynical about the ideology of both the established church and the monarchy while remaining sincerely devoted to preservation of the status quo.Halifax could afford political outspokenness and independence.

Of Halifax's pamphlet, and the political situations it describes, the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography explains, "Tory journalists had been denouncing trimmers, a supposed third party of neutrals and traitors, in order to intimidate moderate tories and Anglicans who did not support thorough repression of whigs and dissenters. Halifax's pamphlet, ostensibly a defence of the centre against both extremes, was designed to undermine tory support for repression at home and inaction abroad. It argued that ruling in accordance with the laws was in the interest of both prince and people; that the Church of England was best served by comprehension of protestant dissenters or some leniency towards them (less towards Catholic laymen, and only to promote conversions); and that the balance of power was in the national interest."

CONDITION

The binding is tight and firm. There is almost no wear to the extremities. Internally the pages are bright with the very occasional spot, and stains to the first and last few pages, as shown above. Overall the condition is very good.

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