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An anthology
Editors: and

Royal successions will prompt observers of all kinds to look back at the reign that has passed, and also forward to that which is dawning. This book represents both the breadth and the quality of succession literature across the Stuart era (1603-1714). It includes at least one example of each significant kind of writing: a proclamation announcing a change of reign, diary entries, sermons, a newspaper report, two speeches by incoming monarchs and so forth. But there is also a consistent focus on poetry. Proclamations of Lord King James to the Crown (1603), his speech delivered in the Parliament (1604), the poems of Sir John Davies (1603) are among those featured in the first part of the book. Part II includes an anonymously authored news report details the royal marriage of King Charles and Lady Henrietta Maria (1625). Following this, the book presents the newsbook, Mercurius Politicus (December 1653), which provides an account of Oliver's inauguration as Protector and offers a wealth of detail about ceremonial proceedings. Part IV has a diary entry of Samuel Pepys recounting the return of Stuart brothers and describing the ceremonies that greeted Charles at Dover, and providing details arising from Pepys's proximity to unfolding events. The fifth part includes a coronation sermon (April 1685), presenting extracts from Francis Turner's discussion of Solomon's title and his consideration of the relationship between Solomon and the nation of Israel. The Observator's response on William's death (April 1702), penned by John Tutchin, is also featured in the book.

Andrew McRae
and
John West

This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in this book. The book focuses on the period when the Stuarts ruled in England, Scotland and Ireland, subsequent to the arrival in London of James VI of Scotland in 1603 after the death of Queen Elizabeth I. The passage of power through the generations of Stuarts was more complicated than it may appear from a position of historical distance. Throughout the Stuart dynasty, the different structures and interests of each nation placed competing demands on the Stuart monarchs. While there was a considerable degree of continuity in succession literature across the Stuart era, some of the identifiable changes reflect in valuable ways upon wider political and cultural shifts. In the cultural life of their nations, the Stuarts played leading roles throughout the period. The court was arguably the most important centre for cultural and artistic production.

in Literature of the Stuart successions
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Andrew McRae
and
John West

This chapter marks an anthology of primary material relating to one of the turbulent period of British history, the Stuart succession 1603. When Queen Elizabeth I died, on 24 March 1603, the line of succession was by no means settled. Like her, he was a direct descendant of Henry VII of England, and had been installed himself as King of Scotland since his infancy. Many English writers paused to elegize Elizabeth, who was the only monarch many of her subjects had ever known and had established a state of peace in the nation, with some exceptions, for several decades. The ceremonies in London to mark James's accession were cut short on account of a summer outbreak of plague. Some of his policies, such as his dream of uniting the kingdoms of England and Scotland, would prove impossible to implement, and would undermine his reputation in years to come.

in Literature of the Stuart successions
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Andrew McRae
and
John West

This chapter marks second Stuart successions 1625 in poems, by some of the greatest writers of the age. These writers include John Rous, James Shirley, John Donne, and George Eglisha. The succession of 1625 was in most respects extremely straightforward. Indeed one of the great attractions of the Stuarts in 1603 was that James had three children, including two boys, as a result virtually securing a clear dynastic line of succession. In the series of conflicts that would become known in retrospect as the Thirty Years War (1618-48), James I had positioned himself as a monarch committed to peace. But King Charles was determined to take a different stance. At the death of James, observers watched keenly for signs of Charles's intentions; and his shift in subsequent years away from his father's Calvinism, towards doctrines loosely labelled 'Arminian', in many respects precipitated the national divisions of the 1630s and 1640s.

in Literature of the Stuart successions
Andrew McRae
and
John West

The installation of Oliver Cromwell as Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland and Ireland was a key event amid one of the most unpredictable periods in British political history. Mercurius Politicus began in June 1650 and continued until 1660. This account of Oliver's inauguration as Protector offers a wealth of detail about the ceremonial proceedings. In An Horatian Ode upon Cromwell's Return from Ireland, Andrew Marvell had depicted Cromwell as an active, almost elemental force. Oliver Cromwell died on 3 September 1658, probably from a chest infection and pneumonia. John Dryden worked for the protectoral government from at least 1657, and he walked in Cromwell's funeral procession with his colleagues Andrew Marvell and John Milton. Heroic Stanzas appeared in early 1659, somewhat late in the day even by Dryden's admission, by which time Richard Cromwell's own rule was slowly beginning to unravel.

in Literature of the Stuart successions
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Andrew McRae
and
John West

When the Convention Parliament voted on 1 May 1660 to recall Charles Stuart to the throne, nearly nine years after he fled into exile following defeat at the Battle of Worcester, the news was widely celebrated. Drawn up by Charles along with several of his advisors, the Declaration of Breda laid the groundwork for the monarchy's restoration in England. During the 1650s, John Milton composed some of the most strident defences of the execution of Charles I and of republican forms of government. The diary of Samuel Pepys is one of the most important records of English society in the years following the Restoration, and Pepys himself was closely involved in the events surrounding Charles's return. Awarded with the posts of Poet Laureate in 1668 and Historiographer Royal in 1671, John Dryden was one of the foremost defenders of the restored Stuart monarchy.

in Literature of the Stuart successions
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Andrew McRae
and
John West

For the poet who had risen to prominence as the major panegyrist of restored Stuart power, King Charles II's death inevitably prompted reflections on the origins of the dynasty and on its future. The longest verse panegyric written by John Dryden, Threnodia Augustalis, dwells mostly on Charles's death and legacy. King James II held his first meeting with the Privy Council, one day after Charles's death. He addressed all the members, assuring them that, contrary to popular opinion, he would protect the Church of England. In 1685 two poems by Quaker leader William Penn, were printed, one on the death of Charles II and the other on the coronation of James and Mary of Modena. In 1685 Aphra Behn wrote poems on Charles II's death and James's coronation.

in Literature of the Stuart successions
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Andrew McRae
and
John West

In autumn 1688 William of Orange, the Dutch stadholder (a title bestowed on the rulers of the Dutch Republic), issued a declaration stating his reasons for leading a fleet from the Netherlands to England. Gilbert Burnet was one of the most prominent defenders of William's invasion. Gilbert Burnet had apparently approached Aphra Behn, and asked her to pen an ode in praise of William of Orange. Elkanah Settle's 'Britain's Address to the Prince of Orange' carefully articulates that loyalist sentiment, while Aphra Behn's ode to Gilbert Burnet also resists being corralled into a defence of the Dutch ruler. Dryden's silence, and the reversal of his political and poetic fortunes, was a cause for gleeful satire from Williamite poets. In The Address of John Dryden, Thomas Shadwell mimics Dryden's voice and depicts the former laureate as willing to abandon James II.

in Literature of the Stuart successions
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Andrew McRae
and
John West

Queen Anne inherited the throne as the younger sister of Mary, who had ruled jointly with her husband, William of Orange. The succession literature of 1702 struggled to construct a successful model for Queen Anne. Anne's connections to the party politics of her time also shaped many of the responses to her succession. On the occasions of earlier Stuart successions, it had been almost inconceivable that writers would criticize a monarch. The English Muse: Or, a Congratulatory Poem in the form of a Pindaric ode, was published anonymously. It compares Anne with Elizabeth I, then dwells upon her fertility, her husband and her physical appearance.From Albina, or The Coronation takes its title from 'Albion' (England). It presents Anne as a female ruler of almost mythic capacities and recalls the allegory of John Dryden's opera on the succession of James II, Albion and Albanius.

in Literature of the Stuart successions