A Political Biography of Alexander Pope (Eighteenth-Century by Pat Rogers

By Pat Rogers

This can be the 1st learn to evaluate the full profession of Alexander Pope (1688-1744) relating to the political problems with his time. whereas a lot has been written at the politics of Pope, so much of this pertains to his attainable Jacobite sympathies and his involvement within the competition to Sir Robert Walpole within the 1730s. This new biography covers the full diversity of the poet's existence, beginning along with his kinfolk heritage and the prolonged Catholic circle within which he endured to maneuver, a huge consider the making of The Rape of the Lock. research of subscription lists for the Homer and Shakespeare ventures makes attainable a extra rounded account of his connections one of the political type. The e-book exhibits for the 1st time the ongoing impression on his paintings of social gathering divisions in London (deriving in part from his father's profession as a service provider) and gives a clean studying of The Dunciad as a remark on urban politics. It brings out a sustained statement at the fortunes of the Tory celebration, specially the destiny of Robert Harley, Matthew earlier and Francis Atterbury, which gives a hidden subtext within the Epistle to Bathurst. The longstanding quarrel with the writer Edmund Curll is obvious to attach in unforeseen methods with the general public dramas of the day. whereas the e-book offers certain recognition to Pope's poetry and prose, exploring either significant and minor texts, it attracts on his personal letters, including the correspondence of buddies similar to Jonathan speedy, John homosexual and Dr John Arbuthnot. A wide-ranging experiment has been made up of newspapers and pamphlets of the time, yielding numerous new findings, and wide learn into unpublished records similar to wills, marriage settlements and courtroom files has supplied new insights into the area within which Pope operated. The remedy evidently contains dialogue of the paintings of earlier students on facets of Pope, together with Maynard Mack, Howard Erskine-Hill, Howard Weinbrot and Christine Gerrard, however it seeks to supply a fuller photo of the poet's reaction to the broader global. It considers not only ideology but in addition the activities and commitments of Pope in real-life occasions.

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Finally, the measure laid down that any Catholic priests caught exercising their vocation should be imprisoned for life, and it set a reward of £100 for informing against priests who said mass. In terms of year-by-year living, there was one further disability which few could escape. While no regular system of income tax had yet come into being, property taxes were imposed annually, and special levies raised from time to time to meet special needs such as supplies for a war. One convenient way of harvesting more money was to assess rates for Catholics at double the standard rate, for 22 A Political Biography of Alexander Pope both national and local taxes.

If the humble residents hoped that the balance would swing again with the accession of William Mary, they were to be disappointed. The courts were as active as ever in maintaining the existing law, and the government introduced a new measure (1 Will. , c. 10) to clamp down even more heavily on deer-stealing. A brief respite came with the next monarch, Anne, when ‘a genial laxity’ prevailed in forest government: Thompson speculates that ‘perhaps her frequent presence in the forest was more effectual in curbing offences than frequent courtkeeping’.

As we have just seen, the year after Pope was born, parliament brought in a measure to expel papists from London. By this Act (1 Will. , c. 9) the justices of London and the home counties were empowered to arrest all such persons ‘as are or are reputed to be Papists’. If the suspect then refused to take an oath of allegiance, he or she would be ‘esteemed and adjudged a Popish Recusant Convict’. 24 Unquestionably, it was this Act that prompted Pope’s father to retreat from the capital around 1692.

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