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Martyrdom in a Merchant World: Law and Martyrdom in the Restoration Memoirs of Elizabeth Jekyll and Mary Love

  • Sue Wiseman
Part of the Language, Discourse, Society book series (LDS)

Abstract

‘Something is branded in, so that it stays in the memory’, a philosopher observes, ‘only that which hurts incessantly is remembered’.1 In Restoration nonconformist political and religious memory martyrdom is the dominant figure for the ceaseless pain of the past, and its meanings in the present. Yet, for a memory to operate as a prompt to political action in the present it must be freed of some of its ties to the past — a branding in of memory involves, inevitably, a burning out of some details of the original event. Here I explore the legacy of an event from 1651, the treason trial and execution of the Presbyterian Christopher Love. My central texts are the narratives of two women, Elizabeth Jekyll and Mary Love. These texts, which I examine in some detail, seem to have had at least limited circulation after the Restoration. They offer a case study that we can use to consider, even re-evaluate, three interconnected issues: the place of the feminine voice in narrative produced by women in building Restoration nonconformist culture, the relationship between religious radicalism before and after the Restoration, and, more abstractly, the interconnection of law and narrative.

Keywords

Political Culture Complete Collection Political Trial Glorious Revolution False Ceiling 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 1.
    F. Nietzsche, On the Genealogy of Morals, trans. Douglas Smith (Oxford University Press, 1996), 42–3. See also Judith Butler, The Psychic Life ofPower (Stanford University Press, 1997), 3; Wendy Brown on political memory ‘Wounded Attachments: Late Modern Oppositional Political Formations’, in Joan B. Landes (ed.), Feminism, the Public and the Private (Oxford University Press, 1998), 448–74.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
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    See SP/29/417 (part 3), ‘Votes in Councill’, which associates him with strong players in petitioning the Crown to disappoint Roman Catholic ‘hopes of a popish successor’, such as Papillon, Dubois or Player. See also Mark Knights, Politics and Opinion 1678–81 (Cambridge University Press, 1994), 280, 330–1; J.R. Woodhead, The Rulers of London 1660–1689, (London & Middlesex Archaeological Society, 1965), 98, 100. In this connection the king ordered Jekyll to be brought before him at the Council (CSPD 1670, 312). In 1670 he and Alderman Hayes were both imprisoned, apparently as ‘jurymen that were fined for finding not guilty the Quakers’. CSPD, 1670, June 4, June 9, June 27 (300–1, 312), November 22 (545), Dec 7 (566), ibid., 1671, July 18, 386. See ibid., 1671, 497 as part of a plot against the king, revealed by Blood. The text this is drawn from is described by the calendar as ‘Notes by Williamson’, ‘in parts illegible’ and the same sentence is read by R.L. Greaves as referring to Captain Roger Jones. See Greaves, Enemies under his Feet, 211. Renewed nonconformist protests and defiance followed Charles’s proclamation against conventicles of 3 February 1675.Google Scholar
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    Natalie Zemon Davies and Arlette Farge (eds), A History of Women in the West (Belknap, 1994), 169. Compare Merry Weisner’s assessment of female citizenship, ‘The Holy Roman Empire: Women and Politics’, in Hilda Smith (ed.), Women Writers and the Early Modern British Political Tradition (Cambridge University Press, 1998), 305–23, 316. See also Constance Jordan, Renaissance Feminism (Cornell University Press, 1990), 308; Patricia Crawford, “The Poorest She”: Women and Citizenship in Early Modern England’, in Michal Mendle (ed.), The Putney Debates (Cambridge University Press, 2001), 197–218. See also Hilda L. Smith, All Men and Both Sexes: Gender, Politics, and the False Universal in England 1640–1832 (The Pennsylvania State University Press, 2002). Particularly significant for male citizenship in this period are the arguments about natural law, what Richard Tuck calls ‘inalienable right’, both in terms of the defence of a larger social body against its ruler and, as significantly, in terms of the claims of the individual’s inalienable rights (‘every man by naturall instinct aiming at his owne safety and weale’ as Richard Overton put it). These issues were important as were the demand from the Levellers and others for government by constitution, expressed at the Putney debates and embodied in the different versions of The Agreement of the People. In sum, these debates meant that the citizen, though the term itself might not be used, was coming into sharp focus in the debates about the rule of Charles I to the establishment of the republic. Tuck, Natural Rights Theories, 147, see also 148–9; Richard Overton, An Appeale from the degenerate representative body (London, 1647), in Don M. Wolfe (ed.), Leveller Manifestos of the Puritan Revolution (Humanities Press, 1944; repr. 1967), 162. As C.B. Macpherson notes, the Leveller demand that the franchise be extended to include all men who were not servants or beggars (doubling the number of voters) would have been enough to concentrate the minds of lawyers, MPs and soldiers on the questions of the nature of’citizenship’. C.B. Macpherson, The Political Theory of Possessive Individualism (Oxford University Press, 1962; repr. 1990), 117.Google Scholar

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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 2005

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  • Sue Wiseman

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