John Tutchin (c.1660 or 1664 – 23 September 1707) was a radical Whig controversialist and gadfly English journalist (born in Lymington, Hampshire), whose The Observator and earlier political activism earned him multiple trips before the bar. He was of a Puritan background and held strongly anti-Catholic views.
In 1685 he wrote Poems on several occasions. With a pastoral. To which is added, a discourse of life at the same time that he was beginning his agitation against the possible accession of James II of England. He joined in the Monmouth Rebellion that year and was tried by Judge Jeffreys during the Bloody Assizes. Jeffreys mocked Tutchin's verse from the bench and sentenced him to:
Tutchin, facing this sentence, appealed to be hanged, instead. His punishment became a cause célèbre among the Whig and Tory partisans, with the result that he was released after a year. He then married Elizabeth Hickes, the daughter of a Puritan minister who had been vocal and active in the anti-Jacobite causes.
The arrival of William III of Orange pleased Tutchin, and he wrote An heroick poem upon the late expedition of His Majesty to rescue England from popery, tyranny, and arbitrary government in 1689. William was not, however, republican enough, and Tutchin's political philosophy was moving toward overt republicanism. However, Tutchin was rewarded for his Williamite support, and possibly for his role in the Monmouth Rebellion and Bloody Assizes, by being appointed a minor post in the victualling office.
Tutchin was convinced, throughout his life, that corruption was rampant and that people were trying to defraud the government or serve an anti-English master, and in 1699 he was rewarded with £12 for his officious "saving so much of the bloody pickle which drained from the casks and binns which hold the flesh at the Victualling Office." This was indicative, in a sense, of Tutchin's terrier-like concern. At the same time, he grew disaffected by William's Dutch courtiers and wrote, in 1700 The Foreigners. The poem outlined a Lockean position on the social contract and suggested that William was not a valid sovereign. Tutchin was arrested, but, because he had slightly disguised the proper names of the figures he lampooned, the poem could be pronounced a "seditious libel," but Tutchin could not be tried for sedition. Daniel Defoe answered Tutchin with The True-Born Englishman .
John Tutchin began The Observator in 1702, and it would continue past his death. The paper was shrill in its denunciations of Queen Anne and her Tory ministries. He and Defoe quarreled in their public writings, with Defoe representing a more Puritan stripe of the whig party and Tutchin the more democratic and Cromwellian side, and several authors would mention the two names together (including Alexander Pope, who has Defoe standing above a prostrate Tutchin in The Dunciad ). The paper was written in dialogue form, where "Observator" or "Mr. Observator" and "Countryman" speak to one another.
In December 1703, The Observator was arraigned for scandalous libel on Parliament. In May 1704, Tutchin fled to France briefly to escape being seized. He contacted Robert Harley and sought his aid. Harley was a Tory, but he was also in contact with various Whig politicians and attempting to strike a middle line. (He was, for example, a friend to John Arbuthnot, who was an avowed enemy of Tutchin.) Tutchin was found guilty, but the conviction was overthrown on a technicality, as the evidence had been improperly presented. A number of Tory statesmen, MPs, and writers thought that the mistake in the proceedings had been intentional.
After he returned to England, Tutchin continued to rail at Jacobites and French agents everywhere. He accused the Navy of secretly supplying food for the French Navy. This got him arrested again. In October 1706 John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough wrote in a letter to Harley, of the matter, "If I can't have justice done me, I must find some friend that will break his and the printer's bones." Whether he did so or not, something terrible did happen to Tutchin in prison. He was beaten severely and died of his injuries in custody on 23 September 1707.
While The Observator, in particular, was a noted venue for anti-Jacobite opinion, Tutchin's tendency toward paranoid-seeming fears and suspicions about the government had gotten him few contemporary friends. Even after his death under suspicious circumstances, he was not widely mourned, and Alexander Pope, in particular, memorialized him viciously in The Dunciad a full seventeen years after his death, where he has the publisher Edmund Curll given a gift of a tapestry by Dulness showing the fates of dunces, where the whipping of Tutchin through the west country is a featured panel.
Daniel Defoe was an English writer, trader, journalist, pamphleteer and spy. He is most famous for his novel Robinson Crusoe, published in 1719, which is claimed to be second only to the Bible in its number of translations. He has been seen as one of the earliest proponents of the English novel, and helped to popularise the form in Britain with others such as Aphra Behn and Samuel Richardson. Defoe wrote many political tracts, was often in trouble with the authorities, and spent a period in prison. Intellectuals and political leaders paid attention to his fresh ideas and sometimes consulted him.
General John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough, 1st Prince of Mindelheim, 1st Count of Nellenburg, Prince of the Holy Roman Empire, was an English soldier and statesman whose career spanned the reigns of five monarchs. From a gentry family, he served first as a page at the court of the House of Stuart under James, Duke of York, through the 1670s and early 1680s, earning military and political advancement through his courage and diplomatic skill.
John Arbuthnot FRS, often known simply as Dr Arbuthnot, was a Scottish physician, satirist and polymath in London. He is best remembered for his contributions to mathematics, his membership in the Scriblerus Club, and for inventing the figure of John Bull.
The Battle of Sedgemoor was the last and decisive engagement between the Kingdom of England and rebels led by the Duke of Monmouth during the Monmouth rebellion, fought on 6 July 1685, and took place at Westonzoyland near Bridgwater in Somerset, England, resulting in a victory for the English army.
The Bloody Assizes were a series of trials started at Winchester on 25 August 1685 in the aftermath of the Battle of Sedgemoor, which ended the Monmouth Rebellion in England.
Robert Harley, 1st Earl of Oxford and Earl Mortimer, KG PC FRS was an English and later British statesman of the late Stuart and early Georgian periods. He began his career as a Whig, before defecting to a new Tory Ministry. He was raised to the peerage of Great Britain as an earl in 1711. Between 1711 and 1714 he served as Lord High Treasurer, effectively Queen Anne's chief minister. He has been called a Prime Minister, although it is generally accepted that the de facto first minister to be a prime minister was Robert Walpole in 1721.
The Tories were a political faction in the parliaments of England, Scotland, Great Britain, Ireland and the United Kingdom. Between the 1670s and 1830s, the Tories contested power with their rivals, the Whigs.
Charles Noel Somerset, 4th Duke of Beaufort was a British Tory politician who sat in the House of Commons from 1731 until 1745 when he succeeded to the peerage as Duke of Beaufort.
Sir Roger L'Estrange was an English pamphleteer, author, courtier, and press censor. Throughout his life L'Estrange was frequently mired in controversy and acted as a staunch ideological defender of King Charles II's regime during the Restoration era. His works played a key role in the emergence of a distinct 'Tory' bloc during the Exclusion Crisis of 1679-81. Perhaps his best known polemical pamphlet was An Account of the Growth of Knavery, which ruthlessly attacked the parliamentary opposition to Charles II and his successor James, Duke of York, placing them as fanatics who misused contemporary popular anti-Catholic sentiment to attack the Restoration court and the existing social order in order to pursue their own political ends. Following the Exclusion Crisis and the failure of the nascent Whig faction to disinherit James, Duke of York in favour of Charles II's illegitimate son James, 1st Duke of Monmouth L'Estrange used his newspaper The Observator to harangue his opponents and act as a voice for a popular provincial Toryism during the 'Tory Reaction' of 1681-85. Despite serving as an MP from 1685-89 his stock fell under James II's reign as his staunch hostility to religious nonconformism conflicted with James' goals of religious tolerance for both Catholics and Nonconformists. The Glorious Revolution of 1688 and the collapse of the Restoration political order heralded the end of L'Estrange's career in public life, although his greatest translation work, that of Aesop's Fables, saw publication in 1692.
Augustan literature is a style of British literature produced during the reigns of Queen Anne, King George I, and George II in the first half of the 18th century and ending in the 1740s, with the deaths of Alexander Pope and Jonathan Swift, in 1744 and 1745, respectively. It was a literary epoch that featured the rapid development of the novel, an explosion in satire, the mutation of drama from political satire into melodrama and an evolution toward poetry of personal exploration. In philosophy, it was an age increasingly dominated by empiricism, while in the writings of political economy, it marked the evolution of mercantilism as a formal philosophy, the development of capitalism and the triumph of trade.
Charles Johnson was an English playwright, tavern keeper, and enemy of Alexander Pope's. He was a dedicated Whig who allied himself with the Duke of Marlborough, Colley Cibber, and those who rose in opposition to Queen Anne's Tory ministry of 1710 – 1714.
John Ozell was an English translator and accountant who became an adversary to Jonathan Swift and Alexander Pope.
Leonard Welsted was an English poet and "dunce" in Alexander Pope's writings. Welsted was an accomplished writer who composed in a relaxed, light hearted vein. He was associated with Whig party political figures in his later years, but he was tory earlier, and, in the age of patronage, this seems to have been more out of financial need than anything else.
The Patriot Whigs, later the Patriot Party, were a group within the Whig Party in Great Britain from 1725 to 1803. The group was formed in opposition to the government of Robert Walpole in the House of Commons in 1725, when William Pulteney and seventeen other Whigs joined with the Tory Party in attacks against the ministry. By the mid-1730s, there were over one hundred opposition Whigs in the Commons, many of whom embraced the Patriot label. For many years, they provided a more effective opposition to the Walpole administration than the Tories were.
The Harleyministry was the British government that existed between 1710 and 1714 in the reign of Queen Anne. It was headed by Robert Harley and composed largely of Tories. Harley was a former Whig who had changed sides, bringing down the seemingly powerful Whig Junto and their moderate Tory ally Lord Godolphin. It came during the Rage of Party when divisions between the two factions were at their height, and a "paper war" broke out between their supporters. Amongst those writers supportive of Harley's government were Jonathon Swift, Daniel Defoe, Delarivier Manley, John Arbuthnot and Alexander Pope who clashed with members of the rival Kit-Kat Club.
Robert Monckton was an English landowner and Whig politician who sat in the English and British House of Commons between 1695 and 1713. He took an active part supporting William of Orange in the Glorious Revolution, and was notable for his involvement in a number of exceptionally bitter and prolonged electoral disputes.
George Ridpath was a Scottish journalist, who wrote in the Whig interest.
James Drake (1667–1707) was an English physician and political writer, a Jacobite and Fellow of the Royal Society.
The Shortest Way with the Dissenters; Or, Proposals for the Establishment of the Church is a pamphlet written by Daniel Defoe, first published anonymously in 1702. Defoe was prompted to write the pamphlet by the increased hostility towards Dissenters in the wake of the accession of Queen Anne to the throne.
The Impeachment of Robert Harley, Earl of Oxford was a legal process in the Kingdom of Great Britain when the former First Minister Robert Harley, Earl of Oxford was impeached and sent to the Tower of London in 1715. Harley was accused of a number of crimes including high treason for his time in office, with charges particularly focusing on his role in the 1713 Peace of Utrecht which ended the War of the Spanish Succession.