1682 Memorials of the English Affairs, Bulstrode Whitelocke. Regicide provenance


An interesting English Civil War tie; this 1682, 1st edition, Memorials of the English Affairs... (a work documenting the Civil War), was written by Bulstrode Whitelocke (who acted as an aide and advisor to Cromwell) and a bookplate (at the rear of the title page) reveals that this book was owned by the family of one of the signers of King Charles death warrant, Isaac Ewer... indeed, this (great?) nephew was also named Isaac Ewer. Isaac Ewer is known as one of the Regicides of King Charles.

About This Work -

Here's the abstract from Royce MacGillivray's synopsis of the work, Restoration Historians and the English Civil War -

The usefulness of Bulstrode Whitelocke’s Memorials of the English Affairs: or, An Historical Account of what passed from the Beginning of the Reign of King Charles the First, to King Charles the Second His Happy Restauration (1682; enlarged edition, 1732) has been generally recognized, but there have been varying estimates over the years as to their accuracy. James Wellwood, writing a little more than a generation after Whitelocke’s death, declared that the Memorials “will be a lasting Monument of his Fidelity and exactness, and when he Relates any Matter or Transaction of his own Knowledge, He may be intirely depended upon”. It will be noticed that this assertion contains a limitation: an area is indicated in which he cannot be so fully depended upon as elsewhere. The editors of the Old Parliamentary History, while severely criticizing Rushworth, found Whitelocke “very exact” but Clarendon “much less so” They were aware, however, that Whitelocke, like Clarendon, made many chronological errors. Charles Morton, the eighteenth-century editor of two of Whitelocke’s works, spoke of the Memorials, “the candor, accuracy, and usefulness of which… are so universally allowed.” But J. L. Sanford, who was one of the founders or revivers of accurate knowledge of the Civil War in the nineteenth century, spoke of the Memorials’ “thorough untrustworthiness.”

About the Provenance -

It was during the second phase of the war in 1648, when the defeated king escaped from custody of the army and initiated widespread uprisings, that Colonel Ewer and his regiment were most active and he gained a reputation for ruthlessness. He stormed Chepstow Castle in Wales, then joined Thomas Fairfax to besiege Colchester. After the town was retaken, Ewer was a member of the military commission who voted to execute the royalist commanders Lisle and Lucas for breaking their parole. By this time, the radicals in the Army had concluded that King Charles was responsible for this latest outbreak of bloodshed and must be "speedily brought to justice".

Colonel Ewer was the leader of the officers who presented the Remonstrance of the Army to Parliament. Not long afterward, he was appointed governor of Hurst Castle, where the king was being confined and would soon be transferred to London for trial.

Ewer was chosen one of the judges for the trial and signed the king's death warrant at its conclusion.

Almost immediately after the king's execution, the Army made plans for the long-deferred invasion of Ireland, the units being chosen by lot. Ewer's regiment was among those chosen. While in winter quarters, Ewer died from the widespread disease afflicting the forces and was buried at Waterford.

Ewer's nephew, named after his Uncle, served at Lincoln's Inn (becoming Master of the Bench) at the conclusion of the War. Presumably, based on the date and "Lincolns" on the bookplate, it's likely this bookplate belonged to that Ewer's son (also, named Isaac), who was bequeathed the use of his chamber's (per Wikitree entry for Isaac Ewer).

Notable, and, perhaps, odd, is the use of the crown in the blind frame roll on the original board.

Bibliographic Details -

Universal Short Title Catalogue reference number 3105460.

English Short Title Catalogue reference number R13122.

Physical Attributes -

Measures approx. 37.5 x 24 x 4.5 cm., folio. Leather binding. Rear board, contemporary, in the Cambridge style; attractive frame roll with the royal crown as part of the roll. Spine and front board contemporary; front board also in the Cambridge style. Spine with six raised bands; six compartments with corner florets and a central medallion in gilt, and one compartment with the old label reapplied, the title in gilt on red morocco.

Pages - erratic numbering (as matching reference records), but in general, 1-704, and 16 leaves of Index

Collation - (also erratic, but catchwords indicate the book is complete) A-B2, B-Y4, Aa-Oo4, Pp6, Qq-Zz4, Zz*4, Zz+4, ZzII4, Aaa-Iii4, Kkk6, Lll6, Mmm-Uuu4, Aaaa-Hhhh4, Iiii1, Kkkk-Nnnn4, Oooo2, Pppp-Tttt4, Uuuu-Zzzz2, Aaaaa2

Condition -

See pictures. Handsome binding, with a new front board and spine, but the rear board was re-used; an interesting ode to a long-ago binder (but I like it) and there may have been a desire to retain the roll with the crown in it. A crease in the blank endpapers.

Text block with some toning, rust spots and thumbing throughout. Occasional dog-eared corner, candle-ember spot and page-edge tear. Title page with "15824" written in graphite at the bottom edge. Bottom corner of 1st 10 leaves chipped just at corner. Ex-libris plate of Isaac Ewer pasted to back of title-page. Moisture mark at gutter, top-edge margin (marginal only). 2 cm hole in I1. Chip, bttm edge L3, no text affected, 1". Top corner Vv2 missing, no text. Hhh1/4 looks like a replacement. 2" tear from bttm of Iii1. 3" tear from bttm edge Cccc1 and 2. Chip bttm corner Rrrr2. Stain on Rrrr4.

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