‘At the Commencement of our Civil War on that Continent’


The anonymous author of these Poetical Excursions in the Isle of Wight (London, 1777) seasons his ‘animated and poetical’ topographical work with political notes. He praises Wilkes: “But on This I will insist: that He has very materially contributed to the Weal of Human Kind, by protracting the Life, and Spirit of the sickly Constitution of England.”(p. 19). He comments on the American rebels in a long footnote on page 37: “I drew this political, and martial Prospect of America, at the Commencement of our Civil War on that Continent. My Opinion of an Individual, or of a State, is not hastily formed; therefore it is nor changed, or influenced by superficial Observation, or false Narrative. I have by no means inferred from some trivial, and temporary Advantages gained by Government on the other Side of the Atlantick, nor from the servile Ostentation of private Correspondence, and Report nor from the pompous Tale of the Gazette, that the Americans are divided in their Councils; that They want Arms, Ammunition, Courage, and the Necessaries of Life; or that any of the Regal Officers deserve the Name of Generals: therefore I do not yet apprehend the Subjugation of our Colonies.” Depicted on the title page is Carisbrooke Castle (here spelled ‘Craisbrook’), prison of Charles I from 1647 to 1648, a meaningful emblem to those with Commonwealth republican leanings like the author. Just so that point is not lost the author adds the caption:

"An awful Pharos to each British King!"

“An awful Pharos to each British King!”

Poetical excursions in the Isle of Wight. London, N. Conant (Successor to Mr. Whiston), in Fleet Street. MDCCLXXVII [1777]. Call number: (Ex) in-process.