Page 230. " the time of the assizes soon came "
Judge George Jeffreys
Public DomainJudge George Jeffreys - Credit: Johann Closterman

The Assizes refers to the trials that followed the Monmouth rebellion in 1685.  They were presided over by Judge George Jeffreys (1645–1689). Jeffreys went to the West Country to try the captured rebels. The trials began in Winchester on 26 August, and moved on to Salisbury, Dorchester, Taunton and Wells, where they concluded on 23 September.  Jeffreys issued harsh sentences to nearly all defendants. Of the more than 1,400 prisoners tried, most were sentenced to death.  About 300 were hanged, and their remains displayed around the county to ensure people understood the fate of those who rebelled against the king.  A further 800 to 900 prisoners were transported to the West Indies. For his severity, Jeffreys was nicknamed "the hanging judge."

Page 232. " a man may be as easily starved in Leadenhall Market as in the deserts of Arabia "
Interior of Leadenhall Market in London
Public DomainInterior of Leadenhall Market in London - Credit: ''Illustrated London News'', 1881

Leadenhall Market is a covered market in the City of London.  The market dates back to the 14th century and originated as a meat, game and poultry market.  Today, it continues to sell mainly fresh food.  Vendors include cheesemongers, butchers and florists.

Page 241. " from the battle at Sedgemore "

The Battle of Sedgemoor was fought on 6 July 1685, near Bridwater in Somerset, England.  It was the final battle of the Monmouth Rebellion, and followed a series of skirmishes around south west England between the forces of James Scott, 1st Duke of Monmouth, and the army loyal to the reigning King, James II.  The royalist forces prevailed and about 500 troops were captured. Monmouth escaped from the battlefield but was later captured and taken to London for trial and execution.

The Day at Sedgemoor depicts a wounded soldier that supported Monmouth taking refuge in a hayloft after the Battle of Sedgemoor
Public DomainThe Day at Sedgemoor depicts a wounded soldier that supported Monmouth taking refuge in a hayloft after the Battle of Sedgemoor - Credit: Edgar Bundy 1921

Page 243. " by going to a carnival at Venice "
Masked participants at the Venice Carnival
Creative Commons AttributionMasked participants at the Venice Carnival - Credit: Edward N. Johnson

The Venice Carnival is an annual festival that begins 40 days before Easter and ends on Shrove Tuesday.  It dates back to 1296, when the Senate of the Republic issued an edict declaring the day before Lent a public holiday.

Historically, costumes would be worn throughout the period of the carnival, generally a cloak with a long-nosed mask. The streets of Venice would fill with masked revellers, and it would be impossible to distinguish between nobility and commoners.

The Carnival declined in the 18th Century, but was revived in the late 1970s and now attracts thousands of tourists from around the world. 

Page 246. " the ingenious author of the Spectator was principally induced to prefix Greek and Latin mottos "

The Spectator, 7 June 1711
Public DomainThe Spectator, 7 June 1711 - Credit: Addison and Steele
The Spectator was a daily publication of 1711–12, founded by Joseph Addison and Richard Steele.  Each 'paper' was approximately 2,500 words long.  The original run consisted of 555 editions.  The stated goal of The Spectator was "to enliven morality with wit, and to temper wit with morality... to bring philosophy out of the closets and libraries, schools and colleges, to dwell in clubs and assemblies, at tea-tables and coffeehouses."  It recommended that its readers "consider it part of the tea-equipage" and not leave the house without reading it in the morning. One of its functions was to provide readers with educated, topical talking points, and advice in how to carry on conversations and social interactions in a polite manner. While The Spectator declared political neutrality, it was widely recognised as promoting Whig values and interests.

The paper catered principally to the interests of England's emerging middle class, the merchants and traders.  Despite a modest daily circulation of approximately 3,000 copies, The Spectator was widely read.  Joseph Addison estimated that each edition was read by 60,000 Londoners, about a tenth of the city’s population at the time. The main subscribers were coffeehouses, where a great many readers would peruse the paper each day. 

Page 246. " imitators as Rowe was of Shakespeare "

Nicholas Rowe (1674 - 1718) was an English dramatist, poet and writer, and Poet Laureate (1715).  He also held a number of public offices, including under-secretary to the principal secretary of state for Scotland, surveyor of customs, clerk of the council to the Prince of Wales, and clerk of the presentations in Chancery.

His first play, The Ambitious Stepmother, was produced in 1700 at Lincoln’s Inn Fields. It was followed in 1701 by Tamerlane, which celebrates William III.  A tragedy, The Fair Penitent, followed in 1703.  The name of one of its characters, Lothario, has been incorporated into the English language, to describe ‘a rake.’  In 1704, Rowe tried his hand at comedy, but with little success.  He returned to tragedy, and wrote several more plays, before his death at the age of 44. 

Rowe was the first modern editor of Shakespeare.  He also wrote a short biography of Shakespeare, entitled, Some Account of the Life &c. of Mr. William Shakespear. 

Page 247. " A competent knowledge of the belles lettres "

Belles-lettres translates from French as beautiful or fine writing. It includes literary works valued for their aesthetic qualities and originality of style and tone.  It includes poetry, drama, fiction, and criticism.  The Encyclopedia Britannica described it as ‘the more artistic and imaginative forms of literature, as poetry or romance, as opposed to more pedestrian and exact studies.’

Page 248. " Mr. Miller may have described the plant "

Botanical drawings
Public DomainBotanical drawings - Credit: Basilius Besier, 1561-1629
Philip Miller (1691 - 1771) was a Scottish botanist.  He was chief gardener at the Chelsea Physic Garden from 1722 until shortly before his death.  He wrote The Gardener's and Florists Dictionary or a Complete System of Horticulture, 1724, and The Gardener's Dictionary containing the Methods of Cultivating and Improving the Kitchen Fruit and Flower Garden, 1731.  He obtained plants from all over the world, many of which he cultivated for the first time in England.  His knowledge of living plants was unsurpassed in his lifetime.

A contemporary botanist praised Miller as follows: ‘he has raised the reputation of the Chelsea Garden so much that it excels all the gardens of Europe for its amazing variety of plants of all orders and classes and from all climates...’. 

Page 248. " a Shakespeare, or a Johnson, of a Wycherly, or an Otway "

William Wycherley
Public DomainWilliam Wycherley - Credit: Sir Peter Lely
William Wycherley (c. 1640 - 1715) was an English dramatist of the Restoration period. His first play, Love in a Wood, was produced early in 1671 at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane.  He became the talk of the court.  The song at the end of the first act, in praise of harlots and their offspring, attracted the attention, and subsequently the favours, of the king's mistress, Barbara Villiers.  His second comedy, The Gentleman Dancing Master, was produced in 1671 (but wasn’t very good). His last two comedies, The Country Wife (1672) and The Plain Dealer, are remembered as his best.

Page 248. " the judicious action of a Garrick, of a Cibber, or a Clive "
Colley Cibber as Lord Foppington in The Relapse by John Vanbrugh
Public DomainColley Cibber as Lord Foppington in The Relapse by John Vanbrugh - Credit: John Simon

Colley Cibber (1671 - 1757) was an English actor-manager, playwright and Poet Laureate.  He wrote 25 plays for his own company at Drury Lane, half of which were adapted from various sources.  Robert Lowe and Alexander Pope bemoaned his ‘miserable mutilation’ of Moliere and Shakespeare. 

As an actor, he had great popular success in comical fop parts, but was much ridiculed for his attempts at tragedy.  He was brash and extroverted, and came under criticism for tasteless theatre productions, shady business methods, and social and political opportunism.  He was the chief target, the head Dunce, of Alexander Pope's satirical poem Dunciad. 

Cibber’s memoir, Apology for the Life of Colley Cibber (1740) describes his life in a personal, anecdotal and rambling style.

Page 249. " Aurora now first appeared in her casement, Anglice, the day began to break "

Aurora and Apollo
Public DomainAurora and Apollo - Credit: Gérard de Lairesse 1671
Aurora is the goddess of dawn in Roman mythology.  She renews herself every morning and flies across the sky, announcing the arrival of the sun.

('Anglice' means 'the English form')