[Sir] Robert Howard

Life
1626-1698 [Hon. Sir Robert Howard]; brother to fellow dramatists Edward (fl. 1669) and James (fl. 1674); nephew of Sir Robert Howard (5th son of the Earl of Suffolk; 1585-1653); rescued Wilmot from parliamentarians at Cropredy Bridge and was knighted in 1644; campaigned in Ireland and reputedly sent Irish servant to England to find his son, then a prisoner of the Parliamentarians; whig MP for Stockbridge, 1660; MP Castle Rising, 1679-98; auditor of exchequer; built Astend House, Surrey, 1684; privy councillor, 1689; commander of militia horse, 1690; author of The Committee, or the Faithful Irishman (1651) (sub-title added to Dublin priting of 1725 and retained thereafter), a play satirising Dissenters with a stage-Irish stereotype and the original of the likeable species, Teg (i.e., ‘Teague’ from Tadhg), orig. acted by John Lacy (d.1681) to the admiration of Pepys, and later with success by Thomas Elrington; The Surprisal, printed with The Committee in a 1665 edition with an equal number of plays by Dryden; The Duke of Lerma (1668), printed with the same plays of Dryden (Indian Queen and Vestal Virgin) in 1695; also wrote historical works on religion in the reigns of Edward and Richard II; poetry includes The Duel of the Stags (1688), prefaced in verse by Dryden, panegyrics to Gen. Monck and the King; opposed to use of rhymed verse in drama; The Committee revived successfully at Covent Gdn. as The Honest Thieves (1797); his son, successively bishop of Raphoe and Killala, wrote tracts concerning the conversion of the Irish to Protestantism; caricatured as Sir Positive-At-All in Shadwell’s Sullen Lovers; poss. figured as Bibloa in The Rehearsal. ODNB GBI OCIL

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Works

Individual plays
  • The Great Favourite, or, The Duke of Lerma: A Tragedy in Five Acts and in Verse (London: In the Savoy 1668), 4o.
  • The Committee [5 acts, prose] (London: J. Tonson: sold by Math. Hawkins 1710), 65pp., 4o.; Do., as The Committee; or, the Faithful Irishman: A Comedy (Dublin: R. Risk et al. 1724), 82pp., 12o.; Do. (London: printed for the Company [1725]), 96pp., 8o.; Do. (London 1733), 12o.; Do. (London: Jacob Tonson 1735), 95pp., 12o.; Do. (London: printed for the Booksellers in Town & Country 1739), 82pp., 12o.; Do. (London 1779), 8o.; Do. (London: printed for the proprietors, under the direction of John Bell 1792), 119pp., 12o.; also Thomas Knight, The Honest Thieves [ ...] Altered from The Committee [2nd edn.] (London: George Cawthorn 1797), 54pp.; Do., another edn. (1824), 35pp., 12o.
Collected editions
  • Four New Plays [“The Surprisal”, “The Committee”, “The Indian Queen”, “The Vestal-Virgin”] 4 pts. (London 1665), fol.; Five
  • New Plays, [“The Surprisal”, “The Committee”, comedies; “The Indian Queen”, “Vestal Virgin”, “Duke of Lerma”, tragedies], 2nd edn. corrected (London: printed for Henry Herringman 1692), fol., 252pp., with port. [var. imprints to be sold by Francis Saunders, by R. Bentley, &c.]; Do., another edn. (London: printed for Henry Herringman to be sold by Jacob Tonson 1700), fol.;
  • The Dramatic Works [“The Surprisal”, “The Committee”, “The Indian Queen, “The Vestal Virgin”, “The Duke of Lerma”], 3rd edn. (London 1722), 12o.
Modern Reprints
  • Preface to Four New Plays ([n.pub.] 1880, 1903);
  • D. D. Arundell, ed., An Essay of Dramatic Poesy, The Indian Emperor [both by Dryden] and The Duke of Lerma [by Sir Robert Howard], with other Controversial Matter (Cambridge UP 1929), xiv, 287pp.;
  • Carryl N. Thurber, ed. & intro., Sir Robert Howard’s Comedy “The Committee” [University of Illinois Studies in Language and Literature. Vol. 7. No. 1.] (Urbana 1921), 138pp., 8o.
Poetry
  • Poems on Several Occasions [“A Panegyrick to the King”, “Songs and Sonnets”, “The Blind Lady, A Comedy” [five acts in verse], “The Fourth Book of Virgil”, ”Statius, his Achilleis, with Annotations”; “A Panegyrick to General Monck”] London: printed for H. Herringman 1660, 1696), 285pp., 8o.;
  • The Duel of the Stags: A Poem ... Together with an Epistle to the author, by Mr. John Dryden (London: In the Savoy 1668), 16pp. 4o; Do., another edn. (London, 1709), 8o.
Prose & pamphlets
  • [attributed to Sir R. Howard], The Friendly Vindication of Mr. Dryden from the Censure of the Rota [i.e. the work attributed to Richard Leigh] By his Cabal of Wits (Cambridge 1673), 17pp., 4o.;
  • The History of the Reigns of Edward and Richard II; with Reflections and Characters of their Chief Ministers and Favourites; as also a Comparison between those Princes Edward and Richard the Second with Edward the First and Edward the Third (London: F. Collins for T. Fox 1690), xli, 183pp., 12o;
  • A Letter to Mr. S. Johnson, Occasioned by a Scurrilous Pamphlet, Intituled, Animadversions on Mr. Johnson’s Answer to Jovian, in Three Letters to a Friend. At the End of Which is Reprinted the Preface before the History of Edward and Richard the Second (London 1692), 8o.;
  • A Letter to [...] Sir R. Howard, occasioned by a late book, entituled A Twofold Vindication of the [...] Archbishop of Canterbury, and of the Author of the History of Religion [Sir R. Howard] (London 1696), 4o.;
  • An Account of the State of his Majesties Revenue, As it was Left by the Earl of Danby [Thomas Osborne, 1st Duke of Leeds], at Lady-Day, 1679, Occasioned by his Lordships Answer to an Examination of the State of the Case of the Earl of Danby (London: printed for Randall Taylor 1679; 1680; 1681), fol.;
  • The Life and Reign of King Richard the Second by a Person of Quality [Sir R. Howard], [n.d].

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Criticism

  • Charles Blount , Mr. Dreyden Vindicated, in a Reply to the Friendly Vindication of Mr. Dreyden [i.e. the work attributed to Sir Robert Howard]. With Reflections on the Rota (London: printed for T. D., 1673), 13pp.;
  • Thomas Osborne [1st Duke of Leeds], The Earl of Danby’s Answer to Sir R. Howard’s Book, Entituled An Account of the State of his Majesties Revenue; As it was left by the Earl of Danby at Lady-day, 1679 (London 1680), fol.;
  • G. C. Duggan, The Stage Irishman (Dublin: Talbot Press 1937) [see extract];
  • J. O. Bartley, Teague, Shenkin and Sawney: Being an Historical Study of the Earliest Irish, Welsh and Scottish Characters in English Plays (Cork UP 1954), pp.103-04 [see extract];
  • Harold James Oliver, Sir Robert Howard, 1626-1698: A Critical Biography (Duke UP 1963), xii, 346pp.;
  • Joseph T. Leerssen, Mere Irish & Fíor Ghael (Amsterdam: Rodopi 1986), pp.100-01 [see extract].

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Commentary
G. C. Duggan, The Stage Irishman (Dublin: Talbot 1937): Sir Richard Howard, The Committee or the Faithful Irishman, a satire on Roundheads and Dissenters. Teague’s master has been killed and he takes shelter with another cavelier, Colonel Careless, disdaining to admit a trade. “An Irishman scorns a trade, his blood is too thick for a trade. I will run for thee forty miles, but I scorn to have a trade.” When the Colonel is pressured to take the covenant by the local Presbyterian Committee, Teague rescues him by “taking the covenant” in good earnest - i.e., stealing it from the book-seller who has charge of it. Teague now corrupts Obadiah, Committee Chairman, by teaching him to drink and sing Irish songs. Howard served in Ireland during the Civil War. The play was popular in England after the Restoration, and was seen by Evelyn and Pepys, the latter recording that Lacy who ”acted the Irish footman to admiration.” The character is said to be based on a servant of Howard’s whom he sent to England to find his son, taken prisoner by the Parliamentarians. There was a 19th c. adaptation called The Honest Thieves, made by Thomas Knight, and compiled in 1806. [q.pp.]

J. O. Bartley, Teague, Shenkin, and Sawney (Cork UP 1954), writes that the character Teg was largely responsible for continuing popularity of The Committee throughout the 18th c.; subtitle ‘The Faithful Irishman’ added to 4th ed. and first separate printing in 1733; Teg based on real servant in Howard family; most favorably depicted as a simple blundering fellow who is however very loyal and in his own way astute; enters as a beggar, and asked what he does in England says, ‘Serv’d heaven and St Patrick, and my good sweet king, and my good sweet master, yes indeed’; Catholic royalist Irishman finding niche in strongly royalist anti-Puritan play ... &c. (pp.103-04, et passim).]

Joseph Th. Leerssen, Mere Irish & Fíor Ghael [ ... &c.] (Amsterdam: Rodopi 1986), writes that Sir Robert Howards The Committee, which, though not divulged until after the Restoration, was probably written in Cromwellian times. It is strongly anti-Roundhead and pro-Cavalier, describing the efforts of gallant captain Careless to hold on to his lands without signing the obnoxious coventant. ... Teg was such a successful and popular creation that the play, in its fourth ed., received the subtitle The Faithful Irishman; Teg is a truly seminal Stage Irishman (pp.100-01.)

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References
Stephen Brown, Guide to Books on Ireland (Dublin: Talbot Press 1912), notes that The Committee, or The Faithful Irishman (1651) was produced and printed in 1662.

British Library holds [2] Mr. Dreyden vindicated, in a reply to the Friendly vindication of Mr. Dreyden [i.e. the work attributed to Sir Robert Howard]. With reflections on the Rota. [By C. Blount]. London: printed for T. D., 1673. pp. 13. 4o. [6] Dryden & Howard, 1664-1668. The text of An essay of dramatic poesy, The Indian emperor [both by Dryden] and The Duke of Lerma [by Sir Robert Howard], with other controversial matter. Edited by D. D. Arundell. Cambridge: University Press, 1929. pp. xiv, 287. 23 cm. [7] The Indian Emperor, 1667. The second edition. Menston: Scolar Press [1971]. ISBN 0 85417 627 6 pp. 68. 24 cm. London: printed for H. Herringman, 1668. pp. 21, 68. 4o. [11] The friendly vindication of Mr. Dryden from the Censure of the Rota [i.e. the work attributed to Richard Leigh]. By his Cabal of Wits [By Sir Robert Howard?] Cambridge, 1673. pp. 17. 4o. [13] A Letter to Mr. S. Johnson, occasioned by a scurrilous pamphlet, intituled, Animadversions on Mr. Johnson’s Answer to Jovian, in three Letters to a friend. At the end of which is reprinted the Preface before the History of Edward and Richard the Second.] [Another copy.]. London, 1692. 8o. [14] A sacred poeme describing the miraculous life and death of ... S. Marie of AEgipt, etc. [15] A sacred poeme describing the miraculous life and death of the glorious conuert S. Marie of Ægipt, etc. [By Sir Robert Howard.] [Another copy.] (Douai: widow of Mark Wyon, 1640) 62pp. 4o. [16] An account of the state of his Majesties Revenue, as it was left by the Earl of Danby at Lady-Day, 1679, occasioned by his Lordships answer to an Examination of the state of the case of the Earl of Danby. London, 1681. fol. [17] Five New Plays, viz. The Surprisal, Committee, Comedies And The Indian Queen, Vestal Virgin, Duke of Lerma, Tragedies ... The second edition corrected. [With a portrait.] [Another issue.] Five New Plays ... The second edition, corrected.] [A reissue. Five New Plays ... The second edition corrected.. pp. 252. Printed for Henry Herringman, and are to be sold by Francis Saunders: London, 1692. fol. Printed for Henry Herringman, and are to be sold by R. Bentley, etc.: London, 1692. fol.. Printed for Henry Herringman, and are to be sold by Jacob Tonson, etc.: London, 1700. fol. [18] Four new Plays, viz: The Surprisal; the Committee; Comedies [each in five acts, in verse and in prose]. The Indian Queen; The Vestal-Virgin; Tragedies, [each in five acts and in verse].. 4 pt. London, 1665. fol. [19] Historical Observations upon the Reigns of Edward I. II. III. and Richard II ... by ... [Sir R. H.], etc. [20] Poems: viz. 1, A Panegyrick to the king; 2, Songs and Sonnets; 3, The Blind Lady, a comedy [in five acts, and in verse]; 4, the Fourth book of Virgil; 5, Statius, his Achilleis, with annotations; 6, a Panegyrick to General Monck.] [Another copy.] Poems, etc. [Another copy.] Poems, etc.] [A reissue.] Poems on several occasions.. pp. 285. Printed for H. Herringman. London, 1660. 8o. London, 1660. 8o. [London, 1660.]. London, 1696. 8o. [21] Preface to Four New Plays.. 1903. [22] Preface to Four New Plays.. 1880. [23] Sir Robert Howard’s Comedy ”The Committee.” Edited with introduction and notes by Carryl N. Thurber. pp. 138. Urbana, 1921. [University of Illinois Studies in Language and Literature. vol. 7. no. 1.] 8o. [24] The Committee, a comedy.. pp. 96. Printed for the Company: London, [c. 1725.] 8o. [25] The committee. A comedy, etc.. London: printed for the proprietors, under the direction of John Bell, 1792. pp. 119. 12o. [26] The committee, a comedy, etc.. London: J. Tonson: sold by Math. Hawkins, 1710. pp. 65. 4o. [27] The Committee: or, The Faithful Irishman. A comedy [in five acts and in prose].. London, 1733. 12o. [28] The Committee: or, the Faithful Irishman, etc.. pp. 95. Jacob Tonson: London, 1735. 12o. [29] The Committee: or, the Faithful Irishman, etc.] [Another edition.] [Another edition.] [Another edition.] [Another edition.] [Another edition.]. pp. 82. London; printed for the Booksellers in Town & Country, 1739. 12o.. London, 1779. 8o. [30] The Committee: or the Faithful Irishman. A comedy, etc.. pp. 82. R. Risk, etc.: Dublin, 1724. 12o. [31] The Dramatic Works ... viz. The Surprisal. The Committee. The Indian Queen. The Vestal Virgin. The Duke of Lerma. The third edition.. London, 1722. 12o. [32] The Duel of the Stags.] [Another edition.] [Another edition.] [33] The Duel of the Stags, a poem ... Together with an Epistle to the author, by Mr. John Dryden. pp. 16. [34] The Duell of the Stags: a poem.] [Another edition.] [Another edition.] [Another edition.] [Another edition.]. In the Savoy: [London] 1668. 4o. London, 1709. 8o. [35] The Great Favourite, or, The Duke of Lerma. [A tragedy in five acts, and in verse.]. In the Savoy, 1668. 4o. [36] The history of Religion. Written by a person of quality [Sir R. H.].] [Another edition.] [37] The History of the Reigns of Edward and Richard II.; with reflections and characters of their chief ministers and favourites. As also a comparison between those princes Edward and Richard the second with Edward the first and Edward the third.] [Another copy.] [Another copy.] [Another copy.]. pp. xli. 183. F. Collins, for T. Fox: London, 1690. 12o. [38] The Life and Reign of King Richard the Second by a Person of Quality [Sir R. H.]. [39] The Preface to the Great Favourite. [40] Articles agreed upon for the surrender of the castle of Bridgenorth ... 26 April, 1646, betweene Sir R. H. ... commissioners for the king, & col. A. Lloyd, ... commissioner for the parliament. [66] [80] The Honest Thieves ... Altered from The Committee [of Sir Robert Howard]. By T[homas]. Knight ... Second edition.] [Another edition.] [Another edition.] [Another edition.] [Another edition.] [Another edition.]. pp. 54. G. Cawthorn: London, 1797. 12o.. pp.35. 1824. [83] A Letter to ... Sir R. Howard, occasioned by a late book, entituled: A twofold vindication of the ... Archbishop of Canterbury, and of the Author of the History of Religion [Sir R. Howard].. London, 1696. 4o. [84] Harold James Oliver, Sir Robert Howard, 1626-1698: A critical biography. pp. xii. 346. Duke University Press: Durham, N.C., 1963. 8o. [85] Thomas Osborne [1st Duke of Leeds]; The Earl of Danby’s answer to Sr. Robert Howards book entituled An account of the state of His Majesties revenue as it was left by the Earl of Danby at Lady-day, 1679.. London printed for Randall Taylor, 1680. pp. 14. fol. [86] The Earl of Danby’s Answer to Sr R. Howard’s book, entituled An Account of the state ef his Majesties Revenue; as it was left by the Earl of Danby at Lady-day, 1679.. London, 1680. fol. [90] George Villiers, 2nd Duke of Buckingham, A subject for the mirth of the world. A scene from Sir Robert Howard’s “The country gentleman” 1669. Cambridge: [University Library] 1975. pp. 13. 23 cm. Also, Robert Howard successively Bishop of Killala, Achonry and Elphin, A sermon [on Gen. iii. 19] preach’d ... before the ... Society for promoting English Protestant Schools in Ireland.] [Another copy.]. Dublin, 1738. 4o. [67] A sermon preach’d in the Cathedral Church of St. Patrick, Dublin; before his Excellency John, Lord Carteret, Lord Lieutenant General, and General Governour of Ireland. On February the 10th. 1724, &c. Dublin: Robert Owen, 1725. pp. 22. 4o. [68] A sermon preached at St. Andrew’s, Dublin, before the honourable House of Commons. On Friday December 8th. 1721, etc.. Dublin: Jer. & Sil. Pepyat, 1721. pp. 35. 4o.

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Notes
John Toland, in History of the Druids (1718, publ 1726), has an anti-clerical passage in which he writes, ‘[...] I remember when complaint was made against an honourable person that, in treating of the Heathen Priests, he had whipt some Christian Priests on their backs; all the answer he made, was only asking, What made them get up there? The benefit of which answer I claim before-hand to myself, without making or needing any other apology.’ (Given in The Field Day Anthology of Irish Writing, gen. Seamus Deane, Derry: Field Day 1991, Vol. 1, p.970, with ftn. indicating Sir Robert Howard (1626-98), ‘dramatist and wit’, as the ‘honourable person’ quoted.)

Thomas Elrington played the lead roles in The Faithful Irishman.

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