It’s not clear which of these books (published 1657 and 1659 respectively), both by Matthew Wren, that Pepys refers to. They are both in response to John Harrington’s The Commonwealth of Oceana.

5 Annotations

Second Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Considerations on Mr. Harrington's Common-wealth of Oceana: restrained to the first part of the preliminaries.
Wren, M. (Matthew), 1629-1672.
London,: Printed for Samuel Gellibrand at the Golden ball in Pauls Church-yard., 1657.
Early English Books Online…

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Monarchy asserted, or, The state of monarchicall & popular government in vindication of the consideration upon Mr. Harrington's Oceana / by M. Wren.
Wren, M. (Matthew), 1629-1672.
Oxford: Printed by W. Hall for F. Bowman, 1659.
Early English Books Online…

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Sovereignty and the Sword: Harrington, Hobbes, and Mixed Government in the English Civil Wars - Arihiro Fukuda, Clarendon Press, 1997

The English civil wars of the mid-seventeenth century produced two political thinkers of genius: Thomas Hobbes and James Harrington. They are known today as spokesmen of opposite positions, Hobbes of absolutism, Harrington of republicanism. Yet behind their disagreements, argues Arihiro Fukuda, there lay a common perspective. For both writers, the primary aim was the restoration of peace and order to a divided land. Both men saw the conventional thinking of the time as unequal to that task. Their greatest works — Hobbes's Leviathan of 1651, Harrington's Oceana of 1656 — proposed the reconstruction of the English polity on novel bases. It was not over the principle of sovereignty that the two men differed. Fukuda shows Harrington to have been, no less than Hobbes, a theorist of absolute sovereignty. But where Hobbes repudiated the mixed governments of classical antiquity, Harrington's study of them convinced him that mixed government, far from being the enemy of absolute sovereignty, was its essential foundation.
[Click on the Front Cover and look inside.
Search Inside This Book on the left for Wren and the 14 results.]…

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Matthew Wren, eldest son to the Bishop of Ely, had, in James Harrington's opinion, “an excellent faculty of magnifying a louse and diminishing a commonwealth.”

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

I took a look at Wren's book and had to chuckle. Such fine gentlemen! If you wondered about the sort of insults they threw at each other, look no further than the Appendix of his book where he critiques Harrington's (I've updated some of the spelling but not changed the words, and broken up the paragraphs for clarity):

"Page 288
"WHile a Government is under Dispute, the Liberty of proposing one's sence about it ought not to be denyed; But if it come once to be setled, Private men have nothing left but obedience. Having through the whole Book acted by the first Branch of this Maxime, it is fit I should now shew how I can comply with the latter. And being conscious of a Disability in serving the Commonwealth of Oceana in any more important matter, I desire to shew a respect to the Gentlemen of the Academy of the Provosts by presenting them with these following Collections.

"A Catalogue of such pieces of Wit in Mr Harrington's last Book which (though in themselves inimitable) may serve as a Pattern for the Gentlemen of the Academie.
"THE Considerer hath doft his considering Cap. in Praefat.
A pig of my own Sow. p. 13.
Monti and Bankes, Mountebanking. p. 17.
A man to be made of Gingerbread, and his veins to run Malmesy. p. 21.
You tumble Dick upon Sis. p. 23.
The Ostracism of Billinsgate. p. 26.
Paralogism and Parakeetism. p. 28.
My Hypothesis, his Hypothites. p. 30.
Sons of the University, Brothers of the Colledg, Heads and Points. ibid.
If she who should have some care of the Vineyard of Truth, should lie pigging of wide bores to grunt in this manner and fear with the Tush, and I happen to ring some of them, (as I have done this Marcassin for rooting) there is nothing in my faith why such tryall of their Noses should be sin. p. 76.

"Besides these a great number of choice Metaphores from Bowling, Carding, Dicing, and the like.

"An account of severall Formes of Complement and Address used by Mr Harrington, which may be serviceable to the great Design of improving Civility and Conversation, which is intrusted with the Academy.
"PRaevaricator, Infidell, Wretch, Rude fellow, Unlucky Boy, Tom Thumb, Bestia, Parrat, Ape, Tinker, Neither Honest Man nor good Bowler, Cheat, Blind Bayard &c. these are applicable to a person. For a Book such appellations as these may be used. Most victorious Nonsense, Slanders, Fopperies, Vagaries, Knavery, Tittle tattle, Verjuice.
"A Doctor is to be saluted thus; You are a Doctor of fine things, Your Cap is squarer then your play, you have more in your sleeves then the scarlet, &c. You are a Bog, Informis limus, stygiaeque Paludes. This would do admirably to our neighbours of the Low Countries. You jole your presumptuous head not only against ancient prudence but against God himself. You take part with the Devill &c.


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Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.


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