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Michael Robinson  •  Link

Per L&M Companion:

Navy office Clerk. He began his career as a household official of the 1st. Marquess of Dorchester (an original F.R.S.), and first appears in the Navy office as a clerk to Brouncker, who was probably responsible for bringing him int the service. Possibly by the same influence, or Dorchester's, he was elected F.R.S. in 1664. In 1666 he was in the ticket office, but was dismissed in 1667 for corruption, only to be reinstated a few months later through the intervention of friends in the House of Commons. (Sir. Edward Turnor, the Speaker, was godfather to his son William born in that year.) He last appears in the office as a clerk to Edward Seymour, Extra Commissioner, in 1672-3. Thereafter he disappears into Bedlam. His behavior had been odd and he had caused embarrassment by posing as a clergyman. But his powerful connections were sufficient to secure his release 1678 - in order it was said that he should publish a book of verse, 'Lucida Intervallia,' in which Pepys and Hewer were satirized as part of the attack on the Duke of York. Pepys dislike of him is echoed in the diary of Robert Hooke the scientist. He lived in St. Olave's parish in a house taxed on five hearths.

Carkesse, James Clerk to Extra Commissioner (Brouncker) first occ. 17 Aug. 1665 (Pepys Diary, vi, 193). Clerk (Treasurer's Accounts) probably app. by Brouncker on his app. as Controller of Treasurer's Accounts, 16 Jan. 1667. Dis. 8 March 1667 (ibid. viii, 103). Declared fit to be re-employed by order in council 3 Jan. 1668 (PC 2/60 p. 110). Reapp. 12 March 1668 (Adm. 106/3520 f. 40). Last occ. 29 Sept. 1670 (Adm. 20/13 p. 305). Clerk to Extra Commissioner (Seymour) pd. from 26 March 1672 to 24 June 1673 (Adm. 20/16 no. 2814; Adm. 20/17 no. 728).

Lucida intervalla: containing divers miscellaneous poems, written at Finsbury and Bethlem by the doctors patient extraordinary.
London : [s.n.], printed anno Dom. 1679.
[2], 68 p.; 4to.
Anonymous. By James Carkesse, poems concerning the author’s treatment in Bedlam and directed chiefly against Dr. Thomas Allen.
Wing (2nd ed., 1994),C577 No copy in the Pepys Library.

He believed apparently he was on a mission to destroy the meeting houses of dissenters. Clarkess poems have been anthologized in the New Oxford Book of Seventeenth-Century Verse (1991). His physician at Bethlem Hospital was Dr. Thomas Allen, an acquaintance of Pepys:

There are numerous references to and discussions of Carkesse in the post 1980 specialist literature on the history of madness, etc.

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