The Craftsman

Nicholas Amhurst, alias Caleb D'Anvers

Although "Caleb D'Anvers, of Gray's-Inn, Esq;" fronted The Craftsman, much of its content was anonymously penned by William Pulteney and Henry St John. It is reasonable to assume that in mentioning the pain, left, suffered in certain quarters "on seeing worthless tools advanc'd and prefer'd to men of real merit", Pulteney had himself very much in mind, both as a man of real merit and as experiencing pain.

The "great man" referred to in the next breath surely alludes to no-one but Robert Walpole. As remarked by The Independent, 8th April, 2005, "contemporary references to him as a 'great man' were often deliberately ambiguous", since he weighed an estimated 20 stone. Whether the "Wretch" excoriated thereupon at great length, who deserves the gallows, refers to some actual person can at present only be guessed at.

The Oxford Companion to English Literature, 1985, construes the title of The Craftsman as "intended to indicate Sir R.Walpole as a 'man of craft'". I was surprised to come across this comment, for which there is perhaps some solid justification, since I'd previously assumed that the perodical was conceived as speaking on behalf of the craftsmen of England. I certainly thought it likely to have been digested more readily by the tradesmen, craftsmen and rising middle classes than by the gentlemen.

In fact, I'd supposed that The Gentleman's Magazine, which first appeared in 1731, had been launched somewhat in opposition to it. The initial character of the Magazine, however, was more in the nature of an overview of anything of general interest appearing in print, without overtly siding with any one political faction.

Above: the frontispieces to volumes 1 and 7 of The Craftsman, published in 14 volumes in 1737.

Left: the frontispiece to A Dissertation upon Parties; In Several Letters to Caleb D'Anvers, Esq; Dedicated to The Right Honourable Sir Robert Walpole, the fifth edition, 1739.


fugitive notes
hope and glory 1       hope and glory 2       hope and glory 3
patriotic english painters
howlers & bloomers
vertue & walpole
walpole & vernon
the paper war
monamy website index


© Charles Harrison Wallace 2007
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