Unrecorded blank form from Cromwell’s Government + Robert Lovell’s ΠΑΝΖΩΟΡΥKTOΛOΓIA

Commonwealth of England, Scotland, and Ireland. Be it known unto all men [by th]ese presents, That … [London?]: [1653-8?]. [1/2 sheet?]. Unrecorded.

When the present copy of Robert Lovell’s ΠΑΝΖΩΟΡΥKTOΛOΓIA (1661) was rebacked at some point in the recent past, the two original pastedowns were carefully separated from the boards onto which they had been glued and bound into the repaired volume as endpapers. The printed surface of these pastedowns had faced the boards, leaving only the blank verso visible to the book’s earliest owners. At some point in the 19th or early 20th century when they were still glued down, one reader wrote down a reference to an early Notes & Queries article on the blank surface of the front leaf. (The brief article mentioned discusses Lovell.) The recovered leaves retain some residue from the pasteboards they were glued to, and one shows some staining along the edges where it was in contact with the tanned leather used on the original covers, which are still present. The printed text is legible.

The two former pastedowns, when put together, constitute the top half (or more) of an otherwise unattested blank form, a form that appears to have been used by Oliver Cromwell’s Protectorate government to raise money. The following is a transcription of what remains:

Be it known unto all men [by th]ese presents, That [large, multi-line, blank for name(s)]

do stand and hold firmly bound and indebted unto [his] Highnesse, OLIVER, Lord Protector of the Common-wealth of England, Scot[land] and Ireland, and the dominions thereunto belonging, in the Sum of [blank space for amount] Pounds of good and Lawfull money of England, T[o be p]aid unto the said Lord Protector and His Successors, To and for the use and behoof of the [Com]mon-wealth; To the which payment well and truly to be made and done, [large, multi-line, blank]

Heirs, Executors, and Administrators[,] and every of them firmly by them presents. [missing letters – Seale?]d with [blank space] Seal. Dated the [blank space] [missing letters]he year of our Lord, One thousand six hundred fifty [blank space for year] [large, multi-line, blank]

The Condition of this Obligatio[n is su]ch, That [large, multi-line break before end of leaves]

I have been unable, thus far, to ascertain whether any record of this particular fundraising initiative exists in other sources, but no record of the form itself appears in either the ESTC or Worldcat. This form would surely reward more research by either an established historian or a graduate student working toward a Ph.D.

Bound with

Lovell, Robert. ΠΑΝΖΩΟΡΥKTOΛOΓIA. Sive Panzoologicomineralogia. Or a Compleat History of Animals and Minerals. Oxford: Joseph Godwin, 1661. Octavo. Wing L3245 & L3246.

In 1648, Robert Lovell, the son of a Warwickshire rector, became a student at Christ’s Church, Oxford. According to Wood, his admission was “by favour of the visitors appointed by Parliament.” He studied botany, mineralogy, and zoology, and graduated BA in 1650 and MA in 1653. His first book, ΠΑΜΒΟΤΑΝΟΛΟΓΙΑ, was published in Oxford in 1659, which may very well suggest that Lovell remained in Oxford following his graduation. “There was,” according to Lovell’s rather disparaging biographer for the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography,

nothing original in its content or arrangement, which followed the antique Galenic principles of the four elements, temperaments, and qualities. Remarkably, the work reached a second edition in 1665, Lovell having meanwhile issued a companion volume, Panzōoryktologia, claiming to be a complete history of animals and minerals.

Both of his books are more akin to pharmacopœia than the histories they advertise themselves as. Instead of historical accounts of the plants, animals, and minerals themselves, Lovell provides lists of their medical uses. His information is generally culled from the work of ancients such as Galen and Pliny. Remedies range from using mercury to kill lice, which, though dangerous to the user, was likely somewhat effective, to far more dubious ones. It, among many other things, recommends tying the genitals of a fox on top of one’s head in order to alleviate headaches. The 1661 edition is the first and only of ΠΑΝΖΩΟΡΥKTOΛOΓIA, his work on animals and minerals. ΠΑΜΒΟΤΑΝΟΛΟΓΙΑ, however, saw a second edition in 1665.

The present copy of Lovell’s ΠΑΝΖΩΟΡΥKTOΛOΓIA collates complete and has clean, well-preserved leaves throughout. The edges of the title page are slightly frayed and have darkened where they were in contact with the inside flaps of the leather cover (new endleaves and pastedowns now keep the cover and title quite apart), and there is a very small label pasted on the upper-right corner with “No. 4” written in ink. Additionally, there is a small newspaper clipping pasted on the title page’s blank verso. The content of the clipping, which is dated in manuscript to 27 April 1907, seems only loosely related to the book at hand; its heading reads “Ancient medical men. Old and interesting prescriptions,” and the text describes a recent lecture by a Dr. Richard Greene on “Ancient Medicine and Ancient Medical Men.” Tipped in between a recent endleaf and the first rescued pastedown is a clipping from an old bookseller’s catalog for, presumably, the copy in question. It is listed as item 254, and was priced at £1 10s.

As noted above, the book retains its original sheepskin-covered pasteboards. It has been rebacked with a plain smooth leather spine with gilt text between the first and second raised bands: “HISTORY / ANIMALS / MINERALS.” The hinges are quite secure, and show no evidence of rubbing or cracking.

In all, this is a nice copy of a curious scientific work that has preserved a blank form that would otherwise, it would seem, have been lost to history. And because these former pastedowns have been kept with the book they came out of, we can see very clearly the immediate material context in which this piece of the Protectorate’s economic apparatus was unintentionally transmitted into the present. Items like this one don’t often come onto the market. SOLD