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R H Esquire

Entry updated 25 October 2021. Tagged: Author.

(?   -?   ) Anonymous English author who produced the first Utopia to appear after the Restoration of Charles II. New Atlantis. Begun by the Lord Verulam, Viscount St Albans: And Continued by R.H. Esquire (1660), is a plausible, if less elegant, conclusion to Francis Bacon's New Atlantis: A Work Unfinished (bound in with Sylva Sylvarum 1626; 1627 chap). Picking up on Bacon's political sympathies, this Sequel by Another Hand is explicitly pro-Royalist, presenting monarchy as the natural state of government, and the book is effusively dedicated to Charles II. R.H. ignores the scientific aspects of Bacon's book to concentrate on the Political institutions of the imagined land Bensalem, appropriating ideas liberally from Robert Burton, Samuel Hartlib, Thomas Hobbes, Sir Robert Filmer and others. The original "Saloman's House", for example, is now joined by a House of Charity to care for the old, the infirm and the orphans, and by a House of Correction to coerce labour from the lazy. Yet in extending Bacon's utopia, R.H. also undermines it; arguing that what is right for Bensalem would not be appropriate for England.

The identity of R.H. Esquire remains open to conjecture. Although a number of possible identifications have been made, one of the more persuasive of which is Robert Hooke (1635-1703), there are equally persuasive arguments against each identification. At this date it is likely that no conclusive identification of the author will ever be made. [PKi]

"R.H. Esquire"




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