Wednesday, December 10, 2008

“A Declaration of a Strange and Wonderful Monster”

This pamphlet is fascinating for so many reasons. Mostly, however, because it so clearly depicts the political, and religious tensions that existed in England after the English Civil War. It also shows the extreme bias of the author which is rather comical at times due to his excessive zeal.

This pamphlet describes the birth of a deformed child to a woman, it opens with- “This wonderful manifestation of God’s anger, against wicked and profane people”. From this opening, the author strongly states his opinion as fact so that the reader understands the monstrous birth was due to God’s just wrath against a foul sinner. He then goes on to discuss the sins that resulted in the deformity labeling the people of the region as “very bad” in the fact that they are “Papists” (a person who practices Roman Catholicism) thus accusing all Roman Catholics as evil. Probably, the best accusation, however, comes on the front page where it says that the mother “had wished rather to bear a child without a head rather than a Roundhead”. This statement declares that due to the mother’s political standings (as in support of a more Catholic rule, instead of the Roundhead, Puritanical rule), her child was born deformed.

In this article the author makes many blatant accusations as to what is evil in the sense of religion and government, and it fascinates me to see the fervor with which the author attacks the “Papists”. In many ways this article is a form of propaganda, but I suppose the readers of this work rather considered it more of a tabloid than a reliable source. Nonetheless, it contains scathing assertions that illustrate the turmoil that once existed in England.

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