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Apprentissages, États et sociétés dans l’Europe moderne

“A Lyon Lurketh in the way”. The apprentices of London, the Caroline public sphere, and the realization of a political force

Drew Heverin
p. 285-293

Résumé

Throughout the early 1640s, as the rest of the nation prepared itself for an inevitable clash between king Charles I and Parliament, the apprentices of London decided to enter the debates raging in both the Houses of Parliament and the city’s alehouses. Through a series of ballads and parliamentary petitions, these citizens-in-training leveraged their role as partisan combatants to define themselves as more than a subordinated and marginalized group of young men defined by a negative stereotype. This article investigates how an apprentice counterpublic emerged from the periphery of London society to enter the public sphere from which they had been excluded. Throughout Charles I’s Personal Rule, the apprentices utilized the seemingly innocuous ballad genre to sharpen rhetorical tactics that they would leverage in a series of parliamentary petitions written between 1641 and 1643. These petitions, while relatively short, reveal how the prentices of London merged their rhetoric with the conventions of the parliamentary genre to sway public opinion. And through this, they entered the public sphere as a vital and influential force in the English Revolution.

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  • 1 Both Thomas Heywood’s Edward IV (1599) and Shakespeare’s Henry VI, Part 1 (1591) credit the riotou (...)
  • 2 The most famous example of this critique is found in the metatheatrical intervention of the lampoo (...)
  • 3 App 1841, p. 68.

1In 1643, as he contemplated his options in swaying London to join in opposing the forces of Parliament, Charles I commissioned a verse aimed at the oft overlooked but vital source of labor and manpower in the early modern metropolis —the apprentices. This Use or Exhortation to the London Apprentices offers a direct challenge to the young men of London, calling for the same disruptive action that was lauded in the popular drama of the Elizabethan stage,1 lampooned in the satiric work of the Jacobean era,2 and resurgent in the streets of Caroline London. On its surface, this Exhortation sought to provoke the apprentices to riot, create tumult in the streets, and, as a result, deplete the strength of Essex’s forces. But this broadsheet verse, in calling for the apprentices to wake up and “help yourselves” did much more than simply rouse these young men to “maintain the good old cause”.3

  • 4 Due to the anonymity of most English balladeers throughout the period, the identity of “J.E. App” (...)
  • 5 App 1841, p. 69.

2While propagandistic ballads like this may be expected in the midst of a heated civil war, the Exhortation of 1643 is notable for two specific aspects. First, it explicitly references its role in a larger public discussion, positioning the opinions of the humble writer against opposing factions lobbying the city’s apprentices. J.E. App, the purported apprentice author,4 even closes on a note of advice about navigating these competing voices, claiming “I am the guide to put you in the way: Here’s the right path, hang him that goes astray”.5 Moreover, the author, in an effort to raise support, elevates this marginalized group to an equal rhetorical footing with their masters, the liverymen of London, the Parliamentarians, and most of England. In this great debate, the balladeer asserts that the apprentices’ claims are as valid as their superiors’:

  • 6 Ibid.

You may yourselves accomplish your desire;
The day’s your own, and such is your condition,
Yourselves may quickly grant your own petition.6

3In affirming this, the crown recognized a political perspective that had been developing in the ranks of the apprentices for decades —that despite an assumed “immaturity”, their voice should be considered in any discussion of the future of the city. Charles I’s Exhortation granted the apprentices of London a place in the public sphere of early modern England and a voice in the future of the country.

  • 7 In the social imaginary of early modern London, “apprentice” was a collective term used in the lit (...)
  • 8 This is first evident in Heywood’s Four Prentices of London but also emerged in dramatic and prose (...)
  • 9 A rhetorical counterpublic, following Michael Warner’s definition, is an insulated community of ma (...)

4A distinct cohort and a fixture of the larger urban community stretching back to Edward I, the apprentices of the early modern capital had, by the 1630s, emerged as a distinct and influential cohort in the Caroline public.7 Amid the chaos of economic strife and political upheaval of the 1590s, the apprentices began to agitate for change and, as seen in the popular texts that emerged throughout the period, defend their reputations in the broader public sphere.8 However, their indenture and education in the guild trades dictated that this discussion remain marginal —a casualty of ideology and of more immediate public concerns. As a result, a rhetorical counterpublic arose in the margins of the Elizabethan and Jacobean public sphere, emerging from the alehouse gossip, apprentice literature, and reactions to the plays staged at the Curtain, the Red Bull, and other apprentice haunts.9 As ideas circulated within this rhetorical community, the young men of London assumed an authoritative and political role in their own future, even if those in power were not listening.

  • 10 Robert Ashton has examined the growing dissatisfaction that London had for Charles I, noting speci (...)
  • 11 Many historians have noted the prevalence of Shrove Tuesday Riots as an expression of dissatisfact (...)
  • 12 Bucholz – Ward 2012, p. 288-290.
  • 13 Lawson Nagel’s The Struggle for London’s Militia details the futile efforts of the Lord Mayor and (...)

5This counterpublic remained subordinate to the broader concerns of the City and the principle guilds as London continued to experience exponential growth and the markets thrived in the relative peace of the early 1600s. But as the Stuarts’ demands stressed an already strained relationship between the city and the crown and war seemed inevitable,10 the concerns of the young men of London carried more weight than ever before. The apprentices were finally allowed a platform from which to make themselves heard.11 As Bucholz and Ward have noted, London served as a fulcrum point in the British Civil Wars12 and, in 1641, the support of the young men that would find themselves on the front line of the impending confrontation could tip the balance in one direction or the other. As a result, a lot of ink was spilt and time spent courting these young men or, alternatively, attempting to limit their voice in the deliberations.13 As long as London remained a vital resource for the volunteer parliamentary bands or conscripted royalist forces, the apprentices of the city would be re-inscribed within the city’s public sphere and allowed an opportunity to make their concerns known to the City, the Parliament, and the Crown.

  • 14 The most explicit exploration of this concern is found in Chapman, Jonson, and Marston’s Eastward (...)
  • 15 Illana Ben-Amos notes that these young men already moved within a social network of friends, famil (...)
  • 16 Lacking the freedom of the city afforded full guild members and living as indentured servants in t (...)

6If we go by the historical record left in the texts that circulated within their counterpublic, the primary concern of the apprentices of early modern London was their public reputation.14 As might be expected in the proto-capitalist marketplace, being characterized as riotous youths was not a promising entry-point for these citizens-in-training —especially for those late-stage apprentices waiting out the course of their indenture and those journeymen that were lumped in with this group.15 As early as 1591, the character-type of the idle apprentice —an immature, drunken youth addled by romances and the theatrical promises of gallants— had been enshrined in the public consciousness as a commonly-understood trope of both the stage and the page. A single production of Henry IV, Part I, Eastward Ho or The Knight of the Burning Pestle was enough to reinforce these stereotypes in the public conversation among most of the audience. Given this, it is little wonder that this isolated enclave of the public sphere often focused on reforming or challenging these stereotypes. Denied a meaningful voice in the city,16 these young men were left to carry on conversations among themselves —that is until factions were forming and the opinion of the apprentices were of public concern. Whereas earlier literature addressed the prentice counterpublic obliquely, the late Caroline public sphere flourished with texts that touched on and directly appealed to the concerns of this urban cohort.

  • 17 Laurence (1628-1675) was a prolific if little-known balladeer that wrote on a variety of subjects (...)
  • 18 Price 1971a, p. 444.
  • 19 Beginning with Thomas Deloney’s Gentle craft (1597), the Shoemakers held a symbolic place in the e (...)
  • 20 Price 1971a, p. 445.
  • 21 “S. Hughes’ Bones” refers to the traditional tools of the shoemaking trade, referencing the mythic (...)

7This transition from indirect to direct engagement with the apprentices can best be seen in the early ballad Round, boyes, indeed, written by Laurence Price in 1637.17 This ballad employs the rhetoric that circulated within the apprentice counterpublic while also incorporating this limited audience into a broader community of tradesmen. For instance, the ballad includes numerous references to the shoemaker’s craft, including its subtitle The Shoomakers holy-day.18 References to this minor guild had become a byword for the questionable upward mobility promised industrious apprentices throughout this period.19 A line like “S[r]. Hughes bones up we take in hast”20 might simply call for a footnote in modern editions,21 but in Caroline London, it served as a coded message for the alehouse patrons participating in the apprentice counterpublic. Where Round, boyes, indeed differs from previous apprentice literature is the effort it goes through to bring the nuances of this reference into the larger public discussion of capital and class solidarity. While the city deliberated the extent of royal power and the impositions imposed by Charles’ Personal Rule, this ballad provoked debates about economic stability and genteel excess —debates that required input from the young men that represented the future of the city and country.

8It might, at first glance, appear that Round, boyes, indeed is little more than a common drinking song —a ballad that would have been ignored and left to circulate among the untrained and immature youth of previous decades. But this ballad does more than simply speak to the concerns of the apprentices. In an explicit call and response structure and in verses that survey a broad expanse of the urban community, this text attempts to create common ground among all who might hear it. Echoing throughout the two-part song, the unifying refrain “round Boyes round / Round boyes indeed” highlights verses that place the oft-derided apprentices at the center of the festivities —as symbols of unity and the potential for greater economic success. The young men evoked in the song are, first and foremost, symbols of economic self-sufficiency and the power of communal solidarity. And there is little subtlety to these claims:

  • 22 Price 1971a, p. 445.

If we want our cash ouer night,
round boyes round,
We shall not long be in that plight,
round boyes indeed
Next day ere morne God will us send,
if we to worke our humour bend,
And merry make each friend with friend
with money to serve our need.22

  • 23 Ibid., p. 446.
  • 24 Ibid., p. 448.

9This verse alone evokes a divine blessing, insinuates a renunciation of taxation and usury, and turns to communal relations and the marketplace for strength. As the ballad continues, the titular “round boyes” are praised in a variety of professions, are contrasted with the “cursed crew” and “shirking rook” that would turn from the industriousness of the singer,23 and, finally, are held up as a model for friendship throughout “countrie towne and Citie”.24 Throughout the two-part ballad, the need for economic self-sufficiency is constantly invoked as a sign of strength and a source of communal solidarity. And this theme is hammered home most explicitly with the closing line of each verse —“with money to serve our need”.

10From the outset, this ballad opens the floor to the alehouse and tavern patrons enjoying the song in a number of simple but telling variations on the refrain —all of which return the focus of this entertainment to the central idea of economic self-sufficiency. The simplified response of “round boyes”, however, belies a more nuanced understanding of the term that is elucidated as the song continues. We might, in this context, assume that “round” implies a sense of completeness —a definition that complements the themes of unity that pervade the ballad, especially the second part. But this is only one possible reading of a term that is repeated 50 separate times throughout the ballad. “Round boyes” can imply a coherent and unified group or, as in this text, it can suggest individuals that have been developed to the fullest possible extent or degree.

  • 25 As Ben-Amos highlights, the training period for apprentices varied widely depending on the trade f (...)
  • 26 Price 1971a, p 445.

11While the more common understanding of “round” is certainly evoked in the unifying themes of Round boyes indeed, the ballad’s turn toward economic maturity and self-sufficiency forces us to reexamine this central term. And in this reading, the “roundness” of the apprentices’ education evokes a preparedness to join the larger public sphere.25 In this case, verse five’s assertion that “If our Master angry seeme, […] we little doe of that esteeme”, has larger ramifications than simply a devotion to industry or communal solidarity.26

  • 27 Ibid., p. 446.

12Obviously making a political statement, this ballad is not simply an argument for greater independence but an acknowledgement that a Master can inhibit the maturation and economic success of a group —especially when he will not “pay to every man his due” or live by honest means.27 Round, boyes, indeed, in presenting the sublimated concerns of the apprentices to a broader public, reconciles the profane idea of rebellion based on economic self-sufficiency, a central tenant of the apprentice counterpublic, with the ideals of industry and community that form the foundation of the entire guild system. In the face of royal overreach on both economic and military issues, this revolutionary claim would certainly resonate. This ballad from 1637 represents a broader movement to incorporate the energy of London’s apprentices into a larger debate about royal excess and the primacy of the market —a public conversation that would define the city’s place throughout the English Revolution.

  • 28 This was epitomized by Robert Johnson’s The nine worthies of London, an epic-inspired examination (...)
  • 29 While refusing to name the central prentice, the ballad establishes a number of identifiable detai (...)
  • 30 The ballad cites a number of problematic aspects of married life, each of which could just as easi (...)
  • 31 The prodigal son converted 1640.
  • 32 While typically appearing in more didactic literature, the cautionary tales of apprentice misrule (...)

13Round, boyes indeed joined a whole series of popular literature from 1629-1642 that explicitly addresses the concerns of this counterpublic. For instance, the popular narrative of the lion-fighting Elizabethan prentice, which had been published as a short and detailed romance early in the century, reappears in this period as a ballad with an anonymized protagonist. Instead of the romantic tales of famous liverymen that circulated earlier in the period,28 The honour of an apprentice takes pains to present a relatable everyman that bears more in common with the Caroline apprentices in London then the original’s focus on a young man upholding English values abroad.29 Furthermore, ballads like The batchelors delight offered criticism of the apprentice lifestyle superficially couched in hackneyed advice about the pitfalls of an overbearing wife.30 And The prodigal son converted countered the prevailing narrative of reckless youth by offering a nuanced take on the well-known biblical parable.31 Instead of following the advice of countless sermons and conduct manuals to abstain from a sinful life,32 this ballad ends on a note of temperance and camaraderie :

  • 33 The prodigal son converted 1640, ln. 12.9-12.

Then young men beware
and make much of your wealth
Yet with a true friend
to be merry and jolly,
With a Bottle or two
I do count it no folly.33

  • 34 Ibid., ln. 1.4.

14It is little wonder that a ballad sung in the alehouses of London would focus on the power of community or the pleasure of the “Frolicks run mad”,34 but these boisterous songs offer one aspect of a larger public conversation in which the apprentices of London started speaking openly. The apprentice ballad was only one form in which these young men spoke to the late Caroline public sphere.

  • 35 Darnton’s exploration of French apprentice misrule offers an in-depth and influential exploration (...)

15While the balladeers saw a commercial advantage in writing for this youthful community, the true proof of the apprentices’ emergence from the segregated rhetorical enclave of a counterpublic is their avid participation in parliamentary petitions. Throughout the Elizabethan and Jacobean period, these young men had been virtually silenced by guild conventions and cultural norms. If they were able to make themselves heard, their concerns were often defined as mere noise arising from “riotous youth”. The historical record of Shrove Tuesday Riots and other apprentice misrule is, with few exceptions, still cast as carnivalesque venting of youthful impulses.35 But when the people of London turned their attention to Parliament in the wake of Charles I’s retreat to Hampton Court in 1642, the apprentices were right there with them —petitions in hand.

  • 36 Zaret 2000, p. 86.

16Prior to 1640, the word “apprentice” may have appeared occasionally in the proceedings of previous sessions of parliament, but the Long Parliament had a much different experience. In 1642, the apprentices, bolstered by the leverage afforded by the impending crisis, made a significant change in political tactics. In this year alone, these young men appear to have written at least five distinct petitions. And 1647 saw a similar response, with four separate appeals made on behalf of these young men. This is a notable change, especially on the national stage, and confirms a move into the public sphere for this cohort —as they began participating in this “indisputable right” of all English subjects.36

  • 37 Ibid., p. 90-94.

17And the apprentices knew how to play the parliamentary game. As David Zaret notes in Origins of Democratic Culture, the tradition of petitioning saw an uptick in the 1630s and 40s, and as a result, a coherent and politically-engaged national public sphere was able to form. As Parliament sought to exert more political power in the nascent republic, groups from throughout the country started demanding action on a number of different fronts —if through a rigid epistolary genre. Throughout the Tudor and early Stuart reigns, parliamentary petitions were traditionally governed by a series of rhetorical conventions that framed these formal communications from the periphery. Even as tradition was giving way to political expediency, the genre was defined by a deferential attitude from the petitioner, a recent and pressing exigence, and a focus on juridical procedures.37 These letters to parliament might allude to longstanding issues or advocate for political action, but the form demanded a reserved approach rooted in the petitionary nature of the political communication. They were, first and foremost, formal dispatches to those holding the levers of power.

  • 38 Apprentices of Londons petition 1641, p. A2.
  • 39 Ashton cites the Corporation of the Suburb (1636) as a prime reason for London’s abandonment of Ch (...)
  • 40 Apprentices of Londons petition 1641, p. A3.
  • 41 Ibid.

18Considering their subservient role in the guild hierarchy, the apprentices had little trouble adhering to these restrictive conventions —at least initially. The apprentices of Londons petition of 1641 uses the passive voice, an abundance of honorifics, and an appeal to tradition to establish a deferential and formal tone. And while referencing manifold “grievances, and opressions which hereupon we have suffered at sundry times”38 the petition cites “Schismatical disturbances” in the surrounding region and the revocation of “former Liberties” as the immediate concerns prompting the signatories turn to this form of appeal. As its ultimate goal, this early apprentice petition urges Parliament to strip the suburbs of their corporation and reinstate the traditional market regulations that empowered London’s guilds prior to Charles I’s meddling.39 Acting within the bounds of the petitionary genre, these requests are couched in a legal complaint about London’s Charter and the questionable legality of the suburban market.40 Their complaint, in essence, was that the economic self-sufficiency of the city and its people was being impeded by Charles I’s short-sighted and legally dubious moves.41 In playing by the rules of the broader public sphere and the petition genre, The apprentices of Londons petition sheds light on the apprentices’ move from the enclave of their counterpublic into the national consciousness as a political force of their own.

19However, the thin veneer of this formal petition vanished relatively quickly as polite supplication gave way to the confrontational rhetoric that had developed in the apprentice counterpublic of Jacobean London. As tensions mounted and subsequent petitions contradicted each other, this highly-stylized genre was infused with the contentious and reactive energy that had permeated the ballads of the previous decade. One petition incited the next, as the apprentices of London sought to set the record straight. As a result, the circulation of ballads, plays, and ideas that had created a counterpublic of young guild members emerged into the public rhetoric of printed parliamentary petitions. And the stalls of St. Peter’s were more than happy to sell these petitions to a politically-engaged public of householders, liverymen, and apprentices throughout the city.

  • 42 Zaret 2000, p. 220.
  • 43 Ibid., p. 250-254.
  • 44 A true remonstrance 1642, p. A3.

20During the English Revolution, the limited audience for the traditionally privileged communication of parliamentary petitions expanded radically as these texts became tools for political propaganda.42 Instead of disseminating information from the periphery to parliament, printed petitions sought to impose “dialogic order” on the public sphere and sway public opinion to the well-reasoned claims of a specific petitioner.43 The secretive genre had become an open appeal, and one that the apprentices took advantage of. In fact, The Apprentices of Londons Petition (1641) employed rhetorical techniques aimed at a broader, anonymous public from the start to sway opinion on their limited concerns. While principally concerned with the encroaching influence of the suburbs on London’s apprenticeship system, this early petition signals an appeal to broader support by describing foreign-born craftsmen as schismatic sects and binding their concerns to the “Rebellious insurrection in Ireland” and “the advancement of the Court of Rome”.44 But this was only the start. The petitions of London’s apprentices regularly look to a broader public for support, using the parliamentary genre as a mere formality.

  • 45 Ibid., p. A2-3.
  • 46 Apprentices of Londons petition 1641, p. A3.
  • 47 Tom Leng notes that the term “malignant” was a common rhetorical tactic for castigating the royali (...)
  • 48 A true remonstrance 1642, p. A3.

21In 1642, A True Remonstrance of the Upright Apprentices positions the petitioners as active members of the “Church Militant” that “will fight for the good Cause, and be termed valiant”. Instead of requesting aid from members of parliament, the author of this petition seeks only to set the record straight. Citing “a certaine scandalous pamphlet, called a Petition for Peace; devised by the malignant Prentices about Towne”,45 this petition seeks only to ensure its audience that the signatories are passionately aligned with the Parliamentary cause. Only a year after The apprentices of Londons petition, this remonstrance appears in a new publicly-engaged form. Where Londons petition addresses “your Honours” on fifteen separate occasions,46 A true remonstrance frames its markedly shorter petition with an aggressive preface. And the language employed is much less restrained and more attuned to the general audience, with parenthetical asides, political jargon,47 and casual references to prominent London figures. This is most evident in the concluding assertion that the author makes about the role apprentices have already played in the Revolution: “For we are (d’ee see) of that Tribe of prentices, that Came at Christ-tide with Clubbs, and Broomestaffes, and Valiantly drove away the King… from rowsting so neere the Parliament”.48 Far from a formal appeal to Parliament, A True Remonstrance is a call to political action.

  • 49 The humble petition 1643.
  • 50 Ibid., p. A3.
  • 51 While not definitively an apprentice crowd, the pamphlet’s timing and various references to the Re (...)

22But this call did not go unanswered for long. The antagonism that A true remonstrance held for the Petition for peace was soon countered by The humble petition and remonstrance of diverse citizens.49 In a further move from the tradition of parliamentary petitions, this pamphlet has all the trappings of the formal epistolary genre but none of the motivating impulses. While the Londons petition requested parliamentary aid and A true remonstrance asked to set the record straight, The humble petition seeks only to perpetuate a prejudiced story of political oppression. This pamphlet provides a detailed report of what happened when the petitioners “utterly declaime[d] that Remonstrance” and attempted “to present unto your Honours an humble Petition of a contrary nature” on December 7, 1642. Instead of using these events to motivate a juridical intercession, the Humble petition focuses attention on the outsized response of “some few Inhabitants of this City of London, not exceeding the number of one hundred”, including “brandishing their swords to the great affrightment, and amazement of the Petitioners”.50 While not a true parliamentary petition, the Humble Petition uses the genre’s conventions to justify its political motivations and rally public support to the “Malignant dogges that would have Peace” —a libelous claim that the pamphlet’s author attributes to his persecutors.51 This Humble petition attempted to influence public opinion against the riotous “Tribe of Prentices” and counter the claims raised in a True remonstrance.

23In this cross-petitionary exchange, The humble petition and A true remonstrance impose dialogic order on the debate over the role of apprentices in the English Revolution. While attempting to stifle their message, The humble petition meaningfully engages with the ideas and assertions of a previously subordinated public and, in doing so, offers a final affirmation of the apprentices’ place in the broader public sphere. While historically dismissed as riotous, idle and immature young men, the apprentice counterpublic was now positioned as a legitimate and meaningful political threat —one worthy of being contested in public.

  • 52 Warner 2005, p. 220-223.
  • 53 Berlant – Warner 2005, p. 203-206.

24The most difficult step for any counterpublic is turning outward and affecting change in the larger public sphere.52 This movement from the periphery can result in, as Warner feared in his own case studies, an abandonment of the innovative rhetoric that defined the insular rhetorical community and empowered its participants.53 Or it can lead to merging of rhetorical approaches. For the young men of early modern London, the apprentice counterpublic provided a rhetorical arena in which to hone the confrontational language and responsive tactics that would allow them to enter the public sphere as a meaningful political force when the time came. And when civil war seemed imminent, these young men used the low genre of the broadside ballad and the formal communication of the parliamentary petition to make themselves heard.

  • 54 Exceeding joyfull news 1642 and Strange and terrible newes 1647.
  • 55 P.W. 1641; Price 1971b; Jackson 1640.

25While the petitions filed by the apprentices from 1641-1647 were not always successful, the power of these young men to affect change throughout the period is undeniable. As the Civil Wars progressed, broadsheets boasted regularly of the valor of the apprentices for both sides.54 Pamphlets, ballads and conduct books from the mid-seventeenth century treat the prentices as significant and meaningful auditors, no longer casting them as raucous or idle youth.55 The caricature of the apprentice that had strut the Jacobean stage was replaced by a new publicly lauded character. Instead of a drunken, idle and romantic fool, the literature of the period reveals a boisterous and engaged youth, ready to argue their case in the public sphere —whether they are true citizens of London or not.

  • 56 App 1841, p. 68.

26Considering this change, it is little surprise that Charles I’s “Exhortation” did not have the desired effect. The propagandistic ballad was not able to instigate a largescale defection in Essex’s ranks nor did it provoke rioting in the city. J.E. App, the author of the “Exhortation”, made a crucial mistake in addressing the apprentices in 1641. He assumed that they were a malleable and immature force. But where the royalist accused these young men of being intimidated by Essex’s army, he failed to recognize the true “lyon [that] lurketh in the way”56 —the publicly-engaged and politically aware apprentices of London.

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Bibliographie

Primary Sources

App 1841 = J.E. App, A use of exhortation to the London apprentices, in C. McKay (ed.), A collection of songs and ballads relative to the London prentices, London, C. Richards, 1841, p. 67-69.

Apprentices of Londons petition 1641 = Apprentices of Londons petition presented to the honourable court of parliament, London, J. Greensmith, 1641 (Thomason Tracts).

Chapman – Jonson – Marston 2001 = G. Chapman, B. Jonson, J. Marston, Eastward Ho, in J. Knowles (ed.), The roaring girl and other city comedies, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2001, p. 67-140.

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Deloney 1912 = T. Deloney, The gentle craft, in F.O. Mann (ed.), The works of Thomas Deloney, Oxford, Oxford Clarendon Press, 1912, p. 69-210.

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Price 1971a = L. Price, Round, boys, indeed, in H. Rollins (ed.), A Pepysian Garland, Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press, 1971, p. 443-448.

Price 1971b = L. Price, News from Hollands Leaguer, in H. Rollins (ed.), A Pepysian Garland, Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press, 1971, p. 399-406.

The prodigal son converted 1640 = The prodigal son converted, London, R. Burton, 1640 (Wing Short Title Catalogue).

P.W., The apprentices lamentation together, London, W. Larnar, 1642 (Thomason Tracts).

Rickets 1971 = C. Rickets, Charles Rickets his recantation, in H. Rollins (ed.), A Pepysian Garland, Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press, 1971, p. 420-424.

Strange and terrible newes 1647 = Strange and terrible newes from Moor-Fields, London, 1647 (Thomason Tracts).

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Bucholz – Ward 2012 = R.O. Bucholz, J.P. Ward, London: A social and cultural history, 1550-1750, New York, 2012.

Darnton 1984 = R. Darnton, The Great Cat Massacre, New York, 1984.

Heverin 2017 = D. Heverin, “Thou trade which didst sustaine my poverty”: Thomas Heywood’s The Four Prentices of London and the emergence of a rhetorical counterpublic, in Ben Jonson Journal, 24-2, 2017, p. 223-245.

Leng 2015 = T. Leng, “Citizens at the door”: Mobilising against the enemy in Civil War London, in Journal of Historical Sociology, 28-1, 2015, p. 26-48.

Nagel 1996 = L. Nagel, “A great bouncing at every man’s door”: The struggle for London’s militia in 1642, in S. Porter (ed.), London and the Civil War, London, 1996, p. 65-88.

Palmer 2004 = R. Palmer, Price, Laurence (fl. 1628–1675), ballad and chapbook writer, in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, 2004.

Smith 1984 = S.R. Smith, The London apprentices as seventeenth-century adolescents, in P. Slack (ed.), Rebellion, popular protest and the social order in Early Modern England, Cambridge, 1984, p. 219-231.

Warner 2005 = M. Warner, Publics and counterpublics, New York, 2005.

Zaret 2000 = D. Zaret, Origins of democratic culture, Princeton (NJ), 2000.

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Notes

1 Both Thomas Heywood’s Edward IV (1599) and Shakespeare’s Henry VI, Part 1 (1591) credit the riotous intervention of the young men of London with the prevention of a full-scale rebellion in the history play genre. And Thomas Dekker’s Shoemaker’s Holiday (1599) cheers on the guild-centered solidarity afforded a riot in the closing act of the play.

2 The most famous example of this critique is found in the metatheatrical intervention of the lampooned character Rafe in Beaumont’s Knight of the Burning Pestle (1607).

3 App 1841, p. 68.

4 Due to the anonymity of most English balladeers throughout the period, the identity of “J.E. App” cannot be established. However, as this study investigate the circulation of texts among the apprentices of early modern England, the author of any single text is less important than the rhetorical tactics used to appeal to a specific public.

5 App 1841, p. 69.

6 Ibid.

7 In the social imaginary of early modern London, “apprentice” was a collective term used in the literature to refer to unmarried journeymen, discharged soldiers, and, of course, apprentices. Smith 1984.

8 This is first evident in Heywood’s Four Prentices of London but also emerged in dramatic and prose texts throughout the late Tudor period. Heverin 2017, p. 223-245.

9 A rhetorical counterpublic, following Michael Warner’s definition, is an insulated community of marginalized individuals that craft a rhetorical community on the boundaries of the public sphere. While separated from the critical eye of the center, this rhetorical arena empowers its participants by providing space for ratio-critical discourse among individuals disenfranchised in the broader, more mainstream publics. Warner 2005, p. 119-124.

10 Robert Ashton has examined the growing dissatisfaction that London had for Charles I, noting specifically his incorporation of the suburbs in 1636 and his insistent demand for funding from the urban community, Ashton 1996, p. 45-64.

11 Many historians have noted the prevalence of Shrove Tuesday Riots as an expression of dissatisfaction from the London’s apprentices, but these semiannual "ryots" had been cast as youthful outbursts of no real consequence by all but those that suffered from their effects. The Riots of 1595 and the Evil May Day of 1517, however, were treated with a seriousness that resonated throughout the period, but even here, the apprentice’s concerns were mostly ignored as efforts were pursued to prevent these riots from happening again, see Bucholz – Ward 2012, p. 268-308.

12 Bucholz – Ward 2012, p. 288-290.

13 Lawson Nagel’s The Struggle for London’s Militia details the futile efforts of the Lord Mayor and other Cavalier factions to maintain control of London’s volunteers, composed primarily of the apprentices and other young bachelors of the city, prior to the start of the English Civil Wars. Nagel 1996, p. 65-88.

14 The most explicit exploration of this concern is found in Chapman, Jonson, and Marston’s Eastward Ho (1605). This city comedy offers juxtaposed apprentice characters in the virtuous Golding and the riotous Quicksilver, and the plot revolves around the ability of the former to manage his reputation and the inability of the latter to balance his social ambitions with his social credit.

15 Illana Ben-Amos notes that these young men already moved within a social network of friends, family and neighbors but that these informal relationships had much less impact on an apprentice’s success then guild ties and a good public reputation. Ben-Amos 1994.

16 Lacking the freedom of the city afforded full guild members and living as indentured servants in the houses of their masters, the apprentices of the city had little opportunity to voice an opinion, beyond the periodic misrule of all youth.

17 Laurence (1628-1675) was a prolific if little-known balladeer that wrote on a variety of subjects throughout the period. Palmer 2004.

18 Price 1971a, p. 444.

19 Beginning with Thomas Deloney’s Gentle craft (1597), the Shoemakers held a symbolic place in the early modern public sphere as champions for the rights of the working class and, for the apprentices, an illustration of the flawed ideals of the guild’s education system. The legendary ascension of Simon Eyre to the Lord Mayoralty, as depicted in Deloney’s Craft and Dekker’s Shoemaker’s holiday, served as a renowned tale of guild power, but Deloney’s two-part collection of tales established a rich mythos that served as a reference point for authors throughout the rest of the period. Deloney 1912.

20 Price 1971a, p. 445.

21 “S. Hughes’ Bones” refers to the traditional tools of the shoemaking trade, referencing the mythic martyrdom of Sir Hughes, a legendary medieval shoemaker whose romantic pursuit of St. Winifred is the opening narrative in Deloney’s Gentle craft.

22 Price 1971a, p. 445.

23 Ibid., p. 446.

24 Ibid., p. 448.

25 As Ben-Amos highlights, the training period for apprentices varied widely depending on the trade for which they were indentured, but by law, these young men were forced to remain subservient for a seven-year period. This discrepancy resulted in many late-stage apprentices working as independent journeymen but without the freedom of the city afforded full guild members. Ben-Amos 1994, p. 124-130.

26 Price 1971a, p 445.

27 Ibid., p. 446.

28 This was epitomized by Robert Johnson’s The nine worthies of London, an epic-inspired examination of the lives of noteworthy Lord Mayors from the city’s history, but Deloney’s Gentle craft took this romantic ideal and rooted it in a more “realistic” historical account.

29 While refusing to name the central prentice, the ballad establishes a number of identifiable details, including the location of his master’s shop and his birthplace. Additionally, the first part of the song concludes with a boast that would resonate with its audience: “I am no boy nor traytor, thy speeches I defy, Which here will be revenged Upon thee by and by: A London prentice still shall prove as good a man As any of your Turkish Knights”. The first part emphasizes the protagonists’ roots in a recognizable community, but the second part of the ballad develops into a fantastical knight-errant romance. The honour of an apprentice of London 1640.

30 The ballad cites a number of problematic aspects of married life, each of which could just as easily be attributed to the contracted indenture of an apprenticeship, including a loss of economic viability (8.3-6), a tendency to be micromanaged (9.2-4), and a risk of the relationship deteriorating over time (12.3-6). Batchelors delight 1623-1661(?).

31 The prodigal son converted 1640.

32 While typically appearing in more didactic literature, the cautionary tales of apprentice misrule were not restricted to the pulpit or the conduct guide. The ballad Charles Rickets his recantation (1633) and the pamphlet The apprentices warning-piece (1641) both offer traditional depictions of youthful revolt that devolve to murder and the hangman’s noose. These are consistent with earlier literary depictions of apprenticeship, but these two later texts expose the waning of this trope in their perfunctory treatment of the obligatory axiom.

33 The prodigal son converted 1640, ln. 12.9-12.

34 Ibid., ln. 1.4.

35 Darnton’s exploration of French apprentice misrule offers an in-depth and influential exploration of the petty rebellion of eighteenth-century apprentices, but the incident that is investigated in the Great Cat massacre is easily translatable to the minor infractions of many Caroline apprentices in London. Darnton 1984, p. 75-106.

36 Zaret 2000, p. 86.

37 Ibid., p. 90-94.

38 Apprentices of Londons petition 1641, p. A2.

39 Ashton cites the Corporation of the Suburb (1636) as a prime reason for London’s abandonment of Charles I’s cause, as this and other fund-raising schemes taxed the patience of the freeman of the city. But the Corporation of the Suburbs went further in infringing on the guild monopolies that had enriched and empowered the city for centuries. Ashton 1996, p. 48.

40 Apprentices of Londons petition 1641, p. A3.

41 Ibid.

42 Zaret 2000, p. 220.

43 Ibid., p. 250-254.

44 A true remonstrance 1642, p. A3.

45 Ibid., p. A2-3.

46 Apprentices of Londons petition 1641, p. A3.

47 Tom Leng notes that the term “malignant” was a common rhetorical tactic for castigating the royalists forces without impugning the king himself. This term, as a result, was used frequently to evoke pathos and partisan passion throughout the Civil War. Leng 2015.

48 A true remonstrance 1642, p. A3.

49 The humble petition 1643.

50 Ibid., p. A3.

51 While not definitively an apprentice crowd, the pamphlet’s timing and various references to the Remonstrance suggest that The humble petition was a direct response to the True remonstrance. Furthermore, the stated rhetoric of this crowd mirrors the aggressive tone and suggested actions of the “Church Militant” cited in apprentices’ petition of 1642. Humble petition 1643, p. A2-3 and True remonstrance 1642, p. A3.

52 Warner 2005, p. 220-223.

53 Berlant – Warner 2005, p. 203-206.

54 Exceeding joyfull news 1642 and Strange and terrible newes 1647.

55 P.W. 1641; Price 1971b; Jackson 1640.

56 App 1841, p. 68.

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Drew Heverin, « “A Lyon Lurketh in the way”. The apprentices of London, the Caroline public sphere, and the realization of a political force », Mélanges de l’École française de Rome - Italie et Méditerranée modernes et contemporaines, 131-2 | 2019, 285-293.

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Drew Heverin, « “A Lyon Lurketh in the way”. The apprentices of London, the Caroline public sphere, and the realization of a political force », Mélanges de l’École française de Rome - Italie et Méditerranée modernes et contemporaines [En ligne], 131-2 | 2019, mis en ligne le 30 décembre 2019, consulté le 23 septembre 2020. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/mefrim/6691 ; DOI : https://doi.org/10.4000/mefrim.6691

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Drew Heverin

University of Kentucky, drewheverin@uky.edu

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