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date: 26 May 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Andrew Marvell represented Hull in Parliament for more than eighteen years. The record of his actual activity in Parliament is slight, and his political importance can, as a result, seem slight, at least compared to his significance as a satirist. Yet as well as his well-documented behind-the-scenes activity on behalf of Hull, Marvell’s parliamentary record can be interpreted as that of a very important fixer and strategist on behalf of the ‘Presbyterians’ in the Commons, a group which he did much to define and possibly also to call into existence. Analysis of Marvell’s ‘Last Instructions to a Painter’ suggests that it may be not just a polemical and satirical description of a debate, but also intended as a means of rallying some of the disparate elements of an opposition to the court. It, and Marvell’s other political writings, emphasize how central Parliament was to his thought.

Keywords: committee of elections, constituency, corruption, excise, House of Commons, Parliament, political organization, Presbyterians, Trinity House

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