Catholic and Puritan Conspiracies in Samuel Ward’s The Double Deliverance (1621)

  • Ema Vyroubalová
Part of the Christianities in the Trans-Atlantic World, 1500–1800 book series (CTAW)


English Puritanism was not a unitary phenomenon. It evolved and changed over the course of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. So did English Puritans’ relationship with the English government and established church, which ranged from strong opposition to the official religious authorities in the 1590s and 1630s to a virtual merging of the Puritan movement with state religious policy during the Protectorate. England’s engagement with the Catholic powers, whether military or diplomatic, functioned as a rallying call for Puritans and amicable exchanges with Catholic countries predictably tended to pit the radical protestant circles against the authorities. The print known as The Double Deliverance, designed by the Puritan minister Samuel Ward documents one notable instance of this polarisation. The print depicts two instances of attempted Catholic takeovers of England — the defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588 and the foiling of the Gunpowder Plot in 1605 — in order to critique from a Puritan perspective the alliance with Spain pursued by King James in the second half of his reign.1 The work was in demand at the time of its first publication in 1621 and continued to be popular even as England’s public opinion and foreign policy subsequently shifted and evolved. It was still being reprinted in the 1670s from the original etching plate, by then noticeably worn down by five decades of heavy use.2


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  1. 2.
    Antony Griffiths, The Print in Stuart Britain, 1603–1689 (London, 1998), p. 152. By 1654 the plate had made its way to Peter Stent’s shop in London and in 1665 it passed on to John Overton.Google Scholar
  2. 4.
    The catalogues include Griffiths, The Print; Arthur M. Hind, Engraving in England in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries: A Descriptive Catalogue with Introductions (Cambridge, 1952–64).Google Scholar
  3. Michael Duffy, The Englishman and the Foreigner: The English Satirical Print, 1600–1832 (Cambridge, 1986). According to the British Museum website, the print appeared at seven different exhibitions across the UK between 1998 and 2005.Google Scholar
  4. 5.
    Besides descriptive entries in the catalogues referenced above and mentions in the biographical sources listed in John M. Blatchly’s entry on Ward in The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, the print is discussed briefly in Dorothy Parkander, ‘Puritan Eloquence: The Sermons of Samuel Ward of Ipswich’, Anglican Theological Review 41: 1 (1959), pp. 13–22, and at some length in Walsham, ‘Impolitic Pictures’, pp. 307–28. The only article devoted entirely to the print is John Bruce, ‘The caricatures of Samuel Ward of Ipswich’, Notes and Queries (4th series), 1, (January, 1868), pp. 1–2.Google Scholar
  5. 9.
    For an overview of the larger political context to the incident, see Samuel R. Gardiner, History of England, From the Accession of James I to the Outbreak of the Civil War (London, 1896), iv. 117–19. Diego Sarmiento de Acuña, 1st Count of Gondomar, served as Spain’s Ambassador to England from 1613 to 1622 under two Spanish monarchs (Philip III, 1598–1621, and Philip IV, 1621–1665).Google Scholar
  6. 11.
    Thomas Fuller, The History of the Worthies of England (1662), p. 70. Ward also later designed the title pages for some of his published sermons, most notably Woe to Drunkards (1627). These designs steered clear of any political references, probably as a result of the ordeal he went through because of ‘The Double Deliverance’.Google Scholar
  7. 14.
    For more information on the library, see John M. Blatchly, Ipswich Town Library Provided for the Use of Town Preachers in 1599: A History and Catalogue (Woodbridge, 1989).Google Scholar
  8. 16.
    As was common with English Puritan materials, the print bears no imprint naming the publisher responsible for the production but several Amsterdam workshops were known for producing English-language materials. Most prominent of these was the Hondius family shop. For more information, see Keith L. Sprunger, Trumpets from the Tower: English Puritan Printing in the Netherlands, 1600–1640 (Leiden, 1994), pp. 52–54.Google Scholar
  9. 17.
    Tessa Watt, Cheap Print and Popular Piety, 1550–1640 (Cambridge, 1991).Google Scholar
  10. 35.
    For more information see David Cressy, Bonfires and Bells: National Memory and the Protestant Calendar in Elizabethan and Stuart England (London, 1989).Google Scholar
  11. 39.
    For more information on the issue of representing God in English Puritan art, see Margaret Aston, England’s Iconoclasts (Oxford, 1988), pp. 452–57.Google Scholar
  12. 40.
    Tom Webster, ‘Early Stuart Puritanism’, in John Coffey and Paul C. H. Lim (eds), The Cambridge Companion to Puritanism (Cambridge, 2008), p. 48.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

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© Ema Vyroubalová 2015

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  • Ema Vyroubalová

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