Neville, Henry (1620-1694) (DNB00)

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NEVILLE, HENRY (1620–1694), political and miscellaneous writer, second son of Sir Henry Neville (d. 1629) of Billingbear, near Waltham St. Lawrence, Berkshire, by Elizabeth, daughter of Sir John Smith of Ostenhanger, Kent, was born in 1620; his grandfather was Sir Henry Neville [q. v.] In 1635 he matriculated at Oxford, entering Merton College, whence he migrated to University College, but after some years' residence left the university without a degree, and made a tour on the continent, visiting Italy. Returning to England in 1645, he recruited for the parliament in Abingdon. Though apparently not in parliament, he sat on the Goldsmiths' Hall committee on delinquents in 1649, and was placed on the council of state in 1651. A strong doctrinaire republican, he acted in concert with James Harrington (1611–1677) [q. v.] and Henry Marten [q. v.], and rendered himself so obnoxious to Cromwell as to be banished from London in 1654. After Oliver's death he was returned to parliament for Reading, 30 Dec. 1658. The return was disputed, but was confirmed by order of the house. An attempt was also made to exclude him on the score of atheism and blasphemy, with which he was charged in the house on 16 Feb. 1658–9, but after prolonged debate the matter was allowed to drop. He spoke with great weight against the policy of armed intervention in the war between Sweden and Denmark on 21 Feb. 1658–9 [see Sir Philip Meadows], and against the recognition of the ‘other house’ on 5 March following. On 19 May he was placed on the new council of state, and after Richard Cromwell's abdication was a member of Harrington's Rota Club. In October 1663 he was arrested on suspicion of being implicated in the so-called Yorkshire rising, and lodged in the Tower. There being no evidence against him, he was set at liberty in the following year. Thenceforth he seems to have lived in retirement until his death on 22 Sept. 1694. He was buried in the parish church of Warfield, Berkshire. By his wife Elizabeth, only child of Richard Staverton of Warfield, he had no issue.

Neville is the author of the following rather coarse lampoons, viz.:

  1. ‘The Parliament of Ladies, or Divers Remarkable Passages of Ladies in Spring Gardens, in Parliament assembled,’ London, 1647, 4to, reprinted in 1778.
  2. ‘The Ladies a second time assembled in Parliament,’ London, 1647, 4to.
  3. ‘Newes from the New Exchange, or the Commonwealth of Ladies drawn to the Life in their several Characters and Concernments,’ London, 1650, 4to, reprinted 1731, 8vo.
  4. ‘ ‘Shuffling, Cutting, and Dealing in a Game at Picquet, being acted from the year 1653 to 1658 by Oliver Protector and others,’ 1659, 4to.
  5. ‘ ‘The Isle of Pines, or a Late Discovery of a Fourth Island in Terra Incognita. Being a True Relation of certain English Persons who in the Dayes of Queen Elizabeth making a Voyage to the East India were cast away and wrecked on the Island near to the Coast of Terra Australis Incognita, and all drowned except one Man and four Women, whereof one was a Negro. And now lately, Anno Dom. 1667, a Dutch Ship driven by foul weather there by chance have found their Posterity (speaking good English) to amount to Ten or Twelve Thousand Persons, as they suppose. The whole Relation follows, written and left by the Man himself a little before his Death, and declared to the Dutch by his Grandchild,’ London, 1668, 4to.
  6. ‘ ‘A New and Further Discovery of the Isle of Pines in a Letter from Cornelius Van Sloetton, a Dutchman (who first discovered the same in the year 1667), to a Friend of his in London,’ London, 1668, 4to. The story met with considerable success, and was translated into French, German, Dutch, and Italian. It was reprinted with ‘The Parliament of Ladies,’ London, 1778, 8vo.
  7. ‘Plato Redivivus, or a Dialogue concerning Government,’ London, 1681, 8vo; an un-Platonic dialogue developing a scheme for the exercise of the royal prerogative through councils of state responsible to parliament, and of which a third part should retire every year. This work, which was much admired by Hobbes, was reprinted, under the title ‘Discourses concerning Government,’ London, 1698, 8vo, and with its proper title (ed. Hollis), London, 1763, 12mo (see an anonymous reply entitled Antidotum Britannicum, London, 1681, 8vo, and Goddard, Plato's Demon, or the State Physician Unmasked, London, 1684, 8vo).

Neville also published an excellent translation of Macchiavelli's works, London, 1675, fol., comprising ‘The History of Florence,’ ‘The Prince,’ ‘The Life of Castruccio Castracani,’ and some other prose miscellanea.

[Wood's Athenæ Oxon. (Bliss), iii. 1119, iv. 410; Baker's Biog. Dramat.; Biog. Notice by Hollis prefixed to the 1763 edit. of Plato Redivivus; Ludlow's Memoirs, ed. Firth, 1894; Whitelocke's Mem. pp. 677, 684, 689–92; Comm. Journ. vii. 596; Cal. State Papers, 1651–2, 1663–1664; Notes and Queries, 2nd ser. xi. 212, 7th ser. vi. 155; Burnet's Own Time, fol., i. 67, 83; Ashmole's Antiq. of Berkshire, ii. 441; Thurloe State Papers, vii. 616; Burton's Diary, iii. 296–305, 387, iv. 20; Luttrell's Brief Relation of State Affairs, iii. 374; Hist. MSS. Comm. 5th Rep. App. pp. 6, 148, 330, 11th Rep. App. pt. vii. p. 6; Lysons's Mag. Brit. i. 404, 410; Nichols's Lit. Anecd. iii. 65; Toland's Life of Harrington prefixed to his edition of the Oceana; Burke's Peerage, ‘Braybrooke.’]

J. M. R.