Bulteel, John (DNB00)

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BULTEEL, JOHN (fl. 1683), translator and miscellaneous writer, was probably the son of Jean Bultel, a French protestant minister, living at the beginning of the seventeenth century at Dover. To a certain John Bulteel, who died a bachelor in the parish of St. Martin-in-the-Fields in 1669, has sometimes been attributed a play entitled the ‘Amorous Orontus.’ From internal evidence, however, it is nearly certain that the author of this play is John Bulteel, a miscellaneous writer, who continued writing after 1669, indeed whose last publication beats the date of 1683. Which of the two, if either, was John Bulteel, secretary to Edward, earl of Clarendon, who was created M.A. of Oxford, 9 Sept. 1661, is a matter of some doubt. The works which may with considerable probability be assigned to Bulteel are the following: 1. 'London's Triumph, or the Solemn and Magnificent reception of that honourable gentleman, Robert Tichbum, Lord Major; after his return from taking his oath at Westminster, the morrow after on the lord mayor and the Worshipful Company of Skinners to which he belonged, contains an account of the traditionary origin of London, of the antiquity of its government, and of the power and munificence of its citizens. It describes in glowing terms the reception of the mayor by Lord-protector Cromwell, and the various pageants on that festal day, when 'all the nation seemed to be epitomised within the walls of her metropolis,' 2. 'Berinthea,' written by J. B., Gent., 1664. It is described in the preface as a 'Romance accommodated to History,' and the wars and adventures of Cyrus forming a groundwork for the imaginary incidents, it may be looked on as one of the earliest examples of the historical novel. 3. The 'Amorous Orontus, or Love in Fashion,' is a translation of Thomas Comeille's 'Amour la Mode,' the original plot of which was borrowed from 'El Amor al Uso' by Ant. de Solis. It is written in heroic verse, descending often enough to doggerel, yet enlivened here and there by pointed epigram, and not altogether deserving of the verdict 'miserable poetry,' with which it has been branded (Biog. Dram. ii. 25). It was published in 1665. Genest (Hist. of the Stage, x. 140) says it was never played; but the title-page of the later edition, 1675, entitled, 'The Amorous Gallant,' contains the words 'A Comedie in heroick verse, as it was acted.' 4. In 1668 appeared 'Rome exactly described,' being two discourses of Lord Angelo Corraro, ambassador from the republic of Venice to Pope Alexander VII, translated by John Bultell, Gent. In the dedication of this work to Mr. Matthias van Benningen, he attests to the value of Corraro's observations, 'that politique astrologer,' one 'who judges with that liberty of truth, natural to all republicans.' The sincerity of this sentiment is doubtful. 5. At all events in 1683 his apology for dedicating his translation of Eudes de Mezeray's 'General Chronological History of France' to James, duke of York, is that 'crowned heads make the subject thereof.' 6. In the same year, 1683, appeared the 'Apophthegmes of the Ancients, taken out of Plutarch and others, collected into one volume for the benefit and pleasure of the Ingenious.'

This list probably represents only a part of Bulteel's published writings. In the dedication of the last-mentioned book he refers, but without titles or description, to other works to which he has not affixed his name.

[Biog. Dram.; Genest's History of the Stage, x. 141; Wood's Fasti Oxon. (Bliss), i. 420, ii. 252; Watt's Bibl. Brit.; Brit Mus. Cat.]

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