Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Swetnam, Joseph

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SWETNAM, JOSEPH (fl. 1617), called the woman-hater, kept a fencing school at Bristol, as appears from an excessively rare work by him, entitled ‘The Schoole of the Noble and Worthy Science of Defence. Being the first of any English-mans in vention, which professed the sayd Science …’ London, 1617, 4to. His principal work, however, is ‘The Araignment of lewd, idle, froward, and unconstant Women; or the Vanitie of them, choose you whether. With a commendation of wise, vertuous, and honest Women,’ London (T. Archer), 1615, 4to, and again 1619, 1628, 1634, 1690? ‘to which is added a second part, containing many dialogues … and jovial songs,’ 1702, 8vo; 1707, 12mo; 1733, 12mo; and 1807, reprinted by Smeeton. A Dutch translation by a clergyman named William Christaens was printed at Leyden, 1641, and Amsterdam [1645?]. This coarse and violent attack on the fair sex elicited the following indignant replies: 1. ‘Asylum Veneris, or a Sanctuary for Ladies, justly protecting them, their virtues and sufficiencies, from the foule aspersions and forged imputations of traducing Spirits,’ London, 1616, 12mo. 2. ‘The Worming of a Mad Dogge; or, a Soppe for Cerberus, the Jaylor of Hell. No Confutation, but a sharpe Redargution of the bayter of Women. By Constantia Munda,’ London, 1617, 4to. 3. ‘Ester hath hang'd Haman; or, an answere to a lewde pamphlet, entituled the Arraignment of Women,’ by Ester Sowernam (pseudonym), London [1617], 4to. 4. ‘A Mouzell for Melastomus, the Cynicall Bayter of, and foule mouthed Barker against Evahs sex. By Rachel Speght,’ London, 1617, 4to [see under Speght, Thomas]. 5. ‘Swetnam, the Woman-hater, arraigned by Women. A new Comedie [in four acts and in verse] acted at the Red Bull, by the late Queenes Seruants,’ London, 1620, 4to; privately reprinted in an edition limited to sixty-two copies, Manchester, 1880, 4to, with introduction, notes, and illustrations by the Rev. Alexander B. Grosart, LL.D.

He must be distinguished from his contemporary namesake, Joseph Swetnam, Sweetnam, or Sweetman (1577–1622), a native of Northamptonshire, who entered the Society of Jesus in Portugal in 1606, was sent to the English mission in 1617, but was banished in 1618. He was in Lancashire again in 1621, and becoming penitentiary at Loretto, died there on 4 Nov. 1622. He wrote: 1. ‘The Progress of St. Mary Magdalene into Paradise,’ St. Omer, 1618, 8vo. 2. ‘The Paradise of Pleasure in the Litanies of Loretto,’ St. Omer, 1620, and translated from the Spanish Anthony Molina's treatise ‘On Mental Prayer,’ and Francis Arias's ‘Treatise of Exhortation,’ published in one volume, St. Omer, 1617, 12mo.

[Baker's Biogr. Dram. 1812, iii. 312; Hazlitt's Handbook to Lit. 1867, p. 586; Lowndes's Bibl. Man. (Bohn), pp. 2473, 2556. For the jesuit see De Backer's Bibl. des Ecrivains; Foley's Records; Oliver's Collectanea; Southwell's Bibl. Scriptt.; Winwood's Memorials, iii. 43.]

T. C.