RESTORATION LONDON. Late seventeenth century manuscript of the 'Mysteria Revelata' of John Collins, 1674
Lot 73
Sold for £ 6,250 (US$ 8,726) inc. premium

Lot Details
Late seventeenth century manuscript of the 'Mysteria Revelata' of John Collins, being "A true, plaine, and impartiall Narrative, and Relation of severall matters and transactions concerning his Majesties late happie restauration, with some other circumstantiall matters, and passages precedent or consequent therupon", prefaced by verse summary headed "Certaine Memorialls and Annotations on the late Duke of Albemarle..." (opening "Now that the Duke's defunct and evrie Poett..."); Phillipps MS 4897 (listed in the Catalogus Librorum as from the collection of the historian and Non-Juror, George Harbin, c.1665-1744), purchased for £1-10s at the Phillipps sale, Sotheby's, 21 March 1895, c.145 pages, bookplate of the Devonshire historian, T.N. Brushfield, half calf, cloth covered boards with the ticket of Bretherton 1845, original titled upper vellum wrapper bound in, light dampstaining towards the end, folio, [1674]


  • AN AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL NARRATIVE OF THE RESTORATION BY A CONTEMPORARY OF PEPYS: while Pepys's narrative is of course told by a member of Admiral Montagu's circle, Collins tells the same story from the vantage point of a member of General Monck's circle; the two accounts in this respect being complementary. There is evidence that our manuscript was prepared under its author's supervision (see below).

    Our narrative was first published from another manuscript by the Historical Manuscripts Commission in 1899, where John Collins is identified as its author: 'The Narrative is the work of a foolish man, but there is much in it that is interesting, and its frank conceit is amusing. It is primarily an attack upon... the view that "Monk was he that did bring in the King." It is preceded by a sketch of the argument in doggerel verse. According to Mr Collins, he himself was the man that did bring in the King... The narrator pictures himself as hurrying about from Speaker to General, from General to City, from City back to General, until he gradually brought everybody into a right frame of mind, and the Restoration was happily accomplished... In spite, however, of the vanity of the narrator, there is, as before said, much of interest in the narrative, and a good deal to be learnt from it as regards Monk, and his relations with the Speaker, the City, and the Parliament... There are a good many scraps of information, too, about the doings in the City, and the gradually awakening loyalty there, as shown at the banquets given to Monk and his officers, where the Temple musicians were told they must give up their ''usual old songs"' (Report on the Manuscripts of F.W. Leyborne-Popham, 1899, pp. xvi-xvii). For a further discussion of the text, see R.C. MacGillivray, Restoration Historians and the English Civil War, 1974, p.53).

    Although Collins's claims of influence with Monck may be far-fetched his narrative does provide a vivid sense of the times and indeed of its bumptious author, and possesses something of the flavour (if not perhaps the genius) of Pepys: "I attended his Lordship [Monck] forth from the Councell that Evening, where the Hall and rooms above, being full throng'd with Citizens of all sorts, rejoyceing att the Welcome newes of filling uppe the parliament, his Lordship att his coming forth, laid his hand upon my right Arme, and soe I had the Ushering of Him downe staires into, and through the Hall, where the people generally cry'd out God bless your Lordship and through that throng I usher'd him to his Coach standing in the Yard, whence his Lordship sent Mee backe to the Councell of Aldermen, to knowe of them, where Hee should Quarter?" (MS, p. 85).

    Comparison of this manuscript with the Leyborne-Popham MS may determine its exact status. It is written in what appears to be a contemporary scribal hand; although at one point there is a clearly authorial addition which, it is reasonable to assume, is autograph. The interpolation is made at a particularly significant point in the narrative, when Collins is explaining how he played a significant part in persuading the Speaker to side with King rather than Commonwealth (the Speaker in question being the redoubtable William Lenthall, whose support of Monck was in the event crucial). In order to do this, he would have us believe that he suppressed the true import of Monck's message, which was in favour of the Commonwealth. First, he delivers Lenthall's request for advice to Monck: "I soone after in the Evening late att St James's, when I had the Generall all alone, did deliver to Him in the best manner I could, Whereupon Hee verie seriously willed Mee to retorne this Answer from Him to the Speaker, which was in these words, That by any meanes Hee should Steere (or hold on) for a Commonwealth ffor Hee doubted nott butt they should get ground of the other parties". The passage that Collins has added to our manuscript continues the account: "everie day, Which Answer I confess I forbore fully to deliver to the Speaker, As Hee soone afterwards found by the Generals action & told mee of itt, And withal, how obstinate Hee found the Generall against the King's restauration, upon his more private discourse with Him" (MS, p. 105). This additional passage occurs in the Leyborne-Popham MS which (unless also an interpolation) indicates that it post-dates ours.

Saleroom notices

  • This lot is Zero rated for VAT.
Auction information

This auction is now finished. If you are interested in consigning in future auctions, please contact the specialist department. If you have queries about lots purchased in this auction, please contact customer services.

Buyers' Obligations


If you have any complaints or questions about the Conditions of Sale, please contact your nearest customer services team.

Buyers' Premium and Charges

For all Sales categories excluding Wine, Coins & Medals and Motor Cars and Motorcycles:

Buyer's Premium Rates
25% on the first £175,000 of the Hammer Price
20% from £175,001 to £3,000,000 the Hammer Price
12.5% from £3,000,001 of the Hammer Price

VAT at the current rate of 20% will be added to the Buyer's Premium and charges excluding Artists Resale Right.

Payment Notices

Payment in advance: by cash, cheque with banker's card, credit card, bank draft or traveller's cheque.

Payment at collection: by credit or debit card.

Shipping Notices

For information and estimates on domestic and international shipping as well as export licences please contact Bonhams Shipping Department.

Lot symbols
Exempt from tax

Zero rated for VAT, no VAT will be added to the Hammer Price or the Buyer's Premium.

  1. Luke Batterham
    Specialist - Books, Maps, Manuscripts and Historical Photographs
    Montpelier Street
    London, United Kingdom SW7 1HH
    Work +44 20 7393 3828
    FaxFax: +44 20 7393 3879
Similar Items