The Stratfordian Libel of John Payne Collier

Not too surprisingly the Stratfordian cover-up extends back to the slander, libel and defamation of  John Payne Collier.  Not surprisingly because it was Collier who found evidence that suggested that the Author of Shakespeare's plays had survived until at least 1634 or eighteen years after William Shakespeare, the actor from Stratford died.

For those interested in this remarkable case the starting point would be Dewey Ganzel's biography, Fortune & Men's Eyes, The Career of John Payne Collier, Oxford Press, 1982.   

Here's a quote from the Oxford University Press's Jacket Cover:

"It is a story of scholarly deception, of intellectual overreaching, of secrets kept, of mysteries unexplored. It concludes---contrary to the judgment of the last century---that Collier was probably innocent of the charges against him and that his accusers knew he was innocent. The defamation of John Payne Collier may have been the most successful conspiracy in literary history."

The controversy flared over Collier' discovery of the so called Perkins Folio, an original edition of the 1634 Second Folio of Shakespeare's plays, which contains some 20,000 emendations in an Elizabethan hand, writing as if it were the author's.  The emendations were labeled as forgeries by Madden and other consensus making Stratfordians who did not deem it wise to have forensic evidence that might indicate the Author's post 1616 survival.  A modern scientific or forensic test of the ink has proven that is is consistent in type with the inks used in the period and cannot be the kind of "paint" Madden and others supposed it to have been.

Consider that in order to match the ink's "patina" in the mid 1850s, Collier would have had to had mixed a special sort of "ink" with precisely the right color.  During the century and a half since that time, the ink that Collier mixed would have aged at its own rate and an easily discernable difference between the original emendations or Perkins signature and Collier's alleged forgeries would now be easy to spot.  But the book and its marvelous emendations look, for all the world, entirely genuine.  

These studies came after Dewey's book, a must read for those interested the the Shakespeare authorship question and the continuing Stratfordian cover-up of the most successful hoax in literary history: the attribution to the rustic Stratfordian actor of the works of William Shakespeare via advertisements placed in First Folio.

Dewey's Concluding Take on the Pencil Marks:

"The circumstantial details in aggregate become compelling: there is  good reason to believe that at least some of  the pencil writing was not in the folio when Collier showed it to Singer in 1582 and that  Collier would have had no reason to put it in the book after that date; that the incriminating pencil marks were probably not in the folio when it arrived at the Museum because A SCORE OF COLLIER ADVERSARIES LOOKING FOR THIS SORT OF EVIDENCE DID NOT FIND THEM; that the pencil notes may have been written into the book by Sir Frederic Madden when he believed the case he had made against Collier was beginning to collapse; and that madden then covered his work by prevailing upon Hamilton to announce that _he_, and not Madden, had 'found' the pencil marks in the margin." pp.355/6

Hamilton later testified that it was Madden who found the pencil marks.  As I have said elsewhere, the pencil marks could have entered any time and have nothing to do with the ink and the 20,000 emendations in it.  Ink which has been tested and found not to be "paint." 

Dewey's Astonishing Proof that the Pencil Notations in the Perkins Folio were Madden's.  Ganzel discovered the matches in Madden's own Diary!

A fool can see that the word in Madden's diary shown in Fig. 3 is a perfect match for the same word in the Perkins Folio.  It is also clear that the "facsimile" used to butcher Collier wasn't shot from the Perkins, but from Madden's papers, as Figure 4 proves.  


On The Proof that the Perkins Emendations were in the Folio Before Collier Purchased It

The case against the Perkins Folio emendations turns in great measure on whether or not they, or at least the bulk of them, were in the volume when Collier purchased it. As Dewey establishes, we have conclusive proof that they were. Since the emendations appear to be all in one hand, they cannot be Collier’s.

The proof came from a Dr. Henry Wellesley, Principal of New College, Oxford.

Wellesley had happened to have been in the bookshop when the box containing the Perkins Folio arrived and well remembered it and the many thousands of emendations. He wrote,

"One of those books was an imperfect folio Shakespeare, with an ABUNDANCE OF MANUSCRIPT NOTES IN THE MARGINS. He ]Robb the shop owner] observed to me it was of little value to collectors as a copy, and that the price was thirty shillings. I should have taken it myself; but, as he stated that the had put it by for another customer..."

Wellesley wrote Madden of this, as well as Collier, and Wellesley visited Madden and looked at the volume and identified it as the SAME, but Madden SUPPRESSED this letter and visit!!

Ganzel writes, "Madden’s reaction to Wellesley’s letter dispels any doubt about his true motive in the affair. If his interest had been merely to determine the origin of the marginal notes, as he maintained it was, he surely would have let it be known that Wellesly had examined the Perkins Folio and positively identified it as the same he had seen in Rodd’s shop with the emendation already on its pages."

Here, here.  

See Ganzel pp. 278-285.



Return to John Baker's Home Page:

Return to the Discussion on Tannenbaum's Attack on Collier