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was busy. His most popular publication of the period was `Londinopolis. An Historical Discourse; or, Perlustration of the City of London and Westminster,' London, 1657, fol., a gossipy book largely borrowed from Stow, with plates by Hollar. On 23 March 1659-60 Howell wrote to Sir Edward Walker at Brussels of the necessity of 'calling in King Charles.' A broadside by him, entitled 'England's Joy Expressed … to Monck,' appeared in 1660.

On Charles II's restoration, Howell begged for an appointment as clerk of the council or as assistant and secretary to a royal commission for the regulation and advancement of trade. He pointed out to Lord Clarendon that his linguistic acquirements qualified him to become 'tutor for languages' to Queen Catherine of Braganza. In February 1661 he received a free gift from the king of 200l. He was appointed at a salary of 100l. a year historiographer royal of England, a place which is said to have been especially created for him, and republished twelve of his political tracts in a volume entitled in one form 'Twelve Treatises of the Later Revolutions' (1661), and in another 'Divers Historicall Discourses,' dedicated to Charles II. A second volume was promised, but did not appear. In 1661 also he issued a `Cordial for the Cavaliers,' professing somewhat cynically to console those supporters of the king who found themselves ill-requited for their services in his cause. His equivocal attitude led him into a bitter controversy with Sir Roger L'Estrange, who attacked his `Cordial' in a `Caveat for the Cavaliers.' Howell replied in `Some sober Inspections made into those Ingredients that went to the composition of a late Cordial call'd A Cordial for the Cavaliers.' L'Estrange retorted at the close of his 'Modest Plea both for the Caveat and Author of it' with a list of passages from Howell's earlier works to prove that he had flattered Cromwell and the Long parliament. Other political tracts of more decided royalist tone followed. His `Poems on severall Choice and Various Subjects occasionally composed by an eminent author,' were edited by Payne Fisher [q.v.], with a dedication to Henry King, bishop of Chichester, in 1663. As `Poems upon divers Emergent occasions' they reappeared in 1664. The enthusiastic editor declares that not to know Howell 'were an ignorance beyond barbarism' (cf. Censura Lit. iii. 277). He died unmarried in the parish of St. Andrew's, Holborn, and was buried on 3 Nov. 1666 `in the long walke neare the doore which goes up the steeple' of the Temple Church (Reg.) He had left directions, which were duly carried out, for a tomb with a Latin inscription to be set up in the Temple Church at a cost of 30l. The monument is now well preserved in the Triforium gallery of the round church at the Temple. By his will, dated 8 Oct. 1666 and proved 18 Feb. 1666-7, he left small bequests of money to his brother Howell, his sisters Gwin and Roberta-ap-Rice, and his landlady Mrs. Leigh. Three children of his brother Thomas, viz. Elizabeth, wife of Jeffrey Banister, Arthur and George Howell, besides one Strafford, a heelmaker, were also legatees. Another nephew, Henry Howell, was made sole executor. Many descendants of James's brother Howell Howell still survive in Wales.

Howell is one of the earliest Englishmen who made a livelihood out of literature. He wrote with a light pen; and although he shows little power of imagination in his excursions into pure literature, his pamphlets and his occasional verse exhibit exceptional faculty of observation, a lively interest in current affairs, and a rare mastery of modern languages, including his native Welsh. His attempts at spelling reform on roughly phonetic lines are also interesting. He urged the suppression of redundant letters like the e in done or the u in honour (cf. Epist. Ho-el. ed. Jacobs, p.510; Parley of Beasts, advt. at end). But it is in his 'Epistolæ Ho-elianæ: Familiar Letters, Domestic and Foreign, divided into Sundry Sections, partly Historical, Political, and Philosophical,' that his literary power is displayed at its best. Philosophic reflection, political, social, and domestic anecdote, scientific speculation, are all intermingled with attractive ease in the correspondence which he professes to have addressed to men of all ranks and degrees of intimacy. The first volume was issued in 1645, dedicated to Charles I, and with 'the Vote' prefixed ; a 'new,' that is the second volume, was issued in 1647; and both together appeared with a third volume in 1650. The first three volumes were thus published while Howell was in the Fleet. A fourth volume was printed in a collected edition of 1655. Later issues by London publishers are dated 1678, 1688, 1705, 1726, 1737, and 1754. The last three, called respectively the ninth, tenth, and eleventh editions, were described as 'very much corrected.' In 1753 another ' tenth ' edition was issued at Aberdeen. An eighth edition without date appeared after 1708 and before 1726. The first volume alone was reissued in the Stott Library in 1890. A complete reprint, with unpublished letters from the 'State Papers' and elsewhere, was edited by Mr. Joseph Jacobs in 1890; a complete commentary is to follow in a second volume (1891).