Kaiser: If Harvey didn’t author the attacks on Greene following the “death” of the latter, why didn’t he protest? He seems the logical person to lodge a protest if his name was being smeared or used inappropriately.
Hughes: Harvey was in no position to protest. He had just lost his job at the university and was embroiled in a bitter lawsuit with his sister-in-law over the property left by his youngest brother John, who had just died. He knew he was up against two adversaries that he could never beat, both powerful courtiers, one of them (“Nashe”) out to get him, partly for personal reasons, but mostly because he needed someone he could use to show his gift for invective. By that time, as Nashe well knew, and as Harvey must have realized, Harvey had no one in the Court or literary communities who cared enough to stand up for him.
It was time to beat a retreat, which he did, back to Saffron Walden, where he managed what was left of his patrimony, collected books, wrote letters, communicated with respected scholars, and stayed out of trouble. I believe that all of the letters signed with Harvey’s name during the Nashe-Harvey pamphlet duel were actually written by Oxford, who was not so much out to damage Harvey as he was simply having a blast making fun of his style. If you need a good laugh, try reading his Pierce’s Supererogation in that light.