I found another pamphlet with folks locked up in the Tower with Lilburne borrowing some of his arguments. This time, it’s about the Lords not being allowed to try a commoner. What’s interesting is that this time, at least one of them (the only one I’ve checked up on), was a staunch Presbyterian, imprisoned for his role in the attempted 1647 counter-revolution. Yet even he borrows from Lilburne. I can see why Lilburne was considered to be so dangerous. He was infectious.
I had one other thought on Walker and Mabbott’s relationship. In one of his petitions to the Lords, Walker complained that Mabbott (among other things) would refuse to license some news items. Perhaps Walker’s distaste for Mabbott was simply due to Mabbott’s censorship of Walker. I’m not sure about that, though. I still need to think about some of the ramifications. The problem still seems to run deeper than that, especially considering Walker’s connections to the Headquarters. I’ll keep working on it.
I also ran across a pamphlet on the trial and execution of Sir Walter Raleigh. I’m sure it has import to early 1648, but I can’t quite tell what. Since it was licensed, my best guess is that was an attempt to show a particularly “tyrannical” proceeding (part of the campaign to get England ready to fight again), but it’s another thing I still need to think over. I tried to compare it to reprints of Strafford’s trial or Buckingham’s escapades, but it seems to be a wholly different animal.
This is strange if not unknown. When Sir John Maynard was imprisoned in 1647, he connected with John Lilburne in the tower. He was one of the 11 members singled out by the New Model earlier that year. John Wildman and John Harris (two other Levellers) then waged a small campaign against the Lords on his behalf. Considering how strongly the Levellers tried to ally with the army, it is strange that they would link Maynard’s case to Lilburne’s. It almost seems like Lilburne made friends with anyone tossed in the Tower with him.
I’m also working on a project discussing the failure of the first two Agreements of the People. Barbara Taft and Austin Woolrych, who admittedly draws on Taft, both make persuasive arguments. While Taft focuses more on the timing of the second agreement, Woolrych emphasizes the apostacy of the Levellers. I am inclined to argue that the frequent Leveller attempts to divide the army defeated the grandees’ purpose for negotiating with them: to unify the army.
This fits into my larger argument that support of the Levellers within the army was much more widespread than argued by recent historians. Cromwell, Fairfax, and Ireton seemed willing, if unhappy, to go along with debating the first Agreement until Rainsborough hijacked the General Council. Interestingly, the group behind the Case of the Armie was treated with contempt until it was discovered that Sexby (I think it was him, though I’ll need to verify) was involved. Sexby was one the legitimate agitators. To me, this aboutface indicates a desire to reconcile with the more Levellerish section of the army.
In the case of the second Agreement, Leveller recriminations and Lilburne’s A Plea for Common-Right and Freedom, which again threatened the authority of the senior officers, showed the officers for the second time that the Levellers were enemies rather than allies. Why would an Agreement even be seriously considered unless the senior officers believed Levellerism to be a potent force within the ranks, and then why would so many junior officers show such a willingness to defy their seniors during the votes on its articles unless Levellerism was a serious force?
The only real reason I can see for the failure of Agreement is the lack of persistence by men like Ireton and Cromwell, who were in turn most threatened by Leveller attempts to divide the army from its commanders.