Mabbott and Walker

I have a new theory regarding the relationship between Mabbott and Henry Walker, the editor of Perfect Occurences.  I have been stymied as to why they began feuding in 1648, as they should have been on the same side.  Both seem to have had extensive contacts within the army and had the support of many of its officers.  Although I am still not entirely sure as the immediate cause of the feud, I have bit better grasp of its nature.  Walker may have tried to break the connection between Samuel Pecke (editor of Perfect Diurnall) and the army.  Late in September, just before Mabbott was rehired as licenser (and perhaps because of this; Walker certainly would have known that it was to happen), Walker requested that both he and Pecke be allowed to license their own newsbooks.  It is clear from other evidence that Pecke and Mabbott, and Pecke and the New Model, were bound in some way.

I am now starting to think that Walker’s motivations were “scoop”-oriented; he had his own connections to the officers and he wanted to be the only one with such connections.  Indeed, he petitioned on behalf of Pecke and himself on the same day that he petitioned to have a monopoly on publishing the Army’s Book of Declarations, and some of his later actions also suggest a similar desire.  This would explain his and Mabbott’s difficult relationship, despite having so many contacts (for instance, William Clarke) in common.  It would also explain why Walker tacitly admits the superiority of the Mabbott-licensed Narrative of the king’s trial by reprinting it in his own newsbooks while continuing to publish his own account of the trial in competition with the Narrative.  The next thing to do is to check the list of officers annexed to one of Walker’s petitions who supported his newsbook.  I believe it should be located in the Parliamentary Archives.  Unfortunately, the calendar of the House of Lords does not name the officers.  Fortunately, I will be able to check it myself in June!

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1 Comment

Filed under Henry Walker, Mabbott, New Model

One response to “Mabbott and Walker

  1. Nick

    I seem to remember Joad Raymond hinting at something similar in his “Invention of the Newspaper”. I suppose it’s an example of the profit motive having to be considered alongside the politics of ideology. Added to which is the fact that Walker was an awkward customer at the best of times…

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