I’ve been noticing that H. Becke seems to have become a useful Army printer. He tends only to print pro-army kinds of stories, always licensed by Mabbott. Conversely, Ibbitson, who had previously played such a role, has been publishing a lot less. I don’t know much about Becke, but I’ll see what I can find.
I want to look more into this affair with the petitioners from Surrey. In May, some rowdy petitioners allegedly threatened some of the MPs and harrassed the soldiers, who eventually opened fire on them. It looks like there was a real attempt to present the army and parliament’s side of the story, always licensed by Mabbott.
May was a busy month for publishers. It would seem that Mabbott was knocked back a bit. He licensed some seemingly Presbyterian works and it looks like there were a lot more unlicensed works than usual. By the end of the month he seemed to be getting back together again. However, an “R.W.” and B. A. (Bernard Alsop I think) have been printing some pretty questionable material with his imprimatur. I’m not yet sure what to make of all of this. I’m beginning to wonder how much truth there was in Mabbott’s resignation letter, saying that the licenser’s opinion accounted for too much of what got licensed. If it’s bare narrative, he seems to let a lot of matter through. On the other hand, he will only license Independent, pro-Army, or occasionaly pro-Parliament polemic. I guess that makes sense, though it is a little surprising in some ways. I wonder if Cromwell thought he was getting his money’s worth in Mabbott.
There was one really clever piece of propaganda/news, published by Becke. There was a letter, with the author expressing his desire for a peaceful solution in Kent (I think it was Kent), worrying about the effects of the army’s victory or its failure. The next item reported that with a little fighting, there were no casualties, and that Fairfax looked to be finding a peaceful solution to the problem. LIke I said, clever.