Flight of the Conchords is really funny.
I did a lot of work today. I can’t really recap all of the weird things a I discovered or decided to change in my methodology, but there are two big points.
One is that at some point in the summer of 1648, Mabbott seems to have gone into partial retirement. Not really, but his imprimatur more or less disappears except from newsbooks. I don’t know yet why, nor have I locked down when it happens quite yet. My guess is late June because that’s when he gets in trouble with Dillingham, and someone starts the Moderate. For a long time I have believed that Mabbott was not the editor of said newsbook, though he acted as patron, but maybe I’m wrong. Certainly, editing a newsbook would take him away from some of his other duties. Then again, I don’t yet know if that is when or why his imprimatur stopped appearing (though it was around in early June, and gone by August). I found a note in the LJ thanking Mabbott for running a letter over from Colchester in late August, so maybe he was just away. It is a problem I will continue to work on.
Importantly, it would seem that the publishers that he licensed most seem to have dropped off in his absence. At least, that’s what happened to the ones who printed military news, like George Horton, H. Becke, and Robert Ibbitson. Ibbitson is still around, but publishing less frequently. It isn’t something I was expecting to find, but it does support my argument that Mabbott acted as patron to the London news industry. I still have a lot more work to do to find the boundaries of his absence and its effects on the presses, but it is a promising start. I know Mabbott was pretty much gone in August and September, and it looks the same until the end of the year.
Second, I spent most of the day looking at evidence from late August and September 1648 over Mabbott’s request for more powers for suppressing pamphlets. The old story was that he requested these powers, eventually decided not to take them up, and a Captain Francis Bethan was appointed Provost Marshal in his stead. I now believe that this contention is wrong. If anybody actually cares to find out why, you are welcome to contact me.