Sorry I haven’t posted in a while. I’ve been busy preparing for my trip to England. I’ve been doing a bit of writing, but haven’t had too much to report. However, my girlfriend found a book called Englishmen With Swords: A Narrative of the years 1647, 1648 and 1649 taken from the Journal of Gilbert Mabbott. I think it’s fiction, but I ordered it and I’m still excited about reading it. I thought it was funny, though, because I wrote a seminar paper once that I called “By men that have swords in their hands, and resolution in their spirits,” borrowing from John Lilburne, and I always abbreviated it “men with swords.” Even then, I was destined to write about Mabbott. These days I’m trying to get my paper on the first two Agreements of the People together. I am arguing that the Levellers were far more powerful than most of the modern historical work on them suggests, and that it was the Levellers’ inability to compromise (bordering on treacherous) that forced the New Model leadership to act against them. It was the officers’ first desire to try to maintain military unity by negotiating with them, and they only decided to “break them” after it became clear that the Levellers would never support any sort of compromise. The officers’ Agreement failed because without Leveller support, there was little reason for Ireton to support it.
At least, that’s my thinking so far. I may change my mind a bit.