I finally finished transcribing the Mabbott-Hull newsletters a little while ago. I thought I would take a little time to think about what I found in them, and since it’s time for a new post, to discuss them here.
I suppose the more general comments should go first. Unsurprisingly, it seems obvious that Mabbott was writing a lot of these newsletters. Some of them survive both in Hull and in the Clarke Papers, and the daily updates suggest that he wrote the letters one day at a time. There are occasional changes in hand, indicating that he had help in writing all of them. At least in one case, where he made a special ps to discuss business he was carrying out for Hull, he wrote “(Hull)” in the bottom left of the page. I would imagine that it was intended to remind him to send the letter to the correct recipient, which would not be terribly necessary with only a handful of correspondents.
These letters would be useful for someone studying the Anglo-Dutch war, the Jamaica expedition, or the period’s politics more generally. They focus on parliament, military engagements, and foreign affairs. It is clear that he had access to the Commons Journal, and he had numerous contacts in parliament that he used to try to prosecute Hull’s business.
I’ve found evidence suggesting that Mabbott clearly took his position as agent to the army as superior to his employment with the Hull corporation. I found one case in which he appears to have been using his correspondence with Hull to spread a little printed army propaganda (yes, I know that isn’t the right word), as well as possibly tried to repurpose one of Lilburne’s pamphlets.
He mentions a few printed works that were supressed. One, Sportive Wit, caught my eye as being singled out. I took a brief look, and although it seemed rather bawdy, I didn’t think it deserved quite the treatment that it received. However, near the end of the book, there is an epitaph to none other than John Taylor. There was also a strange line on the title page, “Semel in anno ridet Apollo,” which translates as Apollo laughs once a year. Does anybody know the reference?
My favorite part is still where he refers to the Speaker being “modestly” pulled out of his chair at the dissolution of the Rump.
Well, that’s not everything, but those are some of the more important (or more interesting) things I’ve discovered by looking at his newsletters.