I have an assortment of items today. I am in the process of preparing to move to Georgia. My wife found a great tenure-track position at the University of West Georgia, and we are headed out there soon. We just got back from a house-hunting trip. We found a loft and I had a job interview. It looks like I will be teaching a few courses as an adjunct at Georgia Gwinnett College. It’s a bit of a commute, but they have been very considerate in arranging my schedule to make it as easy as possible.
In other news, pending revisions, I have had an article accepted into Parliamentary History! I am fairly excited about that. You’ll never guess who it is about.
While in Georgia, I read the recent article by Elliot Vernon and Philip Baker, “What was the First Agreement of the People?” (Historical Journal). I must say that I enjoyed it quite a bit. Vernon and Baker have drawn on work by Peacey and Como and reimagined the political landscape around the first Agreement. Perhaps not radically, but certainly different. Instead of assuming that the Agreement was a Leveller document designed to woo the soldiery, they argue that the Agreement was one of the last products of Peacey’s Independent alliance. It was made by men afraid that the Army’s leadership had fallen away from its own principles in pursuing the Heads of the Proposals. Some men associated with the Levellers were certainly involved, but it was not a Leveller initiative.
This view does seem to tie up some of the loose ends surrounding the Putney Debates. For instance, why was Lilburne not involved? Why was Rainsborough there? However, the most interesting bit, for me anyway, was that they have apparently figured out that the Agreement, along with the Case of the Armie Truly Stated and other documents, were printed by the press purchased by Chillenden from Jane Coe. I have known about this press, but did not know that it was being used for this more radical agenda. As well, Vernon and Baker mention that John Clowes made use of this press while printing for George Whittington. I knew that Whittington was an army publisher—the army regularly paid him for publishing their declarations—but the fact that the army was making this kind of use of their press is a rather big revelation, with potential ramifications for my own work. I really wish that Vernon and Baker would publish their evidence concerning the use of the army’s press; it is mentioned almost as an aside in the article.
I will be curious what others have to say about the article. I find that it makes more sense than most things I have read (and written) about this stage of the development of the Levellers. The last gasp of the Independent alliance led to the formation of the Levellers.