Georgia on my mind

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.

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3 responses to “Georgia on my mind

  1. Nick

    Great news about the article – and good luck with the move, too.

  2. Hi, thank you for your kind words about our article.

    As to the evidence for the Coe/Army/Clowes press – We intend to present this in a future article on New Agent organisation. However, if you want a taster – look at the two E’s and the P used in making the word PEOPLE on the frontispiece for the Agreement of the People – a nice hi-def version (from Clarke’s collection in Worcester College, Oxford) can be found here: http://www.putneydebates.com/6th%20Form%20Text.pdf. You will notice very distinctive breaks in these letters. If you look at the picture of the frontispiece of the Case of the Army Truly Stated (again from Worcester College) in the same pdf you will see that the E of CASE has the same break as the first E in People on the frontispiece of the Agreement. These broken letters all appear in the other New Agent tracts such as the Two Letters and the Two Petitions and if you wade through the output of Jane Coe on EEBO in the first half of 1647 and John Clowes (who went into partnership with the Coes in 1647/8) in 1648 you will find these broken letters appearing with regularity.

    There are other examples, but this is the most graphic example that indicates that the press is the same press.

    • gilbertmabbott

      Thank you so much for the “taster.” I always love it when someone finds something that was hiding out in the open, so to speak. It really is a significant find.
      It will also certainly alter my current dissertation chapter; I am trying to track Gilbert Mabbott’s licensing tendencies from 1647 to 1649. I will have to pay more attention to whether or not Whittington was getting Mabbott’s imprimatur! A quick look through my notes turned up something you probably already knew, but just in case, it seemed worth a mention. Whittington published Plaine English by John Hare, a favorite of the Levellers. The work discussed the Norman Yoke and came out on 4 November 1647.
      I’ve spent a lot of time trying to work out the nature of the relationship between the Levellers and the army. I can’t wait to see what you have to say on New Agent organization.

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