Category Archives: Henry Walker

Life continues

Wow, it has been half a year since my last post.  Well, life gets in the way sometimes.  It isn’t like I haven’t been doing a lot of writing anyway.  In short, my wife is pregnant and we are expecting in about a month, we bought a house about a month ago, and I have been working furiously on my dissertation to try to get as much done as possible.  It won’t be be done before the baby arrives, but I just have one chapter, an introduction, and revisions left. So there is that.

I recently (two days ago) made a rather significant discovery.  I’ll have more on that in the future, but for now I’ll just say that Mabbott made a very serious attempt to control the news industry during his career as licenser.  I would only call if half successful, but it was brilliant nonetheless.  And it really pissed off Henry Walker.

So I now have chapters 1, 2, 3, and 5 completed.  I am currently working on the chapter focusing on the Moderate and some of the other parliamentary newsbooks, looking for signs of news sharing or anything else that might be of interest.  This is somewhat worn territory, but since my interests are more specific, it will hopefully still yield something useful.  I am trying to track Mabbott’s political and career development in the period.

I will try to post something of what I’ve done for the other chapters in the next week or two.  Maybe I’ll review some of the articles I’ve read recently.  I had to do some thinking about the public sphere and its relation to my research, so that might interest somebody out there.


Filed under Henry Walker, Mabbott, Public Sphere, Uncategorized

Censorship as language

Sorry for the delay.  I recently finished a little foray into a series of censorship events (let’s just go with that for a term) in 1645-6.  I will try to sum up.

To set the scene, parliament, the Scots, and the king are trying to come to some kind of peace.  Unfortunately, everybody wants something different, and all are keen to justify their behavior and demands to the larger public.  In a series of pamphlets, the Scots Commissioners tried to make their case.  For the most part, these pamphlets were made up of the Scots Commissioners’ own papers.  Parliament responded by making gestures through censorship. When it finally succeeded in censoring an entire Scot pamphlet, it appeased the Commissioners by making another gesture.

Parliament had a difficult time trying to silence the Commissioners.  On one occasion, it made an inquiry into an offending pamphlet clearly published with the Commissioners’ consent, only to let the matter drop.  Without punishing anyone, parliament was trying to make its displeasure clear.

On another occasion, parliament ordered the preface and introduction to a Scot pamphlet burnt, condemning David Buchanan, a friend of the Commissioners and author of the preface as well as another condemned pamphlet.  Buchanan was relatively safe to attack, but the Scots managed to smuggle him out of England in time anyway.  The pamphlet also contained 3 of the Scots’ papers, which were left unscathed by the flames.  Parliament managed to avoid an open conflict with the Scots by not burning their papers, but successfully conveyed its displeasure with the pamphlet.  As well, parliament seems to have intentionally avoided carrying out a further inquiry into the authorship of the introduction after it discovered that it was likely authored by either the Commissioners’ secretary or the earl of Lauderdale.  Parliament thus sidestepped another complication by avoiding knowingly condemning a work by the Commissioners themselves.  This was certainly a more threatening gesture, but fell far short of censoring the Scots.

In one final move, parliament managed to block the publication of some of the earl of Loudoun’s speeches in a conference with parliament.  The Scots were offended and made a few attempts to retrieve the seized pamphlets.  Parliament could not return the pamphlets, but not wishing to force a breach with the Scots, appear to have tried to mollify them with a further act of censorship.  This time, it brought in Henry Walker for publishing a pamphlet that had particularly offended the Scots.  Walker claimed that he had received Mabbott’s permission for publication, and parliament ordered him to bring in proof.  As far as I can tell, that is where the matter ended.  Unable to satisfy the Scots’ demand for the return of their papers, parliament made another gesture, this time toward censoring an offender against the Scots, again without punishing anyone.

There is certainly a language to all of this.  I find it useful to remember that censorship was a tool in the early modern government’s toolbox which could be used for many purposes.  Here, it was a soft sort of diplomacy.  It also carried some important ramifications for some of the publishers, printers, and authors involved, their allegiances, and Mabbott, but I think that is a story for another time.

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Filed under censorship, Henry Walker, Long Parliament, Mabbott, Print Culture, Samuel Pecke

Forecast is sunny and warm

I am back in comfortable Santa Barbara, CA now.  It is nice to go outside without a scarf.  I should do a long update after having been gone so long, but I am afraid I do not have the time just yet.  I am presenting at PCCBS this weekend and I need to finish up the paper.  It’s mostly done, but it isn’t very polished, and I think it might be a bit confusing.  Work, work, work.

It’s taken from a paper I wrote last year that I will be turning into a chapter of my dissertation.  I am looking at the publication of accounts of Charles I’s trial, and Mabbott’s role in disseminating them.  In doing so, I look at Mabbott’s relationship with two other major newsbook editors: Samuel Pecke and Henry Walker.  I find that Mabbott used his (and the army’s) relationship with Pecke to facilitate the dissemination of the version of the trial published in the Moderate.  The version in the Moderate was in turn extracted from the separate published as the Narrative.  To make a long story short, the New Model organized the publication of that account of the trial, using Mabbott and his connections in London to facilitate it.  At the same time, Mabbott’s rivalry with Walker allowed/forced Walker to publish his own account of the trial, the Notes.  Thus, the episode shows an odd mix of personal, official, and public in the production of the news.  That could be interesting, right?

My work lately has been indicating the extreme importance of Mabbott’s personal relationships throughout his careers (licenser, agent, lobbyist, embezzler, etc.) which grew as government continued to professionalize, and I will probably have more to say on that in the future.  Being a parliamentary clerk opened a lot of doors for him.

I have also found out that Mabbott was a bit of a rake, though a very energetic one.  But I digress.

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Filed under Henry Walker, Mabbott, New Model, Samuel Pecke, William Clarke

England, teaching, and Los Angeles

So I’m back in the United States.  I’m actually at the Clark Library in Los Angeles right now.  I’ve been finishing up cataloguing the pictures I took in the various archives.  It’s kind of annoying, but I’ve already figured out a bunch of stuff I missed, including something rather interesting.  One of the parliamentary clerks was having at least one of his correspondents send his newsletters directly to Mabbott, even before the clerk got his hands on them.  So I’ve found some of the newsletters and need to go take a look, since the calendar of them is rather imprecise.  I’ve also found direct evidence that Mabbott had access to at least the Commons Journal when he was writing his newsletters in the 1650s.  That could have been assumed, but it’s nice to have the supporting evidence.  Mabbott did start his career as a parliamentary clerk after all.

I’ve also got my hands on a few interesting print cases, including one with forged publisher information.  I guess it goes to show parliament’s determination to uphold its printing laws that while the perpetrators got in trouble for what they were printing, parliament seems not to have cared about the forgery.  And they were released a few days later.  Interestingly, the Commons said that while it was okay for the material to be printed, the real problem was that it only presented one side of the argument (the other side, of course).

A lot of this has to go on hold for a while because I’m trying to get a course ready for second summer session.  I decided to teach a course on the English Civil War, the Fronde, and the Catalan Revolt, and then found out how little there was in translation for the last two.  There is a reasonable amount for the Fronde, I suppose, but not many mazarinades, and almost nothing for the Catalans.

In other news, the symposium in Hull went very well, despite a sudden cold I caught the second day.  The papers were really interesting and thoughtful, and I think they showed both the progress made in this field of history as well as how many avenues there are left to explore.  What they all showed was the importance of not underestimating the power of religion as a motivator.  Of course, what else would we expect?

Although anyone reading this blog has undoubtedly already seen it, I should still point out the series of great posts over at Mercurius Politicus on the spat between John Taylor and Henry Walker.  Neither of them was particularly pleasant, so you know it has to be good.  Also, please check back regularly at my girlfriend’s blog isaacnewtonalso for updates on how her part of the UK trip went.


Filed under Henry Walker, Long Parliament, Mabbott, Print Culture, Samuel Pecke

Mabbott, Skippon, and the Moderate

So now I’m starting to wonder a bit more about Mabbott and the Moderate.  I found a letter by Clarke published by Robert Austin.  I can’t figure out Austin’s connection, but his publication was not licensed.  Anyway, I looked through the rest of the stuff published and I found that Perfect Diurnall and the Moderate had the only other copies.  This plays well with my theory that Mabbott had some kind of connection to the Moderate and Samuel Pecke.  I’m thinking that it will be worthwhile to sit the two newsbooks side-by-side to see just how much intelligence they share, and perhaps cross-check that with Walker’s Perfect Occurences.

I’m still digging around in the Provost Marshal position that Mabbott supposedly wanted for himself.  As I said in my last post, I don’t think Mabbott wanted to be Provost Marshal.  I’m starting to wonder if te office was not instead a hodge-podge solution to a number of problems, as well as a Presbyterian reaction against Major General Skippon.  Skippon had had more or less the powers of the Provost Marshal and may have earned some enemies among Presbyterians from his firm control of London during the Second Civil War.  I need to look into it some more.

I like the sense of freedom I have in my research these days.  Although so much of Civil War history has been well worn, I am still finding new pieces of evidence.  I am not just checking references; I feel like an honest-to-God historian.  There is something very gratifying in it.  I suppose that this is not uncommon, but it’s great to be in a profession that allows me such freedom.

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Filed under Henry Walker, Mabbott, Print Culture, Samuel Pecke

Madman Magot

So what did I find today?  Well the title of this post comes from two back-to-back pamphlets in early May 1648.  I’ve seen this referenced before, but this is the first time I’ve seen them myself.  The more famous one is Thomason penning in “adman” after Mabbott’s initials: G. M.adman.  In the next pamphlet, though, he writes something else that gets lost in the binding.  I like to think it’s “Magot.”  I’m not sure, though.  I’m curious as to what made Thomason lash out that particular day.  Was the news on the Scots and Col. Poyer too upsetting?

As well, considering the number of pamphlets on the subject, the visitation on Oxford must have been terribly traumatic.  From what I’ve learned from Charles Weber, this should mark the godly overhaul of Oxford. Apparently, it ruffled more than a few feathers.

The Presbyterians were on quite the offensive.  Relatedly, I would like to see if there is an article on the Truth of Jesus Christ petitions.  These were heavily Presbyterian works.  The original was subsequently supported by ministers from all over England.

Bernard Alsop and Robert White seem to have had access to the same newsletter from Berwick.  It appeared in the Moderate Intelligencer, a separate published by White, and a separate published by Alsop.  Internal evidence suggests that each had their own copy.  While White might may have gotten the copy from Dillingham (or vice versa) Alsop’s newsbook, Perfect Weekly Account, does not seem to have had a copy, and it appears that Robert Ibbitson did not publish it either.  I’m not sure what this means, and certainly it wouldn’t be the first time that two publishers got a copy of the same material to print, but I’m wondering how Ibbitson got cut out of the loop.  Because of Walker?  Since I assume that commercial rivalry precluded Alsop and White simply sharing the letter, how did it get to the both of them?  Either they had a connection to the same correspondent, or someone received it and shared it with them both, but not the the other major player, Ibbitson.  LIke I said, I’m not sure entirely what to make of it, but it could potentially be very interesting.

There isn’t enough evidence to be sure, but it seems possible that Mabbott shared the letter with Alsop and White but skipped Ibbitson because Ibbitson was working with Henry Walker by that time (Packets of Letters).  There does seem to have been a decrease in the amount of Mabbott-licensed Ibbitson offerings.  At this point, Mabbott wouldn’t have crossed Dillingham, either.

That’s my update for today.  I hope it’s not too cryptic.  My thanks to Mercurius Politicus for his latest post.  It’s on programming.  I may not use it, but I’m glad someone is putting together this stuff in case I end up needing to.

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Filed under Henry Walker, Mabbott, Print Culture

The Lilburne Infection and more on Walker and Mabbott

I found another pamphlet with folks locked up in the Tower with Lilburne borrowing some of his arguments.  This time, it’s about the Lords not being allowed to try a commoner.  What’s interesting is that this time, at least one of them (the only one I’ve checked up on), was a staunch Presbyterian, imprisoned for his role in the attempted 1647 counter-revolution.  Yet even he borrows from Lilburne.  I can see why Lilburne was considered to be so dangerous.  He was infectious.

I had one other thought on Walker and Mabbott’s relationship.  In one of his petitions to the Lords, Walker complained that Mabbott (among other things) would refuse to license some news items.  Perhaps Walker’s distaste for Mabbott was simply due to Mabbott’s censorship of Walker.  I’m not sure about that, though.  I still need to think about some of the ramifications.  The problem still seems to run deeper than that, especially considering Walker’s connections to the Headquarters.  I’ll keep working on it.

I also ran across a pamphlet on the trial and execution of Sir Walter Raleigh.  I’m sure it has import to early 1648, but I can’t quite tell what.  Since it was licensed, my best guess is that was an attempt to show a particularly “tyrannical” proceeding (part of the campaign to get England ready to fight again), but it’s another thing I still need to think over.  I tried to compare it to reprints of Strafford’s trial or Buckingham’s escapades, but it seems to be a wholly different animal.

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Filed under Henry Walker, Levellers, Long Parliament, Mabbott, New Model, Print Culture

Mabbott and Walker

I have a new theory regarding the relationship between Mabbott and Henry Walker, the editor of Perfect Occurences.  I have been stymied as to why they began feuding in 1648, as they should have been on the same side.  Both seem to have had extensive contacts within the army and had the support of many of its officers.  Although I am still not entirely sure as the immediate cause of the feud, I have bit better grasp of its nature.  Walker may have tried to break the connection between Samuel Pecke (editor of Perfect Diurnall) and the army.  Late in September, just before Mabbott was rehired as licenser (and perhaps because of this; Walker certainly would have known that it was to happen), Walker requested that both he and Pecke be allowed to license their own newsbooks.  It is clear from other evidence that Pecke and Mabbott, and Pecke and the New Model, were bound in some way.

I am now starting to think that Walker’s motivations were “scoop”-oriented; he had his own connections to the officers and he wanted to be the only one with such connections.  Indeed, he petitioned on behalf of Pecke and himself on the same day that he petitioned to have a monopoly on publishing the Army’s Book of Declarations, and some of his later actions also suggest a similar desire.  This would explain his and Mabbott’s difficult relationship, despite having so many contacts (for instance, William Clarke) in common.  It would also explain why Walker tacitly admits the superiority of the Mabbott-licensed Narrative of the king’s trial by reprinting it in his own newsbooks while continuing to publish his own account of the trial in competition with the Narrative.  The next thing to do is to check the list of officers annexed to one of Walker’s petitions who supported his newsbook.  I believe it should be located in the Parliamentary Archives.  Unfortunately, the calendar of the House of Lords does not name the officers.  Fortunately, I will be able to check it myself in June!

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Filed under Henry Walker, Mabbott, New Model