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.

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The Leviathan

I will try to upload some real content soon.  In the meantime, I will leave you with two items.  One: while looking through the Lords Journal for something else, I ran across the Lords debating a writ of error between a man named Kirke and a man named Bishop.  Got a good chuckle over that.  You can find those in Aug. and Oct. 1648.  Two: this is one of my favorite woodcuts yet.  Leviathan smiles.

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Some quick images

I took a couple of screenshots of some items that made me laugh for one reason or another.  For the first, how often do you see that?  For the second, it wasn’t actually an emoticon, but wouldn’t it be great if it was?

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Drink-hards

I am fairly busy these days, so I haven’t had much time to blog much.  However, I just ran across this pamphlet, and thought it was worth sharing.  I’m not sure why I find it so funny, but the guy passed out with everyone watching just kills me.

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The unfortunate Moss family

This is the story of how I depressed myself one day:

The other day I was trying to track down Elizabeth Moss.  The Moss(e) family was connected to William Clarke and Gilbert Mabbott, though the relationship is still unclear to me.  One HMC editor thought that Clarke may have been adopted into the Moss family, though there isn’t enough proof for that kind of assertion.  Certainly, Clarke does receive a letter from someone he calls “Mother Mosse.”

I found that there were a John and Elizabeth Moss who were having children, also named John and Elizabeth, in the later 1640s and early 1650s, this would have made them around the same age as Gilbert and William.  The baptisms were held at St. Margaret’s, the same place that Mabbott would have his children baptized.

My next piece of evidence was a letter (29 October 1650) from Mabbott’s and Clarke’s brother-in-law, Hilliard Kympton, to Clarke.  He said that he was “from my hart sorry for Mr. Moss” and that Elizabeth was “like a woman distracted” and a “miserable wretch.”  He then says the kinds of things that a person says when something terrible had happened.  At this point, I was excited by the mystery, and dug into my materials to see what I could find.

From there I found in an HMC volume two letters, drafted by Clarke, in which Elizabeth was trying to negotiate with the royalists for the release of her husband.  They were dated 1 January 1651.  Okay, so it looks like she was upset because John had been captured by royalists.  It is also clear that Elizabeth and Clarke had been trying to arrange some kind of prisoner transfer, but Cromwell decided that Moss was not worth the trade offered.  Elizabeth then tried to offer money.

I’m still not sure what exactly John Moss did, but it was apparent from the above letters that he was not part of the army, but he was connected to the war effort.  I found in the CSPD that there had been a John Mosse who brought some news to the Committee of Both Houses about the capture of Col. Powell.  At this point, I wonder about this whole family group.  Since I know that Hilliard was also involved with the New Model, it’s clear that there was a whole series of connected families that made their livings as civilian support for the military.  I guess I shouldn’t find that surprising, but I do.

Now I finally find the last piece of the puzzle.  On 25 June 1652, Elizabeth Mosse received £50 from the Council of State, “her husband having lost his life in the service.”  It looks like John was captured by royalists, held for negotiations, and when Clarke and Elizabeth couldn’t convince Cromwell to make a trade and couldn’t put together enough money to make it worthwhile, the royalists executed him.

For some reason, I just keep imagining how painful that must have been.  Can you imagine?  So much anger and pain and guilt.  I don’t know why, I just can’t shake it.  I think it might be because of that letter by Hilliard Kympton.  I just imagine how distraught Elizabeth must have been.  Then, she had the hope of some kind of prisoner exchange. Everything was going to be alright!  Then Cromwell said no, and they didn’t have the resources to pay the ransom.  It’s just awful.

Well, now I’ve gone and depressed myself again.  On a more positive note, Kympton married a Susan Moss, who, I’m guessing, was the offspring of John and Elizabeth.  However, since I know that Kympton remarried once, if not twice, Susan probably didn’t last all that long either.  I still have more looking to do in the parish registers, but at least I’ve figured the broad outlines of the Moss family tragedy.  Now I need a drink.

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Last trip to the Huntington

I just made my final trip to the Huntington Library for a while. It was not a particularly productive afternoon. I could not hunt down anymore information on Kympton Mabbott’s will. I did verify that he got a marriage license in March 1703. His new wife’s name was Elizabeth. I am wondering if it is possible that either this or the Ellen Mabbott, widow of Kympton in Cornwall, was mistranscribed. Elizabeth and Ellen could be mixed up, right? Otherwise, there is either a third wife or a second Kympton Mabbott running around. It’s possible that there were two Kymptons, but the name is very odd. No offense intended to any Kympton Mabbotts running around out there right now. Actually, if you are named Kympton Mabbott, and Kympton is a family name, you are probably related to Gilbert in some way. Drop me a line.

I have also been having trouble finding an index for wills proved at Canterbury between 1700 and 1750. Does such a thing not exist? I’ve found indices on either side, just not for the 50 years I need. I’ve long since given up on finding Gilbert’s will, but I was hopeful for Kympton’s.

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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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Loose ends

Work continues on my dissertation.  I’ve added a further few names to my list of Mabbott’s correspondents, and I’ve codified much of his known correspondence and am in the process of going through it for any missed clues.  I’ve found a few already.  Then I will resume going through the pamphlets published while he served as licenser.

There has been one interesting development, however.  I may have tracked down Gilbert’s son, Kympton, to Cornwall.  I’m headed down to the Huntington soon to see if I can find a will in any of their indices of wills.  I am hopeful.  Apparently, Ellen, the widow of a Kympton Mabbott, left some money for a charity in 1711.  The timing is right for Kympton’s second wife, and I do believe that he remarried in 1702 or 1703.  More on that soon.

As well, there does seem to be some strange information floating around out there.  A number of genealogical sites seem to think that Diana Mabbott, Gilbert’s daughter, was the niece of Edward Hyde, Earl of Clarendon.  One site thought that she was the daughter of Kympton Mabbott and Susan Hyde.  As far as I can tell, this is wrong.  I think that it is a the result of a sham lineage for an early nineteenth-century family.  I can’t prove that yet, but none of the years add up.  According to the report published by the Deputy Keeper of the Records in Ireland, Kympton married one Susan Moss in 1676 (which has some other ramifications for my research which I won’t get into now).  There is no way that a man born in 1653 could have a marriageable daughter by 1675, a year before he married.  Diana Mabbott did marry Sir Henry Tuite, as the genealogy sites say, but she was much more likely the daughter of Gilbert, born to him and his wife in 1652, than any offspring of Kympton.  Could there have been another Kympton Mabbott in Dublin?  Yes, but since Kympton was clearly a name borrowed from Gilbert’s wife’s side of the family (brother’s and mother’s maiden name), it seems unlikely.

But if the Mabbotts married into the Hyde family, that would definitely be something to note.

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Archives, 1950s style

I spent several hours in the microfilm department on campus today.  No dust or delicate paper, just reel after reel of make-you-blind microfilm.  The goal was to look through pertinent areas of the Clarke Papers to find any unpublished letters from Mabbott or relatives, or other people whom I am looking into.  There was some moderate success; I found a handful of unpublished letters, though I haven’t looked at them enough to know if they will be useful.

One thing that I did note, however, is that Clarke seems to have been actively trying to protect some of his correspondents.  When letters were recopied, he often left off the author’s name (quite frustrating!).  However, in two cases where he appears to have included Mabbott’s original letters, he tried to mark out Mabbott’s name.  In one, he simply drew an “X” over it, perhaps to remind himself not to copy it over later.  In another, he scribbled over it in an attempt to make it illegible.  Since it is generally accepted that Clarke was in the process of compiling a history of the Civil Wars when he died, it seems likely to me that he was trying to provide cover for old friends.  I’m sure that someone else has already argued as much with better evidence and style, but it was my observation for today.

Something else puzzled me.  According to the microfilm table of contents, the Clarke MSS from Littlecote should all have been there. However, none of the letters I was looking for were there.  Indeed there was very little before 1659, whereas there is a great deal in the HMC report on them.  According to the editor, part of the collection has become part of the Egerton collection at the BL, but these do not include the letters that I am looking for.  I would like to see the original letters, since the calendars do tend to cut out bits of information that are useful to me.  I may post something on H-Albion to see if anyone knows where I might find them.

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Actual “gotcha” journalism


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