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‘A Knowing but a Discrete Man’: Scribal News and Information Management in Restoration England

Peacey, Jason; (2022) ‘A Knowing but a Discrete Man’: Scribal News and Information Management in Restoration England. Parliamentary History , 41 (1) pp. 19-36. 10.1111/1750-0206.12605.

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Abstract

This article builds upon recent interest in scribal news by analysing official uses of manuscript newsletters during the Restoration, in domestic contexts as well as in relation to Anglo-Dutch affairs. It uses official correspondence and diplomatic archives to trace official attitudes to scribal news, as well as the processes devised for utilising newsletters. In part, this is a study of ‘information management’, and it explores the methods used for acquiring and analysing intelligence, as well as the personnel involved. But it also emphasises that officials were conscious of the shifting landscape of news across the 17th century, and of popular demand for both printed and scribal news. As such, intelligence strategies involved more than just spies and intercepts, in terms of the need to both ‘consume’ and produce scribal news, to develop relationships with intelligencers and journalists, and to exchange information. Mapping this complex news ecosystem enhances our appreciation of the ongoing relevance of scribal newsletters, but it also highlights some intractable challenges faced by the government, in terms of the tensions between disseminating information to friendly correspondents and imperilling some of its most valued intelligencers.

Type: Article
Title: ‘A Knowing but a Discrete Man’: Scribal News and Information Management in Restoration England
DOI: 10.1111/1750-0206.12605
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1111/1750-0206.12605
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Scribal news, newsletters, newsbooks, Restoration, intelligence, diplomacy
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of History
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10121601
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