Exiled dissenters and British intelligence

Jason Peacey is professor of early modern history at University College London and takes special interest in British history. In his contribution to our collective volume “Ink and blood – writing rebellion in early modern diplomacy”, he will discuss British observations of exiled dissenting communities in the Dutch Republic and analyse the importance of early modern intelligence to national defence and peace-keeping.

Jason Peacey’s university website: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/history/people/academic-staff/jason-peacey/jason-peacey

Jason Peacey’s major publications:

Sir Thomas Cotton’s consumption of news in 1650s England, 2006.

Henry Parker and parliamentary propaganda in the English Civil Wars, University of Cambridge, 1994.

The regicides and the execution of Charles I, edited by Jason Peacey, Basingstoke, Palgrave, 2001.

Breaking news : Renaissance journalism and the birth of the newspaper, Chris R. Kyle and Jason Peacey, Washington, DC, University of Washington Press, 2008.

Notes: “This volume has breen published in conjunction with the exhibition ‘Breaking News: Renaissance Journalism and the Birth of the Newspaper’ presented at the Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington DC, from September 25, 2008 through January 31, 2009.”

‘Rushworth Shall Not Take Any Notes Here’: Journals, Debates and the Public, 1640–60, [Place of publication not identified], John Wiley & Sons, Inc. 2014.

Notes: In: PARLIAMENTARY HISTORY volume 33 issue 3 page 422.


“This article focuses on, and rethinks, the issue of parliamentary ‘secrecy’ during the mid 17th century, by comparing the official journals of the house of commons with the kinds of information that emerged in the public domain in the 1640s and 1650s, not least in printed newsbooks. It suggests that scholars have too readily assumed that MPs sought rigorously to uphold the principle that parliamentary proceedings were not fit matters for public consumption, and the idea that their activities at Westminster should be protected from the public gaze. It argues that this has involved paying excessive attention to occasional comments and orders which suggest that MPs resented public scrutiny of their activity, as well as a failure to distinguish between different motives for achieving ‘secrecy’, between attitudes to the availability of different kinds of information, and between principles and political practice. The aim of the article, in short, is to offer a more nuanced appreciation of the ways in which MPs sought to professionalise and formalise public access, even to the extent of rethinking ideas about political accountability.”

URL: https://nls.ldls.org.uk/welcome.html?lsidyv8ce87bd6

Disorderly Debates: Noise and Gesture in the 17th‐Century House of Commons, [Place of publication not identified], John Wiley & Sons, Inc. 2013.

Notes: In: PARLIAMENTARY HISTORY volume 32 issue 1 page 60.


“This article explores the atmosphere and behaviour of the house of commons during the 17th century, and endeavours to recover evidence about noise and gesture, decorum and disorder. Such evidence is rarely recorded and is difficult to interpret, but it is, nevertheless, possible to demonstrate that the House was often much less orderly and polite than contemporaries would have liked to admit, and than historians have often suggested. This evidence is largely absent from the official Commons' journals as well as from most private diaries, but it is occasionally recorded in contemporary news reports, and more obviously in the diary of Thomas Burton, and it highlights the numerous occasions on which proceedings fell into silence or descended into noisy uproar, as well as the occasions when interventions were made with gestures rather than words. At times, this aural and visual culture involved humour and harmless fun, but at others, it reveals personal tensions and political animosities that might otherwise not be apparent from recorded speeches. By drawing attention to such evidence and teasing out its meaning, this piece argues that historians have too often succumbed to the tendency to accentuate consensus and downplay conflict in 17th‐century parliaments.”

URL: https://nls.ldls.org.uk/welcome.html?lsidyv79dc6d43

Parties, Parliament and Pride’s Purge: David Underdown as Political Historian, [Place of publication not identified], John Wiley & Sons, Inc. 2013.

Notes: In: HISTORY COMPASS volume 11 issue 5 page 352.


“This piece reassesses the work of the late David Underdown, one of the most important historians of the early modern period of the last 50 years. In particular, it concentrates upon his work on political history, with specific reference to what is probably his most important book, Pride's Purge (1971). This book has had a profound effect on the historiography of the civil wars, and the aim of this article is not to question its overall narrative relating to the Independent faction, to the events surrounding the trial of Charles I, and to the broader Puritan revolution, but rather to assess Underdown's approach and methodology, and his treatment of sources. It discusses and critiques his prosopographical methodology, while at the same time arguing that scholars still have much to learn from the way in which Underdown analysed parliament and high politics, from the way in which he connected local and national aspects of the revolution and the disciplines of social and political history, and from his willingness to adopt a creative approach to the use of contemporary pamphlets and newspapers.”

URL: https://nls.ldls.org.uk/welcome.html?lsidyv7a1b8eab

Politicians and pamphleteers: propaganda during the English civil wars and interregnum, Aldershot, Ashgate, 2004.

The print culture of Parliament, 1600-1800, edited by Jason Peacey, Edinburgh, Edinburgh University Press, for the Parliamentary History Yearbook Trust, 2007.

Summary: “A series of essays which explore the impact of print upon parliament and parliamentary affairs during the early modern period, with particular reference to the relations between parliament and ‘the public’.”

Parliament at work: parliamentary committees, political power, and public access in early modern England, edited by Chris R. Kyle and Jason Peacey, Rochester, N.Y., Boydell Press 2002.


‘Under cover of so much coming and going’: public access to Parliament and the political process in early modern England / Chris R. Kyle and Jason Peacey
‘[B]y committinge of a bill of the howse allowed of the bodie thereof’. Tudor parliamentary legislative committees: development, purposes, value and problems, 1510-1601 / Michael A.R. Graves
Attendance, apathy and order? Parliamentary committees in early Stuart England / Chris R. Kyle
Politics, accounts and propaganda in the Long Parliament / Jason Peacey
Ireland at Westminster: the Long Parliament’s Irish committees, 1641-1647 / Robert Armstrong
Triumph of oligarchy: the management of war and the Committee of Both Kingdoms, 1644-1645 / John Adamson Foundation of the Council of State / Sean Kelsey
Cavalier Parliament, the 1667 accounts commission and the idea of accountability / Paul Seaward
Public space, private affairs: committees, petitions and lobbies in the early modern English parliament / David Dean

URL: http://www.loc.gov/catdir/toc/fy033/2002071738.html

Print and public politics in the English revolution, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press 2013.


The ownership of cheap print
The accessibility of print
Readers, reception and the authority of print
Analysing Parliament and its problems
Access to Parliament
Monitoring personalities and performance
Authors, printing and participation
Print and petitioning
Print and lobbying
Printing, mass mobilisation and protesting
Holding representatives to account.

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Search OpenEdition Search

You will be redirected to OpenEdition Search