Reference > Cambridge History > Cavalier and Puritan > The Beginnings of English Journalism > Walker, the ironmonger, and his literary frauds
  Berkenhead, Dillingham, Audley, Nedham, Smith, Rushworth and Border Martin Parker, Sheppard, Wharton, Hall, Frost, Harris and Mabbott  

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The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
Volume VII. Cavalier and Puritan.

XV. The Beginnings of English Journalism.

§ 4. Walker, the ironmonger, and his literary frauds.


In 1647, Henry Walker, the red–haired ironmonger nicknamed “Judas” by the royalists, first dared to make his appearance as a journalist, writing under the pseudonym (an anagram of his real name) “Luke Harruney.” Walker’s output of books and pamphlets as politician, as journalist, as religious reformer, as Cromwell’s preacher, as the apostle of Drogheda and Dunbar and, it must be added, as forger and literary pirate, exceeds in number that of any other writer between 1647 and 1655; not only was the historical significance of some of them of great importance, but his relations with Cromwell were so intimate, that any estimate of the protector’s character and career which fails to take into account his connection with Henry Walker must be called incomplete. George Fox, the quaker, in his Journal, has summed up Walker’s character. Charged by Walker with immorality and sorcery, Fox has recorded in his diary that Walker was “Olivers priest,” always about him and a “liar,” a “forger of lies.”   29
  These statements were strictly accurate. Walker began his literary career in 1641 by being imprisoned by the House of Lords for writing two libels in verse entitled, respectively, The Wren and the Finch and The Prelates Pride. In consequence of this, he fraudulently printed the name of William Prynne as writer to his next libel— A Terrible outcry against the loytering exalted Prelats. The forgery did not pass undiscovered; and, on 20 December, 1641, he was for the second time sent to prison—on this occasion, by the House of Commons.   30
  The title of his pamphlet, To your tents O Israel, which he threw into the king’s coach—into the king’s face—the day after Charles’s unsuccessful attempt to arrest the five members, is better known. This sent his printer, Thomas Paine, to prison,  6  while Walker himself was put in the pillory, and he then vanished altogether from the public eye, taking service in the army. When he reappeared as “Luke Harruney,” writer of Perfect Occurrences of Every Dayes Journall, it was in succession to John Saltmarsh the army preacher, to whose memory, after his death at the end of the same year, he paid the tribute of a pamphlet of forged prophecies. 7  Another forgery, in 1647, was The bloudy Almanac for 1648, by John Booker, with an illustration of the king kneeling at the bar of the House of Commons on the title–page. 8  Yet one more fraud was perpetrated by him on 3 February, 1648, entitled Severall Speeches at a Conference concerning the power of Parliament to proceed against the King for misgovernment—a theft and adaptation of the Conference about the Next Succession to the Crown of England attributed to father Robert Persons, the Jesuit, but really written by Verstegan. A much bulkier and more pretentious volume, a translation of Hubert Languet’s Vindiciae contra Tyrannos, was issued from the press by Walker on 1 March, 1648; but it may be doubted whether he was the actual translator. 9  When king Charles interceded for him with parliament in 1642, stipulating that he was not to suffer either in life or limb, Walker addressed his sovereign in terms of the most extravagant praise, calling heaven to witness that he would lay down his life for him, and eulogising his piety and goodness. If all this be borne in mind and compared with Walker’s The King’s Last Farewell to the World (30 January, 1649), and his History of the Life Reigne and Death of the late King Charles collected out of Choyce Record, begun as a supplement to his newsbook in 1652, 10  and evidently suppressed by the licenser on account of its shameful statements, it will be manifest that Oliver’s “priest” was also a hypocrite.   31
  After the death of the king, Walker became the principal journalist of the day, was given living after living and was made a preacher at Somerset house. To such a reputation did he attain, that the man whose Hebrew anagrams in his Perfect Occurrences were the laughing stock of London was appointed Hebrew lecturer in Sir Balthazar Gerbier’s academy and delivered “four orations in exposition of the Hebrew … upon the first days work of the Creation of the World.” 11  Nedham, at the same time, applied for the post of lecturer in rhetoric but failed to obtain it. 12  Walker was the “loving and affectionate friend” of Cromwell’s other and better known chaplain Hugh Peters. This religious teacher was colonel of a regiment of foot at the taking of Drogheda on 12 September, 1649; 13  and a letter from him, which Walker received on 28 September, 1649 and at once took to the House of Commons, was the first authoritative news published of Cromwell’s proceedings at Drogheda.   32
  This letter explicitly said “none spared,” and, notwithstanding the fact that the garrison consisted of only 2552 foot, put the total slain (exclusive of Cromwell’s men) at 3552. Walker could not be prosecuted for making this disclosure, as the letter had been read in the House, so he was prosecuted for publishing his newsbook on the same day without a licence. 14  In addition to this, the extreme step was taken by the council of state of suppressing the whole licensed press in order to prevent further disclosures. For the seven weekly licensed newsbooks in existence on 28 September, two weekly official journals were substituted, of which the first numbers appeared on Tuesdays, 2 and 9 October respectively.   33
  Of these periodicals, the first, A Briefe Relation, was written by the council of state’s own secretary Walter Frost, ex–manciple of Emmanuel college. Frost, on the 21st, had been authorised to write a newsbook on Thursdays, but now had to hurry his projected journal and publish it on Tuesday, 2 October, three days earlier. To hide its real character, he marked the second and succeeding numbers “Licensed by Gualter Frost Esquire, etc.” The second official periodical was Severall Proceedings in Parliament written by the clerk to the parliament, Henry Scobell, and started in such haste that it, also, at first came out on Tuesday.   34
  A new licenser, the secretary of the army, had been appointed by the act of 20 September, 1649. This was Richard Hatter, and he had licensed the newsbooks for the week beginning Monday, 1 October. The council of state, therefore, wrote, on 2 October, to alderman Sir John Wollaston, that they “did not know” Hatter to be secretary, and gave him instructions to fine the writers and printers. Irritated at this denial of his office, Hatter continued to license for another week; and, thus, further details of the massacres leaked out. “None spared” referred to the inhabitants, and not to the garrison of the town; 15  there was treachery in obtaining the garrison’s surrender; 16  and 1000 people had been butchered in St. Peter’s church, the remark being added that mass had been said there on the previous Sunday—a reason which presupposes the fact that women and children would flee thither when in danger of death. 17  Finally, a royalist journalist published letters from Dublin detailing the steps taken by Cromwell to suppress the news, giving details of torture and mutilation and showing that the carnage had lasted for several days. 18  Cromwell’s despatches bear every trace of having been framed in order to accord with just so much of the facts as might leak out; but, in doing this are failed to reckon with his chaplains, Peters and Walker.   35
  Later in the year, Walker became sub-author of Severall Proceedings, and, in the following year, it was entirely abandoned to him. John Rushworth began an official Perfect Diurnall of the Armies at the end of December, 1649 and Pecke became sub-author of this. Both periodicals existed until the final suppression of the press in September, 1655.   36
  When Cromwell returned from Ireland, in June, 1650, licensed periodicals were once more suffered to appear.   37
  Other periodicals written by Henry Walker were Mercurius Morbicus, 1647; A Declaration collected out of the journals of both Houses of Parliament, 1648; Packets of Letters (printed by Ibbitson), 1648; Heads of a Diarie, 1648; Tuesdaies Journall, 1649; and he also wrote the Collections of Notes at the King’s Tryall, printed by Ibbitson.   38
  When Cromwell took all power into his hands, Walker was held in great honour, became pastor of a “gathered church” at St. Martin’s Vintry (the “three cranes’ church” as he called it), published a catechism, a volume of “spiritual experiences of beleevers,” hymns and a treatise entitled “T[char]Sweetmeats, remarkable for the folly of its contents and its blasphemous dedication to Cromwell. Most of his publications were anonymous, but are immediately to be recognised either by his reference to himself and to his church, or by his style and his publisher Ibbitson’s name, for Ibbitson rarely published any other author’s writings.   39
  At the return of the Rump in May, 1659, all Cromwell’s officials were dismissed, including Nedham; and its council of state destroyed the protector’s monument, the crown, etc., in the abbey. 19  In order to stir up opposition to the new rulers, Walker, thereupon, published a description of Cromwell’s sayings upon his deathbed, 20  in which he not only vilified the quakers once more but, also, attacked the Rump. Though he obtained no support, he seems to have been imprisoned for writing this tract, 21  which was carefully shunned by all writers of the seventeenth century, but accepted by Carlyle in the nineteenth. It contains a typically untruthful version of a prayer by Cromwell. 22    40
  The crown and coping stone of this man’s baseness was his last book, published in August, 1660, a religious eulogy of Charles II, entitled Serious Observations lately made touching his Majesty and literally bristling with texts; the hypocrisy of its writer is evident if it be compared with his earlier broadsides concerning Charles II. The Mad Designe (6 November, 1651) and The true manner of the crowning of Charles the Second King of Scotland together with a description of his life and a clear view of his court and Counsel (1 January, 1651). What became of Walker after this no one knows.   41

Note 6. Paine received a gratuity of £20 for this from the council of state on 19 September, 1650. See Calendar of State Papers Domestic. [ back ]
Note 7. A farcically silly pamphlet generally ascribed to Saltmarsh, printed by Ibbitson. See Mercurius Melancholicus, 1–8 January, 1648, p. 112. [ back ]
Note 8. December 1647, The bloudy Almanac for the present jubilee. By Mr. John Booker. Printed by John Clowes. See Mercurius Melancholicus, 18–25 December, 1647, p. 98, and Martin Parker’s When the King shall Enjoy his Own Again (second edition). [ back ]
Note 9. William Walker, of Darnal, Sheffield, secretary to major-general Lambert, was Henry Walker’s brother (Add. MSS. 21, 424, f. 203). The translation has erroneously been attributed to him. See Gatty, A., Hallamshire, p. 424. [ back ]
Note 10. In Severall Proceedings, no. 143, 17–24 June, 1652. [ back ]
Note 11Severall Proceedings, Dec. (sic) 4–11 January, 1650, p. 195. [ back ]
Note 12The Second Character of Mercurius Politicus. By Cleiveland, 23 October, 1650. [ back ]
Note 13. “Master Hugh Peters, who is now to fight with the sword as well as the word is made a Collonel of foote” (The Kingdomes Weekly Intelligencer, 2–9 October, 1649). “The business of Mr. Peters regiment referred to the Irish Committee,” etc., etc. (Calendar of State Papers Domestic, 19 October, 1649). “Your father Peters is a Collonell and governor of Milford Haven,” Emanuel Downing to J. Winthrop, 29 February, 1650 (Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society, 4th series, vol. VI, p. 76). [ back ]
Note 14Perfect Occurrences, 21–28 September, 1649, has a postscript stating that it was unlicensed. A memorandum was made by Frost on the fly-leaf of an order book of the proceedings to be taken against Walker. This appears calendared on p. 16 of the Calendar of State Papers Domestic for 1650, is undated and is separated by fourteen blank pages from the entries with which it is wrongly calendared. [ back ]
Note 15. The comment on these two words of The Kingdomes Weekly Intelligencer, 25 September–2 October, p. 1518, renders this clear. See, also, p. 1513. [ back ]
Note 16The Perfect Diurnall, 1–8 October, p. 2695, glossed this over as “persuasion.” Compare with this, Walker’s other unlicensed pamphlet Two letters from Liverpool, published on 22 September (wrongly dated 11 September in the Thomason catalogue) with its reference to “quarter offered but would not be accepted of.” [ back ]
Note 17The Moderate Intelligencer, 27 September–4 October. [ back ]
Note 18Mercurius Elencticus, 8–15 October. [ back ]
Note 19The Weekly Post, 31 May–7 June, 1659, A brief View, etc., by Younger, W., 2 August, 1660. [ back ]
Note 20A collection of passages … by one who was groom of his chamber. The pamphlet was entered in the Stationers’ register by Ibbitson on 7 June, 1659, Carlyle attributed this tract to Charles Harvey, Lingard to Underwood. See the derisive description of Walker and the pamphlet at the end of Mercurius Democritus for 7–14 June, 1659. [ back ]
Note 21Calendar of State Papers Domestic, 1659–60, p. 47. [ back ]
Note 22. The true version, as heard by major Butler, is in Neal’s History of the Puritans. If this be compared with Walker’s version, and the attack on the Rump on p. 21 of his pamphlet, the object of his alterations is manifest. [ back ]

CONTENTS · VOLUME CONTENTS · INDEX OF ALL CHAPTERS · BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD
  Berkenhead, Dillingham, Audley, Nedham, Smith, Rushworth and Border Martin Parker, Sheppard, Wharton, Hall, Frost, Harris and Mabbott  
 
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