Reference > Cambridge History > Cavalier and Puritan > The Beginnings of English Journalism > Martin Parker, Sheppard, Wharton, Hall, Frost, Harris and Mabbott
  Walker, the ironmonger, and his literary frauds John Crouch, Oliver Williams and Canne  


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

XV. The Beginnings of English Journalism.

§ 5. Martin Parker, Sheppard, Wharton, Hall, Frost, Harris and Mabbott.

The royalist press of 1647–50, carried on in spite of every effort to suppress it, calls for a few words. Cleiveland seems to have been the moving spirit of the numerous ephemeral Mercuries which appeared in 1648 and 1649; Samuel Sheppard undoubtedly undertook the largest part of the work, and was the originator of Mercurius Pragmaticus. Both roundhead (presbyterian) and royalist joined in the racy and scurrilous denunciation of the independents and regicides. Pride the swineherd (who could neither read nor write), Joyce the tailor, Rolfe and Hewson the shoemakers, Scot the monotaur, Marten and his mistresses, Cromwell with his red nose and the rest of the revolutionaries, all afforded a rich field for ribaldry and, above all, there was Walker, with whom the Mercuries teem. Mercurius Melancholicus, written by Martin Parker the ballad writer, is full of Walker; and so is the counterfeit of this periodical which was written by major–general Massey’s chaplain John Hackluyt.   42
  To Sheppard may be attributed a share in the writing of Mercurius Elencticus, when its real author, Sir George Wharton, was in prison. Mercurius Elencticus is full of biographies of the rebels, none of which have ever been disproved and large numbers of which can be corroborated from other sources.   43
  Other periodicals by Sheppard were Mercurius Dogmaticus (1648) and The Royall Diurnall (1648). In 1651, he issued Mercurius Pragmaticus Reviv’d, continuing it as Elencticus and (both titles being disallowed) wound it up as Mercurius Scommaticus. In 1652, he wrote another Pragmaticus, a Phreneticus and a Mercurius Mastix—the last an amusing and valuable skit on the journalism of his day. His pamphlet, The Weepers, also contains most indispensable information about the writers of newsbooks.   44
  John Hall, poet and pamphleteer, was hired by Lilly the astrologer to attack Wharton in 1648 and wrote the Mercurius Brittanicus and Mercurius Censorius of that year in defence of the parliament.   45
  A certain John Harris, better known as “Sirrahniho” and “Oxford Jack” (he is throughout easily identified by the latter nickname), who had been a printer to the army and terminated his career as major John Harris, hanged for forgery at the restoration, was the author of the Mercurius Militaris and Anti Mercurius of 1648. Though he was Cromwell’s spy, yet the antipathy he ever displayed towards Cromwell (both in his original petition in the State Papers and in his newsbooks) is very curious.   46
  Gilbert Mabbott, son of a Nottingham cobbler and Rushworth’s clerk, was a leveller, and was removed from his post as licenser for this in 1649. He was the writer of The Moderate and of a scurrilous Mercurius Britannicus in 1649. He pretended to hold views in favour of the freedom of the press in 1649, when he found that he was to be removed, but he was restored to his post in 1653.   47

  Walker, the ironmonger, and his literary frauds John Crouch, Oliver Williams and Canne  

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