News and the personal letter, or the news education of Theophilus Hastings, 7th Earl of Huntingdon, 1660–71
in Connecting centre and locality
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When scholars investigate the spreading of news, print plays a dominant role and if manuscript comes into play at all it is usually in the form of the newsletter. Letters usually take a back seat. This begs the question, what kind of news did people send by the post and what kind of ties did it create between centre and locality? This chapter uses the letters sent to Theophilus Hastings, the 7th Earl of Huntingdon, to answer this question. An inspection of these letters reveals two kinds of news correspondents and two kinds of news that circulated through letters. Hastings received his news from official correspondents, individuals from whom he solicited news and only news, and from family dependants during their travels. However, this conduit for news worked both ways. News from the locality mattered as much as ‘Citie News’. When Hastings travelled to London dependants sent him ‘Countrie News’ or ‘home news’. This type of news is often left unexamined. However, it was just as important for Hastings to be up to date on the politics of the parish as it was for him to know the politics of the nation.

Connecting centre and locality

Political communication in early modern England

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