Reference > Cambridge History > Cavalier and Puritan > The Beginnings of English Journalism > Samuel Pecke, patriarch of the Press
  Gainsford and the Corantos Berkenhead, Dillingham, Audley, Nedham, Smith, Rushworth and Border  


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

XV. The Beginnings of English Journalism.

§ 2. Samuel Pecke, patriarch of the Press.

The first of the patriarchs of English journalism—the man who first wrote purely English news—was Samuel Pecke, a scrivener with a little stall in Westminster hall. A presbyterian enemy, while attacking his moral character, admits that he “did at first labour for the best intelligence.” Since he did not excite much animosity in his opponents, the remark may be taken to be correct. Even Sheppard says that Pecke tried to be impartial. His Diurnall Occurrences of 1641 and 1642, printed first for William Cook and, afterwards, for John Okes, Francis Leach and Francis Coles, were soon followed by A Perfect Diurnall. Previous to June, 1643, there were many counterfeits of this journal, which lasted to October, 1649, and was followed by another Perfect Diurnall. This last began in December, 1649 and ended in 1655, and, at first, Pecke was only “sub–author” of it. His career then ended, and nothing more is known of him. Other periodicals written by him are A Continuation of Certain Speciall and Remarkable Passages, published by Leach and Coles in 1642, and, again, in 1644–5; and a Mercurius Candidus in 1647. He was twice imprisoned by parliament; once in 1642, for some error in his intelligence, and, again, in 1646, for publishing the Scots papers.   13
  Pecke was a somewhat illiterate writer, and, in his reply to Cleiveland’s Character of a London Diurnall, quotes Hebrew under the impression that he is citing Greek. Except that he was the first in the field, and that his news is more reliable than that of others, there is very little to be said of his work; none of the later developments, such as the leading article, advertisements and so forth, originated with him.   14

  Gainsford and the Corantos Berkenhead, Dillingham, Audley, Nedham, Smith, Rushworth and Border  
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