ABSTRACT

Writing to Charles I on 12 December 1647, Sir Edward Hyde grumbled that the king’s departure for the Isle of Wight, following his escape from Hampton Court, hindered the process of collecting material for what would become the History of the Rebellion, claiming that he was forced to rely upon his ‘ill memory’ and a ‘few pamphlets and diurnals’. 1 Although this statement has been noted by historians, one can argue that its significance has not been fully appreciated by scholars of Hyde’s great work, who have generally been preoccupied with his purpose, his style, his ideas and his accuracy rather than with his method, at least since pioneering work by C.H. Firth. 2 This is despite the fact that, at least during the first phase of writing (1646–1648), Hyde’s correspondence contains numerous comments about his relationship with his sources, whether in terms of archival documents, oral and memorial testimony, written reports by other royalists or printed tracts and newspapers. 3 The aim of this chapter, therefore, is to use Hyde’s comment about ‘pamphlets and diurnals’ as a means of exploring his approach to the History, albeit by a rather circuitous route. This involves recognising that understanding how Hyde conceived of his project requires interrogating his attitudes towards the available sources, and particularly to the print culture of the 1640s.