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News and rumour in Jacobean EnglandInformation, court politics and diplomacy, 1618-25$
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David Coast

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780719089480

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719089480.001.0001

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Secrecy, counsel and ‘outward shows’

Secrecy, counsel and ‘outward shows’

(p.48) Chapter 2 Secrecy, counsel and ‘outward shows’
News and rumour in Jacobean England

David Coast

Manchester University Press

Historians have debated the nature and effectiveness of early modern censorship, but this chapter focuses attention to government secrecy. It examines James’ attempts to conceal information, even from his own councillors, but argues against the idea of a ‘crisis of counsel’ in the early 1620s. It shifts away from the traditional focus on royal image-making and propaganda to investigate how James’ concealment of his intentions allowed him to mislead a variety of audiences through ‘outward shows’, informal speeches and gestures. It also examines the sceptical reception of these ‘performances’ and the unintended consequences they had. The chapter attempts to widen our definition of propaganda, challenging the division between a ‘private’ court and ‘public’ world outside it, and assessing what these phenomena can tell us about the strengths and weaknesses of James I's style of rule.

Keywords:   James I, Counsel, Privy Council, Secrecy, Censorship, Propaganda

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