Monday, 30 August 2010


This a correction to my blog Supplementary Notes for a further Article on the True Levellers Part Two. I have already apologised to him for the error.

Christopher Thompson Wrote:

Keith Livesey has given some details of his ideas for working on the Levellers here. I was surprised to see my 1980 Past and Present article cited as the basis for a claim that Petty had supported a restricted franchise in the Putney debates of October, 1647 on the first Agreement of the People. In fact, I argued that Petty's position had changed: he came to it as a supporter of manhood suffrage but, towards the end of the debate, sought consent on a more restricted franchise excluding Royalists, servants and other dependents.

My argument was a criticism of the claims of C.B.Macpherson that the Levellers were consistent supporters of a restricted franchise. But it must be said that the view held then that the First Agreement of the People was a Leveller document no longer seems tenable. Elliot Vernon and Philip Baker have recently argued in The Historical Journal (Volume 53. No.1 (March, 2010), Pp.39-59) that the document was the product of a group of London radicals, including Maximilian Petty, around Henry Marten and not a Leveller tract at all.

This means that the assumption upon which Macpherson, Keith Thomas, Monk, Aylmer and I worked was wrong. I am grateful for their research on this point.

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