Ellis, Markman (2022):
"Philip Yorke and Thomas Birch: Scribal News in the Mid 18th Century." Parliamentary History 41.1: 202-220.
Journal Article

This article examines the newsletter‐writing practices of the Hardwicke circle, the intellectual coterie centred on Philip Yorke, 2nd earl of Hardwicke (1720–90), and Thomas Birch (1705–66). It begins by examining the ‘Weekly Letter’ written between Birch and Yorke from 1741–66 (BL, Add. MS 35,396‐35,400). This comprised a letter written by Birch every Saturday when Yorke was not in London, describing the political and literary events of the week, together with Yorke's less regular replies. In form the Weekly Letter was modelled on a historical example of the scribal newsletter, itself a significant focus of the historical research of the Hardwicke circle. Yorke and Birch collected and preserved historical collections of 17th and 18th century scribal newsletters, as well as conducting research into the history of printed news. Yorke's interest in scribal news, encouraged by Birch's regular Weekly Letter, saw him subsequently establish an extensive network of newsletter correspondents on parliamentary affairs. As a case study of those interests, the article examines Yorke's ‘Paris alamain’, a commercial nouvelle à la main he secured from Paris through personal connections in France.