In this article we report on a pilot project investigating the presentation of speech, writing and thought in Early Modern English prose fiction and news writing. The aim of the project is to determine whether discourse presentation changes diachronically and what the function of the various discourse presentation categories were in the Early Modern period. To study this we have built and annotated a small corpus of Early Modern English writing using the model of speech, writing and thought presentation outlined in Semino & Short (2004). We are thus able to compare our findings against those of Semino and Short for Present Day English writing. The quantitative results of our pilot study and our initial qualitative analyses lead to a number of hypotheses which we suggest are suitable for testing on a larger corpus of data.