Jump to Content

Collection Guide
Collection Title:
Collection Number:
Get Items:
William Blathwayt Papers (Addenda)
mssBLA 1-195  
View entire collection guide What's This?
PDF (86.68 Kb) HTML
Search this collection
Collection Details
 
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administration Information
  • Related materials in the Huntington Library
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: William Blathwayt papers (addenda)
    Dates: 1668-1734
    Bulk dates: 1668-1672
    Collection Number: mssBLA 1-195
    Creator: Blathwayt, William, 1649?-1717
    Extent: 195 items in 3 boxes
    Repository: The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens Manuscripts Department
    The Huntington Library
    1151 Oxford Road
    San Marino, California 91108
    Phone: (626) 405-2203
    Fax: (626) 449-5720
    Email: manuscripts@huntington.org
    URL: http://www.huntington.org
    Abstract: This collection consists of 195 pieces of business, diplomatic, and personal correspondence and accounts primarily accumulated by English civil servant William Blathwayt (1649-1717) during his service as a clerk in The Hague (1668-1672) and his tour of Europe in 1672, with some items dated 1682 and a few pieces relating to colonies in East and West Indies. Approximately twenty items are secret diplomatic correspondence and intelligence reports from agents throughout Europe, dating from 1720 to 1734 (after Blathwayt's death).
    Language of Material: The records are in English, French, and Dutch.

    Administration Information

    Access

    Collection is open to qualified researchers by prior application through the Reader Services Department. For more information, please go to following web site. 

    Publication Rights

    In order to quote from, publish, or reproduce any of the manuscripts or visual materials, researchers must obtain formal permission from the office of the Library Director. In most instances, permission is given by the Huntington as owner of the physical property rights only, and researchers must also obtain permission from the holder of the literary rights. In some instances, the Huntington owns the literary rights, as well as the physical property rights. Researchers may contact the appropriate curator for further information.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], William Blathwayt papers (addenda), The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.

    Acquisition Information

    Purchased from Sotheby's through the agency of Maggs Bros. on December 6, 1984.

    Related materials in the Huntington Library

    Biography

    English politician and administrator William Blathwayt (1649-1717) was one of the most distinguished civil servants of his time. Blathwayt was born in London, England, in 1649. Beginning in 1665, he attended the Middle Temple and in 1668 entered public life as clerk in the embassy of Sir William Temple at The Hague (1668-1672). The Embassy was established with the purpose of implementing the Triple Alliance (1668) and was closed in 1672, following the secret treaty between Charles II and Louis XIV (1670) and the outbreak of the Third Anglo-Dutch War (1672). In 1672, Blathwayt toured Germany and Italy, before returning to England.
    Through the influence of his uncles, Thomas and Richard Povey, both of whom were prominent in colonial affairs, Blathwayt secured a position in the Plantation Office in 1675 as a minor clerk. Advancement came rapidly, and among the offices administered from that time on, were: Clerk Extraordinary of the Privy Council (1678); Secretary of the Lords of Trade (1679-1696); Surveyor and Auditor General of Plantation Revenues (1680-until his death); Under-Secretary of State to Lord Conway in the Northern department (1681-1683); Secretary at War (1683-1704); Clerk in Ordinary of the Privy Council (1686-1689); acting Secretary of State with William III, during his campaigns in the Low Countries in Flanders (1692-1701); member of Parliament for Bath (1693-1710); and a member of the Board of Trade (1696-1707).
    During the reign of Queen Anne, he gradually lost his posts: in 1704 he was dismissed as Secretary at War, in 1707 lost his Board of Trade position, and three years later, his seat in Parliament. In 1712, Blathwayt, driven from active public life by ill health, withdrew to his seat at Dyrham Park, where the last five years of his life were spent in retirement.
    Blathwayt married Mary Wynter (1650-1691) of Dyrham Park in December 1686, and the couple had two surviving sons and a daughter. William Blathwayt died at Dyrham Park on August 16, 1717.

    Scope and Content

    This collection consists of 195 pieces of business, diplomatic, and personal correspondence and accounts primarily accumulated by English civil servant William Blathwayt (1649-1717) during his service as a clerk in The Hague (1668-1672) and his tour of Europe in 1672, with some items dated 1682 and a few pieces relating to British colonies in the East and West Indies. Approximately twenty items are secret diplomatic correspondence and intelligence reports from agents throughout Europe, dating from 1720 to 1734 (after Blathwayt's death).
    Blathwayt Correspondence, 1668-1682
    The correspondence of William Blathwayt primarily pertains to the affairs of the English Embassy in The Hague, international affairs, and the personal affairs and professional duties of Blathwayt, including his acquisition of rare books and antiques, particularly his dealings with Daniel Elzevir.
    The documents related to the affairs of the English Embassy in The Hague date from 1668 to 1672 and include negotiations about the release of ships and goods seized during the Second Anglo-Dutch War; affairs of English sailors and merchants in the Low Countries; and the salvage of a cargo of tin sunk off the port of Ostend (1666-1669).
    The documents related to international affairs primarily concern the secret treaty of Dover (1670) and the events leading to the Third Anglo-Dutch War (1672-1674); foreign relations with Sweden, Spain, the Holy Roman Empire, and Russia, as reflected in letters to Blathwayt from English diplomats and memoranda submitted to King Charles II by the Ambassador of the Holy Roman Empire in London (1682).
    Among the correspondents represented are Amsterdam lawyer Paulus Buys (18 items); Amsterdam book commissioner and agent J. D. Benoist (3 items); English factotum in Amsterdam Edmond Custis (15 items); Thomas Downton, the 1st secretary of William Temple (8 items); E. Jollyvet (4 items); Tannegui Lefebvre (2 items) Edward Meredith, an English diplomat in Spain (3 items); Sir William Temple (11 items); Count Franz Sigmund von Thun (6 items); Amsterdam merchant Dirck Van Pas (7 items); Sir John Werden (7 items); and Robert Wolseley (3 items).
    Diplomatic and intelligence reports, 1720-1734
    The collection also includes letters and dispatches (including ciphered messages), written between 1720 and 1734 (after Blathwayt's death), from intelligence agents in Berlin, Hamburg, Cambrai, Paris, Port Sainte Marie (Spain), and Madrid addressed to Alexander Hume-Campbell, 2nd Earl of Marchmont, Charles Withworth, Charles Townshend, and Thomas Pelham-Holles, 4th Duke of Newcastle. The documents contain information on affairs in Brandenburg-Prussia, Russia, Spain, France, and Italy. Correspondents include: Giovanni Battista Paretti, Charles du Bourgay, and Sir Cyril Wich, although most dispatches are anonymous.

    Arrangement

    The collection is arranged chronologically and organized in the following manner:
    • Box 1: Blathwayt correspondence (1668-Nov. 1669)
    • Box 2: Blathwayt correspondence (Dec. 1669-1670)
    • Box 3: Blathwayt correspondence (1671-1682 and undated) and diplomatic correspondence and intelligence reports (1720-1734)

    Indexing Terms

    Personal Names

    Blathwayt, William, 1649?-1717 -- Archives.
    Marchmont, Alexander Hume-Campbell, Earl of, 1675-1740, correspondent.
    Newcastle, Thomas Pelham-Holles, Duke of, 1693-1768, correspondent.
    Temple, William, 1628-1699.
    Townshend, Charles Townshend, Viscount, 1674-1738, correspondent.
    Whitworth, Charles Whitworth, Baron, 1675-1725, correspondent.
    Great Britain. Embassy (Hague, Netherlands), 1668-1672 -- Correspondence.

    Subjects

    Anglo-Dutch War, 1664-1667.
    Book collecting -- Great Britain -- 17th century.
    Diplomats -- Great Britain -- 17th century -- Correspondence.
    Dutch War, 1674-1678.
    Intelligence service -- Great Britain -- 17th century.
    Maritime law -- History -- 17th century -- Sources.
    Antiques -- Great Britain -- 17th century.

    Geographic Areas

    Great Britain -- Foreign relations -- 17th century.
    Great Britain -- Foreign relations -- 18th century.
    Great Britain -- History -- Stuarts, 1603-1714 -- Sources.
    Great Britain -- History -- 18th century -- Sources.

    Genre

    Letters (correspondence) -- Great Britain -- 17th century.
    Professional papers -- Great Britain -- 17th century.
    Personal papers -- Great Britain -- 17th century.