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Inventory of the William Blathwayt Papers, 1657-1770
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Biography
  • Subject matter
  • Persons represented by five or more pieces
  • Some important or interesting items
  • Originals or copies
  • Related Collections

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: William Blathwayt Papers,
    Date (inclusive): 1657-1770
    Creator: Blathwayt, William, 1649?-1717
    Extent: Number of pieces: 461
    Repository: The Huntington Library
    San Marino, California 91108
    Language: English.

    Administrative Information


    This series of Blathwayt Papers was acquired by the Huntington Library in July, 1924, from Dr. A. S. W. Rosenbach. With the exception of twenty-seven letters addressed to Richard Nicolls, first English governor of the colony of New York, and a few odd pieces written after 1717, the collection appears to have been a natural accumulation of Blathwayt's office records. Presumably these were transferred from London to Dyrham Park in 1712. After Blathwayt's death they were carried to King's Weston by his son-in-law, Edward Southwell. Here they remained until purchased by Sir Thomas Phillipps of Cheltenham, and were known as Phillipps MSS. no. 8550. A portion of the Phillipps Library was offered for sale in 1908, including these papers, and they changed hands at least once more, through the agency of Sotheby's.


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

    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, The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.


    William Blathwayt (1649-1717), English politician and administrator, was one of the most distinguished civil servants of his time. Through the influence of his uncles, Thomas and Richard Povey, both of whom were prominent in colonial affairs, he 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 of the Privy Council, 1675; Secretary to the Lords of Trade, 1679; Auditor General of Plantation Revenues, 1680; Secretary at War, 1683; acting Secretary of State with William III, in Flanders, 1692; member of the Board of Trade, 1696. 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.

    Subject matter

    A. Unofficial letters (1664-68) addressed to Richard Nicolls from the following: Sir William Berkeley, Charles and Philip Calvert, Thomas Ludwell, Nathaniel Utie and Jerome White
    • 1. Trade, shipping, etc.
    • 2. Runaway slaves
    • 3. Tobacco
    B. Papers having to do with the British West Indies: Antigua (7), Bahamas (4), Barbados (48), Bermudas (5), Jamaica (35), Montserrat (1), Nevis (4), St. Christopher's (2), Tobago (1)
    • 1. Relations with the Crown

      a. Administration

      b. Taxation

      c. Defenses
    • 2. Local conditions
      • a. Orders of governor, council, and assembly
      • b. Management of negroes
      • c. Piracy
      • d. Trade, shipping, etc.
    C. Papers having to do with North America: Canada (14), Newfoundland (4), Rhode Island (3), Massachusetts (43), New Hampshire (19), Connecticut (1), New York (77), Pennsylvania (4), Maryland (26), Virginia (51), Carolinas (2), Florida (3)
    • 1. Relations with the Crown
      • a. Administration of governments, charter and proprietary
      • b. Taxation
      • c. Defenses
    • 2. Local conditions
      • a. Orders of governor, council and assembly
      • b. Political corruption
      • c. Trade, shipping, etc.
      • d. Indian affairs
      • e. French encroachments
      • f. Piracy

    Persons represented by five or more pieces

    Beeston, Sir William
    5 pieces
    Berkeley, Sir William
    14 pieces
    Blathwayt, William
    32 pieces
    Calvert, Philip
    7 pieces
    Clarke, George
    8 pieces
    D'Oyley, Edward
    6 pieces
    Dudley, Joseph
    9 pieces
    Hyde, Edward, Lord Cornbury
    7 pieces
    Lowndes, William
    9 pieces
    Nanfan, John
    16 pieces
    Penhallow, Samuel
    6 pieces
    Povey, John
    8 pieces
    Randolph, Edward
    10 pieces

    Some important or interesting items

    • Byrd, William II. Letter to William Lowndes, asking for the appointment to succeed his late father as auditor of the colony of Virginia. Portsmouth, England, May 9, 1705
    • Heathcote, Caleb. Letter to his brother, protesting the corrupt administration of the Earl of Bellomont, governor of New York, and commenting on the activities of the Leislerians. 1701
    • Honan, Daniel. An account of expenses for Lord Cornbury's journey from New York to Albany, and return, June 22 - October 13, 1702
    • Randolph, Edward. Letter to Blathwayt, giving a report of his trip to New England, and news of the American colonies
    • Sheils, ----. Letter to an unknown addressee describing an effort of the Scottish East India Company to establish a settlement at Darien. New Caledonia, December 25, 1699
    • Van Schaick, Lovinus. Report on Indian affairs in North America. May 11, 1696

    Originals or copies

    Originals predominate slightly. Copies are all contemporary, and most of them are attested and bear Blathwayt's endorsement.

    Related Collections

    Identifier/Call Number: HM 32265 - 32298
    Correspondence and documents from the office of William Blathwayt, [c. 1670-1700]-1712. A description of them was published in Huntington Library Quarterly, May 1970, pp. 294-296