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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Organization and Arrangement
  • Historical Note
  • Scope and Content Note
  • Indexing: Subjects

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Blathwayt, William Papers (addenda),
    Date (inclusive): 1667-1734
    Date (bulk): 1668-1672
    Creator: Blathwayt, William, 1667-1734
    Extent: 192 pieces 3 boxes
    Repository: The Huntington Library
    San Marino, California 91108
    Language: English.

    Administrative Information


    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

    Blathwayt, William Papers, The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.

    Acquisition Information

    The collection was purchased from Sotheby's through the agency of Maggs Bros. in 12/06/1984.
    The collection numbers 192 pieces and is contained in 3 boxes.

    Organization and Arrangement

    Inclusive dates: 1667-1734; bulk 1668-1672. The collection consists of correspondence and documents and organized in the following manner:
    • Box 1 Blathwayt, William, Correspondence. 1667-1669. 67 folders.
    • Box 2 Blathwayt, Wililiam, Correspondence. 1670-1671. 68 folders.
    • Box 3. Blathwayt, William, Correspondence, 1672-1682. 37 folders. - Diplomatic correspondence and intelligence reports, 1720-1734. 24 folders.

    Historical Note

    William Blathwayt, British civil servant and politician, entered public life as clerk in the embassy of Sir William Temple at The Hague, 1668-72. 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. He then served in the Plantation Office, was secretary to the Lords of Trade (1679 - 1669) and surveyor and auditor general of Plantation Revenues. In 1683 he purchased the office of Secretary at War. From 1692-1701 he attended William III during his campaigns in the Low Countries. In 1696-1707 he served on the Board of Trade. 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. Blathwayt married Mary Wynter of Dyrham Park in December 1686 and the couple had two sons before her death in November 1691. William Blathwayt died at Dyrham Park on August 16, 1717.

    Scope and Content Note

    The collection consists of business, diplomatic, personal correspondents and accounts accumulated by Blathwayt during his service in The Hague (1669-1672) and his tour of Europe in 1672, with some items dated 1682 and a few pieces relating to colonies in East and West Indies.
    The collection also contains secret diplomatic correspondence and intelligence reports addressed to Alexander Hume-Campbell, 2nd Earl of Marchmont, Charles Withworth, Charles Townshend, and Thomas Pelham - Holles, 4th Duke of Newcastle (1720-1734).

    I. Blathwyat, William, Correspondence.

    1. Affairs of the English Embassy in the Hague, including
      • negotiations about release of ships and goods seized during the Second Anglo-Dutch War;
      • affairs of English sailors and merchants in the Low Countries, and
      • salvage of a cargo of tin sunk off the port of Ostend (1666-1669);
    2. International affairs
      • secret treaty of Dover (1670) and events leading to the Third Anglo-Dutch War (1672-1674),
      • Foreign relations with Sweden, Spain, Holy Roman Empire, and Russia as reflected in letters to William Blathwayt from the English diplomats and memoranda submitted to the Charles II by the Ambassador of the Holy Roman Empire in London (1682)
    3. Personal affairs and professional duties of William Blathwayt, including his acquisition of rare books and antiques, particularly his dealing with Daniel Elzevir.
    Correspondents represented by 2 or more items:
    • Buys, Paulus: lawyer in Amsterdam (18 items)
    • Benoist, J. D.: book commissioner and agent in Amsterdam (3 items)
    • Custis, Edmond, English factotum in Amsterdam (15 items)
    • Downton, Thomas, 1 st secretary of Sir William Temple (8 items)
    • Jollyvet, E. (4 items)
    • Lefebvre, Tannegui (1615-1672) (2 items)
    • Meredith, Edward, English diplomat in Spain (3 items)
    • Temple, William, Sir (11 items)
    • Thun und Hohenstein, Frantz Siegmund, Graf von, 1639-1702 (6 items)
    • Van Pas, Dirck, merchant in Amsterdam (7 items)
    • Werden, John, Sir (1640-1713) (7 items)
    • Wolseley, Robert, 1649-1697 (3 items)


    For the materials related to Blathwayt's service in the Plantation Office and Board of Trade see Blathwayt Papers (BL - 1-423).
    II Diplomatic and intelligence reports
    Letters and dispatches (including ciphered messages) from intelligence agents in Berlin, Hamburg, Cambrai, Paris, Port Sainte Marie (Spain), and Madrid addressed 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.

    Indexing: Subjects

    Blathwayt, William 1649?-1717
    Elzevir, Daniel, 1626-1680
    Marchmont, Alexander Hume-Campbell, Earl of, 1675-1740, addressee
    Newcastle, Thomas Pelham-Holles, Duke of, d1693-1768, addressee
    Temple, William, Sir 1628-1699
    Townshend, Charles Townshend, Viscount, 1674-1738, addressee
    Whitworth, Charles Whitworth, Baron, 1675-1725, addressee
    Great Britain. Embassy (Hague, Netherlands), 1668-1672.
    Anglo-Dutch War, 1664-1667
    Books - Collectors and collecting - Great Britain - 17 th century.
    Diplomats - Great Britain - 17 th century
    Dutch War, 1674-1678
    Great Britain - Foreign relations - 17 th century
    Great Britain - Foreign relations - 18 th century
    Great Britain - History - Charles II, 1660-1685 - Sources.
    Great Britain - History - Anne, 1702-1714.
    Intelligence service - Great Britain - 18 th century
    Maritime law - 17 th century
    Shipwrecks - Cargo - 17 th century - Belgium
    Business letters
    Legal correspondence
    Letters (correspondence)