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William Blathwayt Papers
mssBL 1-423  
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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
    Dates: 1657-1770
    Bulk dates: 1660-1709
    Collection Number: mssBL 1-423
    Creator: Blathwayt, William, 1649?-1717
    Extent: 461 items in 9 boxes and 1 oversize folder
    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 contains 461 pieces of correspondence and documents primarily accumulated by English civil servant William Blathwayt (1649-1717) in his capacity as a British government official in such roles as surveyor and auditor general of plantation revenues and secretary and member of the Lords of Trade. The bulk of the papers date from 1660 to 1709 and chiefly relate to the British colonies in North America and the West Indies.
    Language of Material: The records are in English and French.

    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, The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.

    Acquisition Information

    Purchased from Dr. A. S. W. Rosenbach in July 1924.

    Provenance

    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.

    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). 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 contains 461 pieces of correspondence and documents primarily accumulated by English civil servant William Blathwayt (1649-1717) in his capacity as a British government official in such roles as Surveyor and Auditor General of Plantation Revenues and Secretary and member of the Lords of Trade. The bulk of the papers date from 1660 to 1709 and chiefly relate to the British colonies in North America and the West Indies.
    Papers having to do with the British West Indies primarily concern relations with the Crown (including administration, taxation, and defenses) and local conditions (including orders of governor, council, and assembly; management of blacks; piracy; and trade and shipping). Geographically, the documents concern: Antigua (7 pieces), Bahamas (4), Barbados (48), Bermudas (5), Jamaica (35), Montserrat (1), Nevis (4), St. Christopher's (2), and Tobago (1).
    Papers having to do with North America pertain to relations with the Crown (including the administration of governments, charter and proprietary; taxation; and defense) and local conditions (including orders of governor, council, and assembly; political corruption; trade, shipping, etc.; Indian affairs; French encroachments; and piracy). Geographically, the documents concern: 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).
    Within the collection there are also 27 unofficial letters, dating from 1664 to 1668, addressed to Richard Nicolls, the first English governor of the colony of New York, from Sir William Berkeley, Charles Calvert and Philip Calvert, Thomas Ludwell, Nathaniel Utie, and Jerome White. The correspondence deals with trade and shipping, runaway slaves, and tobacco.
    Correspondents represented by five or more pieces in the collection are: Sir William Beeston (5), Sir William Berkeley (14), William Blathwayt (32), Philip Calvert (7), George Clarke (8), Edward D'Oyley (6), Edward Hyde, Lord Cornbury (7), William Lowndes (9), John Nanfan (16), Samuel Penhallow (6), John Povey (8), and Edward Randolph (10).
    Within the collection, originals predominate slightly. Copies are all contemporary, and most of them are attested and bear Blathwayt's endorsement.

    Arrangement

    The collection is arranged chronologically.

    Indexing Terms

    Personal Names

    Nicolls, Richard, 1624-1672.
    Blathwayt, William, 1649?-1717 -- Archives.

    Geographic Areas

    Great Britain -- Colonies -- America -- History -- 17th century -- Sources.
    Great Britain -- Colonies -- America -- History -- 18th century -- Sources.
    United States -- History -- Colonial period, ca. 1600-1775 -- Sources.
    West Indies -- History -- 17th century -- Sources.
    West Indies -- History -- 18th century -- Sources.

    Genre

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