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Edmund Poley papers

 Collection
Call Number: OSB MSS 1

Scope and Contents

The Edmund Poley Papers consist of six boxes of correspondence and related diplomatic papers documenting aspects of English history and foreign policy in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. The papers span the dates 1645-1707, but the bulk of the material covers the period 1680-1705.

Series I, Correspondence (Boxes 1-3), primarily contains letters sent to Poley by cabinet officers, undersecretaries of state, and clerks at Whitehall, with a smaller quantity of letters from English diplomats in Europe and copies of letters of European monarchs, diplomats, and soldiers. The correspondence covers four distinct periods of Edmund Poley's career. The first major section contains letters written between October 1680 and January 1685, when Poley was English resident at Berlin, Frankfurt-am-Main, and Ratisborn (Regensburg). The second group of letters, written while Poley was in Stockholm, begins July 1687 and continues to December 1688. Another group of letters covers the period of his service at the court of Savoy in Turin from October 1691-November 1696, while the January 1704-October 1705 letters concern the time that Poley was at the court of Hanover.

For the period between October 1680 and January 1685, the prominent English correspondents are Sir Leoline Jenkins, Secretary of State for the Southern Office, 1680-84; Sidney Godolphin, his successor; the Earl of Conway, Secretary of State for the Northern Office, 1681-83; the Earl of Sunderland, Conway's successor; the Earl of Middleton, Secretary of State for England; and secretaries and clerks at Whitehall, William Blathwayt, Edward Chute, John Mountsteven, Rowland Tempest, Owen Wynne, and Robert Yard. Although the cabinet officers sometimes discussed domestic English politics, as when Jenkins reported on December 7, 1680 that the House of Lords had sentenced Lord Stafford to death for treason, their letters usually focus on international affairs and terms and conditions of diplomatic appointments.

The letters of the clerks and secretaries often contain detailed information on English politics, events abroad, news from London, and life at the court of Charles II, including such subjects as the King's difficulties with Parliament, the Titus Oates affair, the exclusion crisis, the Rye House Plot, and the reform of city charters in order to make municipal governments more amenable to the wishes of the crown. For example, royalist Owen Wynne reported on December 7, 1683 that "Algernon Sidney was beheaded this day upon Tower-Hill. He dyed as he lived of a surly temper." The Prince of Hanover, the future George I and unsuccessful suitor for the hand of Princess Anne, was described in a letter of December 28, 1680 as "a well accomplished Prince not 20 years old." Other letters discuss the May 1683 visit of Prince George of Denmark.

The letters of English diplomats Thomas Barker (Danzig), Thomas Chudleigh (The Hague), Viscount Preston (Paris), Henry Savile (Paris), Henry Sidney (The Hague), Bevil Skelton (The Hague and Hamburg), and Philip Warwick (Stockholm) contain news from European capitals.

This first group of letters ends in January 1685, and the correspondence does not resume until July 1687, when Poley had taken up his post in Stockholm. Thus the collection contains no information on the death of Charles II, the accession of his Catholic brother James, the Monmouth Rebellion, or the events of the first two and one half years of the reign of James II. News from England is found in the letters of John Cooke, first clerk in the office of the Secretary of State for the Northern Department; Owen Wynne, Cooke's assistant; and in numerous unsigned Newsletters. The letters discuss the purging of English corporations, the royal favors given to Roman Catholics and Catholic converts, the "great and glorious news" of the birth of a Catholic heir to the throne in June 1688, and the threat posed to James II by the Prince of Orange. George Etherege (Ratisbon), Sir Gabriel Sylvius (Copenhagen), and Peter Wyche (Hamburg) primarily report on events in the Empire and Germany and the struggle against France, but their letters also discuss the birth of the Prince of Wales and the response of William of Orange, who was "contriving a Manifesto ag[ain]st ye supposed Prince of Wales" (Peter Wyche, August 21, 1688).

The correspondence for 1691-96, when Poley represented William and Mary at the court of Savoy, includes letters from English correspondents such as the Earl of Nottingham, Secretary of State for the Southern Department, 1689-93; Blathwayt; David Eger; Richard Warre, civil secretary to Blathwayt; and Robert Yard, plus letters from English diplomats like Sir Paul Rycaut (Hamburg) and Alexander Stanhope (Madrid). It also contains a series of letters from Poley to Nottingham (1691-92) describing events at the court and campaigns against the French in the Italian theater of the War of the Grand Alliance. In addition, this section contains copies of the correspondence between William III and Victor Amadeus, Duke of Savoy, which ended when Savoy signed a separate peace with France in the Treaty of Turin (1696), and letters between Victor Amadeus on one part and Emperor Leopold I; Frederick I, King of Prussia; and Maximilian II, Duke of Bavaria on the other part. Victor Amadeus's 1692-95 letters pledge support for the common cause against French aggression, while his 1696 letters stress Savoy's need for peace, despite his continued protestations of loyalty to the Grand Alliance. Also included are copies of letters written in 1696 between French Marshal Catinat and Carlo-Guisseppe Carron, Marquis de St. Thomas, of Savoy concerning possible terms for peace. For additional material on the treaty between France and Savoy, see Box 5, folders 194-97.

For the period from November 1696 to January 1704, the collection contains just two copies of one letter from the Elector of Hanover to the Elector of Brandenburg (Frederick I, King of Prussia) concerning the duchy of Holstein.

The final group of letters covers the period January 1704-October 1705. Almost two-thirds of these were written between January and April 1704, in the critical months before the great allied victory at Blenheim in the War of the Spanish Succession. Poley, posted to the court of Hanover, received numerous letters from English correspondents John Ellis, first clerk in the Northern Office, John Tucker, and Richard Warre; from Adam Cardonnel, secretary in attendance to the Duke of Marlborough; and from diplomats William Aglionby (Zurich), Charles Davenant (Frankfurt), Richard Hill (Turin), John Robinson (Danzig), Alexander Stanhope (The Hague), George Stepney (The Hague), Thomas Strafford, Earl Raby (Berlin), George Tilson (Berlin), James Vernon (Copenhagen), and Baron Whitworth (Vienna). Their letters concern affairs in England, the Dutch Republic, the German States, and the Empire prior to the 1704 campaign. Aglionby reported on February 20 that the "walls of Augsbourg are ordered to be demolished and the french are marching towards the head of the Danube." Stanhope noted on April 15 that the allies were going to abandon the Upper Rhine, and Cardonnel wrote on May 4 that Marlborough "declared his Resolution of going up to the Moselle" and that allied troops had begun to march out of their garrisons. The papers, however, contain little more news of the 1704 campaign, except for a copy of a June 1704 letter from Marlborough to the States General announcing an allied victory over the forces of the Elector of Bavaria and a copy of an August letter by an unidentified French marquis recounting French losses at Blenheim. The 1705 letters discuss such topics as the poor health of Edmund Poley's brother Henry, the death of the Queen of Prussia, parliamentary elections, and Poley's departure from Hanover.

Series II, Related Papers (Boxes 4-6), contains a variety of chronologically arranged documents. The two earliest, dated 1645 and 1660, appoint Edmund Poley, father of the diplomat, "Master of the Harriers" to Prince Charles and clerk of the Privy Council. Box 6, folder 213 holds a copy of a bill to exclude James, Duke of York, from the English throne, and Box 4, folder 173 contains the vote of the House of Lords in the treason trial of Viscount Stafford, Catholic victim of the Popish Plot. Among those voting to condemn the unfortunate Catholic peer were the Earls of Shaftsbury and Sunderland, the Duke of Monmouth, and Prince Rupert, Count Palatine of the Rhine. Other items include a copy of a July 1685 address to Louis XIV urging him to extirpate heresy in France, a 1688 list of "Nobility and Principal Gentry Said to be in Arms with the Prince of Orange," and three 1704 lists of French, English, and Lüneburg officers killed and wounded in the Blenheim campaign. Most of the other papers are diplomatic in character. They include a 1680 analysis of the revenues and military potential of the three branches of the House of Brunswick-Lüneburg (Box 4, folder 174) and the 1703 credentials of Poley to the court of Hanover, plus diplomatic memorials and drafts of conventions and treaties.

Dates

  • 1645-1707

Creator

Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

The Edmund Poley Papers are the physical property of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University. Literary rights, including copyright, belong to the authors or their legal heirs and assigns. For further information, consult the appropriate curator.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The entire collection, except for a handful of miscellaneous items, was purchased in 1973.

Extent

3.25 Linear Feet (6 boxes)

Language of Materials

English

Catalog Record

A record for this collection is available in Orbis, the Yale University Library catalog

Persistent URL

https://hdl.handle.net/10079/fa/beinecke.poley

Overview

The papers consist of correspondence and diplomatic papers documenting aspects of English history and foreign policy between 1680 and 1705.

Appendix: List of Correspondents

Dates for letters listed below are both Old Style (OS) and New Style (NS). Letters from England invariably used OS dates, which in the seventeenth century were ten days and in the eighteenth century eleven days behind the NS Gregorian calendar. Letters written from the continent almost exclusively used NS, although some correspondents used both. Correspondence is arranged by date written on the letter, thus it is possible for a letter written by a diplomat from The Hague, for example, to be filed before one written from Whitehall.

Aglionby, William (d. 1705): 1704 Feb 20, 23, Apr 12

Albeville, Ignatius White, Marquis d': 1688 Feb 24

Anne, Queen of Great Britain (1665-1714): 1705 Mar 9, Jun 17

Barker, Thomas: 1680 Dec 18

Bernstorff, Andreas Gottlieb von (1649-1726): 1705 Oct 3

Bertie, Peregrine (d. 1707): 1704 Feb 20

Bilderberg, H. de: 1704 Jan 26

Blathwayt, William (1649?-1717): 1681 Apr 5, Oct 21, 28, Nov 15, 22, Dec 6, 13, 23, 27; 1682 Jan 3, 6, 10, Apr 18, Aug 22, Sep 8, 22, Oct 13, 17, 27, Nov 7, Dec 19, 26; 1683 Jan 9, 12, 23; 1692 May 30, Jun 12, 27, Jul 11, Aug 4, Oct 17, Nov 18, Dec 9; 1693 Apr 11/21, May 4; 1704 Mar 10, Jul 6; 1705 Jan 5

Bridgeman, William: 1683 May 4, Jun 22

Bridges, George Rodney (d. 1713): 1704 Jan 20

Cardonnel, Adam (d. 1719): 1704 Apr 22, 25, May 3, frag. n.d.

Carron, Carlo-Guisseppe, Marquis de St. Thomas (d. 1699): 1696 Jun 6, 7, 16, 19, Jul 3

Catinat de la Fauconnerie, Nicholas (1637-1712): 1696 Jun 6, 6, 12, 12, 18, 18, 29, Jul 6, 11, Aug 5

Chevrieres, Montauban, St. F. de: 1693 May 5

Chinsky: 1696 Oct 3

Chudleigh, Thomas: 1682 Dec 18/28; 1684 Apr 22/May 2, May2/12, May 9/19, Jun 10/20

Chute, Edward: 1684 Apr 25, May 16, 23, 27, Jun 10, 13, Oct 31, Nov 7, 21, 25, 28, Dec 2, 9, 11, 19

Colt, W. W.: 1692 Oct 19

Conway, Edward Conway, Earl of (1623?-1683): 1681 Mar 1, 11, Apr 12, Sep 6, Nov 22; 1682 Jan 3, Apr 14, Nov 24

Cooke, John: 1687 Sep 2, 9, 16, 30, Oct 14, 21, 28, Nov 4, 11, 18, Dec 16, 23; 1688 Feb 24, May 25, Jun 8, 12, 15, 22, 29, Jul 3, 6, 13, 27, Aug 10

Crow, Charles, Bishop of Cloyn (1655?-1726): 1704 Feb 13

Devaulx: 1693 Apr 8

Davenant, Charles (1656-1714): 1704 Jan 29

D'Ayrolle, James (d. 1739): 1704 Feb 26, Apr 5, 26

Dewes, Dela, Lady Duce: 1705 May 7

Dover, Lady: 1705 Mar 12

Eger, David: 1692 Apr 8, May 6, Nov 29, Dec 9; 1693 Feb 3

Ellis, John (1643?-1738): 1704 Feb 1, Mar 17, 31: 1705 Mar 9

Etherege, George, Sir (1635?-1691): 1687 Jul 28/Aug 7, Sep 12; 1688 Jan 2/12

Frederick I, King of Prussia (1657-1713): 1696 Jul 7/17

Gaugain: 1693 Mar 28

George I, King of Great Britain (1660-1727): 1700 Jul 2

Godolphin, Sidney Godolphin, Earl of (1645-1712): 1680 Dec 28; 1684 Apr 18, May 5, 16, Jun 5, Jul 22, Aug 22, 24

G÷rtz, Friedrich Wilhelm von Schlitz (1647-1728): 1705 Sept 14, Oct 2

Gorges, Richard: 1704 Mar 23

Hill, Richard (1655-1727): 1704 Jan 18, Mar 25

Hureau, F.: 1687 Sep 12, 13

Jenkins, Leoline, Sir (1623-1685): 1680 Oct 19, Dec 3, 7, 21; 1681 Jan 4, 11, Aug 19, Sep 23, 30, Nov 18, Dec 9; 1682 Apr 14, May 30, 30, Jul 28, Aug 8, Nov 3; 1683 Jan 19, Feb 23, Jun 18, Oct 9

Leopold I, Holy Roman Emperor (1640-1705): 1695 Sep 10

Leyonberg, Hans Barikman, Baron: 1687 Jul 14

Lewis, E.: 1705 Jan 19, 26

Marlborough, John Churchill, First Duke of (1650-1722): 1704 Jul 4

Maximilian II, Elector of Bavaria (1662-1726): 1696 Jul 22

Metz, President de la Chambre de: 1682 Feb 9/19

Middleton, Charles Middleton, Earl of (1640?-1719): 1681 Jun 7/17; 1684 Oct 7, Dec 23

Molesworth, Robert Molesworth, Viscount (1656-1725): 1704 Jan 29

Mountsteven, John (1644-1706): 1683 Apr 6, 20, May 1, 15, 25, Jun 12, 15; 1684 Jan 15, 25, Mar 11, Apr 8, May 13, Dec 22

Newsletters (Whitehall, London): 1681 Jul 12, 29; 1682 Nov 17; 1683 May 8; 1687 Aug 19, 26, Sep 2, 9, 16, 23, [30], Oct 4, 7, 7, 14, 21, 28, Nov 11, 18, 25; 1688 Jan 6, Feb 17, 24, Mar 2, 2, Apr 20, 20, 27, May 4, Jun 1, 8, 8, 15, 22, 22, 29, 29, Jul 6, 6, 20, 27, Aug 10, 17, 17, 24, Sep 7, Oct 12, Nov 20, 23, 27, Dec 4; 1692 Apr; 1704 Mar 3, 7, 10, 14, 14, 17, 17, 21, 24, 31, 31, Apr 4, 7, 7, 11; 1705 Jan 23, 30, Feb 2, Mar 23, 27, 30, Apr 13, 20, May 8, 8, 11, 15

Newsletters (Whitehall, London written in French): 1688 Jul 3; 1704 Mar 7, 10, 14, 17, 21, 28, Apr 4, 7; 1705 Jan 19, 30, Feb 27, Mar 16, 20, 30, Apr 3

Newsletter (Lisbon): 1704 Jan 26

Newsletter (Vienna): 1687 Aug 21

Nottingham, Daniel Finch, Earl of (1647-1730): 1691 Oct 27, Nov 3; 1692 Nov 22; 1693 Jan 24

Pastres: 1693 Apr 21

Paz, Samuel de: 1687 Jul 29, Aug 6/16, Sep 30

Poley, Edmund (1655-1714): 1682 Dec 3/13; 1684 Mar 6/16; 1691 Oct 6, Dec 12/22, 15/25; 1692 Jan 5, 16/26, Feb 5, 9, 19, Apr 1, 12/22, 16/26, May 14/24, 17/27, 21/31, Jun 3, Dec 20, 23

Poley, Henry (1653?-1707): 1692 Feb 19; 1704 Mar 25; 1705 Jan 6, Apr 3

Poley, Robin: 1704 Mar 24

Powys, Robert (b. 1663): 1704 Feb 18

Preston, Richard Graham, Sir, Viscount (1648-1695): 1683 Aug 23; 1684 Apr 29

Raby, Earl and Baron See: Thomas Wentworth Strafford

Raucken: 1704 Mar 29

Robinson, John: 1687 Oct 18; 1692 Nov 9; 1704 Jan 30, Feb 23

Rochester, Laurence Hyde, Earl of (1641-1711): 1704 Jan 14; 1705 Jan 2

Rycaut, Paul, Sir (1628-1700): 1692 Nov 2, Dec 7/17; 1693 Jan 18

St. Thomas, Marquis de See: Carlo-Guisseppe Carron

Savile, Henry (1642-1687): 1681 Jan 13

Schomberg, Charles Schomberg, Duke of (1645-1693): 1691 Oct 3; 1692 Jul 30, Dec 23; 1693 Jan 30/Feb 10

Sidney, Henry, Earl of Romney (1641-1704): 1681 Jan 11, Feb 4

Skelton, Bevil: 1680 Dec 28/Jan 7; 1683 Apr 7, Aug 29; 1684 Mar 1, 29, Apr 9, 23; 1685 Jan 6

Sollicoffre: 1704 Mar 4, 29, Apr 12

Sophia, Consort of Ernest Augustus Elector of Hanover (1630-1714): 1705 Sep 8

Stanhope, Alexander (d. 1707): 1692 Jul 3; 1693 Jan 1; 1704 Jan 29, Feb 5, 12, Apr 15

Steinberg. F. de: 1704 Feb 29

Stenbock Magnus, comte (1664-1717): 1704 Jun 5

Stepney, George (1663-1707): 1704 Feb 5, 12/23; 1705 Aug 19

Strafford, Thomas Wentworth, Earl of and Baron Raby (1672-1739): 1704 Feb 23, Mar 1, Apr 5, Sep 6

Sunderland, Robert Spencer, Earl of (1640-1702): 1683 Feb 2, May 4, Jun 19, 26, Jul 3, Aug 10, Sep 7: 1684 Mar 25, Apr 14, Jul 4: 1687 Jul 26

Sylvius, Gabriel, Sir: 1687 Sep 18/28, Nov 17/27; 1688 Jan 27, Mar 8/18, Jul 5/15

Tempest, Rowland: 1680 Dec 24, 31; 1681 Jan 4, 7, 11, 18/28, Feb 15

Tilson, George (1672-1738): 1704 Apr 19

Tucker, John: 1704 Feb 22, Mar 14; 1705 Feb 2, Mar 9

Vernon, James (1646-1727): 1692 Jul 11/21; 1704 Jan 5, Apr 19

Victor Amadeus I, King of Sardinia (1666-1732): 1692 Apr 28, May 17, Jul 28, Aug 16; 1694 May 9; 1695 Jul 13, Aug 17, 19, 20; 1696 May 24, 24, Jun 9, 10, 17, Jul 6, 6, 7, 10, 26, Aug 2, 18, 27, Nov 9

Villars, Claude Louis Hector, duc de (1653-1734): n.d.

Warre, Richard: 1692 Feb 16, Sep 9, Dec 2, 9, 16; 1704 Mar 14; 1705 Jan 23, Feb 6, Apr 24, May 11, frag. n.d., frag. n.d.

Warwick, Philip, the younger (d. 1683): 1681 May 15

Whitworth, Charles Whitworth, Baron (1675-1725): 1704 Jan 19, 26, Feb 13

Wiche, John (1667?-1713): 1704 Apr 22

William III, King of England (1650-1702): 1692 Jun 11, 12, Sep 11; 1693 May 5/15, Jul 20, Oct 25; 1696 Jun 29, 29, Jul 15/25, 15/25

Wyche, Peter, Sir (1628-1699?): 1687 Jul 5, 22, Aug 16, Sep 20, Oct 21, Nov 1, 4, 15; 1688 May 15, Jun 1, 5, 19, 22, 29, Jul 10, 24, Aug 21

Wynne, Owen: 1680 Dec 28, 31; 1683 Dec 9, 17; 1684 Jan 2, Dec 23, 26; 1687 Jul 15, Sep 2, 9, Oct 14, 21, 28, Nov 4, 11, 18, 25; 1688 Jan 20, Feb 24, May 4, 25, Jun 12, 15, 22, Jul 2, 27, Aug 3, 10

Yard, Robert: 1680 Dec 28; 1681 Jan 4, Feb 10, May 13, 17, 27, Jun 3, 10, 14; 1682 Jan 26, Dec 8; 1683 Apr 6, 20, 27, May 4, Jun 8; 1684 Jan 4, 7, 21, 25, 28, Feb 1, 4, 15, 22, 25, 29, Mar 7, 10, 17, 21, 24, 28, 31, Apr 4, 7, 11, 14, 18, 21, 25, May 9, 12, 16, 30, Jun 2, 9, 23, Jul 11, 14, 21, Nov 7, 21, 24, 28, Dec 1, 8, 12, 15, 19, 22; 1685 Jan 2, 5; 1691 Nov 6; 1692 Jan 19, 22, Feb 5, 12, 19, Aug 12, Oct 18, 28, Nov 8, 11, 15, 18, 22, 25, 29, Dec 13, 16, 23, 30; 1693 Jan 3, 10, 17, 20, 24, 27, 31, Feb 3, 7

Unidentified French marquis: 1704 Aug 15-16
Title
Guide to the Edmund Poley Papers
Status
Under Revision
Author
by Bruce P. Stark
Date
May 1991
Description rules
Beinecke Manuscript Unit Archival Processing Manual
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Part of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library Repository

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