Lavington papers: Stuart negotiations
Scope and Contents
During the 1780s, the Stuart heirs in exile were pursuing a claim for large sums against the British government, based on English agreements concerning the dowry of Queen Mary of Modena made at the Peace of Ryswick (1697). The death of Prince Charles Edward in January of 1788 resulted in changes to the Stuart strategy. The Stuart claim to the throne of Great Britain was asserted by his younger brother Henry, Cardinal of York, copies of whose protestations are found in folders 3-4. The Prince's personal estate, however, was inherited by his legitimated daughter Charlotte, Duchess of Albany, with whom Lavington (then Sir Ralph Payne) opened negotiations in early 1788 for the repatriation of the "George."
Lavington's extensive report to the Prince of Wales on the progress of these negotiations is located in folder 8. It stresses Charlotte's desire for "extreme secrecy" from her uncle the Cardinal of York, and her request that the Crown support her claims on the dowry. Folder 18 contains her authorization of Lavington as her agent in that matter, dated two days after his report and accompanied by a notarized copy of the Cardinal of York's assignment of his own claims on the dowry to Charlotte.
Folder 2 contains the reply of George, Prince of Wales, dated June 28, in which he offers "my dear Payne" his "sacred word" that he will keep the secret because of Charlotte's "delicate situation," as well as assurances that he will assist her suit "whenever her claims shall be transmitted hither."
The documentation of those transmitted claims fills folders 10-15 and includes memorials and memoranda on the responses by other governments to such claims; extracts from the 1697 stipulations; and drafts and summaries of the case prepared by the Roman Catholic conveyancer Francis Peter Plowden. Folder 15 contains a copy of the Foreign Secretary's official reply, written a few days before the death of Charlotte in Bologna in November 1789. The Marquis of Carmarthen notes that there is "little probability of the business succeeding" and strongly doubts a "successful issue" in Parliament. Folder 16 contains a letter by Andrew Stuart, dated 1799, urging Parliamentary supporters of an annual pension for Henry, Cardinal of York to drop the issue of the Stuart dowry claims
The collection also includes a letter to Lavington's wife, "Ladi Pain"; a Papal Chancery document apparently drafted by Henry, Cardinal of York; a copy of Henry's 1788 epitaph for Prince Charles Edward; and a brief note on the still unlocated "George" jewel of Charles I.
Conditions Governing Access
Conditions Governing Use
Immediate Source of Acquisition
0.21 Linear Feet (1 box)
Language of Materials
RALPH PAYNE, BARON LAVINGTON (1738-1807)
Payne was created Baron Lavington of Lavington in the Irish peerage in 1799, and was reappointed to the Governorship of the Leeward Islands in the same year. He died at Government House, Antigua, in August of 1807.
- Charles Edward, Prince, grandson of James II, King of England, 1720-1788
- George, King of Great Britain, IV, 1762-1830
- Lavington, Ralph Payne, baron, 1738-1807
- Mary, of Modena, Queen, consort of James II, King of England, 1658-1718
- Order of the Garter
- Plowden, Francis, 1749-1829
- Stuart, House of
- Guide to the Lavington Papers: Stuart Negotiations
- Under Revision
- by Diane J. Ducharme
- March 2003
- Description rules
- Beinecke Manuscript Unit Archival Processing Manual
- Language of description note
- Finding aid written in English.
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