Scope and Contents
Series I, Charles II Letters to Theobald Taaffe, 2nd Viscount Taaffe , contains letters written by the exiled king to Taaffe, his friend and companion, during the period 1655-60. The letters, unsigned but concluded with a cipher, provide a rare insight into Charles' personality.
Series II, Theobald Taaffe Papers , (2nd Viscount Taaffe and 1st Earl of Carlingford) contains letters and diplomatic papers relating to Carlingford's embassy, his correspondence with the Prince-Bishop of Munster and with other English envoys such as Henry Coventry in Stockholm, Sir William Temple in Brussels, Sir William Swan in Hamburg, Lord Sandwich in Madrid and with Lord Arlington, Secretary of State. Other items concern German princes, including Ernst Augustus, Elector of Hanover, and Georg Wilhelm, Duke of Brunswick-Luneburg.
Series III, Later Carlingford Papers , contains a letter to Nicholas Taaffe, 3rd Viscount Taaffe and 2nd Earl, from several Irish noblemen concerning his father's death, letters from Francis Taaffe, 3rd Earl of Carlingford, to his father and others describing the political and military situation in Europe, c. 1670-84, and a letter from the King of Portugal to the Emperor of Germany concerning Nicholas, 6th Viscount Taaffe.
Series IV, Curatorial Files, contains supplementary material from the curator's files related to the Carlingford Papers which may be of interest to researchers. These include Timothy Crist's published transcriptions of the letters from Charles II to the Earl of Carlingford, catalogue descriptions of other letters of Charles II, articles concerning the provenance of the Charles II letters to Carlingford by Timothy Crist and Stephen Parks, and other secondary source material related to the Restoration period.
- 1651 - 1764
- Majority of material found within 1657 - 1667
Conditions Governing Access
Conditions Governing Use
Immediate Source of Acquisition
1.25 Linear Feet (5 boxes)
Language of Materials
During the 1650's, Taaffe remained on the Continent, serving the exiled Charles II as informal counselor and boon companion, described by Charles II as "one of the best Dancers in the Country, and is the chief man at all the Balls" (Crist, p. 10).
Taaffe's personality, and his Catholicism, made him a useful representative of the king in both personal and diplomatic affairs. He served as a liaison between Charles II and several of his mistresses, in particular, Lucy Walter. He also met with various Catholic leaders such as Don Alonzo de Cardenas, the Duke of Lorraine, the count of Neuburg and the Papal Nuncio, among others.
After the Restoration, Charles II rewarded Taaffe for his years of loyal service, granting him an annuity of eight hundred pounds and restoring him to his estates in Ireland. On 26 June 1661, Taaffe was created 1st Earl of Carlingford in the Irish peerage.
Carlingford's final diplomatic mission took place during the second Anglo Dutch War (1665-67). In 1665, he was sent as Envoy-Extraordinary from Charles II to Leopold I, Emperor of Germany, and the prince-bishop of Munster in order to gain support for the English cause against the Dutch. He replaced Sir William Temple, who had no taste for the kind of sociability expected in German courts. Carlingford, on the other hand, was known as "a fattey man and a good Drinker, which is a condition very necessary in banquetts, where he is every day" (Lachs, p. 64). His mission, however, was not a success. The Venetian ambassador complained that Carlingford "in no way corresponded to the greatness of the occasion," being "destitute of the knowledge and ability required for such transactions" (Crist, p. 12). After he returned to England, Carlingford retired from public life. He died on 31 December 1677.
Carlingford married, first, Mary, daughter of Sir Nicholas White of Leixlip, county Kildare; and, secondly, Anne, daughter of Sir William Pershall. By his first wife he had three sons and a daughter: Nicholas, 2nd Earl, who served in the Spanish army and fell at the Boyne in 1691; Francis, 3rd Earl, page to emperors Ferdinand III and Leopold I and, later, an Austrian field-marshal; and John (d. 1689).
For additional biographical information see: Timothy Crist, ed., Charles II to Lord Taaffe: Letters in Exile (Rampant Lions Press: Cambridge, 1974) and Phyllis S. Lachs, The Diplomatic Corps under Charles II and James II (Rutgers University Press: New Brunswick, New Jersey, 1965)
- Anglo-Dutch War, 1664-1667
- Arlington, Henry Bennet, Earl of, 1618-1685
- Bernhard, Prince-Bishop of Münster, 1606-1678
- Budapest (Hungary) -- History -- Siege, 1684
- Carlingford, Francis Taaffe, Earl of, 1639-1704
- Carlingford, Theobald Taaffe, Earl of, -1677
- Charles, King of England, II, 1630-1685
- Clarendon, Henry Hyde, Earl of, 1609-1674
- Coventry, Henry, 1619-1686
- Diplomatic and consular service, British
- Diplomats -- Great Britain
- Elisabeth, Countess Palatine, 1618-1680
- Great Britain -- Court and courtiers
- Great Britain -- Foreign relations -- 1660-1714
- Great Britain -- Foreign relations -- Holy Roman Empire
- Great Britain -- History -- Charles II, 1660-1685
- Great Britain -- History -- Commonwealth and Protectorate, 1649-1660
- Leopold, Holy Roman Emperor, I, 1640-1705
- Sandwich, Edward Montagu, Earl of, 1625-1672
- Sophia, Electress, consort of Ernest Augustus, Elector of Hanover, 1630-1714
- Swan, William, Sir, d. 1678
- Temple, William, 1628-1699
- Williamson, Joseph, Sir, 1633-1701
- Guide to the Carlingford Papers
- by Beinecke Staff
- October 1994
- Description rules
- Beinecke Manuscript Unit Archival Processing Manual
- Language of description note
- Finding aid written in English.
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