Thomas Townshend, 1st Viscount Sydney papers  1665-1828 (bulk 1780-1788)
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Collection Scope and Content Note

The anonymous author of this volume (approximately 382 pages) recorded poetry, historical notes, and journal entries throughout much of his adult life. The material concerns topics such as military history, learning foreign languages, proverbs, and travel.

A small paper laid into the volume's cover records that the author began keeping notes on October 5, 1803, and other entries are dated as late as December 7, 1851. Much material is copied from other sources, and some poems are recorded in Italian and French. Literary extracts include the following:

  • Boccaccio, Decameron (pp. 26-28a, 32-34a)
  • Byron, "Fare thee well! And if for ever..." (p. 9)
  • Catullus, "Vivamus mea Lesbia, atque amemus" (p. 68)
  • Cicero (p. 55)
  • William Cowper, "The Task" (pp. 23, 118a)
  • Homer, Iliad (p. 117)
  • John Milton, "Tractate on Education" (p. 5)
  • Ossian (p. 85)
  • Shakespeare, Macbeth (122), Timon of Athens (124a)
  • Edward Young, "Night Thoughts" (p. 109)

Some examples from the volume indicate the nature of its contents. It contains notes about learning the Italian language; a timeline of the author's life between 1780 and 1825; and a list of hotels where the author stayed while traveling in Holland, France, Switzerland, Germany, and Italy between July 1, 1816, and August 5, 1820. This list includes the cost of room and board at each hotel or lodging, with comments on the quality of the accommodations. An essay on the Battle of Copenhagen is accompanied by a poem written by a soldier who participated in the battle. Some poetry and other entries are religious in nature, and the author copied several Bible verses. Two essays written in October 1850 and October 1851 share the author's "anticipations" for the coming years, as well as his reflections on past years (pp. 61-62a).

Pagination within the volume is inconsistent, and some of its contents are organized alphabetically by subject, with a partial index appearing on pages 142-150.

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