Manuscripts Division
William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan

Finding aid for
Rooke-Blathwayt Letter Book, 1700-1702

Finding aid created by
Meg Hixon, October 2011

Summary Information
Title: Rooke-Blathwayt letter book
Creator: Blathwayt, William, 1649?-1717
Inclusive dates: 1700-1702
Extent: 1 volume
The Rooke-Blathwayt letter book contains letters that Admiral Sir George Rooke wrote in the early 18th century, as well as documents regarding the English Navy's actions in the English Channel and in the West Indies.
Language: The material is in English and French
Repository: William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan
909 S. University Ave.
The University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1190
Phone: 734-764-2347
Web Site:

Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

1992. M-2890.3.

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open for research.


Copyright status is unknown

Processing Information:

Cataloging funded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC). This collection has been processed according to minimal processing procedures and may be revised, expanded, or updated in the future.

Preferred Citation:

Rooke-Blathwayt Letter Book, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan


Sir George Rooke was born in Canterbury, England, around 1650. He obtained a commission as second lieutenant in the English Navy in 1672 and the following year became captain of the Holmes . Rooke re-joined the navy after a brief period in the army and served for several years in the Mediterranean and in the English Channel. Rooke was promoted to rear admiral in 1690 and to vice admiral in 1692; on February 29, 1693, he received a knighthood. After continued success at sea, he assumed command of the fleet in the English Channel in 1701. He served as an advisor to Prince George of Denmark, led a 1702 expedition to Cadiz, and commanded the successful action at Vigo, Spain, during the War of the Spanish Succession. Rooke led the 1704 capture of Gibraltar, but was forced by illness to resign his command. He died on January 24, 1709, in Kent, England.

Collection Scope and Content Note

The Rooke-Blathwayt letter book contains 18 letters that Admiral Sir George Rooke wrote in the early 18th century, as well as documents regarding the English Navy's actions in the English Channel and in the West Indies.

Rooke composed much of the correspondence while onboard the Triumph at Spithead, off the Isle of Wight. He addressed several different English officials, and the material in this volume was compiled by William Blathwayt, acting secretary of state. In his letters, Rooke confirmed the receipt of various orders and discussed developments around Brest, France, and other news of the fleet. An item entitled "A List of his Matys. Ships design'd on Service with Sr. George Rooke" provides the locations of English ships (July 10, 1701). The book has two sets of official instructions from King William about naval actions in the West Indies during the War of the Spanish Succession (August 12, 1701, and [September] 10, 1701). Two letters are in French: a letter from Count Wachtmeister, who was awaiting a rendezvous with George Rooke and the English fleet (June 19, 1700), and a letter about King William's confidence in George Rooke's military abilities (August 12, 1701).

Subject Terms

    • England and Wales. Royal Navy.
    • English Channel.
    • Spanish Succession, War of, 1701-1714.
    • West Indies--History--17th century.
    • Rooke, George, Sir, 1650-1709.
    • William III, King of England, 1650-1702.
    Genre Terms:
    • Letter books.
    • Letters (correspondence)
    • Lists (document genres)
    • Orders (military records)
    Contents List
    Container / Location Title
    Volume   1  
    Rooke-Blathwayt letter book,  1701-1702 [series]
    Additional Descriptive Data

    Hattendorf, John B. "Rooke, Sir George." Oxford Dictionary of National Biography Online. Oxford University Press, 2008.