Title: Thomas Townshend, 1st Viscount Sydney papers Creator: William L. Clements Library Inclusive dates: 1665-1828 Bulk dates: 1780-1788 Extent: 4.25 linear feet Abstract:
The Thomas Townshend, 1st Viscount Sydney papers contain the official letters of Lord Sydney, spanning his entire political career, as well as material related to his grandfather, Charles Townshend, 2nd Viscount Townshend (1664-1738); his father, the Honorable Thomas Townshend (1701-1780); and his son, John Thomas Townshend, 2nd Viscount Sydney (1764-1831). Of note is material related to the Shelburne ministry and the Paris peace negotiations at the end of the American Revolutionary War (1782-1783).
Language: The material is in English, French, and Spanish 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: www.clements.umich.edu
British politician Thomas Townshend, 1st Viscount Sydney (1733--1800) (hereafter Sydney) was born to Thomas Townshend (1701-1780) and Albinia Selwyn. Sydney's family had been politically well connected since the tenure of his grandfather, Charles Townshend (1764-1738), as secretary of state under Robert Walpole. Sydney entered politics as a Whig Member of Parliament, representing Whitchurch, Hampshire, in 1754; he retained the seat until 1783, when he was elevated to the peerage. Initially aligned with his great uncle, the Duke of Newcastle, Townshend joined Pitt in opposition to Grenville. During the first Rockingham ministry, Sydney served as a lord of the treasury and continued in that office in the Chatham administration until December 1767, when he became a member of the Privy Council and joint paymaster general. Though he opposed the 1765 Stamp Act, he supported the American revenue program initiated by his cousin, Charles Townshend, during the Chatham-Grafton ministry. In June 1768, he was forced out of office during negotiations between Grafton and Bedford in June, 1768, and replaced by Richard Rigby.
Townshend remained an active opponent of the North ministry in the House of Commons, and frequently spoke out against the war with America. He briefly took office as secretary of war in the second Rockingham ministry, between March and July 1782, and when Shelburne became prime minister in July 1782, Townshend succeeded him as secretary of state for the Home Office. He next became leader of the House of Commons (1782-1783) and tirelessly threw his support in favor of ending the war with America. The Fox-North coalition forced Sydney into opposition, but he quickly returned to office with Pitt, serving as home secretary from 1783 to 1789. He advanced in the peerage from baron to 1st Viscount Sydney of St. Leonards in 1789, and resigned from office that same year because of a disagreement with Pitt over an India bill and a slave regulation bill.
Sydney married Elizabeth Powys (1736--1826) of Suffolk in 1760; they had twelve children. Sydney died in 1800 at his estate in Frognal.
The Thomas Townshend, 1st Viscount Sydney papers (approximately 1,000 items) contain the official papers of Lord Sydney, as well as letters and documents related to his grandfather, Charles Townshend, 2nd Viscount Townshend (1664-1738); his father, the Honorable Thomas Townshend (1701-1780); and his son, John Thomas Townshend, 2nd Viscount Sydney (1764-1831). The collection is primarily made up of incoming letters and government documents, along with some drafts of letters written by Sydney. Of note is material related to the Shelburne ministry and the Paris peace negotiations (1782-1783).
The Secret Instructions and State Documents relating to the Negotiations for the Independence of America series (51 items) is comprised of two bound volumes of letters and documents. These include letters, reports, negotiation instructions, printed treaty articles, and minutes of the Privy Council, all related to the Peace of Paris that ended the American Revolution. Present are items in the hand of Sydney; William Petty, Lord Shelburne; Henry Seymour Conway; Evan Nepean; Thomas Orde; and Henry Strachey (see Additional Descriptive Data for an index of this material).
The Correspondence and Documents series (approximately 940 items) comprises the bulk of the collection and consists largely of incoming official letters and documents written during Sydney's political career.
The earliest material (1665-1761) relates to the official capacities of Sydney's forebears, Horatio Townshend, Charles Townshend, and the Honorable Thomas Townshend. These papers concern local politics, particularly regardingWhitchurch, as well as international affairs and trade relations with Europe, the West Indies, and America, including issues surrounding the international slave trade. Other topics covered in this period are currency issues in the American colonies, trade issues with Spain and the Spanish-controlled West Indies and South America, and dealings with the South Sea Company.
While the earliest Sydney item is a memo from  concerning French Fishing rights off Newfoundland and Cape Breton, the first substantial grouping of his papers begins in 1762, when Sydney served as clerk of the board of green cloth. The collection documents each of Sydney's subsequent official roles: lord of the treasury (1765-1766), paymaster of the forces under William Pitt and member of the Privy Council (1767-1768), and active opposition voice in the House of Commons (1769-1782). Much of this material is related to Parliamentary responsibilities, trade, and politics concerning the Pay Office. Approximately 200 items relate to Sydney's office in the Shelburne ministry during 1782. Of note are 51 items about the Paris peace negotiations, consisting of letters, secret instructions, official documents, minutes of council meetings, and memoranda, and letters between Shelburne and Sydney on the peace process and other foreign affairs in the Mediterranean, Portugal, and Spain.
Approximately 300 items fall between 1783 and 1789, when Sydney served the Pitt ministry. This material concerns home politics, election news, lawmaking, intelligence from Europe (primarily Denmark, Germany, France, the Netherlands, and Spain), and British interests in India. The collection contains about 200 items, scattered throughout the collection, concerning the West Indies, including letters, memorials, petitions, and customs documents, many of which relate to the Leeward Islands during the American Revolutionary War, and to the St. Eustatius affair in 1781. Also of note are 16 letters from Sydney to George III, and 12 letters to Sydney from the King, as well as 20 letters from British Secretary of War George Young between 1775 and 1788.
The last 34 items relate to John Thomas Townshend, 2nd Viscount Sydney (1764-1831), covering the period from his father's death in 1800 until 1830. These letters are both social and political in nature. Of note is an 1803 document proposing a new order of knighthood called the "Order of Military Merit."
The series contains 74 undated items. These are ordered by creator's last name, with 39 miscellaneous fragments, documents, poems, essays in Latin, and printed items at the end.
Selected Highlights from the Correspondence and Documents series
Pre-Sydney Material (1665-1761):
March 11, 1708 and : Petitions from the governors and assemblies of the Leeward Islands and St. Christopher to Queen Anne petitioning for protection from invaders
Board of Trade to Queen Anne concerning Governor of New York Robert Hunter's proposal to settle 3,000 Palatines in New York and to employ them in the production of naval stores
March 31, 1724: Auditors to the treasury department reporting on money due Robert Hunter for providing subsistence for the Palatines sent to New York
: Charles Townshend's "Considerations on the Assiento Contract" and the slave trade in the West Indies
November 1, 1732: Charles Townshend, 2nd Viscount, to Charles Townshend, 3rd Viscount, containing instructions for managing Whitchurch
October 4, 1733: Lewis Morris to the Great Britain Board of Trade on "Reasons against Paper Currency in New York and New Jersey"
February 17, 1735: Francis Harrison reporting on politics in New York from the point of view of the "court party"
January 15, 1736 and : Three items providing opinions on liquor licensing in England
January 12, 1738: William Richardson concerning the selling of wine to Cambridge University
: Proposed method "for supplying the Brazills with Negros, & an Encrease of the British Trade and Navigation"
: "A Plan for Negotiation of a Peace with Spain"
September 4, 1746: Ferdinand VI to Joseph Ruiz de Noriega, granting trading privileges for trading slaves in the Spanish colonies
: Remarks on the taking of Fort St. Louis by Admiral Knowles (March 8, 1747/1748)
September 27, 1751: James Ord to Henry Pelham, inclosing three items, one describing "The Present State of the African Trade particularly with relation to the English Collonys"
: Petition to George II from Lord Baltimore for consent to "Bar the Entail upon the Province of Maryland"
: Document on the Settlement of Nova Scotia and Louisbourg by the British
Sydney's early political career (1761-1781):
May 1-June 10, 1769 and October-December 1772: Intelligence concerning tension between the British and the Caribs ("Black Charibs") of St. Vincent and plans for an expedition against the Caribs
, May 31, 1772: Report on Puerto Rico for Sir Ralph Payne and a letter from Daniel O'Flaherty related to the island
February 9, 1774: Power of Attorney relating to High Hall Wentworth's sugar plantation in Grenada
December 23, 1777: Letter from John Thornton discussing British treatment of prisoners of war and political attitudes toward the American Revolution
June 9, 1778: British Peace Commissioners to the Continental Congress in Philadelphia, concerning peace negotiations, independence, withdrawing the army, and refugees
July 17, 1779: John Frodsham's "Narrative of the Proceedings of His Majesty's Fleet, under the Command of Vice Admiral Byron from 25th May 1779 to the 15th July 1779" written from St. Kitts
July 26, 1779: Anonymous letter on the Spanish declaration of war
November 27, 1779: Letter of support from an anonymous merchant approving Sydney's stand against Lord North in the House of Commons
: Intelligence on the French Fleet in the West Indies near Jamaica
: Edward Thomson's estimate of the forces necessary to take Surinam
July 30, 1781; April 20, 1782; September and October 1782: English translation of "A true and impartial Account of the present State of Peru" and intelligence on a revolt in Peru
Sydney's service in the Shelburne ministry (1782):
February-July, 1782: Letters from Sir Robert Boyd concerning the siege of Gibraltar and Boyd's procuring of 12 Lamego hams as a prize
August 7, 1782: James Macabee to Shelburne from the Salopian Coffeehouse, outlining a "plan for an expedition against the Havannah, connected with an idea conducive to pacification with America"
August 13, 1782: Proposal from Benedict Arnold to Shelburne to fund the construction of a ship of war
August 24, 1782: John Murray Dunmore, 4th earl of Dunmore, to Sydney containing a proposal to settle displaced Loyalists on the Mississippi River after the American Revolution
September 4, 1782: Anonymous letter opposing the sending of an ambassador to the Barbary State of Morocco
[September 1782]: Report translated from the Spanish on a revolt in Peru
Sydney's service in the Pitt ministry (1783-1789):
: Notes on New England trade
June 25, 1784: Henry Caldwell to Thomas Townshend, concerning taxes and the Quebec Act's effect on Canada
July 17, 1784: Intelligence from Juan Pablo Viscardo y Guzman, on the state of Spanish settlements in South America
September 24, 1784: William Pitt to Sydney enclosing a letter from George III to Pitt concerning the East India Company and military forces in India: Document containing "observations on the Statute of 14 Geo: 3 For regulating Madhouses"
: "Case of an English Subject at the Capture of Saint Eustatius by Lord Rodney and General Vaughan in the year 1781"
: Document containing a "Comparative View of the Trade to Jamaica from the Continent of America in the years 1784 & 1785 and before the War"
January 9, 1786: Marquis de Lafayette to John Adams dealing with trade between American and French merchants
June 28, 1786: Lieutenant Governor of Quebec Henry Hope to Evan Nepean concerning Canadian politics and governance
July 5, 1786: Documents and copies of letters from Sir George Brydges Rodney, commander in chief of the West Indies to the Secretary of the Navy, concerning St. Eustatius and the Leeward Islands, and from William Knox on the St. Eustatius Bill
June 30, 1788: Thomas de Grey to Sydney concerning William Pitt's slave bill
December 3, 1788 and : Resolution from the Privy Council containing the record of examination by George III's physicians of his illness and a report on the medical treatment given to the King
March 1, 1789: Report from "Speculator A" to Sydney concerning corruption in Cape Breton
April 9, 1789: Richard Downing Jennings account of the proceedings of Lord Rodney and General Vaughan at St. Eustatius
June 6, 1789: Statement for Sydney's secret service-related accounts
May 28, 1790: George Townshend memorandum to the House of Lords concerning the importation of personal property by subjects of the United States
November 20, 1792: Sydney to unknown concerning the French character and the French role in the American Revolution
Memorial from John Blankett regarding establishing a colony for convicts on Madagascar
Extracts from Captain Arthur Phillip's diary detailing affairs with diamond mining in Brazil
William Townshend to Nicholas Hawksmoor containing a brief note and a detailed pencil sketch of the doorway in the Sheldonian Theatre, Oxford
Sydney's notes on the economy of New England
Miscellaneous document: Observations on a bill to regulate distillers
Miscellaneous document: On the status of St. Lucia
Miscellaneous document: On the status of Surinam in the 17th century
The Additional Items series (3 items) consists of an account book, a legal report, and a legal document. The account book documents governmental expenses for secret services during the American Revolution, many of which are disbursements for Evan Nepean (1782-1791). The legal report concerns an inquiry into Edward Lascelles, collector of customs in Barbados, by Surveyor General Robert Dinwiddie (c.1745). The final item is a "Deed of trust" for land and slaves owned by Henry Compton and others in St. Kitts Island.
Index for Secret Instructions and State Documents relating to the Negotiations for the Independence of America
1782: Printed Paper, The "Enabling" Act: Geo. III. Cap. 46
May 18, 1782: Minutes of Council. Cover to Nos. 3 and 4
May 21, 1782: Whitehall, [To Mr. Oswald.]
May 21, 1782: Whitehall, To Doctr Franklin. Cover to No. 5. Draft to Mr. Oswald
May 21, 1782: Whitehall, Draft to Mr. Oswald
May 25, 1782: Memo given by Shelburne to Mr. Oswald
May 25, 1782: Whitehall, To Dr. Benjamin Franklin &c.
August 2, 1782: Copy of the Minutes of Cabinet
August 2, 1782: Minutes of Cabinet
August 3, 1782: Draft of a letter to the King
August 3, 1782: To Alleyne Fitzherbert Esq. Paris, Albemarle Street
Undated: Article of the Fishery
Undated: Prefix the Articles of Independence
Undated: Substance of the proposed instructions, contain numbered paragraphs: 3, 10, 5, 6, 1, 2, 3, 4, 7, 8, and 10, substance of the Proposed Instructions.
Undated: Evidently continuation of 14, folio leaf
[November 18, 1782]: Taken from Lord Chancellor, Article 5
Undated: Memorandum of Mr. Strachey's
Undated: To be added at the end of the 5th Article and Supplemental Modifications to be added
August 15, 1782: Draft of a Note to the King from Sydney
August 22, 1782: Copy of a Note to the King from the Governor of Nova Scotia
August 23, 1782: Minute of Cabinet
August 29, 1782: Minute of Propositions
October 14, 1782: Copy of a Note to the King
November 21, 1782: Copy of a Note to the King
December 12, 1782: Copy of a Note to the King
December 15, 1782: Rough Sketch of a Minute
December 15, 1782: Memorandum for Minutes of Cabinet
December 15, 1782: Copy of a Minutes of Cabinet
December 15, 1782: Copy of a Note to the King
January 20, 1783: Printed Paper. Preliminary Articles of Peace [with France]
January 20, 1783: Printed Paper. Preliminary Articles of Peace [with Spain] 30 & 31 are sewed together in Original Cover. Both signed at Versailles
January 20, 1783: Printed Paper. [Duplicate of 31]
January 20, 1783: Translation of the Declaration relative to the Cessation of Hostilities with the United States of North America, signed at Versailles
January 20, 1783: Letter from Viscount Keppel to Mr. Townshend, Admiralty
January 20, 1783: Letter from Viscount Keppel to Mr. Townshend, Admiralty
January 21, 1783: Copy of a Note to the King
January 22, 1783: Minutes of Cabinet
January 23, 1783: Copy of Note to the King
1783: "Scheme for raising Six Millions for various purposes; in which the payment of the Debts of the Prince of Wales, and for a Separate Establishment for him is one object; another is -- that the King should -- shew some favour ... to the American Loyalists and many Objects[Subjects] that have suffered by the American War"
February 13, 1783: Memoranda from Lord Howe, the First Lord of the Admiralty, concerning naval matters
February 13, 1783: Minutes of Cabinet about paying off, and laying up the Ships of War from Lord Howe, submitted to the King (No.40)
February 22, 1783: Copy of a Note to the King, 4:50 a.m.
February 22, 1783: Copy of a Note to the King, 4.25 p.m. Whitehall ... m/25 past 4 P.M. to introduce No. 41
February 25, 1783: Note to the King
March 17, 1783: Minutes of Cabinet
March 17, 1783: Minutes of Cabinet
August 20, 1784: Note to the King
February 3, 1784: Note to the King, Tuesday 8 o'clock P.M.
June 5, 1787: Minutes of Cabinet
June 5, 1787: Note to the King ... Transmitting a Minute of Cabinet of the same date [No. 49]
February 1783: Report entitled: "Parliamentary Anecdotes with regard to Treaties of Peace, and Observations upon the Preliminaries now under the consideration of Parliament
Adhémar de Saint-Martin, Jean Baptiste Amable.
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Ancaster, Mary Panton, duchess of, d. 1793.
Asgill, Lady, d. 1816.
Ashburton, John Dunning, 1st baron, 1731-1783.
Barry, Henry, 1750-1822.
Belgioioso, Barbaro, comte de.
Bergeij, M. de.
Boyd, Sir Robert, 1710-1794.
Braybrooke, Sir John Griffin Whitwell Griffin, 1st baron, 1719-1797.
Brodrick, Charles, 1761-1822.
Brodrick, Hon. Thomas, 1756-1795.
Buckingham, George Nugent-Temple-Grenville, 1st marquess of, 1753-1813.
Bulkeley, Thomas James Bulkeley, 7th Viscount, 1752-1822.
Burgoyne, John, 1722-1792.
Burke, Edmund, 1729-1797.
Bute, John Stuart, Viscount Mountstuart, 4th earl and 1st marquess, 144-1814.
Byron, Sophia Trevannion, Mrs. John.
C, Lady Mary.
Caldwell, Sir Henry, 1738-1810.
Camden, Sir Charles Pratt, 1st Baron and 1st Earl, 1714-1794.
Campbell, Sir Archibald, 1739-1791.
Carteret, Hon. Henry Frederick Thynne, 1st Baron Carteret, 1735-1826.
Cathcart, Sir William Schaw Cathcart, 1st earl, 1755-1843.
Chandos, James Brydges, marquess of Carnarvon, 3rd duke of, 1731-1789.
Chatham, Lady Hester Grenville Pitt, countess of, 1721-1803.
Clarendon, Thomas Villiers, 2nd baron Hyde, 2nd earl of, 1753-1824.
Conway, Hon. Henry Seymour, 1721-1795.
Cooke, George John.
Cornwallis, Charles Cornwallis, 1st marquess, 1738-1805.
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Cuninghame, James, d. 1788.
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Davison, Alexander, 1750-1829.
Debbieg, Hugh, 1731-1810.
De Grey, Thomas, 2nd baron Walsingham, 1748-1818.
Delisle, Jean Guillaume.
Denbigh, Basil Feilding, 6th earl of, 1719-1800.
Draper, Sir William, 1721-1787.
Dudley and Ward, John Ward, 2nd Viscount, 1725-1788.
Dunmore, John Murray, 4th earl of, 1732-1809.
Eliott, George A., 1st baron Heathfield.
Fairfax of Cameron, Robert Fairfax, 7th baron, 1707-1793.
Fenoulket, James John.
Galiffe, James Augustus, 1776-1853.
Galiffe, J. P.
Galloway, John Stewart, Lord Garlies and 7th earl of, 1736-1806.
Gloucester, England, Mayor, Mr. Weaver.
Gordon, Sir Charles, 1756-1835.
Grantham, Thomas Robinson, 2nd baron, 1738-1786.
Great Britain. Sovereigns. George III, 1760-1820.
Great Britain. Verge of the Court. Collector. J. Stephenson.
Greene, Edward Burnaby, d.1788.
Grey, Sir Charles Grey, 1st earl, 1729-1807.
Haldimand, Sir Frederick, 1718-1791.
Harcourt, Mary Danby, Countess Harcourt, d. 1833.
Harcourt, William Harcourt, 3rd earl, 1743-1830.
Hardinge, George, 1743-1816.
Hartley, David, 1732-1813.
Hopetourn, James Hope, 3rd earl of, 1741-1816.
Howe, Richard Howe, 1st earl, 1726-1799.
Hurd, Thomas, 1757-1823.
Keith, Sir Robert Murray, 1720-1795.
Keppel, Augustus Keppel, 1st Viscount, 1725-1786.
Kutzleben, Baron von, d. 1798.
Lauderdale, James Maitland, 8th earl of, 1759-1839.
Leicester, George Townshend, 1st earl of, 1755-1811.
Leland, John, d. 1808.
Lennox, L. M.
Malmesbury, Sir James Harris, Viscount Fitzharris and Earl of, 1746-1820.
March, George R.
Martin, Josiah, 1737-1786.
Mathew, Edward, 1727-1805.
Melville, Henry Dundas, 1st Viscount, 1742-1811.
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Molesworth, Robert, 5th Viscount Molesworth, ca. 1730-1813.
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Moore, John, 1730-1805.
Moss, Charles, 1711-1802.
Murray, James, 1719-1794.
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Nepean, Sir Evan, 1st bart., 1751-1822.
Newton, Rev. F.
Northington, Robert Henley, 2nd earl of, 1747-1786.
Norton, Hon. Chapple, 1746-1818.
Oliver, Thomas, 1734-1815.
Onslow, George Onslow, 1st earl of, 1731-1814.
Orde, Sir John, 1751-1824.
Parry, David, d. 1793.
Pearson, Sir Richard, 1731-1806.
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Pitt, William, 1759-1806.
Polhill, Charles, 1725-1805.
Portland, William Henry Cavendish Bentinck, 3rd duke of, 1738-1809.
Poulett, Vere Poulett, Viscount Hinton, 3rd earl, 1710-1788.
Poyntz, William, d. 1809.
Prisoners of the Court of the King's Bench.
Rawdon, Francis Rawdon-Hastings, 1st marquess of Hastings, 2nd earl of Moria, baron, 1754-1826.
Richmond and Lennox, Charles Lennox, 3rd duke of, 1735-1806.
Rochford, William Henry Zuylestein, 5th earl of, 1754-1830.
Rockingham, Charles Watson-Wentworth, 2nd marquess of, 1730-1782.
Rodney, Sir George Brydges Rodney, 1st baron, 1719-1792.
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St. Helens, Alleyne Fitzherbert, 1st baron, 1753-1839.
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St. Leger, Barry, 1737-1789.
Sandby, Dr. G.
Saye and Sele, Thomas Twisleton, 13th baron, d. 1788.
Scudamore, John, 1727-1796.
Shelburne, William Petty, 2nd earl of, 1737-1805.
Shirley, Sir Thomas, 1728-1800.
Simcoe, John Graves, 1752-1806.
Sloper, Sir Robert, K.B., d. 1802.
Somerset, Edward Seymour, 9th duke of, 1717/1718-1792.
Southampton, Charles Fitzroy, 1st baron, 1737-1797.
Stafford, Susannah Stewart Leveson-Gower, marchioness of, d.1805.
Stanhope, Charles Stanhope, 3rd Viscount Mahon, 3rd earl of, 1753-1816.
Sydney, Hon. John Thomas Townshend, 2nd Viscount, 1764-1831.
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Thurlow, Edward, 1st Baron Thurlow, 1731-1806.
Tollemache, Lady Bridget Henley Fox-Lane, d.1796.
Torrington, George Byng, 4th Viscount, d.1812.
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The following item is located in the Clements Library Book Division: