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Charles Townshend papers, 1660-1804 (majority within 1748-1767)

9.5 linear feet

The Townshend papers included the private and public records of Charles Townshend who served in various positions in the government of Great Britain including as Secretary of War during the Seven Years War and as Chancellor of the Exchequer where he authored the Townshend Acts to tax the American colonies.

The Townshend papers contain approximately 2,600 items, including letters, documents, accounts, and printed matter relating to the public life and activities of Charles Townshend, gathered largely during the last period of his career. The collection is an extremely valuable resource for study of British commercial and mercantile policy in the 1760s, administrative perspectives on the mounting crisis in the North American colonies, and the inner workings of British political life. The papers reflect Townshend's serious research efforts in his role as policymaker; much of the collection consists of documents that he gathered for his own information on legal cases, British politics, financial and treasury matters, and affairs in North America, the West Indies, and Africa. Also present is a small amount of incoming and outgoing correspondence and an assortment of memoranda and speech drafts by Townshend. The collection spans 1660-1804, but the bulk centers around the 1750s and 1760s, when Townshend held an appointment on the Board of Trade and Plantations (1748-1754) and served as Lord of the Admiralty (1754), Secretary-at-War (1762-1763), President of the Board of Trade (1763-1765), Paymaster General (1765-1766) and Chancellor of the Exchequer (1766-1767). The collection was originally arranged by Charles Townshend into numerous bundles marked with wrappers. This original order has largely been maintained and hence, document types and topics are scattered across the collection.

See "Additional Descriptive Data" for a partial subject index of the papers as well as a list of printed matter in the collection.


A moderate amount of Townshend's incoming and outgoing correspondence is located throughout the collection. This includes contemporary copies of his letters to and from William Barrington and Thomas Gage relating to the War Office during his time as Secretary-at-War (Box 8/ Bundle 2), numerous incoming letters concerning patronage and requesting favors (8/3/A), and correspondence between Townshend and John Morton concerning politics and happenings in the House of Commons in 1764-1766 (8/37). Also present are a series of letters written from the Mediterranean by Commodore Augustus Keppel, describing British peace negotiations with Tunis and Tripoli and the signing of a treaty on October 21, 1751, (Box 297/1/2) and incoming correspondence on a variety of topics from William Dowdeswell, George Sackville-Germain, George Younge, William Shirley, Edmund Burke, Wellbore Ellis, George Macaulay, Edward Walpole, Henry Pelham-Clinton (3rd Duke of Newcastle), and John Stuart, (3rd Earl Bute).

Legal Papers

The collection also contains scattered documents relating to legal issues and court cases in the late-18th century. The box marked 8/5 contains accounts of the court cases of the following parties, heard before the House of Lords and the Commissioners of Appeals in 1760: Francis Watkins; Francis Dalby; the Proprietors of Sulbrave, Northamptonshire; the Pennsylvania Land Company; a group of London fishmongers; and John Potter, Archbishop of Canterbury. Also represented are several cases concerning prizes captured by Dutchmen (8/5). Other legal papers include those relating to Townshend's wife, Caroline, 1st Baroness Greenwich, which span 1754 to 1789 and are located in Box 298, and documents concerning Samuel Waldo and his service in the Siege of Louisburg (8/24/a).

Other Documents

The Charles Townshend papers contain numerous documents gathered by Townshend for his own information or created by him during the process of policymaking. These include many items relating to North America, including reports on trade, military matters, the characteristics and features of various regions, and debates on British policies. Among the military-related topics addressed are recruitment for the British army in North America in the years 1753-1763 (8/22), expenses of maintaining a force in North America for 1765-1766 (8/28), the cost of maintaining various British forts (8/31), and the debate over foreign officers' commissions in America in 1756 (8/4). Other items concern trade between North America and Great Britain; this includes a 1761 memorandum on the prevalence of smuggling in Boston (297), information on Newfoundland fisheries (8/4 and 299), and notes on the importation of iron bar from America (299). A group of undated documents relate to the settlement of East and West Florida (8/34) and the expenses related to the settlement of East Florida by Greeks (297/4/5). Box 8/31 contains Townshend's own notes on his proposal to impose new duties on salt, wine, oil, fruit, glass, tea, sugar, molasses, china, and paper. A draft of the Townshend Duties is also included in the papers.

Other documents in the collection concern a variety of British political matters, such as contested 1754 English parliamentary elections (8/32), estimates of the strength of several parties in the House of Commons (8/42), and proceedings against John Wilkes in the House of Commons (296). The collection also includes Townshend notes for his speeches opposing the Marriage Act (298), and documents concerning his election to Parliament for Great Yarmouth in 1754 and 1756 (8/52).

Additional scattered papers relate to world trade and matters of the British Treasury. A substantial amount of material concerns the East India Company, including debates on the taxation of tea, memoranda concerning precedents for government intervention in East India Company matters, and Townshend's 1766 notes on a bill concerning East India, all of which are located in the Bowhill Box. Box 298 contains many lists and statistics on British imports and exports abroad, particularly to the North American colonies. Other documents pertain to the British manufacture of earthenware and china, the coal trade (8/40), and trade with Africa, including the activities of the Committee on African trade in 1752-1754 (297/5/3).


New Hampshire Iron Factory Company minute book, 1805-1881

1 volume

The 190-page New Hampshire Iron Factory Company minute book includes a handwritten copy of the act incorporating the organization, its bylaws, minutes of the company's formation meetings, and annual meeting minutes from 1806 to 1881. The company was based in Franconia, New Hampshire, but many of its initial investors were in and around Salem, Massachusetts.

The clerks and clerks pro tem who kept this volume include John Punchard, Philemon Putnam, Thomas Spooner, William A. Wells, William Mack, Alvan Grimes, John H. Nichols, Edward P. Babbitt, Nathaniel White, P. S. Fisk, and William Arthur Coffin.

Table of Contents:
  • Pages 1-5: Manuscript copy of the New Hampshire legislature's An Act to incorporate certain Persons by the name of The New Hampshire Iron Factory Company--explanation of the establishment of the corporation, authorization to raise stock, and stipulations regarding to purchase of real estate, furnaces, machinery, buildings, etc. House December 18, 1805, approved by the Senate December 21, 1805.
  • Pages 6-10: Minutes of formation meetings, June 10, 1806-July 16, 1806; moderated by Captain Asa Towne, Joshua Goodale, Clerk, and Gideon Snow, Treasurer. Meetings at Palmer's Tavern on Ann Street; Bradley's Tavern in Boston; Ward's Hotel in Lynn.
  • Pages 10-16: Bylaws.
  • Page 17: Itemized shares owned by Asa Towne, Samuel Page, William Safford, Gideon Snow, David Smith, and Joshua Goodale.
  • Pages 18-190: Annual Meeting Minutes.


Ulster Iron Works records, 1816-1874 (majority within 1825-1844)

1 volume, plus 98 loose manuscript

The Ulster Iron Works records consist of documentation of the financial, management, and technical aspects of iron production during the 1830s and 1840s, and correspondence between the owners of the company and John Simmons, the on-site manager.

The Ulster Iron Works records consist of two parts, a bound volume that includes retained copies of out-going correspondence, and a series of approximately 100 miscellaneous items, mostly consisting of correspondence between the owners of the company and John Simmons, the on-site manager. The collection provides documentation of the financial, management, and technical aspects of iron production during the 1830s and 40s, with particularly interesting information on governmental contracting and on technology transfer from English and Welsh mills.

Both the bound volume and loose manuscripts include sets of technical specifications, and some plans and figures for various aspects of refining and iron production. The owners of the iron works were keen on importing the latest English and Welsh technology to make Ulster more efficient in production, with a specific interest in improving the rolling operations, furnace technology, steam power, and -- as might be expected for a works situated not far from the coal regions of Pennsylvania -- integrating anthracite into the operation as a fuel source. Among the miscellaneous manuscripts at the end of the collection are yield estimates and statements of production costs for various manufacturing processes, some production records, price comparisons with products from other works in the United States and Britain, and tests and specifications for various iron products.

The collection contains a number of items relating to labor and labor relations at the Saugerties mills. Scattered throughout the collection is correspondence relating to the hiring of both skilled and unskilled hands, with some particularly items relating to efforts to locate highly skilled English and Welsh workers and persuade them to emigrate, both to fill labor needs and to bring workers experienced with new technologies. In 1839, when William Young was traveling in Britain to examine iron works, Simmons argued that compared to English mills, Ulster could offer higher wages for several positions for boys, and argued that this might be an effective tool for luring emigrants in the face of an expected shortage of labor. There are also a number of items relating to workmen's wages, including some vouchers, receipts, and labor contracts for individual workers. Of a more personal nature, the collection includes a subscription list forwarded by John Simmons to provide relief to the widow of a mill hand (1830 August 25), and a letter from a former mill employee, Walter Kearny, requesting a loan to help purchase the business of a deceased partner. There are several references, though none terribly substantive, to "disturbance and dissatisfaction" among the employees of the mill in 1831. An 1842 letter relating to the New Jersey Iron Works, another operation managed by the owners of the Ulster Iron Works, contains even greater evidence of labor unrest. The unidentified writer insists that the workers accept a 25% reduction in wages without negotiation, and concludes, "we have orders on hand to execute, which may take another month to complete. We shall then stop, until the Workmen submit to our terms" (1842 January 16). A few letters relate to Simmons' own dissatisfaction with his position at the iron works and his feeling that his authority was being undermined by the actions of the owners.

Like many "business" collections from the early Republic, the Ulster Iron Works Records contain some personal correspondence of the mill owners and executives, particularly of the supervisor, John Simmons. Among the most poignant letters in the collection is a letter from Simmons to a bar owner, Samuel Oaks, in which Simmons writes that his father had been frequenting Oaks' "works" and been seen "in Places and in Condition highly Discreditable to the humane race" (1834 August 8). Simmons professed to finding the situation "mortifying" and pleaded with Oaks to persuade his father to return home.