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John Lee papers, 1763-1851

0.75 linear feet

The John Lee papers contain political and personal correspondence related to British lawyer, politician, and attorney general John Lee, and his family.

The John Lee papers (202 items) contain letters and documents related to the legal and political career of John Lee, as well as items concerning his personal and family life. The collection consists of 189 letters, 2 legal documents, a memoir of Lord Rockingham, an engraving, and 4 pieces of memoranda and ephemera. Approximately one third of the collection consists of letters written to Lee’s wife, Mary Hutchinson Lee, and his daughter Mary Tabitha, after Lee’s death in 1793.

Much of the collection concerns Lee’s political career. Frequent contributors to the collection include the Marquess of Rockingham and his wife, the Marchioness of Rockingham. An early letter from Lord Rockingham to Lee concerns an unfavorable report from the Board of Trade regarding corruption charges brought against Governor Wentworth of New Hampshire, who Rockingham believed had been treated unjustly (June 1, 1773). In 1779, Lee served on the defense in the court martial of Augustus Keppel. In a brief letter with the instructions "Give this to Mr. Lee as soon as he is awake in the morning," Lady Rockingham informed Lee of Keppel's situation and wrote, "I am permitted the high honour of being the first to apprize you of your being Retained on the side of the worthiest man, and in the purest cause, that perhaps your zeal and integrity were ever engag’d in support of" (December 9, 1778). Though the collection has little material relating to the trial, a letter from Keppel in February thanks Lee for his service: "…if you suffer'd much from so long & so tedious an attendance, I hope it has been some recompense to a mind like yours to have protected innocence and to have formed an acquaintance with some honest seamen whose plain and upright hearts are so consonant to your own" (Feb. 23, 1779). In addition, a memorandum from 1779 notes that Keppel sent Lee £1,000 for his service, but Lee immediately returned it, claiming he attended the trial out of friendship, and requested only a picture of Keppel. Another item of note is a letter from Lee to Sir Fletcher Norton, in which Lee turned down an offer to serve on the King’s Council (Feb. 12, 1770).

The collection contains several items related to the Yorkshire petition movement, including a letter Lee wrote to Reverend Christopher Wyvill, chairman of the Yorkshire Committee of Association for Reform in Parliament, who had sent out a circular to members of Parliament. Lee was critical of the state of the country, and supportive of Wyvill’s reformist goals. Lee wrote: "All things have gone wrong, but in no respect in my mind so wrong as in this, that the public cares little about it. It seems to me as if our Governors were highly pleased with this general apathy in the body of the People, which I think Montesquieu calls the mournful silence of a City that the Enemy is about to storm" (April 15, 1782). The collection also documents Lee’s brief and tumultuous service as solicitor general and attorney general. Of note is a letter from Lord Shelburne inviting Lee "on Wednesday next to kiss the King’s hand on being appointed Solicitor General to his Majesty" (April 15, 1782). After Rockingham’s death, Lee sent a letter to the Lord Chancellor offering his resignation (July 1782). Lord North signaled Lee's reappointment to solicitor general (April 13, 1783), and Lee received several letters of congratulation following his appointment to attorney general in November 1783.

Personal letters comprise a large portion of the collection. One of the most frequent contributors in the collection is Lady Rockingham, who often discussed politics, society, health and medicine, and everyday life. Lee wrote several affectionate letters to his wife and daughter. Though the letters contain few mentions of his religious affiliation, one letter from Reverend Theophilus Lindsey mentions Lee's support for the construction of a Unitarian chapel (June 22, 1793).

The bulk of the collection dated after Lee’s death consists of personal correspondence written to Lee’s wife and daughter. The letters of Lady Charlotte Wentworth are of particular interest, containing detailed descriptions of important events. Her March 7, 1799, letter contains notes on the difficult winter affecting merchants; events in Germany; Mr. Pitt’s planned union with Ireland; news of a wedding and a birth; and an account of Ambassador to Berlin Thomas Grenville’s ship being wrecked off of Newark Island, and Grenville’s narrow escape from the wreck. Another letter from Lady Wentworth in January 1805 documents Lady Rockingham’s death the previous month: "Mrs Thornton and her maid thought she walked toward the bed as if she was stronger than the preceding night & remarked it to her, but she told them they were mistaken, & before she was laid down, she said to Mrs. Thornton I feel ill, don't leave me I'm sure I am dying, they instantly sent for the medical person who lives close by, but before he came the symptoms of death were strong upon her, no violent pain but her breath grew very short." In 1815, Lady Busk wrote a letter to Mary Tabitha, in which she discussed the Battle of Waterloo: "What wonderful Revolutions have happen’d since my son and I left town, the battle of the 18th of last month was beyond all description…My Grandson Harry Vane we saw amongst the number of slightly wounded & am only surpriz’d any one person escap’d being kill’d as the contest lasted so many hours…it proves when God is for us who can be against us? & Bonaparte is now a mere Nothing! We may truly say, how are the mighty fallen!"

Also present is a Memoire of the Marquis of Rockingham, which contains a brief biography of Rockingham, a list of offices held, and an account of his death on July 1, 1782; an engraving of the Marquis of Rockingham (July 31, 1781); several epitaphs for inscriptions on tombs; and a few legal documents.


John Wilkes papers, 1741-1790

423 items (7 volumes)

The John Wilkes papers contain Wilkes's incoming and outgoing correspondence on topics such as politics, financial difficulties, and family matters. Also included are 13 contemporary portraits, several literary reviews by Wilkes, and a parody of his poem "An Essay on Woman," by an unknown author.

The John Wilkes papers comprise seven volumes. Volumes I through III contain 295 letters, of which approximately three-quarters were written by Wilkes to his family members and his personal friends and followers between 1741 and 1786.

Volume I contains 91 letters and 4 printed items, arranged chronologically (April 5, 1741-November 8, 1766). Most of the letters in this volume are to and from members of the Wilkes family, including Wilkes' mother, Sarah (Heaton) Wilkes; his sister, Sarah Wilkes; and his younger brother, Heaton Wilkes. The early letters frequently concern social, family, and financial matters, and they demonstrate the importance of education to the Wilkes family. In John Wilkes' earliest letter, written to his older brother Israel at 15, he analyzed a phrase in the Iliad and found that it was not grand enough for his taste. Between 1741 and 1744, Presbyterian Matthew Leeson, the Wilkes' tutor, wrote five letters to Wilkes' mother on religious and everyday topics, including escorting John to the University of Leiden (February 2, 1743).

Items from the 1740s and 1750s also illustrate a variety of attitudes towards women. An undated poem (item 30) by John Wilkes, entitled "The Husbands Creed," paints women as domineering: "Tyranny be to the Wife, Slavery to the Husband, and ruin to the family,/ As it was in the beginning it now shall be to the End of the World. Amen." At the same time, three letters from Wilkes' older sister Sarah to a "cousin Sophy" discuss at length the "tyranny of a husband" and declare that, "Female friendship is the only real and certain good . . ." (July 27, 1755). In another letter, dated August 19, 1755, Sarah Wilkes wrote to Sophy concerning the limited opportunities offered to women, "Your soul is rather turn'd to harmony and love, you think 'if we had the same advantages in Education as men have, we shou'd make as great a figure' We have never been tried, 'tis true . . . ."

After April 1763, with Wilkes' publication of an incendiary issue of The North Briton, the materials increasingly concern political issues and their consequences for him. Several undated documents affixed to page 42 of the volume describe Wilkes' arrest by general warrant; one letter to Wilkes recommends Rome and Avignon as places for him to take refuge (December 12, 1763). In a letter dated November 15, 1763, Wilkes gave an account of his arrest and described his objections to his treatment in a letter to the Speaker of the House of Commons. Wilkes' later letters in the volume touch on his prosecution for An Essay on Woman (March 16, 1764); concern his letter to the electors of Aylesbury (November 2, 1764); reveal his custody wishes for his much-beloved daughter Mary (December 4, 1764); and show his attempts at reconciliation with Great Britain, and his desire to serve as governor of Jamaica (December 4, 1765). Also of interest are Wilkes' comments on the Stamp Act rebellion; he wrote Heaton, "You are much mistaken as to my ideas of America. I am too well inform'd of what passes there by some gentlemen I have seen, and there is a spirit little short of rebellion in several of the Colonies. If I am to be an exile from my native London, it shall not be in the new world…" (November 17, 1765).

Volume II, which covers December 15, 1766-January 3, 1786, contains 120 chronologically-arranged letters. Wilkes wrote 86 of the letters, primarily to his younger brother Heaton. His most frequent topic is his financial situation, which was often troubled, particularly after he liquidated his assets in Britain and received only a fraction of their value from his trustee and friend, Humphrey Cotes. On November 16, 1767, he addressed his resistance to the issuing of general warrants, and to the seizure of papers. In later letters, Wilkes' mother scolded him for visiting a "bawdy house" and fretted over his reputation (October 23, 1771). In the letter o April 21, 1780, Israel Wilkes described a journey to Algiers, including the beauty and climate of the city.

The time period covered by Volume III, December 10, 1762-1783, overlaps with the periods represented in both Volumes I and II. The 70 chronologically-arranged items in this volume focus particularly on Wilkes' time in prison at King's Bench, 1768-1770, and on his literary career. The volume contains 11 letters written by Wilkes from prison, mainly to his friend, the French journalist Jean-Baptiste-Antoine Suard. In these, he commented on his political and financial difficulties, and on his popular following, which had taken up his "public, national, and constitutional cause" (June 20, 1769). Also included are several literary reviews by Wilkes, with his thoughts on Robert Lowth's lectures (p. 2), John Locke's Two Treatises of Government (p. 9), John Ogilvie's Poems on Several Subjects (p. 27), and his panning of Some Specimens of the Poetry of the Ancient Welsh Bards (p. 11). In letters written during the period of the American Revolution, he commented on military strategies and opportunities.

Volume IV contains 19 letters, covering 1749-1790. Wilkes wrote 18 of the letters to recipients such as George Grenville (October 22, 1757), Francis Dashwood (September 25, 1759), and Humphrey Cotes (March 3, 1766). They cover such topics as speculation concerning "Westminster being taken by a coup de main" (April 13, 1779) and arrangements for Wilkes' daughter's trip to France (August 17, 1784). Of particular note is Wilkes' "Letter to the Worthy Electors of the Borough of Aylesbury in the County of Bucks, London" (October 22, 1764), a 21-page defense of his The North Briton writings and An Essay on Woman against charges of libel and indecency, respectively. Thomas Potter, Wilkes' collaborator on An Essay on Woman, wrote a letter dated January 29, 1757.

Volume V contains 25 letters, dating 1768-1782, all addressed to Wilkes' lawyer, Peter Fountain. The letters mainly concern routine financial matters and social visits. Also interspersed are 13 contemporary portraits and caricatures of Wilkes, including two famous caricatures by William Hogarth (see additional descriptive data for a list of the portraits).

Volume VI contains 80 letters from Wilkes to his friend and neighbor in Aylesbury, and a political supporter, John Dell. The letters cover the years 1753-1781, but are only partially chronologically-ordered within the volume. Wilkes' correspondence with Dell is rather frank and heartfelt, and at times humorous; the bulk dates to the 1750s. It documents his early political career, including standing for various elections, his relationship with Thomas Potter, and some of his parliamentary votes (January 21, 1758; p. 41). Also recorded are his reaction to his father's death (January 31, 1761; p. 5), his unorthodox relationship with his wife and daughter (April 26, 1757; p. 37), and his mocking of the hygiene of the Scots after a visit there (September 26, 1758; p. 46).

Volume VII contains a parody of Wilkes' unpublished and famously indecent poem, An Essay on Woman. Like its inspiration, the poem uses sexually explicit jokes to poke fun at Alexander Pope's poem "An Essay on Man." The poem is thought to be a manuscript copy of one held in the Bodleian Library, made at some point in the 19th century.


William Dowdeswell papers, 1765-1774

53 items

The William Dowdeswell papers contain political correspondence of William Dowdeswell, Chancellor of the Exchequer under Charles Watson-Wentworth Rockingham and Member of Parliament. In these letters Dowdeswell analyzes and critiques some of the most important issues of the day, such as domestic and colonial taxation, relations with America and Ireland, support for the East India Company, and the opposition's role in the Middlesex election controversy.

The William Dowdeswell papers contain important correspondence concerning Dowdeswell, Charles Watson-Wentworth Rockingham, Edmund Burke, and other prominent Rockingham supporters. The collection consists of 40 signed drafts or retained copies of letters written by Dowdeswell, and 13 letters other politicians. Dowdeswell analyzed and critiqued some of the most important issues of the day, such as domestic and colonial taxation, relations with America and Ireland, support for the East India Company, and the opposition's role in the Middlesex election controversy.

The papers are made up of letters Dowdeswell's tenure as Rockingham's Chancellor of the Exchequer in 1765, and as his trusted political counselor. Included are letters the new First Lord of the Treasury, Augustus Henry Grafton, Duke of Fitzroy; Secretary of State Henry Seymour Conway; Speaker of the House of Commons Charles Wolfran Cornwall; Councilor and member of the Upper House, Charles Lennox, Duke of Richmond; and Lord of the Admiralty, Charles Townshend (see the box and folder listing for an itemized list of the collection).

The bulk of the letters are Dowdeswell to Burke and Rockingham, advising them on parliamentary politics and policies, particularly concerning government business and financial affairs. Of note is his 16-page appraisal of affairs with America, in which he commented on the outbreaks of violence in Boston and New York and suggested a repeal of the Townshend duties. He called the duties a "folly" but asserts that Parliament must retain the right to raise taxes in the colonies. "It must either be admitted[,] which is timidity[,] weakness[,] irresolution[,] and inconsistency; or it must be resisted, and arms of this Country must be exerted against her Colonies" (August 12, 1868).

Dowdeswell's letters the summer and fall of 1769 demonstrate his role in the Middlesex election controversy, in which he and Rockingham defended the embattled John Wilkes. On September 5, 1769, Dowdeswell discussed his pamphlet entitled Sentiments of an English Freeholder, which argued for checks and balances in Parliament. Also of note is the July 18, 1773, letter, in which Dowdeswell discussed the government's treatment of the East India Company. After 1774, Dowdeswell often discussed how his ill-health was keeping him engaging in politics.

A late-18th or early-19th century letterbook contains 29 copied letters from Charles Watson-Wentworth, 2nd Marquess of Rockingham, to William Dowdeswell, dating between 1767 and 1773, and letters by Edmund Burke (January 1771 and October 27, 1772), Holles Newcastle (September 17, 1768), and Charles Townshend (May 25, 1765, and Undated). See the box and folder list for a complete list of letters represented in this letterbook.


William Petty, 1st Marquis of Lansdowne, 2nd Earl of Shelburne papers, 1665-1885

48 linear feet

This collection contains the letters and official papers of Lord Shelburne, British politician, Member of Parliament, secretary of state for the Southern Department, and Prime Minister. The papers document British foreign, colonial, and domestic affairs throughout the 18th century with special focus on the periods 1766-1768 and 1782-1783.

The William Petty, 1st Marquis of Lansdowne, 2nd Earl of Shelburne papers consist of the letters and official papers of Lord Shelburne, British politician, member of parliament, secretary of state for the Southern Department, and Prime Minister from 1782-1783. These document British foreign, colonial, and domestic affairs, covering the 18th century with special focus on the periods 1766-1768 and 1782-1783. The papers are made up of dispatches, memoranda, trade statistics, reports, essays, questionnaires, and copies of treaties. They cover the conduct of the French and Indian War; the colonies in North America and the West Indies; the 1783 American peace negotiations in Paris; relations with Europe, Africa, and India; the management of the royal household's lands and revenues (1745-1789); and records of the Home Office, Parliament, Customs Revenue, Board of Trade, Army, Navy, War, and Pay offices and Treasury (1760-1797).

Shelburne was an avid collector of books, pamphlets, manuscripts, reports, maps, and prints, and was known as one of the most well-informed politicians of his day. During his political career, Shelburne had access to, and was able to commission, high level reports on domestic and foreign affairs; his papers reveal the British perspective on foreign relations, civil and military, with Europe, America, India, and Africa. Shelburne and his personal librarian Samuel Paterson collected and organized much of the present collection when Shelburne retired from political office.

In addition to the official letters, the collection contains family papers, including letters from Shelburne to his wife Sophia, to his son John, and from his young son William Granville. The Lacatia-Shelburne series, acquired separately from the rest of the collection, is comprised of 207 official letters originally belonging to Shelburne.

The European and Mediterranean Politics series (42 volumes) documents British diplomatic relations and financial interests in Europe and northern Africa. The series contains political and diplomatic letters and copies of letters with officials from the major powers of Europe, including: Austria, France, Portugal, Prussia, Russia, Spain, and Switzerland, as well as Mediterranean powers such as the Ottoman Empire, the Barbary States (Algiers, Morocco, Tunis, and Tripoli), and the Italian states. Also present are copies of treaties and reports on the military and trade capabilities of many of these nations. Though they cover British foreign relations from the beginning of the 18th century, these papers primarily document the 1760s, including the 1763 Peace of Paris, and Shelburne's activities as secretary of state for Southern Department (1766-1768).

The Colonial Affairs and the 1783 Treaty of Paris series (48 volumes) contains Shelburne's letters and reports concerning the British colonies in North America and the West Indies. Of particular interest is the material related to the negotiations leading up to the Treaty of Paris, which Shelburne supervised as Prime Minister (1782-1783). Included are letters and memoranda from the peace commissioners and secretaries at Paris, such as Richard Oswald, Henry Strachey, Thomas Townshend, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, and John Jay, among others. Also present are drafts and copies of preliminary treaties and opinions on the ongoing negotiations. The Assiento papers contain official and private letters and documents of the South Sea Company, a British mercantile venture that, for 30 years after the Treaty of Utrecht, had exclusive rights to sell slaves to Spanish territories in America. The papers comprise confidential agent reports, bills for traded goods and slaves, ship inventories, factory reports, and diplomatic letters between Spain and England on slave trade policies.

Other notable material includes:
  • Diplomatic correspondence concerning the end of the Seven Years War (French and Indian War) in 1763
  • Copies of letters, intelligence reports, and documents received by Lord Fox and Shelburne from various European courts during the peace negotiations (1782-1783)
  • Orders, letters, memorials, and documents to and from the colonial governors of the American colonies, Canada, and the West Indies islands
  • Records of West Indian trade, and reports on Jamaica, Barbados, and Tobago (1766-1767)
  • Officially commissioned descriptions of the Islands of St. John, Cape Briton, Magdalen, Grenada, St. Vincent, and Dominica (1765-1767)
  • Reports on commerce with America including trade statistics
  • Letters and papers concerning relations and trade with the Choctaw, Creeks, Mohican, and Six Nation Indians (1703-1767)
  • Questionnaires, with answers, sent to colonial governors concerning the "Civil Establishment" and "Accounts of the Fees of Office" (1766-1767)
  • Accounts of American civil and military expenses (1765-1767)
  • Reports on the Mutiny Act, Indemnity Act, Stamp Act, and other parliamentary laws concerning the American colonies
  • Reports on Spanish and Portuguese settlements in South America and the rights of the Spanish in the South Seas
  • Minutes on African Affairs (1765-1767)
  • Reports and instructions related to Minorca, Gibraltar, and the coast of Africa
  • A letter from George Croghan to Shelburne on the discovery of mastodon bones in Big Lick, Ohio Territory (Volume 48, pages 131-134)

The East Indian Affairs series (11 volumes) contains Shelburne's papers related to British financial and political interests in India. Included are official letters and documents (both originals and copies) transmitted to Shelburne to keep him up to date with activities and conflicts. Shelburne was heavily invested in the East India Company and was one of the company's most vocal advocates in Parliament.

The series includes:
  • A chronological account of significant events in the establishment and activities of the East India Company (1601-1761)
  • Finances and budgets of the East India Company along with copies of original government and business documents (1766-1767)
  • Policy proposals for India and the East India Company including notes for speeches in parliament (1760-1790)
  • A narrative history of the second war with Hyder Ali Khan (Second Anglo-Mysore War), with maps (1779-1782)
  • A narrative history of Indian kingdoms
  • Letters with the Secret Committee of the East India Company and other company officials

The British Government series is comprised of 5 subseries.

The Parliament, Customs Revenue, Trade, Imports, and Exports subseries (39 volumes) contains Shelburne's collection of official records, reports, accounts, and letters related to British customs, taxes, expenses, and trade revenue. These document British financial operations throughout most of the 18th century, and show Shelburne's efforts to reform domestic financial policies.

The subseries includes:
  • Reference tables describing the division of power in British government, including the King, House of Lords, and House of Commons
  • Abstract reports on the Stamp Tax (1734-1764)
  • Customs reports for revenue and departmental expenditures
  • Lists of customs officers and employees
  • Import and export records for trade with Europe, Africa, and America
  • Letters and documents concerning excise taxes, the post office, and the stamp duties
  • Financial reports on the royal household, lands, and revenues (1745-1789) and instructions on the management of the royal estate
  • City of London papers, including proceedings of councils and letters concerning raising troops, establishing meeting halls, quelling riots, crime, and other topics (1588-1783)
  • Reports on England's forests, corn and food, and currency (paper money and coins)

Note: Volume 100, entitled "A Table Reference Concerning the King, Lords, and Commoners," is not the same Volume 100 as noted in the Historic Manuscript Commission Report, which was entitled "East India Correspondence," and is not at the Clements.

The British Army, Navy, and Military Administration subseries (20 volumes) contains material related to the British military and information on foreign forces covering 1694 to 1783.

Included are:
  • Papers on War Office expenses for troops in Britain, Africa, Gibraltar, Scotland, and America (1765-1783)
  • Papers concerning the navies and armies of foreign powers, including Spain, France, and Holland
  • Naval department commissions, expenses, warrants, bills, and patents (1701-1779)
  • Copies Admiralty and Navy Board letters (1695-1779)
  • Shipping lists for equipping stations and ports (1770-1780 and 1783)
  • Copies of intelligence on French and Spanish navies(1777-1780)
  • Contracts for individuals employed by the navy
  • Chronological records of the major policy decisions, events, and projects of the British navy

The volumes in the Ireland subseries (4 volumes) were owned by the Lansdowne family as recently as 1982.

The Cabinet and Treasury Minutes subseries (5 volumes) document Shelburne's governmental activities from 1762-1783. The cabinet minutes cover Shelburne's tenure as secretary of state of the Southern Department from 1766 to 1768. Included are instructions, announcements, and letters concerning issues with military officials and ambassadors in Ireland, Sweden, Spain, and Portugal. The treasury minutes cover Shelburne's activities as Prime Minister from July 1782 to March 1783.

These concern financial matters of the British government, such as:
  • Purchasing land
  • Reviewing petitions and paying reparations to British Loyalists who lost property in the war with America
  • Issuing warrants to the military
  • Paying compensation for ships lost doing official business in the West Indies.

Also present are minutes of motions on various parliamentary subjects, such as the 1780 riots in London, speeches for and against settling peace with America, and speeches concerning French and Spanish treaties (1782-1782).

The Appeals and Minutes of the House of Lords subseries (16 volumes), include 8 volumes that document the "appellant's cases" brought before the House of Lords between 1769 and 1788. These printed volumes contain the case declarations, pleas, breaches, verdicts, final judgments, and reasons. Many entries are manuscript comments about the case. 8 volumes of manuscript minutes of the House of Lords span 1767 to 1788 and include cursory information about bills, petitions, cases, and other business. Several printed copies of the King's speeches to Parliament and the Lords' addresses in reply are included in volumes HL-14, HL-15, and HL-16.

The Personal Correspondence series (167 items) is comprised of two subseries: The Shelburne family letters, the Lansdowne-Bowles letters.

The Shelburne family letters subseries contains seven volumes of material related to Shelburne and his family, including Lady Sophia Carteret, William Granville Petty, John Petty Earl of Wycombe, Henry Petty-Fitzmaurice, and Lady Louisa Fitzpatrick. Also present are letters from Shelburne to his friend and colleague Thomas Coutts.

These are:
  • Volume 1 contains 47 letters from Shelburne to his first wife Lady Sophia Carteret from 1766 to 1770. In these, Shelburne noted his daily activities, detailing greetings he shared with passers-by, visitors, dining companions, and meetings with government officials and dignitaries. He updated her on news of their friends and acquaintances in London, and frequently expressed his love for her.
  • Volumes 2 and 3 consist of 48 letters to Shelburne from his young son William Granville Petty (1774-1778). Also present are letters from a servant named Thomas Servis who reported on William's health. Volume 3 contains more letters from William, several with mentions of the American Revolution, as well as a short memoir written by William's tutor after the boy's death in 1778, an elegy by his brother Viscount Fitzmaurice, and copies of 4 of William's scholastic essays.
  • Volume 4 contains 37 letters from Shelburne to his son John Petty, Earl Wycombe, from 1768 and 1780-1789. Shelburne primarily wrote of personal and family news, providing many details on John's brother Henry Petty-Fitzmaurice and the health of his step mother Lady Louisa. He also discussed John's social obligations, and occasionally, political events. Also present is a letter in which Shelburne asked the unknown recipient to be the godfather of his newborn son (1768).
  • Volume 5 consists of 23 letters from Shelburne to his friend and colleague Thomas Coutts (1735-1822), a wealthy and prominent London banker who owned the House of Coutts & Company. These letters span 1793 to 1802 and include discussions of personal business, news of acquaintances, and domestic and international politics of the day, such as the French Revolution, William Pitt and other political leaders, and the political state of Ireland.
  • Volume 6 is comprised of three letters and three engraved portraits of Shelburne. The portraits are dated 1780, 1798, and undated, and the letters include a brief note from Shelburne to a Mr. Lawrence (May 10, 1782), a letter from Shelburne to the Earl of Egremont concerning the war in North America and its implications in Europe (July 9, 1762), and a letter from Shelburne to James Currie (September 5, 1800).

The Lansdowne-Bowles letters subseries (69 items) contain letters from Henry Petty-Fitzmaurice, 3rd Marquis of Lansdowne, and his wife Louisa to Magdalene and William Bowles. The letters span 1806-1835 and 53 items are undated; most are addressed from London. Henry Lansdowne's letters (24 items) are all to Reverend William Bowles, his friend and a frequent recipient of his patronage. Louisa contributed 45 letters, all to Magdalene Bowles; she discussed administrative aspects of a school that they jointly managed. She often remarked on the hiring of new teachers, and assessed their qualifications and personal merits. Louisa also discussed visits to the Lansdowne estate, Bowood, and made queries about the characters of potential visitors.

The Lacaita-Shelburne letters series (706 items) is a collection of letters compiled by Sir James Lacaita and his son Charles Carmichael Lacaita spanning 1692 to 1885. James Lacaita was Henry Petty-Fitzmaurice, 3rd Marquis of Lansdowne's private secretary from 1857 to 1863, during which time he organized Shelburne's unbound letters. Many items in this series (270 items) are addressed to Shelburne or were originally among his papers. These represent documents from his career, including political matters and discussions of peace negotiations with America (1760-1801). The 19th century material is addressed chiefly to James Lacaita, Lady Holland, Nassau William, Sr., and Anthony Panizzi, mostly from British and Italian politicians and Dante scholars. In all, the series contains letters from 274 contributors, primarily British and Italian lords, politicians, and military figures. See the Name Index for a list of contributors.

In addition to this finding aid, the Clements Library has created a detailed Volume Index and a Name Index and Geographical Index. For additional information see the Clements Library card catalog.