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Guide to the Diplomatic Papers of Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th Earl of Chesterfield, 1720-1748
BANC MSS 72/243 z  
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Collection Details
 
Table of contents What's This?
  • Collection Summary
  • Information for Researchers
  • Brief Biographical Sketch
  • Abstracts
  • Explanation of Symbols and Abbreviations

  • Collection Summary

    Collection Title: Diplomatic Papers of Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th Earl of Chesterfield,
    Date (inclusive): 1720-1748
    Collection Number: BANC MSS 72/243 z
    Creator: Chesterfield, Philip Dormer Stanhope, Earl of, 1694-1773
    Extent: Number of containers: 44 volumes
    Repository: The Bancroft Library
    Berkeley, California 94720-6000
    Physical Location: For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.
    Abstract: The papers are particularly valuable for two periods: 1728-1732, when Chesterfield was Ambassador at The Hague; and 1743-1748, when he was Ambassador on Special Mission to The Hague, Secretary of State for the North, and Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. An unusually large number of important diplomatic and political figures appear in the collection. Included is correspondence with Horatio and Robert Walpole, Thomas Lascelles, Stephen Poyntz, Luke Schaub, Walter Titley, Edward Weston, the Duke of Newcastle, and Lords Waldegrave, Townshend, Harrington and Grantham. Also included are major treaties, drafts, and memoranda. These papers illumine not only Chesterfield's affairs but provide a view of the major trends in European diplomatic history as well.
    Languages Represented: English

    Information for Researchers

    Access

    Collection is open for research.

    Publication Rights

    Copyright has not been assigned to The Bancroft Library. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Head of Public Services. Permission for publication is given on behalf of The Bancroft Library as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the reader.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Diplomatic papers of Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th Earl of Chesterfield, BANC MSS 72/243 z, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.

    Brief Biographical Sketch

    Born into the English aristocracy, the 4th Earl of Chesterfield had the family connections and wealth to live, in the words of the Dictionary of National Biography, as "politician, wit, and letter-writer." Upon the death of Queen Anne in 1714, his family connections enabled him to leave his life of travel and leisure to take up at the age of 20 what was the beginning of a fluctuating political career.
    Chesterfield was influential in government circles but the role of opposition was more suited to his temperament. He produced a number of effective political satires against his opponents and also displayed gifts of oratory in the House of Lords. The major fact of his political career was his opposition to Robert Walpole whom he helped to force out in 1742.
    Chesterfield's ill health and recurring political misfortunes affected his official career. George II, whose favorite he was for a time, secured him the ambassadorship to The Hague in 1728. There he met Mlle du Bouchet by whom he became the father of an illegitimate son Philip whose education became one of his main concerns. Ill health forced him to leave this post in 1732. In 1733 he arranged a marriage with Petronilla Melusina von der Schulenburg, a union of financial convenience.
    As the result of a new political coalition in 1744 Chesterfield became Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. The next year he was sent on special mission to The Hague to induce the Dutch to join in the War of the Austrian Succession. Better relations with the King lead to Chesterfield's appointment as Secretary of State for the North in 1746. His resignation two years later after political differences with the Duke of Newcastle ended his official career. Although he retained some influence in politics, he spent most of his time pursuing his own interests--building a house, directing the education of his natural son, and reading. He died in March, 1773.
    Chesterfield is best known for his "Letters written... to his son", a correspondence, including elaborate essays, which he continued until his son's death.

    Abstracts

    Abstract - Bancroft Library

    The diplomatic papers of Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th Earl of Chesterfield (1694-1773) were purchased by the University of California Library in January, 1962, from the Earl of Carnarvon through Dawson's of Pall Mall. The Earl of Carnarvon had inherited the papers from the 7th Earl of Chesterfield in 1871.
    The collection is in 44 bound volumes (approximately 5,000 documents) numbered 1-42 and 2 unnumbered volumes, A and B.
    The papers are particularly valuable for two periods: (1) 1728-32, when Chesterfield was Ambassador at the Hague and (2) 1743-48, when he was Ambassador on Special Mission to The Hague, Secretary of State for the North and Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. An unusually large number of important diplomatic and political figures appear in the collection. Not only the day-to-day correspondence with such persons as the Walpoles, the Duke of Newcastle, and Lords Townshend and Harrington but also major treaties, drafts, and memoranda are included. These papers illumine not only Chesterfield's affairs but provide a view of the major trends in European diplomatic history as well.
    The register to the Chesterfield papers is in 3 parts. The description of volumes 26-42 (part 3), done by the National Register of Archives, was included in the purchase. Parts 1 & 2 were done by members of the Rare Books and Special Collections Department. Each of the registers differs somewhat in format, the spelling of some names, the presentation of dates and the information included.

    Abstract - National Register of Archives

    Among the papers of the Right Honourable the Earl of Carnarvon at Highclere Castle, near Newbury, Hants. are a number of papers inherited from the Seventh Earl of Chesterfield in 1871. These consist of the records of the Bretby and other estates, which will be reported upon separately, and of the official and semi official papers of Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th Earl of Chesterfield, K.G. 1694-1773. A number of private letters to his godson, edited by the 4th Earl of Carnarvon have been disposed of.
    The remaining papers consist of some twenty four bound volumes in the Library, and a deed box, with some fifty eight bundles, found in the muniment room at Highclere Castle. The bound volumes, except for one containing royal letters from 1720 to 1745, deal largely with the period 1728-32 when Chesterfield was Ambassador to the Hague for the first time. These volumes are listed in Part I of this report.
    The greater part of the bundles of papers in the deed box, which are listed in Part II of this report, are concerned with the period 1744-1747, when Chesterfield was Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, (January 1744/5 to October 1746), Ambassador on Special Mission to the Hague in 1745 and Secretary of State for the North, (October 1746 to February 1747/8), though certain bundles (Nos. 10, 15, 17, 18, 20, 27, 28, 35, 41, 47) either wholly or in part, deal with the earlier period of his activity in Holland.
    The Correspondence, much of which is known from other sources, gives a very good picture of the day to day working of the many negotiations in which Chesterfield was involved, or with which it was thought wothwhile to keep him informed, when he was on the shelf in Ireland. Nearly all the papers deal with foreign affairs, and personal matters only occasionally occur as in letter no. 767, when an amusing account is given by T. Burnaby, British representative to the Swiss Cantons of the educational and other activities he arranged for Chesterfield's son during his visit in 1747.
    The Registrar wishes to express her gratitude to the Earl of Carnarvon for his generosity in making these papers available.
    W. D. Coates

    Registrar

    June 1959

    Explanation of Symbols and Abbreviations

    1. "C" is used throughout to indicate that the item is a copy.
    2. "P" is used to indicate that the item has been marked private. "very P" means "very private."
    3. "S" indicates that the item has been marked "Secret." "Very S" means "very secret."
    4. "cy" indicates that the item is in cypher.
    5. "N" indicates New Style dates. "O" indicates Old Style dates. When the letter does not itself indicate the Style of its date the place of origin of the letter has been used to determine the Style.
    6. Parentheses enclosing a date indicate that the date is not of the item itself but of the item in which it was enclosed.
    7. Question marks are used when the data seems questionable.
    8. Blank spaces have been left when no information is supplied.