Sir Robert Southwell Papers

INTRODUCTION

Sir Robert Southwell Papers

A substantial volume, bound in the Middle Hill boards of Sir Thomas Phillipps' great collection, the collection contains an important series of letters regarding English Catholicism and the "Popish Plot." The letters, together with retained copies of answers, are addressed to British diplomat Sir Robert Southwell and concern Edward Coleman (who was unjustly accused of treason by Titus Oates) and a subsequent, but related, controversy with the great French Jansenist logician, Antoine Arnauld.

In 1678, Titus Oates, a clever and bold perjurer, concocted and published charges that the English Catholics were about to assissinate King Charles II, subvert Protestantism in England, and reconvert the Country to Romanism by fire and sword. The charges were widely believed and caused a great panic. One of the first victims of Oates was Edward Coleman, tried and executed in 1678. He was the first of 35 persons executed on the testimony of Oates. One of the witnesses called in the trial was Sir Robert Southwell (1635 - 1702), a civil servant and diplomatist, whose testimony was generally favorable to Coleman.

When it became obvious that the "Popish Plot" was a gigantic fraud, Antoine Arnauld (1612 -1694; then living in the Netherlands) wrote a book in defense of the English Catholics, Apologie pour les Catholiques (1681 - 1682), in which he vigorously denounced Southwell, being under the erroneous impression that the latter was one of Coleman's prosecutors. In the papers of this collection, we see how Southwell was able to prove the contrary.

The first part in the sequence of the correspondence is a letter written by Antoine Arnauld to Henri Justel apologising somewhat reservedly for his comments about Southwell in Apologie... In the letter Arnauld explains what he has understood to be the facts of Edward Coleman's trial. The next part of the correspondence concerns a letter which Southwell is writing to Justel so that it may be sent to Arnauld. The letter refutes Arnauld's comments about Southwell, going so far as to include copies of Coleman's arrest warrant, a copy of a letter from Coleman to Southwell thanking him for his help at the time of his arrest, and excised parts of Coleman's court proceedings and Arnauld's Apologie... describing the trial placed side by side. There are a number of letters from Southwell to Justel asking him to revise this letter, translate it carefully and have it sent to Arnauld in Paris through William Blathwayt. The next part of the correspondence is a pair of letters from Arnauld, one to Justel and one to Southwell, both apologising unreservedly for his remarks about Southwell in his book. Southwell notes on his copy of Arnauld's letter that he has shown the letter to the King, then James II, and that the King approved. The last part of the correspondence is a copy of a letter from Southwell to Arnauld acknowledging the receipt of Arnauld's letter of apology. This last letter is just as formal as the rest of the correspondence between the two, and it seems clear that Southwell still resents Arnauld for the damage which has already been done.

In the letters, we not only learn a great deal about the relationship between Southwell, Arnauld and Justel, but we also see much detailed information of the trial of Edward Coleman. Southwell's accounts of the trial are particularly personal, with a letter from Coleman himself during the trial. Southwell also includes official documentation which compliments his personal accounts well. Arnauld reveals a foreigner's perspective on the trial, uncertain of exact details but having strong feelings about a conspiracy against Coleman. Hence we get a close view of what bases Arnauld used in order to write Apologie pour les Catholiques.

* * * * * * *

The letters are from Southwell's own files. The papers are known to have been purchased from Thomas Thorpe, a book and manuscript dealer in England, by Sir Thomas Phillipps in 1836. Phillipps (1792 - 1872) was a renowned collector of manuscripts and rare books who often bought huge collections of manuscripts at a time. Southwell's papers were purchased by Phillipps along with the rest of Thorpe's entire collection of over 1,600 manuscripts for [sterling]6,000. Phillipps' catalogue number, # 10052, can be seen on the binding.

* * * * * * *

Number of Boxes: 1
Extent: .25 linear feet
Provenance: Acquired from H. P. Kraus of New York, catalogue 177, item 8, October 5, 1987
Date Span: September 29 1678 - March 25, 1685
Processed by: Michael J. North
Date: November 2, 1988

* * * * * * *

Abbreviations

ADS..........................................Autograph document signed by the author

ALS..........................................Autograph letter signed by the author

AMs..........................................Autograph manuscript

* * * * * * *

Register

Box 1 Folder 1
Warrant for Edward Coleman's Arrest (English)
Date: 29 Sep 1678
Description: Warrant for Edward Coleman's arrest issued by the Privy Council to Ralph Rutter. Official copy with autograph attestation signature by Francis Gwyn, Under Secretary of State. States original charges of "high treason by conspiring to take away the life of the King."

Box 1 Folder 2
Warrant for Edward Coleman's Arrest (French)
Date: 29 Sep 1678
Description: A translation of Edward Coleman's arrest warrant in folder 1 into French.

Box 1 Folder 3
Coleman, Letter to Southwell (French)
Date: 2 Oct 1678
Description: A translation into French of a letter from Edward Coleman to Robert Southwell thanking Southwell for his assistance at the time of Coleman's arrest. References to the King, Ralph Rutter and Sir Phillippe Lloyd.

Box 1 Folder 4
Coleman, Letter to Southwell (English)
Date: 2 Oct 1678
Description: A copy in English of the letter in folder 3 from Edward Coleman to Robert Southwell.

Box 1 Folder 5
Arnauld, Letter to Justel
Date: 20 Oct 1684
Description: A letter in French from Antoine Arnauld to Henri Justel apologising for what he wrote about Southwell in Apologie... Describes what he knows about the case, including what he thinks Oates said and what was in Coleman's papers which were confiscated. Many lines are underlined, perhaps meaning that they are direct quotes from his future and/or past editions of Apologie... The whole letter may have been meant to be published in the new edition of Apologie... References to the King, the Duke of York, George Wakeman and Joseph Williamson.

Box 1 Folder 6
Arnauld, Letter to Justel
Date: 20 Oct 1684
Description: A copy of the letter in folder 5 in French from Antoine Arnauld to Henri Justel.

Box 1 Folder 7
Southwell, Letter to Justel
Date: 10 Dec 1684
Description: A translation of a letter from Robert Southwell to Henri Justel concerning Antoine Arnauld's libellous references to Southwell in Apologie... Southwell mentions a new book by Arnauld. References to William Blathwayt.

Box 1 Folder 8
Blathwayt, Letter to Southwell
Date: 15 Dec 1684
Description: ALS from William Blathwayt to Robert Southwell. Discusses papers by Henri Justel in defense of Southwell. References to Antoine Arnauld and Edward Coleman. Signed by Blathwayt and with Blathwayt's seal.

Box 1 Folder 9
Justel, Letter to Southwell
Date: 18 Dec 1684
Description: A translation into French of a letter from Henri Justel to Robert Southwell regarding Antoine Arnauld and others. References to William Blathwayt, the Duke of York and Sir Papys (Samuel Pepys?).

Box 1 Folder 10
Southwell, Letter to Justel for Arnauld
Date: 20 Dec 1684
Description: A translation into French of a letter from Robert Southwell to Henri Justel which Southwell intends Justel to send to Antoine Arnauld. Southwell goes through the steps of Coleman's trial, concentrating on Arnauld's misinterpretations of the facts. States that the King is concerned for Southwell in this matter. References to the Duke of York, Titus Oates, Sir George Wakeman, Sir Edmund Berry Godfrey, Sir Phillippe Lloyd.

Box 1 Folder 11
Southwell, Letter to Justel for Arnauld
Date: 15 Jan 1685
Description: Fair revised copy of letter in folder 10, in French, with notation that the original was sent to Arnauld on 15 January, 1685.

Box 1 Folder 12
Southwell, Letter to Justel for Arnauld
Date: 15 Jan 1684
Description: Third revised copy of letter in folder 10 from Robert Southwell to Henri Justel in French. Lengthy notation that it had been corrected by Justel. Includes a list of papers sent to Arnauld along with the letter (items from folders 1, 2 and 3). Also, notes "Rec'd by Mr. Blathwayt Sun 25 Jan. 1685, by William Penn."

Box 1 Folder 13
Southwell, Letter to Justel
Date: 20 Dec 1684
Description: A translation into French of a letter from Robert Southwell to Henri Justel regarding the letter Southwell wishes to be sent to Arnauld in folder 10. Southwell asks Justel to revise it and to give him general advice on it. References to Sir Phillippe Lloyd, Edward Coleman and William Blathwayt.

Box 1 Folder 14
Southwell, Letter to Justel
Date: 22 Dec 1684
Description: A translation into French of a letter from Robert Southwell to Henri Justel regarding Southwell's letter for Antoine Arnauld. Discusses his resentment towards Arnauld. Blathwayt will take the letter to Arnauld in Paris. References to Edward Coleman.

Box 1 Folder 15
Southwell, Letter to Blathwayt (?)
Date: 22 Dec 1684
Description: An autograph letter signed by Robert Southwell (retained draft), probably to Blathwayt. Refers to the King and to a letter to Lord Yarmouth.

Box 1 Folder 16
Extracts from Coleman's Trial and Arnauld's Apologie...
Date: undated
Description: Brief extracts in French from the court proceedings against Edward Coleman and from Antoine Arnauld's Apologie pour les Catholiques. The passages are placed next to each other in order to show Arnauld's flawed interpretation of Southwell's involvement in the trial.

Box 1 Folder 17
Southwell, Letter to Justel
Date: 7 Jan 1685
Description: A translation into French of a letter from Robert Southwell to Henri Justel. Discusses translating Southwell's letter for Antoine Arnauld (folder 10) into French and its revision by Justel.

Box 1 Folder 18
Southwell, Letter to Justel for Arnauld (English)
Date: 7 Jan 1685
Description: A copy in English of Robert Southwell's letter to Henri Justel for Antoine Arnauld (folder 10).


Box 1 Folder 19
Southwell, Letter to Justel
Date: 14 Jan 1685
Description: A translation into French of a letter from Robert Southwell to Henri Justel regarding Southwell's letter for Arnauld (folder 10) and materials he will send with it: extracts from Coleman's trial (folder 16) and Coleman's arrest warrant (folder 1).


Box 1 Folder 20
Southwell, Letter to Justel
Date: 21 Jan 1685
Description: A translation into French of a letter from Robert Southwell to Henri Justel regarding Southwell's letter for Antoine Arnauld (folder 10).

Box 1 Folder 21
Arnauld, Letter to Southwell
Date: 26 Feb 1685
Description: A copy of a letter from Antoine Arnauld to Robert Southwell apologizing to Southwell for his libellous remarks about Southwell in his book, Apologie..., and explains why he erred. References to Edward Coleman, Titus Oates, Henri Justel, William Blathwayt.


Box 1 Folder 22
Southwell, Docket
Date: 10 Mar 1685
Description: Docket sheet for letter from Arnauld to Southwell (folder 21), with notation in his autograph: "Rec'd 10 March 1685 from Justell, Read by his Majesty the 17. or 18th of March and much approved." James II had just become King.

Box 1 Folder 23
Arnauld, Letter to Southwell
Date: 26 Feb 1685
Description: A duplicate copy in French of Arnauld's letter to Robert Southwell (folder 21).

Box 1 Folder 24
Arnauld, Letter to Southwell
Date: 16 Feb 1685
Description: Original of Antoine Arnauld's letter to Southwell (folder 21), signed by Arnauld.

Box 1 Folder 25
Arnauld, Letter to Justel
Date: 27 Feb 1685
Description: A copy of a letter from Antoine Arnauld to Henri Justel regarding his apology to Robert Southwell for libellous remarks about him in his book. References to Titus Oates and Sir George Wakeman.

Box 1 Folder 26
Southwell, Letter to Justel
Date: 1 Jan 1685
Description: A translation into French of a letter from Robert Southwell to Henri Justel regarding Antoine Arnauld's letter of apology to Southwell. References to the death of Ralph Rutter and to Edward Coleman.

Box 1 Folder 27
Southwell, Letter to Arnauld
Date: 25 Mar 1685
Description: A copy of a letter from Robert Southwell to Antoine Arnauld acknowledging the receipt of his letter of apology to Southwell.

Box 1 Folder 28
Southwell, Letter to Arnauld
Date: 25 Mar 1685
Description: A copy of Robert Southwell's letter of acknowledgement to Antoine Arnauld (folder 27).

Box 1 Folder 29
Southwell, Letter to Arnauld
Date: 25 Mar 1685
Description: A copy of Robert Southwell's letter of acknowledgement to Antoine Arnauld (folder 27).

INDEX

Apologie pour les Catholiques AMs 1: 16

Arnauld, Antoine ALS 1: 5 - 1: 6
- 1: 21
- 1: 23 - 1: 25
- ALS to 1: 27 - 1: 29
- AMs 1: 16
- reference 1: 7 - 1: 14
- 1: 17 - 1: 20
- 1: 22
- 1: 26

Blathwayt, William ALS 1: 8
- ALS to 1: 15
- reference 1: 7
- 1: 9
- 1: 12 - 1: 14
- 1: 21
- 1: 23 - 1: 24

Canterbury, Archbishop of reference 1: 1 - 1: 2

Charles II reference 1: 3 - 1: 6
- 1: 10 - 1: 12
- 1: 15
- 1: 18

Coleman, Edward ALS 1: 3 - 1: 4
- document 1: 1 - 1: 2
- 1: 16
- reference 1: 5 - 1: 6
- 1: 8
- 1: 10 - 1: 14
- 1: 18 - 1: 19
- 1: 21
- 1: 23 - 1: 26

Godfrey, Sir Edmund Berry reference 1: 10 - 1: 12
- 1: 18

Gwyn, Francis document 1: 1 - 1: 2

James II reference 1: 22
(Also see York, James, Duke of)

Justel, Henri ALS 1: 9
- ALS to 1: 5 - 1: 7
- 1: 10 - 1: 14 - 1: 17 - 1: 20
- 1: 26
- 1: 14
- 1: 25
- reference 1: 8
- 1: 21
- 1: 23 - 1: 24

Lloyd, Sir Phillippe reference 1: 3 - 1: 4
- 1: 10 - 1: 13
- 1: 18

Oates, Titus reference 1: 5 - 1: 6
- 1: 10 - 1: 12
- 1: 18
- 1: 21
- 1: 23 - 1: 25

Penn, William reference 1: 12

Pepys, Samuel reference? 1: 9

Privy Council document 1: 1 - 1: 2

Rutter, Ralph reference 1: 1 - 1: 4
- 1: 26

Southwell, Robert ADS 1: 22
- ALS 1: 7
- 1: 10 - 1: 15
- 1: 17 - 1: 20
- 1: 27 - 1: 29
- ALS to 1: 3 - 1: 4
- 1: 8 - 1: 9
- 1: 21
- 1: 23 - 1: 24
- reference 1: 5 - 1: 6
- 1: 25 - 1: 26

Wakeman, Sir George reference 1: 5 - 1: 6
- 1: 10 - 1: 12
- 1: 18
- 1: 25

Williamson, Sir Joseph reference 1: 1 - 1: 2
- 1: 5 - 1: 6

Yarmouth, Duke of reference 1: 15

York, James, Duke of reference 1: 5 - 1: 6
- (Also see James II) 1: 9 - 1: 12
- 1: 18


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