Catalogue description PAPERS OF ALEXANDER WILLIAM KINGLAKE (1809-1891)

This record is held by Cambridge University Library: Department of Manuscripts and University Archives

Details of Add.MS7633
Reference: Add.MS7633

1 Family letters (packets 1-6)


1-35 Kinglake brothers in boyhood 1819-1828


36-67 A.W.Kinglake at Cambridge 1828-1832


68-134 A.W.Kinglake in London 1832-1859


135-160 A.W.Kinglake late letters 1886-1890


161-177 Charles W. Kinglake in Edinburgh 1829-1834


178 Christina Kinglake 1833


179 R. Arthur Kinglake 1840


180-183 J. Hamilton Kinglake 1830-1835


2 Miscellaneous personal and family items (packets 7-10)


1-21 miscellaneous personal items


22-24 proposed duel with E.M.Fitzgerald 1846


25-46 letters of condolence etc. 1891


47-99 Kinglake family bills 1828-1829


3 Eothen and magazine articles (packets 11-12)


1-5 unpublished drafts of Eothen


6-17 correspondence with publishers


18-30 reviews and letters of appreciation


31-35 correspondence about Quarterly Review articles


36 unpublished review of The Crescent and the Cross


4 Journey to Algeria (packet 13)


1-3 notebooks 1845


5 Crimean War and its history (packets 14-18)


1-2 notebooks 1854


3-54 letters of W.G.Romaine 1854-6 and J.Missirie 1853


55-58 publication of The Invasion of the Crimea


59-76 visit to Crimea 1869, notes, memoranda


77-135 letters about the history


6 Political correspondence (packet 19)


1-33 letters to Kinglake as M.P. for Bridgewater


7 General correspondence (packets 20-23)


1-127 letters from friends etc.


8 Printed material (4 items)


1-4 articles on Kinglake etc.


Although there is not much detail, the letters do give a picture of the attitudes and pursuits of a well-to-do family of the period. They show that William Kinglake lavished a great deal of money and care on the education of all his children, and continued to support his eldest son through his early and unsuccessful years as a barrister. They also show A.W. Kinglake developing a taste for the best society and its attendant expense (letters 1/38, 81, 96) and cultivating a mildly cynical and world-weary attitude to life.


Kinglake's love of travel is seen in letters written on journeys in Wales 1833 (1/76-9), France 1834 (1/81-2), North Africa and Spain 1839 (1/103), Switzerland 1843 (1/108), as well as his Eastern Tour of 1834-5 (1/85-6). There are two leaves of a journal describing a visit to Cadiz in 1839 (2/11), and notebooks containing journals of his visit to Algiers in 1845 to follow the French military campaigns (4/1-3), and to the Crimea in 1854 (5/1-2). The material on the Crimean War (section 5) includes additionally a series of letters 1854-6 from W.G. Romaine, who was attached to the British Headquarters staff as Judge Advocate.


The papers include some drafts of material intended for Eothen but not in the end included, principally a description of a visit to the Island of Scio (3/1-5). The success of Eothen led to requests for articles in the Quarterly Review, and Kinglake drafted an article on the relations between Europe and the Turkish Empire (3/36) which was intended as a review of his friend Eliot Warburton's book The Crescent and the Cross, but which was never used.


Kinglake had a lifelong interest in politics, particularly in foreign affairs. The letters written to him as an M.P. (section 6) give a few details of his participation in debates in the House of Commons, and include letters from Henry Drummond Wolff in 1863 (6/29-33) on the problems of transferring the administration of the Ionian Islands from Britain to Greece.


The final section of correspondence (7) contains letters to Kinglake from a wide variety of his friends, notably Thackeray, Caroline Norton, Lucie Duff Gordon and her daughter Janet Ross. The last-named summed up Kinglake, after his death, as "that marvellous mixture of pride and humility, of daring and intense shyness, of affection and cynicism, the brilliant talker who often never spoke, the most loveable of men."

Date: 1819-1895



The papers came to the University Library, and were roughly listed, in 33 numbered packets plus some unnumbered items. These reference numbers were used in de Gaury's biography. It has proved necessary to rearrange the material, and the old and new numbers are as follows:


Packet no: 1, 15, 16.(Crimean War) New reference no: 5/3-135


Packet no: 2.(Charles and Hamilton 1829-1831) New reference no: 1/161-183


Packet no: 3.(review of The Crescent and the Cross) New reference no: 3/36


Packet no: 4, 11. (Eothen, correspondence) New reference no: 3/6-31


Packet no: 5.(AWK to Arthur) New reference no: section 1


Packet no: 6, 8. (Parliamentary correspondence) New reference no: 6/1-33


Packet no: 7. (letters to Mrs Kinglake) New reference no: 2/7-9


Packet no: 8. see under 6.


Packet no: 9. (Caroline Norton) New reference no: 7/24-39


Packet no: 10, 23. (letters on AWK's death 1891) New reference no: 2/25-46


Packet no: 11.see under 1.


Packet no: 12. (bills for family expenses) New reference no: 2/47-99


Packet no: 13, 17, 19, 20. (letters to family from 1832) 1/68-134 (family pedigrees etc.) New reference no: 2/5, 16,18


Packet no: 14a, 26. (AWK letters from Cambridge) New reference no: 1/36-67


Packet no: 14b. (AWK to Sophia 1819-1820) New reference no: 1/1-5


Packet no: 14c. (letters from "Violet Fane") New reference no: 7/101-118


Packet no: 15. see under 1.


Packet no: 16. see under 1.


Packet no: 17. see under 13.


Packet no: 18. (AWK to family 1886-1890) New reference no: 1/135-160


Packet no: 19. see under 13.


Packet no: 20. see under 13.


Packet no: 21. (AWK from Eton) New reference no: 1/31-35


Packet no: 22. (Lucie Duff Gordon) New reference no: 7/6-9


Packet no: 23. see under 10.


Packet no: 24. (AWK and Charles 1820-1823) New reference no: 1/6-30


Packet no: 25. (miscellaneous letters to AWK) various


Packet no: 26. see under 14a.


Packet no: 27. (Kinglake family, miscellaneous) section 1


Packet no: 28. (Algerian notebooks) New reference no: 3/1-3


(Crimean notebooks) New reference no: 5/1-2


Packet no: 29.(printed speech of W. Pitt 1800) New reference no: 8/4


(Eton College lists) New reference no: 2/19-20


Packet no: 30. (New Review 1894) New reference no: 8/3


Packet no: 31. (letters from Janet Ross) New reference no: 7/52-100


-(miscellaneous letters to AWK) New reference no: various


--(drafts of Eothen) New reference no: 3/1-5


--(Blackwood's Magazine 1895) New reference no: 8/1


--(assignment of lease 1605) New reference no: 2/17


--(letters on proposed duel 1846) New reference no: 2/22-24


--(AWK 1 Apr 1835, 2 Dec 1837) New reference no: 1/85, 92


--(Sydney Smith 18 Sep 1844) New reference no: 3/29


--(A. Hayward, Journey across the Alps) New reference no: 8/2

Held by: Cambridge University Library: Department of Manuscripts and University Archives, not available at The National Archives
Language: English

Kinglake, Alexander William, 1809-1891, politician and author

Physical description: 27 files
Custodial history:

When he knew that he was dying he seems to have destroyed most of his papers (letter 1/157), and he instructed his executor, his brother Hamilton Kinglake to destroy all papers that were not necessary to be preserved. What remains therefore is somewhat scrappy and consists of items presumably kept by Kinglake for reasons of friendship or because they cast a favourable light on him and his writings. In addition Hamilton Kinglake, who lived in the family home in Taunton, evidently inherited early family letters from his parents.


The papers descended to Hamilton's granddaughter Miss Beata Harford, who deposited them in Cambridge University Library in 1963, and bequeathed them and the copyright in them to the Library before her death in 1982. They were used extensively, though not always accurately, by Gerald de Gaury in his 1972 biography.

Publication note:

For the life of A.W.Kinglake, see:


Dictionary of National Biography


W. Tuckwell: A.W. Kinglake, a biographical and literary study, London 1902


Gerald de Gaury: Travelling gent, the life of Alexander Kinglake (1809-1891), London 1972

Administrative / biographical background:

Alexander William Kinglake (referred to in the following lists as AWK) was the second child and eldest son of William Kinglake, banker and solicitor of Taunton, and his wife Mary Woodforde. He was born on 5 August 1809, educated at Eton and Trinity College Cambridge (BA 1832, MA 1836) and was called to the Bar in 1837. In 1844 his book Eothen, a light-hearted account of a journey in the Levant, was published and was an immediate success.


Kinglake's interest in military affairs led him to visit Algeria in 1845 to witness the French campaigns, and to follow the British army to the Crimea in 1854. After Lord Raglan's death in 1856, Lady Raglan asked Kinglake to write a history of the war, and the task occupied him for much of the rest of his life. The first two volumes of The Invasion of the Crimea were published in 1863, and the eighth and last volume in 1887.


In 1857 Kinglake was elected Member of Parliament for Bridgewater, in the Liberal interest, and served until 1868, when he was unseated and the borough disfranchised after an enquiry into electoral malpractice.


Kinglake led a comfortable bachelor life in London, and enjoyed the friendship of many of the leading literary and political figures of the day, including Thackeray, Tennyson, and Lord John Russell. In particular he was on terms of mutual admiration with a number of literary ladies: Caroline Norton, Lucie Duff Gordon, Margaret Oliphant, Mary Singleton ("Violet Fane") and Janet Ross. In the late 1880s he developed cancer of the throat and he died on 2 Jan 1891.

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