Catalogue description Secretaries of State: State Papers Domestic, Charles II

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Details of SP 29
Reference: SP 29
Title: Secretaries of State: State Papers Domestic, Charles II

An assortment of letters, papers and petitions received by the Secretaries of State in their domestic capacity during the reign of Charles II. The series includes papers the secretaries accumulated for business purposes or drafted for public use or personal reference, petitions to the King for which, as custodians of the Signet, they procured the sign manual if a grant ensued, and pleas for pardon. The series includes Admiralty business papers, journals and memoranda of Sir Joseph Williamson (Secretary of State 1674-1679), fees books, a draft charter of the Merchant Adventurers, an Admiralty entry book and ships' licences, military commissions, Post Office labels, a list of royal signings, Nonconformist preaching licences, and Titus Oates and Rye House Plot papers.

A collection was mostly put together at the State Paper Office at Whitehall by Sir Joseph Williamson who was also keeper of the records. Subsequent additions derived chiefly from secretaries Sir Leoline Jenkins, 1680-1684, and Edward, Earl of Conway, 1681-1683. The series was subsequently augmented from other series: Admiralty, Board of Trade, Foreign, Miscellaneous, Scottish, Dunkirk, Tangiers, petitions and undated papers.

Date: 1660-1688

The strict chronological sequence is interrupted by Admiralty business papers, arranged separately, and by some original volumes or bundles.

The arrangement of petitions, dated or undated, varies within the series.

Separated material:

No official papers were left in situ by Charles II's other Secretaries of State, who do not seem to have regarded them as state property. Sir Edward Nicholas requested the return of his papers in 1665, once copied, and the Earl of Sunderland's were probably destroyed.

Most, but not all, printed items, such as pamphlets, were bound up as library volumes and are now in SP 9

Documents too large to be bound into standard volumes are in SP 30

Held by: The National Archives, Kew
Legal status: Public Record(s)
Language: English
Physical description: 435 volume(s)
Access conditions: Available in microform only unless otherwise stated
Custodial history: The papers of the Earl of Conway were restored to official custody in 1857.
Publication note:

The records are calendared in Calendar of State Papers Domestic Charles II ed M A E Green F H B Daniell and F Bickley 28 volumes (London 1860-1947). Please speak to staff at the Map and Large Document Room enquiry desk for the precise location.

Administrative / biographical background:

The Secretaries of State took charge of safe guarding the peace through the appointment of deputy lieutenants, sheriffs and magistrates and the authorizing of musters. They were in constant receipt of information procured or volunteered, or from opened letters, concerning nonconformists, religious and political, and were able to control the dissemination of news. As managers of Privy Council business they oversaw the issue of proclamations and orders in council.

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