Vice-Chancellor Thomas Sherlock (1677–1761) and the Senate of the University
Letter to Viscount Townshend
Cambridge, 24 September 1715
The University wrote back with all haste to Townshend, thanking him for his role in securing the collection and writing in enthusiastic terms of their gratitude to their ‘Honoured Patron’. In later life Townshend further expressed this patronage by commissioning a marble statue of George I to be made by the sculptor John Michael Rysbrack. This originally stood in the Senate House, then moved to the Cockerell building of the Old Schools (housing the Squire Law Library), then to the current University Library building, and now resides in the Fitzwilliam Museum. For a full transcription of the letter, click “Extended captions”.
To the Right Hon[or]able the Lord Viscount Townshend one of his Majesty’s Principal Secretarys of State
May it please your Lordship
We have paid our Duty to the King in an Address of Thanks for the Mark of Royal Favour which He has bestowed on this University by giving us the Library of the late Bishop of Ely; But we cannot think our selves discharged of the Obligations we are under upon this account, till we have made our Acknowledgements to your Lordship for the signal favours we have received from you. Had not your Lordship remembered the Place of your Education, with a kindness almost peculiar to your self, we had wanted that great Encouragement of Learning, which now by your Lordships powerfull interposition on our behalfe we enjoy from the Kings Bounty.
We are sensible that your Lordship acted in this matter with the Noble View of promoting the Kings Honour, and the Public Good: And ‘tis a Blessing both to Prince and Country, when those who enjoy the greatest Share in their Princes Favour have so much Vertue and Honour as to use it to such excellent Purposes. And this is so far from lessening our Obligation to your Lordship, that it receives a great Addition from this Consideration, that your Lordship thought us not unworthy to be distinguished by the Kings Favour in Order to such Ends.
Your Lordship is so nearly related to us, as once a Member, now an Honoured Patron of this University, that we shall always esteem your Lordships Prosperity as our own; and reckon our selves the safer and securer, the more your Lordship advances in Honour and Power.
Most Obedient humble serv[an]ts
The Vice Chancellor & the Senate of the University of Cambridge
Given in full Senate, September 24th 1715
Robert Grove Re[gistrar]
Tho[mas] Sherlock V.Chan[cellor]