Weapons of learning

Charles Townshend, Viscount Townshend (1674–1738)
Draft letter to Vice-Chancellor Thomas Sherlock
London, 4 October 1715

Townshend replied to the University, once again within a few days, insisting that the gift be acknowledged as ‘entirely owing to his Majesty’s generous inclination to encourage His Faithfull University of Cambridge’ and in no way to be attributed to his intervention; he had only suggested to the King a way to reward Cambridge’s loyalty. This draft, along with the University’s letter shown on the left, were given to the Library in 1917 by another generous benefactor, Charles Fairfax Murray, who also gave twenty incunabula. For a full transcription of the letter, click “Extended captions”

MS Add.6211(2)

Whitehall 20 Septemb[e]r 1715

Mr Vice-Chancellor, and Gentlemen of the Senate,

I am much obliged to you for the Honour of your Letter and for the kind acknowledgements which you are pleased to bestow on my endeavours for your Service; but I should be guilty of Ingratitude to His Majesty and of Injustice to you did I suffer that to be ascribed to my Interposition which was so entirely owing to His Majesty’s generous inclination to encourage His Faithfull University of Cambridge. The only part I can assume to myself is that


of having suggested to His Ma[je]sty’s Wishes such a method of conveying His Royall Favour as I hoped might prove most agreable to you; nor was it possible that much sollicitation should be necessary to induce Him to furnish you with those materials of Learning which He was secure would become so many Weapons in your hands to guard and maintain the Faith of the Church, the Rights of the Crown and the Libertys of the British Constitution.

I hope you would continue me the justice to believe that I shall gladly embrace every opportunity of testifying the unfeigned affection and gratitude I shall ever retain for that University within which I had the Happiness to receive my Education. I am, Mr Vice-Chancellor and Gentlemen of the Senate, with ye

Y[our] most obedient humble servant Townshend

Whitehall. 4th Octob[er] 1715

MS Add.6211(2)

Extended captions