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Romilly, Sir Samuel: letter (1785)

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0096 AL237
Held at: Senate House Library, University of London
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Full title: Romilly, Sir Samuel: letter (1785)
Date(s): 1785
Level of description: fonds
Extent: 2 leaves
Name of creator(s): Romilly | Sir | Samuel | 1757-1818 | Knight | lawyer and politician


Administrative/Biographical history:

Samuel Romilly was born in London in 1757, the descendant of Huguenot refugees. He worked as a solicitor's clerk before studying for the bar at Gray's Inn; he was called to the bar in 1783. His abilities were recognised by the Whig pary and he was knighted and became Solicitor-General in 1806. He subsequently he served as an MP for several years. Romilly travelled in Europe as a young man and his friends included the Comte de Mirabeau. He is best known for his attempts to reform English criminal law, which met with limited success. He committed suicide in 1818, shortly after his wife's death.


Scope and content/abstract:

Letter from Sir Samuel Romilly of Gray's Inn, London to John Baynes (also of Gray's Inn), Embsay Kirk, near Skipton, Yorkshire, 2 Sep 1785. Regrets but excuses Baynes's silence: '... if [the lakes in Cumberland] are half as beautiful as they are described to be I dont wonder yt you cannot turn yr attention to anything yt is enveloped in y smoke of London... I have heard a gr[ea]t deal since you have been gone abt our friend y Count [i.e. Riqueti, Comte de Mirabeau] tho not from himself or his belle amie [Henriette-Amélie Van Haren, Madame de Nehra]. That great deal, however is only a great many books wch he had written ...'. Mentioning a work of Mirabeau's that had been banned in France. 'Have you seen [John] Adams, the American ambassador [later US President]? I dined y o[the]r day in compy with him and his wife and w[ha]t is much better his dau[ghte]r who is so pretty ... As for y Fa[the]r he is quite M. l'Ambassadeur and seems afraid to say any thing without mystery lest one sho[ul]d find out yt he is not of a higher order of beings that oneself'. Discussing the state of patent law in respect of new inventions and examines way of making it more beneficial to patentees. Concludes with remembrances 'to our good friend Dome'. Autograph, with signature. Endorsed with the name: Thomas G Whytehead.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

See hard copy catalogue

Conditions governing access:

Access to this collection is unrestricted for the purpose of private study and personal research within the supervised environment and restrictions of the Library's Palaeography Room. Please contact the University Archivist for details. 24 hours notice is required for research visits.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Copies may be made, subject to the condition of the original. Copying must be undertaken by the Palaeography Room staff, who will need a minimum of 24 hours to process requests.

Finding aids:

Typescript catalogue available in the Library's Palaeography Room.

Archival Information

Archival history:

See archivist

Immediate source of acquisition:

Bought from I Kyrle Fletcher, 1957.

Allied Materials

Related material:

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:
Compiled by Anya Turner.

Rules or conventions:
Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions:
Aug 2008

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