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Research trip to National Archives, Kew and the British Library, St Pancras

Stephen Griffin is a PhD candidate in the Department of History, University of Limerick. He writes about his latest research trip here:

In January I undertook a seventeen-day research trip to London to visit the National Archives, Kew and the British Library, St Pancras.

In Kew, I viewed the State Papers, Foreign which concern the British diplomats to Vienna, James Waldegrave (1727-30) and Thomas Robinson (1730-48) and their reports from Austria and their instructions from London. These contain extensive details regarding their dealings and impressions of the Austrian court and also other ambassadors, particularly the Spanish, French and Portuguese. They also reveal their impressions of the representative of the Stuart Pretender in Vienna, Owen O’Rouerke (1727-43).

In the British Library, I viewed an extensive number of microfilm copies of the Stuart Papers at Windsor Castle. I shall also be able to quote material from these in my doctoral thesis having received that kind permission from Her Majesty, Elizabeth II. These papers, which in their entirety record the history of the Stuart court in exile, trace the relationship between the Pretender in Rome and O’Rouerke in Vienna and reveal details of O’Rouerke’s payment and rewards for service. These balance another collection held in the Haus-, Hof-, und Staatsarchiv in Vienna which I viewed in the academic year 2017/18. Other letters and memoirs from the Spanish minister to Vienna, the duc de Liria and James Edgar, the Pretender’s secretary in Rome also provide us with valuable insight into O’Rouerke’s personality.

My PhD is concerned with Austro-Stuart relations in the years 1727-43, through its examination of the activities, both social and diplomatic, of Owen O’Rouerke with Austrian ministers and visiting diplomats. The papers I have been able to view in London, made possible by the kind assistance of the History Department in UL, greatly complement each other and are supplemented by additional collections from various archives in Europe. They have proven to be very important papers and reveal not only high and low levels of negotiation and representation but also crucial moments of intrigue and deception among these different agents, ambassadors and ministers, all of which was part and parcel of early modern diplomacy and which sheds further valuable light on Stuart activities in Austria.

Stephen is supervised by Dr Richard Kirwan, History Department, UL. Find out more about Postgraduate Research in AHSS here.

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