Lot 485
  • 485

James II

10,000 - 15,000 USD
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  • Letter signed, as Duke of York ("James"), to Horatio, Lord Townshend, Vice Admiral of the County of Norfolk
  • paper
Instructing him that "all care and diligence be used to prevent and hinder the Escape of the Earle of Clarendon," who was under threat of impeachment, subscribed ("By command of his Royall Highness") and signed by Matthew Wren, one page, folio (302 x 210 mm), papered seal at head, integral blank, Whitehall, 3 December 1667
[with:] Clarendon, Edward Hyde, First Earl of. Autograph letter signed, to Lord Townshend, discussing the taxation of his farms around Newcastle and a disputed election in Great Yarmouth, one page, folio (294 x 185mm), integral address leaf, remains of red wax seal impression, 10 September [1661]; seal tear not affecting text. Together in a crushed red morocco gilt folder by Wallis; some discoloration and scuffing.


John M. Schiff (1904–1987; Sotheby's New York, 11 December 1990, lot 194). acquisition: Purchased at the foregoing sale through Bernard Quaritch

Catalogue Note

The Duke of York orders the arrest of his father-in-law. Edward, the Great Earl of Clarendon, had been in royal service since before the Civil War and his connection to the Stuarts had been cemented in 1660 by his daughter's marriage to the King's brother, the Duke of York. At the Restoration he rose to be Lord Chancellor and a key minister, but he had powerful enemies and was blamed for the military disasters of the Second Anglo-Dutch War. In 1667 impeachment proceedings were brought against Clarendon in Parliament and the King declined to defend him — encouraging him instead to flee the country. Clarendon fled England on 30 November, three days before this order was written. As Lord High Admiral, James was duty-bound to attempt to prevent Clarendon's unauthorised departure from Britain, but he probably issued this order knowing that his father-in-law was already safely in France.