Material relating to the American Revolution from the Auckland Papers : 1757 - 1781.

Call Number: HIL-MICL FC LFR .A9W5P3
Category: Family
Creator: Auckland, William Eden, 1st Baron, 1744-1814.
Description: 5 microfilm textual records (6 volumes) ; 35 mm
            William Eden, first Baron Auckland, was the third son of Sir Robert Eden and his wife, Mary, of  Durham England.    He was educated at Eton, Christ Church, Oxford, and Lincoln's Inn, London, after which he was called to the bar at the Middle Temple in 1769.    His older brother Robert Eden (1741-1784) was the Royal Governor of Maryland at the outbreak of the American Revolution and was forced by the rebels to leave the colony in June of 1776. 

William Eden began his political career when he was appointed Under-Secretary of State for the Northern Department in 1772 and held that office until 1778. He entered the House of Commons as the member for Woodstock in 1774. In 1776 he was appointed to the Board of Trade and Plantations, and in the same year married Eleanor Elliot, the sister of Sir Gilbert Elliott, later the Earl of Minto.

After the Declaration of Independence in 1776, Eden became the official in charge of British Intelligence on the Continent and was in contact with loyalist informants. Through his spies he was able to infiltrate the American delegation to Versailles. In this way he gained access to the diplomatic activities of Benjamin Franklin, Silas Deane and other members of the American delegation who were negotiating for the entry of France into the war. After the British defeat at Saratoga, Eden was chosen to accompany his old school friend, Lord Carlisle, as a member of the Carlisle Commission, which came to America in 1778/1779 in a futile attempt to make peace with the colonists before France entered the war. In 1780, when Lord Carlisle was appointed Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Eden accompanied him as his chief secretary and continued in this office until 1782.

After the American Revolution, William Eden became a prominent politician and diplomat. He was elevated to the Irish peerage in 1789 and the English peerage in 1793. He died on 28 May 1814.

            The Material Relating to the American Revolution from the Auckland Papers in the British Museum has been microfilmed on four reels.  The Papers consist of both public and private correspondence; copies of orders and instructions;  documents concerning the Peace Commission to America;    accounts of affairs in America; copies and drafts of letters; proclamations; diplomatic correspondence; intercepted letters;    intelligence reports; papers relating to the commissioners in France; memoranda; and many other documents and letters.   A number of correspondents, whose names appear with some frequency in the Papers include : William Pitt, General Jeffery Amherst, General William Howe, Lord George Germain, Lord North, Sir Henry Clinton, Lt. Col. Archibald Campbell, Sir Joseph Yorke, William Smith, Sir Morton Eden, Admiral Marriott Arbuthnot, Sir Andrew Snape Hamond, William Knox, Earl of Carlisle, Paul Wentworth, Benjamin Franklin, Silas Dean, Arthur Lee, Robert Morris, and numerous other individuals. Subjects include diplomacy, international relations, and espionage.            
Originals: The original manuscripts are held by the British Museum.
Archival Ref. No.: British Museum. Add Mss 34412 - 34418.
Finding Aids:
            A detailed finding aid which includes a biographical sketch of William Eden, Lord Auckland, a combined table of contents and microfilm shelf list by volume and reel number, and an alphabetical subject and name index to the Papers, is available at the beginning of each microfilm reel.    The alphabetical index was created by the microfilm publisher through extracting relevant references from the, Catalogue of Additions to the Manuscripts in the British Museum in the years 1888-1893, p. 483-919. 

The complete finding aid is available in print and is shelved with the Loyalist Collection Finding Aids.

A detailed listing of the contents of each volume is also available in, Andrews, Charles M., and Davenport, Frances G. Guide to the Manuscript Materials for the History of the United States to 1783 in the British Museum, in Minor London Archives and in the Libraries of Oxford and Cambridge. Washington : Carnegie Institution.

Electronic Finding Aid Record: William Eden Auckland Family Papers Shelf List.pdf
Part Of: The Material Relating to the American Revolution from the Auckland Papers in the British Museum forms part of a much larger collection of Auckland manuscripts held by that repository.
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