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£950.00 - £950.00
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Howard, Charles (later third Earl of Carlisle): Autograph letter, signed, addressed to Monsieur de Nelson, ‘Gentilhomme-Anglois’. The Hague, 1691, 15 January.

Letter signed by Charles Howard (1669-1738), Viscount Morpeth, who was later third Earl of Carlisle. The recipient was Monsieur de Nelson, a ‘Gentilhomme-Anglois’ residing in Florence. Charles Howard represented Morpeth in Parliament (1690–1692) and wrote this letter during the final stages of a three-year grand tour of Europe (cf. Carter 2007).

Having recently arrived in The Hague, he describes ongoing preparations for the imminent arrival of King William III (r. 1689–1702). In the previous year, James II and VII (King of England, Scotland, and Ireland) had been deposed and replaced by his daughter Mary II and her husband William of Orange. This was to be William’s first visit to the Dutch Republic since being crowned.

As Viscount Morpeth explains, William III’s reception would include ‘Triumphal Arches to adorne his entry, fireworks & othere demonstrations of joy in a very extraordennary manner.’ William III would arrive in The Hague a few weeks after Viscount Morpeth’s letter was written. The spectacular welcome was commemorated in a contemporary etching by Jan Luyken (Dencher 2017 p. 104; cf. National Portrait Gallery link in bibliography).

Beyond the King’s triumphal entry, Viscount Morpeth’s letter also discusses contemporary political affairs including the actions of the ‘Rebells’ in Ireland and the ongoing investigation into ‘Torrington’. In December 1690, English Admiral Arthur Herbert, earl of Torrington (1648–1716) was court-martialed but ultimately acquitted for his role in the disastrous Battle of Beachy Head (see Hattendorf 2008). 

This letter provides a fascinating insight into the practicalities of international travel in the early modern period. Viscount Morpeth complains of a ‘very fatigueing & seuere journey’, partly because it was an ‘improper season for trauelling’. He completed his journey from Bologna to the Hague on the 13th of January 1691, presumably by horse and carriage, and implies that the trip would have been more comfortable during the warmer months. Viscount Morpeth attributes his untimely journey to ‘suddain unexpected orders’—presumably relating to William III’s upcoming triumphal entry.

A full transcription of this letter is available on request.


Manuscript. Single sheet (33 x 22.3 cms), folded to create a bifolium. Letter on fols. 1r–2r, address on fol. 2v. Red wax seal intact on fol. 2v (approx. 2cm in diameter), with central floral ornament and surrounding lettering (BELLA SI MA <....>ENTE).

Condition: Browning, foxing, and fraying to paper. Some worming to pages and a few small holes/tears to margins, affecting at most three letters of a word. Seal intact but cracking. Loosely enclosed in a folded sheet of brown card. Residue from a nineteenth-century(?) label on front cover; later description affixed to rear cover (cf. provenance below). Fold lines to card, and some foxing, staining.


  1. Remnants of a nineteenth-century(?) label on front cover (O<…>) of card enclosure.
  2. Later item description affixed to rear cover of card enclosure, probably from a bookseller’s catalogue. The number 27 appears at the head (presumably a page or item number). The description provides brief details about the date, format, sender, recipient, and contents of the letter, and describes it as an ‘interesting historical letter’


Carter, Philip, ‘Howard, Charles, third earl of Carlisle (1669–1738)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (entry published in print and online in 2004; online version updated in 2007), last accessed 11 June 2021 via

Dencher, Alexander, ‘The triumphal medals of William III of Orange and the histoire métallique of Louis XIV of France in the wake of the Glorious Revolution’, Jaarboek voor Munt- en Penningkunde 104 (2017): pp. 102–35. Last accessed 11 June 2021 via 2017/2017e.pdf.

‘The Entry of His Majesty William III, King of Great Britain, in The Hague, 5 February 1691’, etching by Jan Luyken c.1691, National Portrait Gallery, last accessed 11 June 2021 via

Hattendorf, John B. ‘Herbert, Arthur, earl of Torrington’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (entry published in print and online in 2004; online version updated in 2008), last accessed 10 June 2021 via