Guide to the George Thomas Staunton Papers, 1743-1885 and undated
This collection is primarily correspondence to and from British diplomat George Thomas Staunton (1781-1859), with some letters to his father George Leonard Staunton. There are also travel diaries, a journal, newspaper clippings, and some genealogical material.
- Collection Number
- George Thomas Staunton papers
- 1743-1885 and undated
- Staunton, George Thomas, Sir, 1781-1859
- 1.5 Linear Feet
- David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
- Materials in English
The papers of Sir George Thomas Staunton, a politician and author of works on China, include correspondence with his father Sir George Leonard Staunton (1737-1801) and mother Jane (Collins) Staunton describing his education, his life at the East India Company's factory in Canton (1798-1817), several disputes with Chinese officials, and Lord Amherst's mission to China (1816-1817). A few letters relate to France and England from 1780 to 1792, Paris social life, the French National Assembly, and British attitudes toward the French Revolution. Letters to his mother during periods of travel in England and Ireland (1802-1819) describe his examination of various country estates there. There are also letters written while touring France, Switzerland, Italy, Germany, and Belgium.
Several letters to George Leonard Staunton (father of George Thomas Staunton) concern the senior Staunton's diplomatic career, the negotiation of a treaty with the ruler of Mysore in 1783, British rule of Madras and Calcutta (1781-1784 and 1791), his part in the mission to China (1792), and family and personal matters.
This collection contains six travel diaries authored by George Thomas Staunton. Five were written during childhood travels with his father in Europe and China, from 1791 to approximately 1796. There is another travel diary dated 1826-1830 and a journal from 1831-1837 which records Staunton's opinions on parliamentary matters, his voting record, a list of correspondents, draft letters, and other political information, especially concerning the Reform Bill of 1832.
Letters are arranged chronologically. Many letters are from members of the Collins and Staunton families. Correspondents include: E. C. Bentley, Edward Blakeney, Lucy B. (Staunton) Cormick, Richard Blake, W. Leonard (?), John Staunton, Margaret (Leonard) Staunton, Thomas Staunton, Sam Simcockes, and Alyward L. Staunton, Peter B. Brodie, Benjamin Collins, Benjamin C. Collins, Mary Collins, and Barfoot Cotton. The correspondence indicates that Staunton wrote frequently to Sir John Barrow, Secretary to the Admiralty and close friend of the family, but this collection has only one of these items. There is a sizeable group of letters from Henry John Temple, Third Viscount Palmerston.
Access to the Collection
Collection is open for research.
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The copyright interests in this collection have not been transferred to Duke University. For more information, consult the copyright section of the Regulations and Procedures of the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library.
How to Cite
[Identification of item], George Thomas Staunton Papers, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.
This volume contains entries regarding Staunton’s parliamentary activities and opinions, drafts of letters, and more than eighty clippings. Topics include the Reform Bill of 1832; the parliamentary election of 1835 in South Hampshire, in which the reform coalition of Staunton and Henry John Temple, Third Viscount Palmerston, met defeat; and the actions of William John Napier, Ninth Baron Napier, in 1834 at Canton which caused a temporary cessation of trade.
Clippings contain announcements of Staunton's candidacy for parliament, public pronouncement of his support for candidates, parliamentary proposals, and a pamphlet he authored titled An Inquiry in the proper mode of rendering the word “God,” in translating the Scriptures into the Chinese Language (Lionel Booth, London, 1849)
Includes and announcement of candidacy and two miscellaneous invitations.
Undated photograph of men sparring. Three unidentified seals in Chinese script.
Title on spine: Staunton Family. Scrapbook is entirely blank except for a bookplate ("Sir George Staunton Bar."), a photograph (of "Staunton's Island"), and clippings pasted onto the inside covers. Clippings appear to be related to properties owned by the Staunton family.
Bound volume (former call number E K53P) regarding the Staunton seat in England: Leigh Park. Contains two titles: A Poem on Leigh Park, the seat of Sir George Thomas Staunton, bart. by James King (London: Whittaker, Treacher, 1829) and Letters Addressed to William Garrett, esq., relative to the state of Leigh House. (Havant, Hampshire, England: Havant Press, printed by H. Skelton, 1819). These twenty letters testify to the sound condition of Leigh House at the time when Garrett repossessed it from John Julius Angerstein. Staunton bought Leigh House in January 1820.
The volume was originally printed with 52 blank pages at the end. 33 pages of this section contain entries most likely written by George Thomas Staunton from 1819-1858 pertaining to events of personal interest, improvements at Leigh Park, purchases of real estate, employment of tenants and workers, national affairs, and a list of visitors to Leigh Park. Eight newspaper clippings are mounted on the fly-leaves. Two items relate to the election of 1832 (July 25 and Sept. 25, 1832) and the others refer to local matters.
Sir George Thomas Staunton (1781-1859) was the only surviving child of Sir George Leonard Staunton (1737-1801) who was born in County Galway, Ireland. George Leonard Staunton graduated M. D. from a college at Montpelller, France, in 1758, and he lived on Grenada, B. W. I., during most of the 1760s and 1770s. His first diplomatic missions were from 1781-1784, when he was secretary to George Macartney, First Earl Macartney, who was Governor of Madras. From 1792-1794, the senior Staunton was secretary in the first British mission that was sent to China, the Macartney Mission. George Thomas Staunton’s mother Jane (Collins) Staunton, was the daughter of Benjamin Collins, a banker of Salisbury.
George Thomas Staunton accompanied his father to China from 1792-1794. During 1798-1817 he was writer, supercargo, member of the Select Committee, and, finally, chief of the East India Company's factory at Canton. From 1816-1817 Staunton was a ranking member of Britain’s second mission to China. After 1817 he lived in England and was an M. P. during most of the period from 1818-1852.
Ships on which Sir George Thomas Staunton sailed to and from China were the Hindustan, Arniston, Bombay, Charles Grant, Wexford, Discovery, Alceste, and Scaleby Castle. These vessels sailed for the East India Company. Numerous other ships are noted in the diaries and letters from China.
Click to find related materials at Duke University Libraries.
- Diplomatic and consular service, British
- Leigh Park (England)
- Landscape architecture -- England -- Hampshire -- History
- Parks -- England -- Hampshire -- History
- Travel -- Diaries -- 18th Century
- Travel -- Diaries -- 19th century
- Voyages and travels
- China -- Commerce -- Great Britain -- 19th century
- China -- Description and travel -- 18th Century
- China -- Description and travel -- 19th century
- China -- Commerce -- Great Britain -- 18th Century
- Europe -- Description and travel -- 19th century
- Great Britain -- Foreign relations -- 19th century
- Great Britain -- Commerce -- 19th century
- Great Britain -- Description and travel -- 19th century
- Great Britain -- Politics and government -- 1800-1837
- Hampshire (England) -- Poetry
The George Thomas Staunton Papers were acquired by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library between 1960 and 1968.
Processed by Lucy VanderKamp, December 2016.
Accessions described in this collection guide: 8-30-60, 10-31-60, 8-10-62, 6-27-64, 11-1-67, and 5-15-68.