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WILLIAMS WYNN Henry - Autograph Letter Signed to a French Royalist

  • £295.00

Henry WILLIAMS WYNN (1783-1856)

Autograph Letter Signed (“H Williams Wynn”) to the Count d’Antraigues, expressing the hope that they will soon meet.

1 page 4to in French with integral address leaf, n.p. [but London], “lundi”, n.d. [1808-09].               

Trans: “I am back from the country and currently propose to remain in town for some time. I hope that I will be more fortunate than I was during my last stay when we missed each other four times. Let me know at what time you are at home, as for me I never go out before 2 o’clock.

Sir Henry Williams Wynn sat as an MP for Midhurst, but soon joined the Foreign Office. He was eventually to be appointed ambassador to Switzerland and later to Denmark. As a grandson of the late Prime Minister George Grenville and younger brother of Charles Williams Wynn, who had served at the Home Office, Sir Henry was very well connected politically.

His correspondent, the Comte d’Antraigues, is particularly interesting. An arch-intriguer, he was a Royalist and indeed a very conservative Royalist. In 1790 he emigrated to Switzerland. This was followed by a series of emigrations to Venice, Trieste, Vienna, Dresden and finally, in 1806 to that last refuge of French Royalists, England. He served Louis XVIII in exile, but was repudiated by him when suspected of having revealed secret plans to Napoleon in order to secure his release when d’Antraigues was captured in Trieste. He was later in the pay of the Russians, although as a spy he was notoriously unreliable, embellishing his information and ready to betray all sides. He was living in Devonshire Street, where this letter is addressed, in 1808 but soon moved to Barnes in southwest London, where he and his wife were killed in 1812 by a servant who had been dismissed. Opinion remains divided as to whether the servant was taking personal revenge or whether he had been paid by one of d’Antraigues’ many enemies.

The address leaf has been torn and repaired, not affecting the text.

From the Crawford collection.


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