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date: 22 November 2019

Blathwayt, Williamlocked

(1649?–16 August 1717)
  • Stephen Saunders Webb


Blathwayt, William (1649?–16 August 1717), imperial bureaucrat, was born in London, England, the son of William Blathwayt, a lawyer of the Middle Temple, and Anne Povey, daughter of the auditor of the exchequer Justinian Povey. His father died, broken and bankrupt by the civil wars, when William was less than two years old. He was raised by his uncle Thomas Povey, a connoisseur of Dutch decorative art and colonial administrator under Cromwell and Charles II, who sent him to the Middle Temple, 1665–1668. In 1668 Povey arranged Blathwayt’s clerkship with Sir William Temple, ambassador at The Hague and champion of an alliance of the Protestant maritime states, England and the Netherlands, against Catholic France. Blathwayt not only absorbed the ambassador’s ideals, he also impressed that influential statesman with his energy (it was said that in any office where Blathwayt worked no one else had anything to do). Blathwayt gained recognition for his method of filing and indexing correspondence (his first official letter was from ...

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