Index to General Conway's Pamphlet Collection

Scope and Content

Two-volume index to a collection of pamphlets in the H.S. Conway Pamphlet Collection.

Administrative / Biographical History

Henry Seymour Conway (1721-1795), general and statesman, began his military career in the War of the Austrian Succession, and eventually rose to the rank of lieutenant general during the subsequent Seven Year's War (1759). Politically he was an old-style Whig, who sat in the House of Commons from 1741 to 1774 and again from 1775 to 1784. He served in Government under Lord Rockingham's ministry as Secretary of State for the Southern Department in 1765 before switching to the Northern Department the following year, serving until his resignation in 1768. He returned to office as Commander-in-Chief under the short-lived second Rockingham ministry in 1782 but he resigned once more when Rockingham died and the Fox-North Coalition took over. His political career came to an end in 1784 when he lost his seat in parliament due to his opposition to the government of the younger William Pitt.

He was no stranger to controversy both militarily and politically. In 1757 he was one of the joint commanders of a failed raiding expedition to Rochfort, in France, and in the ensuing fiasco was the target of much of the public outcry. A series of pamphlets was written attacking his conduct and effectiveness and Conway defended himself by writing his own pamphlets, answering the charges levelled against him. As a Whig, he was often critical of George III's attempts at political control and in 1763 he actively spoke out against the King's actions to imprison and silence the freedom of press champion, John Wilkes, and his supporters. As a result, George III controversially stripped Conway of his military commands and stipends as a demonstration of royal displeasure. His treatment however attracted a lot of attention and another series of pamphlets was written, both in support and in criticism. Eventually Conway resumed his military career with royal blessing when he retired temporarily from politics in 1768.

Source: Clive Towse, 'Conway, Henry Seymour (1719-1795)', Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004. By permission of Oxford University Press -

Access Information

The manuscript is available for consultation by any accredited reader.

Acquisition Information

Purchased by Mrs Enriqueta Augustina Rylands, on behalf of the John Rylands Library, from John Poyntz Spencer, 5th Earl Spencer (1835-1910), in July 1892.


Description compiled by Henry Sullivan, project archivist, with reference to the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography article on General Henry Seymour Conway.

Other Finding Aids

Catalogued in the Hand-List of the Collection of English Manuscripts in the John Rylands Library, 1928 (English MS 48).

Custodial History

The manuscript was formerly part of the Spencer Library at Althorp, Northamptonshire, which was largely assembled by George John Spencer, 2nd Earl Spencer (1758-1834); then by descent to John Poyntz Spencer, 5th Earl Spencer (1835-1910).

Related Material

The JRUL holds the Conway Pamphlet Collection (accession number 869) as part of the Spencer Collection.