John Harwood: Journal of visit to Paris

Scope and Content

An autograph journal of Harwood's visit to Paris, 26 May - 22 June 1685. The account includes entries on libraries, statues, water supplies, stonework, drink, trades, the waterworks of Versailles, the epitaph of Descartes, a disputation at the Sorbonne, the feast of D'Boun, and the library and cabinet of Charles Mons. Le Brun. Harwood describes the places he visited, which included St Omer's College, the Tuileries, the monastery of Val de Grace (including a description of the chapel), the opera and theatre, the menagerie and chateau at Vincennes, the Palace, the King's physic garden, the Gobelins factory, Versailles, the Collège de Clermont, the Hôtel de Ville, Nôtre Dame, St Denys, Medune (Louvois' chateau), the Louvre and the Arsenal. He also describes the royal library, which he was shown by Robert Scott, a London bookseller who supplied it with English books. There are Latin transcripts of epitaphs, etc., at the end of the volume. The journal is divided into six sections:

1. 'Observations made in a ramble in May 1685 to Paris.'

2. 'The journal of what we saw or happen'd remarkable after we came to Paris.'

3. 'A brief account of what we saw most remarkable at Versailles.'

4. A continuation of the journal of events in Paris.

5. 'A continuance of my journal from the time we left Paris till we arrived in England.'

6. 'A miscellany of observations which could not so well be brought into the body of my journal, concerning the natural abilities, temper and inclinations, manners and customs, virtues and vices of the French, as also their meals and drinks, and buildings &c. of their commodities &c.'

Administrative / Biographical History

John Harwood (1660-1731) was born on 5 April 1660, and educated at Eton; Christ Church, Oxford; and Queens' College, Cambridge (LL.B., 1684; LL.D., 1688). He was a member of Doctors' Commons before becoming commissary of St Paul's and official of St Mary's, Shropshire. He was elected Fellow of the Royal Society in 1686, and of the Society of Antiquaries in 1717. He died on 1 January 1731.

Harwood was accompanied during his Paris visit by two Old Etonians, Edmund Whitfield (d. 1693), Fellow of King's College, Cambridge, and Charles Roderick (d. 1712), Headmaster of Eton, 1682-1689; Provost of King's College, Cambridge; and Dean of Ely. The group also contained 'one Mr Evans'.

Conditions Governing Access

Open for consultation by holders of a Reader's Ticket valid for the Manuscripts Reading Room.

Acquisition Information

Purchased at Sotheby's, 26 June 1974.

Other Finding Aids


Archivist's Note

Description compiled by Robert Steiner, Department of Manuscripts and University Archives, with reference to the entry on the collection in Bibliotheca Phillippica, part XII (London, Sotheby & Co., 1974), p. 69. The biographical history was compiled with reference to the entry on John Harwood in John Venn and J.A. Venn, Alumni Cantabrigienses, part II, vol. II (Cambridge University Press, 1922), p. 326.

Custodial History

The volume was formerly MS 11807 in the collection of Sir Thomas Phillipps, who purchased it in 1842.