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Joseph Williamson may refer to:

7 Annotations

First Reading

Clement  •  Link

"One of the ablest of Pepys' colleagues in the public service.
Under-Sectretary of State 1660-74..." etc., eventually an Admiralty Commissioner, and knighted in 1672.

"In some ways his carrer parallels that of Pepys. Virtually contemporaries, they both rose from small beginnings; both were formidable adminstrators who created new standards of efficiency; and both had learned tastes and served as Presidents of the Royal Society (Williamson in 1676-7), and were instrumental in founding Mathematical Schools (Pepys's in Christ Hospital, Williamson's in Rochester, by bequ4est). Williamson kept a diary, but only of public events and only for a short period (Dec. 1667-Jan. 1669)."

(p. 487, Volume X--Companion to "The Diary of Samuel Pepys," HarperCollins, 1995 paperback edition.)

In light of the note regarding parallel paths between Sam and Williamson above, which seem to me possibly extend to character as well as career, Sam's comment about his counterpart, "...a pretty knowing man and a scholler, but, it may be, thinks himself to be too much so," may well have been Williamson's pronouncement about Sam too.…

in Aqua Scripto  •  Link

Caveat emptor: Address respecting the Committal of Mr. Sec. Williamson.
Resolved, &c. That an humble Address be made to his Majesty, representing to his Majesty the Reasons that induced this House to commit Mr. Secretary Williamson to the Tower: And that his Majesty be humbly desired, not to release Mr. Secretary Williamson from his Imprisonment: And that his Majesty will be pleased to recall all the Commissions that have been granted to any Papists, or suspected Papists, within the Kingdoms of England and Ireland, and any other his Majesty's Dominions and Territories.
[ there be more ]

From: 'House of Commons Journal Volume 9: 19 November 1678', Journal of the House of Commons: volume 9: 1667-1687 (1802), p. 542. URL:…. Date accessed: 07 February 2006.

Pedro  •  Link

Joseph Williamson

This chap is twice mentioned by Sam who describes him as "…a pretty knowing man and a scholler, but, it may be, thinks himself to be too much so," and “… a pretty understanding and accomplished man, but a little conceited.”

Clement says above that in some ways his career parallels that of Pepys. So trying to avoid spoilers here is a sumary up the present time from…

Intelligence and Espionage in the Regn of Charles II, 1660-1685.

“There is little doubt that Williamson’s part in the establishment of an efficient intelligence and espionage system was an important one. For some 19 years he was to have a major influence on the secretariat’s involvement in the covert world.

He was born (1633) in Bridekirk, Cumberland. His father was vicar of the parish, and the family relatively poor. He started his education at the grammar school in St. Bees, which had links with Queens College Oxford.

He secured the patronage of MP Richard Tolson who brought him to London in the late 1640’s as a clerk, and was admitted to Westminster School in 1648. There he learnt the ideals of discipline and hard work, and the value of keeping notebooks. He had a driving ambition for power and tangible financial rewards, as well as a penchant for gathering useful information.

He was recommended to Queens College in Oxford in 1650, and in 1657 he had a Masters degree by diploma.

At the Restoration he secured a post in the office of the Secretary of State Nicholas. In December 1661 he was appointed Keeper of the King’s Library and the State Paper Office with a salary of £160 per year.

When Arlington took over as Secretary he was dismissed, but Arlington quickly realised that the office could not be run without him and he was reinstated, and having Arlington’s confidence.”

(SPOILER…There were undoubtedly opportunities for making money in the service of the government and Williamson was to prove that he never be slow in taking any financial opportunities which presented themselves. This was so much so that by 1668 he was rumoured to be worth £40,000 in ready money.)

Second Reading

Bill  •  Link

Joseph Williamson, Keeper of the State Paper Office at White Hall, and in 1663 made Under-Secretary of State, and soon afterwards knighted. In 1664 he became Secretary of State, which appointment he filled four years. He represented Thetford or Rochester in different parliaments, and was in 1678 President of the Royal Society. Ob. 1701.
---Diary and correspondence of Samuel Pepys, the diary deciphered by J. Smith. 1854.

Bill  •  Link

WILLIAMSON, Sir JOSEPH (1633-1701), statesman and diplomatist; of Westminster School and Queen's College, Oxford; B.A., 1654; fellow and M.A., 1657; held position in office of Sir Edward Nicholas, then secretary of state, 1660-1; keeper of Charles II's library at Whitehall and at the paper office, 1661; called to bar at Middle Temple, 1664; editor, 1665, of 'Oxford Gazette,' which became 'London Gazette,' 1666; M.P. for Thetford, 1669, 1679, 1681, and 1685, and Rochester, 1690 and 1701; knighted and appointed clerk of council in ordinary, 1672; joint British plenipotentiary to congress at Cologne, 1673-4; secretary of state, 1674; LL.D. Oxford, and privy councillor, 1674; fell victim to suspicions aroused by 'popish plot' and was removed from office, 1678; master of' Clothworkers' Company, 1676; member of Royal Society, 1663, and president, 1677-80; recorder of Thetford, 1682; joint-plenipotentiary at congress of Nimeguen, 1696; signed, as joint-commissioner, the first partition treaty, 1698.
---Dictionary of National Biography: Index and Epitome. S. Lee, 1906.

Bill  •  Link

Sir Joseph Williamson, once a poor foot-boy, then a servitor, now principal secretary of state, and pensioner to the French king.
---A Seasonable Argument ... for a New Parliament. Andrew Marvell, [1677] 1776.

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Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.







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