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John Taylor (1597–1655), English Catholic Gentleman and Caroline Diplomat

  • Thea Lindquist


During the Thirty Years’ War, John Taylor served at the Habsburg courts in Brussels, Madrid, and Vienna. Although he figured prominently in Charles I's secret Habsburg foreign policy during the war and was one of the ‘persons of distinction’ included in the original Dictionary of National Biography, published information on Taylor is sparse. His story is especially compelling given his own and his family's connections with Continental Catholicism as well as his involvement, as a gentleman of indisputably Catholic background, in English diplomacy of the time.



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1 A. F. Pollard's article on Taylor in the Dictionary of National Biography contains fundamental errors, some of which M. R. Trappes-Lomax noted in the pages of Recusant History; mine on Taylor in The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography rectifies these (Stephen, Leslie and Lee, Sidney, eds., The Dictionary of National Biography: From the Earliest Times to 1900 [London: Oxford University Press, 1885–1901], vol. 19, p. 438; Matthew, H. C. G. and Harrison, Brian, eds., The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography: From the Earliest Times to the Year 2000 [Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004]; Trappes-Lomax, M. R., ‘Who Was John Taylor the Diplomatist?’, RH 7, no. 1 [1963]: pp. 4345).

2 Given the popularity of the name John in the Taylor family, it can be difficult to distinguish between them. The family-tree of the Taylor Family, is helpful in differentiating between persons of the same name and understanding relationships among the family members. Also, note that where ‘Taylor’ stands alone in the text, it always refers to John Taylor the diplomat. Taylor and his uncle of the same name were often referred to as gentleman and at times as esquire. On 12 April 1635, Taylor's uncle received a confirmation of arms to himself as well as to his father and his brothers Stephen (Taylor's father), Thomas, and Robert, and all their descendants (College of Arms, Miscellaneous Grants 7.29; M. R. Trappes-Lomax, p. 45).

3 Dowsabell was the sister of William Grimston, gentleman, the Earl of Cumberland's receiver in Cumberland. The union of Taylor's parents is but one example of the close connections among the Cliffords’ officers (Spence, Richard T., ‘A Royal Progress in the North: James I at Carlisle Castle and the Feast of Brougham, August 1617’, Northern History 27 [1991]: p. 55; ibidem, The Privateering Earl [Far Thrupp, Stroud, Gloucs.: Sutton, 1995], p. 38).

4 Although A. J. Loomie notes Taylor's grandfather was a steward to the 4th Earl, this is impossible as his grandfather died in 1605, before the 4th Earl inherited (Loomie, Albert J., ‘Canon Henry Taylor, Spanish Habsburg Diplomat’, RH 17, no. 3 [1985]: p. 234).

5 Spence, Richard T., ‘The Pacification of the Cumberland Borders, 1593–1628’, Northern History 13 (1977): p. 141; Ibidem, ‘Royal Progress’, p. 62; Peacock, Edward, ed., A List of Roman Catholics in the County of York in 1604 (London: Hotten, 1872), p. 61; HMC, Salisbury (Cecil), vol. 15, p. 260: 16 Oct. 1603, Earl of Cumberland to Lord Cecil; ibidem, vol. 16, p. 428: [between 20 Aug. and 5 May 1605], the same to Viscount Cranborne.

6 CSPD 1603–1610, p. 402: 7 Feb. 1608, Release for John Taylor and other executors of the late Earl of Cumberland; Spence, Richard T., Lady Anne Clifford: Countess of Pembroke, Dorset and Montgomery (1590–1676) ([Phoenix Mill, Gloucs.]: Sutton, 1997); ibidem, ‘The Cliffords, Earls of Cumberland, 1579–1646: A Study of Their Fortunes Based on Their Household and Estate Accounts’ (Ph.D. thesis, University of London, 1959), esp. chap. 10.

7 Spence, ‘Cliffords, Earls of Cumberland’, pp. 67–8.

8 For example, Whitaker, Thomas D., The History and Antiquities of the Deanery of Craven in the County of York, ed. Morant, A. W., 3d ed. (Leeds: Dodgson, 1878), pp. 361–2: June 1611, Taylor to Clifford; Spence, ‘Cliffords, Earls of Cumberland’; M. R. Trappes-Lomax, p. 45. This uncle also accompanied Clifford as an esquire on the occasion of his being made a Knight of the Bath in June 1610.

9 He stood as godfather, for instance, to Stephen Taylor's eldest daughter, Dowsabell, who later became one of the gentlewomen of Countess Grissell, Clifford's mother (BIHR, Parish Registers, Bilton in Ainsty, County York).

10 Spence, Privateering Earl, pp. 37–8.

11 Aveling, J. C. H., ‘The Catholic Recusants of the West Riding of Yorkshire, 1558–1790’, Proceedings of the Leeds Philosophical and Literary Society, Literary and Historical Section 10, no. 6 (1963): p. 191.

12 Aveling, ‘Catholic Recusants’, p. 191; ibidem, ‘Catholic Households in Yorkshire, 1580–1603’, Northern History 16 (1980): p. 85. On the Catholic gentry in Yorkshire, see Cliffe, J. T., The Yorkshire Gentry: From the Reformation to the Civil War, University of London Historical Studies, vol. 25 (London: Athlone Press, 1969), chaps. 810.

13 Walsham, Alexandra, Church Papists: Catholicism, Conformity and Confessional Polemic in Early Modern England (Woodbridge, Suffolk: Boydell, 1993), pp. 7680; Cliffe, p. 227; Aveling, J. C. H., ‘Some Aspects of Yorkshire Recusant History’, in The Province of York, ed. Cuming, G. J., Studies in Church History, vol. 4 (Leiden: Brill, 1967), p. 110.

14 The inhabitants of the parish of Bilton honoured Dowsabell by asking her to stand as godmother to two children, and eleven more shared her unusual name; and these are limited to those children baptized in the established church. In the parochial context, this was a mark of respect for a known recusant woman (BIHR, Parish Registers, Bilton in Ainsty, County York).

15 Sheils, William J., ‘Household, Age and Gender among Jacobean Yorkshire Recusants’, in Rowlands, Marie B., ed., English Catholics of Parish and Town, 1558–1778, CRS Publications, Monograph Series, vol. 5 (London: CRS, 1999), p. 148; Dickens, A. G., ‘The Extent and Character of Recusancy in Yorkshire, 1604’, Yorkshire Archaeological Journal 37 (1942): p. 40.

16 Sheils, p. 134.

17 Peacock, p. 61. This was in all likelihood Taylor's grandfather or possibly his uncle.

18 BIHR, AVCB 1615, ff. 31–2; BIHR, AVCB 1619, f. 24.

19 HMC, Salisbury (Cecil), vol. 18, p. 23: 17 Jan. 1606, Bishop of London to Salisbury.

20 BIHR, AVCB 1604, f. 26; BIHR, AVCB 1615, f. 32; BIHR, AVCB 1619, ff. 23–4; BIHR, AVCB 1623, f. 20; BIHR, AVCB 1627, f. 31; Peacock, p. 61; Aveling, ‘Catholic Recusants’, p. 285. For a list of recusants in the West Riding of Yorkshire to 1780, arranged by parish, see J. C. H. Aveling's ‘Catholic Recusants’, app. I.

21 BIHR, AVCB 1619, f. 24.

22 In order to secure recusant compositions as a long-term source of revenue for the Crown, Wentworth preferred to ask for manageable sums instead of imposing heavy penalties that would severely impair recusants’ ability to make future contributions. For more on Wentworth and his policies toward recusants in the North, see Pogson, F., ‘Wentworth and the Northern Recusancy Commission’, RH 24, no. 3 (May 1999): pp. 271–87.

23 Murphy, Martin, St. Gregory's College, Seville, 1592–1767, CRS Publications, Records Series, vol. 73 (London: CRS, 1992), p. 98.

24 By this time Taylor was already well-known to the Imperial court, where he had served as Charles I's resident agent from 1635 to 1639.

25 Dr. Stephen Taylor set up his practice in 1627 in St. Martin's, Coney Street. He was born in 1607 rather than earlier, as Loomie surmises, A. J. (BIHR, Parish Registers, Bilton in Ainsty, County York; Loomie, ‘Henry Taylor’, p. 235).

26 Aveling, J. C. H., Catholic Recusancy in the City of York, 1558–1791 (London: CRS, 1970), pp. 85, 89, 240, 242 n. 15, 243, 248; Calendar of the Proceedings of the Committee for Compounding & C., 1643–1660 (London: HMSO, 1889–92; reprint, Nendeln, Liech.: Kraus Reprint, 1967), vol. 3, p. 113: 23 Apr. 1648, Rob. Horner, mayor, and the Committee for the City and County of York to the Committee for Compounding. For a list of recusants in York similar to that for the West Riding, see Aveling, ‘Catholic Recusancy’, app. I.

27 Elizabeth was the sister that Taylor designated as a non-Catholic in his statement upon entering the English College in Rome (cf. p. 83). An Elizabeth Taylor, however, was cited for recusancy in the parish of Bilton in 1623 and 1627 (BIHR, AVCB 1623, f. 20; BIHR, AVCB 1627, f. 31). By 1633, Elizabeth had married Robert Trappes of Nidd, a recusant from a well-known Yorkshire Catholic family and Wentworth's first cousin. In 1633, recusancy processes were underway against both Robert and Elizabeth Trappes. At the request of Robert's father Francis, Wentworth in fact approached the King on their behalf and received permission to compound father and son for recusancy at £8 per year. During the Commonwealth, Robert's lands were sequestered for actively supporting the King against Parliament (Trappes-Lomax, John, ed., ‘Trappes of Nidd: A Family History by Richard Trappes-Lomax’, RH 27, no. 2 [Oct. 2004], pp. 63–7, 175–6; Dugdale, William, The Visitation of the County of Yorke, begun in… 1665 and finished in… 1666, Surtees Society Publications, no. 36 [Durham: Surtees Society, 1859], p. 214; Williams, Bill, Bilton through the Ages [York: Published by the Author, 1985]). For further information on the Trappes and their descendants, see John Trappes-Lomax, ‘Trappes of Nidd’.

28 Loomie, Albert J., ‘Francis Fowler II, English Secretary of the Spanish Embassy, 1609–1619’, RH 12 (1973): p. 70.

29 For more on Dr. Robert Taylor, see Loomie, Albert J., ‘Sir Robert Cecil’; ibidem, The Spanish Elizabethans: The English Exiles at the Court of Philip II (New York: Fordham University Press, 1963); ibidem, ‘Toleration and Diplomacy: The Religious Issue in Anglo-Spanish Relations, 1603–1605’, Transactions of the American Philosophical Society, n.s. 53, pt. 6 (1963); ibidem, ed., Spain and the Jacobean Catholics, CRS Publications, vol. 64 ([London]: CRS, 1973), vol. 1; and Hicks, L., ‘The Embassy of Sir Anthony Standen in 1603: Part I’, RH 5 (1959–60): pp. 91127.

30 A few months later, Robert Taylor's house was raided and the Taylors were imprisoned for hiding yet another priest (Hodgetts, Michael, ‘A Topographical Index of Hiding Places’, RH 16, no. 2 [1982]: p. 176).

31 According to notes of meetings related to the ‘gunpowder treason’, Robert Taylor attended the Thursday ‘sennett’ that gathered for dinner at the Mitre tavern in Broad Street in the days before 5 November 1605; plotter Robert Catesby was also present (HMC, Salisbury (Cecil), vol. 17, p. 522: [Nov. 1605], Gunpowder Plot; Haynes, Alan, The Gunpowder Plot: Faith in Rebellion [Phoenix Mill, Gloucs.: Sutton, 1994], p. 74).

32 Loomie, ‘Sir Robert Cecil’, p. 36.

33 Foley, Henry, ed., Records of the English Province of the Society of Jesus: Historic Facts Illustrative of the Labours and Sufferings of Its Members in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries (London: Burns and Oats, 1875–83; reprint, New York: Johnson Reprint, [1966]), vol. 4, pp. 27–8. For the story of Garnet's ear, with contemporary accounts and illustrations of the ear, see Foley, pp. 120–34, and Caraman, Philip, Henry Garnet, 1555–1606, and the Gunpowder Plot (New York: Farrar, Straus, 1964), app. D.

34 Loomie, ‘Fowler’, p. 75.

35 Kenny, vol. 1, p. 326; Foley, vol. 6, pp. 290, 510; Holt, Geoffrey, St. Omers and Bruges College, 1593–1773: A Biographical Dictionary, CRS Publications, Records Series, vol. 69 ([London]: CRS, 1979), p. 258. Although young Thomas records in his statement upon entering the English College that his parents and three sisters are heretics, his parents did not consistently conform, since ‘Thomas Taylor gentleman, steward to the Earl of Cumberland … and his wife’ were reported for recusancy in the parish of Bilton (Peacock, p. 61).

36 BIHR, AVCB, for instance 1636, ff. 44–5, and Cause Papers, H 463; Aveling, ‘Catholic Recusants’, app. I. The Taylors of Tadcaster were postmasters there since the late 1570s (BL, Add. Mss. 28566, n.f.: ‘Iter Boreale, Anno Salutis 1639’: John Aston's Diary; CSPD 1637, p. 331: 27 July 1637, Warrant to pay for posts).

37 See Figure 1.

38 Beales, A C. F., Education under Penalty: English Catholic Education from the Reformation to the Fall of James II, 1547–1689 ([London]: Athlone Press, 1963), pp. ix, 56–7, 74–5, 81, 83; Cliffe, pp. 194–5.

39 Holt, p. 258.

40 Beales, pp. 70, 169.

41 Parents who sent their children to continental seminaries were liable to forfeit their lands and goods, and the same punishment applied to children who refused to conform.

42 Beales, pp. 53, 160.

43 Uncle John's religious proclivities are unclear, but if he was a Catholic, he had taken care to stay out of trouble with the authorities.

44 John Trappes-Lomax, p. 167. A recusant widow could lose two-thirds of her dower or jointure and all claim to her husband's goods.

45 Beales, p. 121. Kenny, pt. 1, p. 327. Although the English College was a seminary for training priests, it sometimes took St. Omers students who were unsure of their vocation, like Taylor (Beales, p. 130).

46 Kenny, Anthony, ed., The Responsa Scholarum of the English College, Rome, pt. 1, 1598–1621, CRS Publications, Records Series, vol. 54 ([London]: CRS, 1962), p. 327.

47 Thus the great S. R. Gardiner's statement, accepted at face value by many succeeding historians, that Taylor was a Catholic and half a Spaniard by birth was only half true (Gardiner, Samuel R., History of England from the Accession of James I to the Outbreak of the Civil War, 1603–1642 [London: Longmans, Green, 1884], vol. 8, p. 101). Gardiner may have been misled by a letter in which Edward Hyde, Earl of Clarendon, sarcastically wrote that Taylor bore the delays of the Imperial Diet ‘like a man bred in the Court of Spain’. (CCSP, vol. 2, p. 327: 27 Mar. 1654, Hyde to Bellings).

48 PRO, SP 16/433, f. 102: 25 Nov. 1639, Taylor to Windebank; PRO, SP 16/470, f. 164: [Oct?] 1640, Jane Taylor's petition to Charles I.

49 PRO, SP 16/189, f. 145: 29 May 1635, ‘The Account of John Taylor sent into Spain for his Majesty's affairs, 13 July 1634’; Bodl. Lib., Clav. Mss. 14, f. 113: 5 July 1638, Taylor to Windebank; Bodl. Lib., Clav. Mss. 14, ff. 119–21: 11 July 1638, same to same; PRO, SP 16/433, f. 102: 25 Nov. 1639, same to same.

50 Wentworth and Taylor were well acquainted in 1633, when Taylor was assisting him with a scheme to promote trade between Ireland and Spain (Masson, David, The Life of John Milton: Narrated in Connection with the Political, Ecclesiastical and Literary History of His Time, new and rev. ed. [New York: P. Smith, 1946], vol. 1, p. 695). That same year, Wentworth assisted Taylor's brother-in-law Robert Trappes and his father Francis Trappes to compound for their recusancy on favorable terms (c.f. n. 27).

51 Many moderate Catholics who wished to show their loyalty took the Oath of Allegiance, and the King preferred to tax and tolerate them rather than attempt to force their conversion. He even allowed them to serve in his foreign service and at the highest levels of government. For a recent summary of historiography relating to Catholics and the Oath and a reassessment of its intent and impact, see Questier, Michael C., ‘Loyalty, Religion and State Power in Early Modern England: English Romanism and the Jacobean Oath of Allegiance’, Historical Journal 40, no. 2 (1997): pp. 311–29.

52 Albrecht, Dieter, ‘Bayern und die pfälzische Frage auf dem Westfälischen Friedenskongreß’, in Der Westfälische Friede, ed. Duchhardt, Heinz, pp. 461–8, Historische Zeitschrift, suppl. vol. 26 (Munich: Oldenbourg, 1998), pp. 462–3.

53 Howat, G. M. D., Stuart and Cromwellian Foreign Policy, Modern British Foreign Policy, ed. Robinson, Malcolm (London: Adam & Charles Black, 1974), p. 2.

54 Springell, Francis C., Connoisseur & Diplomat: The Earl of Arundel's Embassy to Germany in 1636 as Recounted in William Crowne's Diary, the Earl's Letters and Other Contemporary Sources with a Catalogue of the Topographical Drawings Made on the Journey by Wenceslaus Hollar (London: Maggs Bros., 1963), p. 1.

55 See, for instance, Elizabeth, Queen of Bohemia, The Letters of Elizabeth, Queen of Bohemia, ed. Baker, L. M., with an introduction by Wedgwood, C. V. (London: The Bodley Head, 1953), pp. 92—4: 1 June 1636, Elizabeth to Archbishop Laud.

56 Loomie, Albert J., ‘The Spanish Faction at the Court of Charles I, 1630–8’, Bulletin of the Institute of Historical Research 59 (May 1986): p. 48; Adams, Simon, ‘Spain or the Netherlands?: The Dilemmas of Early Stuart Foreign Policy’, in Before the English Civil War: Essays on Early Stuart Politics and Government, ed. Tomlinson, Howard (London: Macmillan, 1983), pp. 87, 90. The peace party supported a policy of pro-Habsburg neutrality rather than active intervention on the Habsburg side.

57 PRO, SP 77/19, f. 335: 18 Apr. 1630, Taylor to [Weston].

58 His correspondence, mostly directed to Weston, is in PRO, SP 80/7–8 and HMC, Denbigh, vol. 5 (London: HMSO, 1911). Taylor acted as Weston's agent in Imperial political circles but not as a Spanish agent in England as L. J. Reeve suggests (Reeve, L. J., ‘Quiroga's Paper of 1631: A Missing Link in Anglo-Spanish Diplomacy during the Thirty Years’ War’, English Historical Review 101 [1986]: p. 921).

59 PRO, SP 80/7, f.220:[1630?], Taylor to [Weston]; PRO, SP 80/8, f.86: 21 Oct. 1631, Anstruther to [Weston?].

60 PRO, SP 80/8, f. 217: 20 Aug. 1632, Abstract of a letter from Taylor to Weston.

61 PRO, SP 77/22. Taylor remained in Brussels until at least December (PRO, SP 77/22, f. 306: 7 Dec. 1632, Taylor to [Weston]).

62 Wentworth, Thomas, Earl of Strafford, The Earl of Strafforde's Letters and Dispatches, ed. Knowler, William (London: Printed for the Editor, 1739), vol. 1, pp. 95–6: 1 Aug. 1633, Taylor to Wentworth; Strafford, vol. 1, p. 104: 22 Aug. 1633, same to same.

63 Taylor's correspondence while in Spain is in PRO, SP 94/37 and CSP, vol. 1. He arrived in Madrid on 5 August 1634 (PRO, SP 94/37, f. 97: 14 Aug. 1634, Taylor to Portland).

64 CSP, vol. 1, p. 126: 22 Aug. 1634, Hopton to Windebank; CSPV 1632–36, p. 291: 27 Oct. 1634, Anzolo Correr, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate. Humanes's departure was repeatedly delayed, so long in fact that he died before he could leave for England (CSP, vol. 1, p. 329: 29 Sept. 1635, Hopton to Windebank; CSPV 1632–6, p. 471: 2 Nov. 1635, Correr to the Doge and Senate).

65 PRO, SP 94/37, f. 128: 18 Oct. 1634, Taylor to Olivares; PRO, SP 94/37, f. 130: 18 Oct. 1634, Philip IV to Taylor; CSP, vol. 1, p. 150: 16 Oct. 1634, Taylor to Windebank; ibidem, p. 236: 24 Feb. 1635, same to same; ibidem, p. 262: 25 Apr. 1635, Hopton to same.

66 CSP, vol. 1, p. 268: 22 Apr. 1635, Olivares to Cottington.

67 Bodl. Lib., Clar. Mss. 5, f. 324: 13 Aug. 1634, Hopton to Windebank.

68 Taylor's instructions are in PRO, SP 80/9, ff. 34–47. The bulk of his correspondence is in: PRO, SP 80/9–10; Bodl. Lib., Clar. Mss.; HMC, Denbigh, vol. 5; and CSP, vol. 1.

69 CSP, vol. 1, p. 662: [9] Oct. 1636, Windebank to Taylor.

70 CSPV, 1636–9, p. 168: 20 Mar. 1636, Correr to the Doge and Senate. Nor did the King approve of the exclusion of the Elector of Trier, whom the Emperor had under arrest (HHStA, StA Palatina, Kart. 12, Konv. 3: 9 Jan. 1637, Radolt to the King of Hungary, the future Ferdinand III).

71 CCSP, vol. 1, pp. 155–6: 7 Aug. 1638, Taylor to Windebank; ibidem, p. 156: 21 Aug. 1638, same to same; ibidem: 28 Aug. 1638, same to same; Bodl. Lib., Clar. Mss. 16, f. 56: 1639, Taylor's relation.

72 Bodl Lib., Clar. Mss. 15, f. 88: 21 Jan. 1639, Windebank to Taylor.

73 CCSP, vol. 1, p. 74: 29 Apr. 1639, Windebank to Hopton.

74 PRO, SP 16/421, f. 62: 26 May 1639, Coke to Windebank; BL, Add. Mss. 64919: 23 May 1639, Coke's comments on Windebank's letter of same date.

75 A. F. Pollard's Dictionary of National Biography article on Taylor claims that his books and papers were seized from the Inner Temple around the time of his arrest. However, as M. R. Trappes-Lomax rightly suspected, these items were not the property of our Taylor but another man of the same name (M. R. Trappes-Lomax, p. 45). Secretary Windebank did indeed order his secretary Robert Reade to seize the books and papers of a ‘Mr. Taylor of the Inner Temple, gent.’ shortly before our Taylor was sent to the Tower, but this is mere coincidence. These things almost surely belonged to the John Taylor who a short time later argued that the Secretaries of State had no place in the House of Lords (PRO, SP 16/429, f. 49: 26 Sept. 1639, Windebank to Reade; PRO, SP 16/446, f. 52: 25 Feb. 1640, Allan Boteler to same).

76 PRO, SP 16/431, f. 52: 16 Oct. 1639, Taylor to Windebank; PRO, SP 16/433, f. 102: 25 Nov. 1639, same to same; PRO, SP 16/448, f. 112: 21 Mar. 1640, same to same.

77 Uncle John was still residing in Bickerton and a relatively wealthy man when he made out his will in October 1639, leaving the great bulk of the estate to Matthias Taylor (PRO, Probate Registers 11, vol.182, ff. 206–7; BIHR, Original Wills, Dec. 1639).

78 PRO, SP 16/433, f. 102: 25 Nov. 1639, Taylor to Windebank.

79 The parish registers to the end of the seventeenth century provide no further clues about descendants of the Taylors of Bickerton Hall. With the death of Henry Clifford, 5th Earl of Cumberland, in 1643, the earldom of Cumberland became extinct and the Clifford inheritance passed to his cousin Anne, Countess of Dorset and Pembroke. Since the Taylors’ fortunes were linked so closely to those of their employers, if any family members were still in their service, they probably sought employment elsewhere. It is telling that the Taylors are not mentioned in the 5th Earl's 1642 will (printed in Clay, J. W., ‘The Clifford Family’, Yorkshire Archaeological Journal 18 [1905]: pp. 397–9).

80 PRO, SP 16/470, ff. 164–5: [Oct?] 1640, Windebank's cover letter to Jane Taylor's petition.

81 In Taylor's native Yorkshire, there was a significant correlation between royalism and gentry Catholicism. One historian estimates more than one-third of Yorkshire royalist families were Catholic (Cliffe, p. 345).

82 HKA, HZAB 87 (1641); HKA, HZAB 97 (1651), f. 204.

83 CSP, vol. 3, p. 96: 13 Sept. 1652, Hyde to Nicholas. Hyde had asked for Nicholas's advice about employing Taylor, but Nicholas confused the diplomat with his brother Francis Taylor when he replied.

84 CCSP, vol. 2, p. 174: 7 Feb. 1653, Hyde to William Curtius.

85 It is unclear exactly when Taylor resumed his diplomatic duties in Vienna. The earliest he can be pinpointed there is 1651. No evidence has been found to indicate that Taylor was accredited then; however, Hyde was in contact with Taylor in Vienna in June 1652, before the latter was formally accredited to the Imperial court (CCSP, vol. 2, p. 138: 22 June 1652, Hyde to Taylor). At this time, the Emperor considered Taylor to be the English resident agent and was defraying his expenses (HKA, HZAB 97 [1651], ff. 334, 472).

86 Sir Nicholas, Edward, The Nicholas Papers: Correspondence of Sir Edward Nicholas, Secretary of State, ed. Warner, George F., Camden New Series (London: Camden Society, 1886), vol. 1, pp. 307–8: 5 Sept. 1652, Nicholas to Hyde; CCSP, vol. 2, 148: 6 Sept. 1652, Charles II to Ferdinand III; ibidem, p. 149: 13 Sept. 1652, same to the electors of Cologne and Mainz. For Taylor's credentials and Hyde's side of their correspondence see Bodleian Library, Clarendon Manuscripts, and Calendar of Clarendon State Papers, vol. 2. For Taylor's letters to Prince Rupert, see British Library, Additional Manuscripts 18827, ff. 15–6, and for his memorials to the Emperor, see Haus-, Hof- und Staatsarchiv (Vienna), Staatenabteilung England, Kart. 1. The Emperor continued to defray Taylor's costs by 600 florins (400 thalers, or £82) for a year when he was accredited as resident agent (HKA, HZAB 99 [1653], f. 378; HKA, HZAB 100 [1654], f. 394; HKA, HZAB 101 [1655], f. 327).

87 Hyde wrote Taylor a letter of rebuke and was incensed even further by his purported indiscretion in showing his friend, Sir John Henderson, the letter. Taylor claimed that Henderson inadvertently spied the letter and that he was in any case inebriated when he saw it (CCSP, vol. 2, p. 214: 13 June 1653, Hyde to B. Belling, Secretary to Rochester).

88 CSP, vol. 3, p. 121: 30 Nov. 1652, Hyde to Nicholas.

89 Bodl. Lib., Clar. Mss. 45, f. 192: 28 Mar. 1653, Hyde to Rochester.

90 CCSP, vol. 2, p. 162: 21 Dec. 1652, Rochester's commission as envoy to the German princes and Diet; ibidem, vol. 2, p. 163: 21 Dec. 1652, Rochester to Ferdinand III; ibidem, p. 166: [Dec.] 1652, Instructions for Rochester.

91 CCSP, vol.2, p.158:30 Nov. 1652, Hyde to Taylor; ibidem, p.164:24 Dec. 1652, Charles II to same; ibidem, p. 169: 4 Jan. 1653, Hyde to same; ibidem, p. 174: 7 Feb. 1653, same to same.

92 CCSP, vol. 2, p. 341: 24 Apr. 1654, Hyde to Richard Clement (alias of Hyde's correspondent at Rome); ibidem, p. 349: 5 May 1654, Official notification for Rochester; ibidem, p. 354: 18 May 1654, Ferdinand III to Rochester.

93 Thurloe, John, A Collection of the State Papers of John Thurloe … Containing Authentic Memorials of the English Affairs from the Year 1638 to the Restoration of King Charles II, ed. Birch, Thomas (London: Printed for the Executor of F. Gyles, 1742), vol.2, p. 469: 28 July 1654, Henderson to Richard Bradshaw, English resident at Hamburg; CCSP, vol. 2, p. 441: [1654], Papers relating to the German Diet. These agents—Rochester, Colonel William Gunn, Sir Henry de Vic, William Curtius, and Taylor—were each assigned a collection quota in particular circles.

94 CCSP, vol. 2, p. 381: 8 July 1654, Hyde to Taylor. Neither the Emperor nor even princes such as the Elector Palatine or the Landgrave of Hesse-Kassel paid their share. Unfortunately for Charles, the sum he received amounted to less than £10,000, and most of this was expended on Rochester's mission (CSP, vol. 2, pp. 349–50).

95 Hyde also pointed out that if Charles undertook negotiations with Rome they would have to be conducted secretly, and certainly not by a known English agent like Taylor (CCSP, vol. 2, p. 381: 8 July 1654, Hyde to Taylor).

96 BL, Add. Mss. 18827, f.15:16 Dec. 1654, Taylor to Prince Rupert.

97 In October or more likely November (Thurloe, vol. 4, p. 103: 2 Nov. 1655, [H. Manning] to [Thurloe]; ibidem, p. 169: 17 Nov. 1655, same to same). Hyde sent Prince Rupert to negotiate with the Emperor in Taylor's place, and Francis Taylor continued to correspond with the English court-in-exile (Thurloe, vol. 4, p.169:17 Nov.1655, [Manning] to [Thurloe]; BL, Egerton 2536, f.80:12 Apr. 1656, Francis Taylor to Nicholas).

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John Taylor (1597–1655), English Catholic Gentleman and Caroline Diplomat

  • Thea Lindquist


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