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National Library of Wales
Thomas, T. W., Dr, manuscripts

Reference code(s): GB 0210 MSTWTHOM

Held at: National Library of Wales

Title: Dr T. W. Thomas Manuscripts

Short Title: Thomas, T. W., Dr, manuscripts

Creation date(s): [1769x1900]

Level of description: Fonds

Extent: 8 volumes

Name of creator(s): David Williams; and others.


Administrative/Biographical history: David Williams, writer and political pamphleteer, was born in the parish of Eglwysilan and received his early education at a local school run by his namesake, David Williams, Independent minister (1709-1784). From 1753 to 1757 Williams attended Carmarthen Academy, where he absorbed a number of unorthodox ideas. He served as Nonconformist minister at Frome (1759-1761), Exeter (1761-1769) and Highgate, Middlesex (1769-1773) but subsequently left the ministry because the salary was too deficient to maintain the lifestyle he desired. In 1773 Williams opened an expensive boarding school in Chelsea but gave up the project following the death of his wife in 1774. In that same year he had completed his Treatise on Education. With writer, natural philosopher and politician Benjamin Franklin, Williams formed the 'Thirteen Club', a gathering of deists for whom Williams wrote his Liturgy on the Universal Principles of Religion and Morality (London, 1776). Williams's political radicalism emerged in his publication Letters on Political Liberty (London, 1782), which promoted a programme of social reform aimed in defence of the American colonists. The book was translated into French and Williams subsequently became famous in France, where he spent some time extolling his social and political views. His greatest work in terms of volume was his History of Monmouthshire (London, 1796) and his most marked achievement probably the formation of the Royal Literary Fund in 1780, which aimed to support needy writers. Williams spent the last years of his life at the Fund's headquarters in Gerrard Square, Soho, and it was there that he died.


Scope and content/abstract: Papers, [1769x1860], mainly of the political writer David Williams (1738-1816) from the collection of Dr T. W. Thomas, Caerphilly. They comprise: correspondence, 1783-1818, mostly addressed to David Williams; material, 1769-1845, by or relating to David Williams, his niece Mary Watkins and his daughter Emilia; papers, 1780-1807, relating to the Royal Literary Fund, which was founded by David Williams; and a draft prospectus, 1800, of a projected daily newspaper titled 'The Imperial Gazette', one of the prospective partners being David Williams; together with material, [19 cent.], of Monmouthshire interest


Language/scripts of material: English.

System of arrangement: Arranged according to NLW MSS reference numbers: NLW MSS 10331-10338.

Conditions governing access:

Conditions governing reproduction:

Finding aids: Handlist of Manuscripts in the National Library of Wales, Volume III (Aberystwyth, 1961), pp. 213-215.


Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition: Presented by the family of T. W. Thomas, per Miss Enid Thomas, in 1934.



Note: Title based on contents. Formerly Dr T. W. Thomas MSS 1-8.

Archivist's note: Description compiled by Bethan Ifan for the retrospective conversion project of NLW MSS, and revised by Bethan Ifan. The following sources were used in the compilation of this description: Handlist of Manuscripts in the National Library of Wales, Volume III (Aberystwyth, 1961); Y Bywgraffiadur Cymreig hyd 1940 (Llundain, 1953); Oxford Dictionary of National Biography on-line.

Rules or conventions: Description follows ANW guidelines based on ISAD(G) second edition; AACR2; and LCSH.

Date(s) of descriptions: September 2008 & June 2011.

Thomas, T. W. | Archives
Williams, David | 1738-1816 | Archives

Personal names
Thomas , T. W.
Williams , David , 1738-1816

Corporate names


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