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'A Collection of Letters and other Papers'

 Single Item
MS. e Mus. 203
Held at the Weston Library

  • Request

'A Collection of Letters and other Papers, which were at severall times intercepted, written in cipher. Deciphered by John Wallis, Professor of Geometry in the University of Oxford': then added 'Given to the Publike Library there, Anno Domini 1653'. These are fifty-two Royalist letters, 1640-53, deciphered and usually with the cipher attached as well as a copy of the original letter. One of the letters is from the king (p. 34, from Newcastle, 1646), and one from prince Charles (p. 70, from st. Germain's, July 1, 1648).

It is only a partial collection, and Wallis, who was no politician, was subsequently able to prove to Royalist friends that he had not by his deciphering discovered much of importance to the Parliamentarians. The preface which he here prefixes to the letters (which has been printed in John Davys An essay on the art of Decyphering, London, 1737, 4°), avoids all political references.


  • Creation: Written in A.D. 1653 by J. Wallis


262 pages

Language of Materials

  • English
  • French

Preferred Citation

Oxford, Bodleian Libraries [followed by shelfmark and folio or page reference, e.g. MS. e Mus. 203, fols. 1-2]

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MS. e Mus. 203

Collection ID (for staff)

CMD ID 18199


'A Collection of Letters and other Papers'

Biographical / Historical

John Wallis (1616-1703), was a mathematician and Professor of Geometry at the University of Oxford.

Other Finding Aids

Falconer Madan, et al., A summary catalogue of western manuscripts in the Bodleian Library at Oxford which have not hitherto been catalogued in the Quarto series (7 vols. in 8 [vol. II in 2 parts], Oxford, 1895-1953; reprinted, with corrections in vols. I and VII, Munich, 1980), vol. II, no. 3524

Custodial History

Manuscript acquired by the Bodleian Library (34)

Immediate Source of Acquisition

'Given to the Publike Library there, Anno Domini 1653.'

Related Materials

See W. D. Macray's Annals of the Bodleian, 2nd ed. (1890), p. 109. A somewhat similar volume for 1651-1701 is now Brit. Mus. MS. Add. 32499. The more important letters in the Bodleian volume have been printed.

Physical Facet

On paper, binding, dark green morocco with gold ornament, London work of 1653


7 3/4 × 5 7/8 in.

'A Collection of Letters and other Papers'
EAD version 2020 by Alice Whichelow
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Bodleian Libraries Repository

Weston Library
Broad Street
Oxford OX1 3BG United Kingdom