BW - Papers of Blanco White - 1808-1906

The Blanco White Papers contain correspondence, manuscripts, notebooks and pamphlets relating to the life and works of the Reverend Joseph Blanco White.

Main Creator: White, Joseph
Other Creators: Fox, Henry Richard Vassall, Fox, Henry Edward, Thom, John, Martineau, James
Archive level description: Fonds
Physical Description:15 boxes and 108 volumes
Summary:The Blanco White Papers contain correspondence, manuscripts, notebooks and pamphlets relating to the life and works of the Reverend Joseph Blanco White.
Reference Number:BW

The collection has been arranged into seven sections:

  • BWI Correspondence
  • BWII El EspaÑol
  • BWIII Manuscripts in the hand of Joseph Blanco White
  • BWIV Other Manuscripts
  • BWV Notebooks
  • BWVI Printed Pamphlets and Ephemera
  • BWVII - BWX Printed works and portraits
Bibliography:[Book] Martin Murphy, Blanco White Self-banished Spaniard, Yale Univerity Press, 1989, lists other sources which contain material on Blanco White.
Biographical/Administrative Information:

Joseph Blanco White was a Spanish theologian, priest, poet, journalist and literary critic. He was born Jose Maria Blanco Y Crespo in Seville on 11 July 1775. At the age of twelve Blanco White expressed his desire to become a clergyman. His decision was prompted by his lack of desire to continue working in the family firm. Up until this time he had worked regularly at the offices of his father's export business. He was elected to a fellowship at the College of S. Maria a Jesu and then to the Dominician College of San Tomas where he studied Philosophy. It was at the Dominician College of San Tomas that he obtained the 'four minor orders' of the priesthood. In October 1790 he attended the University of Seville. Whilst at University he formed a friendship with a senior student of literary tastes and started the Seville Literary Society. Having taken his subdeacon's orders in 1796, Blanco was elected a Fellow of the College of S. Maria a Jesu. At Christmas 1800 Blanco was ordained a priest and began performing public exercises in the cathedral of Cadiz. In 1802 he was appointed to a chaplaincy in Seville. During the Spanish Inquisition Blanco resided in Madrid for a time. He returned to Seville when the French entered Spain. On his return to Seville he was appointed co-editor of Semanario Patriotico, a journal established by the central junta. The paper was suppressed as Blanco White's political philosophy was not approved of. When the advance of the French forced the junta to leave Seville, Blanco White resolved to escape the country and fled with a group of friends to Cadiz. From there he sailed to England reaching Falmouth on 3 March 1810.

He was received kindly in London by a few English men he had met in Spain, including Lord Holland. Shortly after arriving in England Blanco White conducted the periodical El EspaÑol . The periodical was circulated in Spain in defence of the national cause. In 1815 he became tutor to Lord Holland's son Henry Fox, and resided in Holland House. In 1817 he lived for a time with his friend James Christie. In 1822 Letters from Spain was published, becoming an instant success. It had first been published in The New Monthly magazine. This journal went on to publish a number of Blanco's articles which introduced the English literary public to medieval Spanish history and literature. In 1823 he became editor of Variedades o Mensagaro de Londres which was intended for readers in Spanish America. In 1825 he dismayed his friends by opposing Catholic Emancipation in the publication Practical and Internal Evidence against Catholicism. The publication did meet with some approval and Blanco was persuaded to publish a version for the working classes. He quickly became a champion for Protestantism. Oxford in particular was delighted by what they saw as a blow for the church establishment and on the initiative of the Provost of Oriel College, Blanco was awarded an honorary MA from the University. That year he took up residence as a senior member of Oriel College.

At Oxford he was welcomed by the men who would soon afterwards be leaders of the Oxford Movement. Two of these men Richard Whately and Nassau Senior were interested in a new quarterly The London Review, which was started in 1828 . Blanco White was appointed Editor. However in 1829 Blanco publicly supported the re-election of Robert Peel. In doing so he was reversing his earlier position on Catholic Emancipation. In 1832 Whatley became the new Archbishop of Dublin and asked Blanco to accompany him as a tutor for his son. Whilst in Dublin he wrote and published Second Travels of an Irish Gentleman in Search of a Religion . In 1835 he left Dublin for Liverpool. In Liverpool he began attending the unitarian services of Dr. Martineau and his biographer John Hamilton Thom. Blanco White died in Liverpool on 20 May 1841.