Joseph Williamson 1633 - 1701

Secretary of State
English; British
born in:
Bridekirk, Cumbria, England, United Kingdom

1648 - admitted to Westminster School, London. 1650 - entered Queen's College, Oxford, as a ‘battellor’ or ‘servitor’ to the provost. 1654 - graduated BA. 1655-1658 - served in France as a tutor to some young men of quality including Richard Lowther and one of the marquess of Ormond's sons. 1657 - graduated MA by diploma. 1658 - returned to Oxford to take up a fellowship at Queen's College and an academic career. 1660 - following the Restoration, King Charles II sent the master and fellows of Queen's College, a special request for dispensation and to grant him leave from the college. He left for Whitehall to take up the post of under-secretary to the secretary of state for the south. 1661 - appointed keeper of the king's library at Whitehall and of the state paper office. 1665 - appointed commissioner for lotteries. 1663 - made a fellow of the Royal Society. 1666 - was instrumental in the establishment of the Oxford Gazette (later the London Gazette) by which government information could be disseminated to the general public yet still be controlled by the government. 1669 - was elected MP for Thetford after several failed attempts to enter parliament. 1672 - received the post of clerk of the privy council and was knighted. 1673 - was one of the plenipotentiaries at the mediation of Sweden, during the thrid Dutch-Anglo War. 1674 - pormoted to secretary of state. 1677 - made master of the Clothworkers' Company and president of the Royal Society. 1679 - replaced as secretary of state by the Earl of Sunderland.