Henry Wotton

Date 1568 - 1639
Biographical NotesDiplomat and writer. Educated at Oxford in New College then Queen's. Friendships with Francis Bacon, John Donne and John Milton. From 1589 he travelled in Europe for five years as a student and tourist. Wotton studied law in Heidelberg for six months. He lodged with Dr. Hugo Blotius in Vienna, before visiting Italy. He also lodged for a year in Geneva with eminent scholar Isaac Casaubon. In 1594 Wotton became secretary to Earl of Essex, and corresponded with the latter's extensive information network across Europe.

Following his return from Essex's disastrous Irish expedition (in which he was one of the negotiators with the earl of Tyrone) Wotton prudently left Essex's service and went on a second tour of the continent. He visited Paris and Florence where he agreed to go on a secret mission from Ferdinand I, grand duke of Tuscany, to James IV of Scotland. Wotton was knighted in 1604. He was made ambassador to Venice in 1604, Savoy in 1612, and the Hague in 1614. He was also sent on embassies to Venice in 1616 and 1621. Wotton was made Provost of Eton College in 1624. He left behind more than 500 extant letters which chronicle his travels and diplomatic activities. See ODNB.
Work(s)Author of To Master - (1651) in Reliquiae Wottonianae, or, A Collection of Lives, Letters, Poems with Characters of Sundry Personages: and other Incomparable Pieces of Language and Art by the Curious Pencil of the Ever Memorable Sr. Henry Wotton Late Provost of Eton College