The collection consists mainly of official papers from the last phase of Mayo's political career. The papers cover most aspects of policy-making and execution: military, diplomatic and security matters, economic policy, transport and communications, agriculture, famine relief and health, the visit of the Duke of Edinburgh to India during 1869 and 1870, and Mayo's assassination. Some papers also provide insights into the working relationships amongst officials and amongst members of the Viceroy's Council. There is a small amount of personal correspondence relating to Mayo's private and social life in India, to Irish and British affairs, and to his relationships with individuals in Ireland and Britain.
Mayo's own work is represented by letters, memoranda, annotations to correspondence and papers, and notes to colleagues in the Government of India. Other principal figures in the central, provincial and native governments are also represented by a considerable quantity of correspondence, memoranda and notes. Many printed papers and published works by government officials and private individuals are included, as well as some items in Indian languages, most of which are illuminated formal addresses.
Business of the Viceroy's Council, control of central and provincial governments, and the appointment and conduct of central and local government officials.
Banking, the registration of births and deaths, prisons and education, and the administration of local taxes by provincial governments.
The formation of the Department of Agriculture, the improvement of agricultural production, the state of trade, and famine relief.
Public Works and Communications
Works finance, railway and canal building, Indian railway companies, and the construction and management of telegraph lines.
The budgetary crisis of 1869, expenditure cuts, income tax and duties on goods, local taxation, and revisions to the budgetary system.
Presidency armies, the British Army in India, the armies of native states, expenditure cuts and military re-organsation, and the health and accommodation of the troops.
Threats to the government and the European population, religious dissidence, and conflicts between religious groups.
Foreign and Native States
Diplomatic relations with foreign states, especially Afghanistan, intelligence gathering, north-west frontier security, and Imperial relations with native Indian states.
Miscellaneous Official and Social
Mayo's official and social engagements, patronage, and the death of Sir Henry Durand. There is also some material concerning regular government business, the policy toward Burma, and the murder of the heirs to estates in Bengal.
Travel arrangements, accommodation, and receptions connected with official and sporting tours made by Mayo.
Visit of the Duke of Edinburgh to India
Security during the visit, itinerary, celebrations and ceremonies, protocol questions, and the presentation and receipt of gifts.
Relations with Indian Princes, etc.
Correspondence with the rulers of native states and other high ranking Indians.
The decoration and maintenance of Government House, Calcutta, and its grounds.
Personal Finance and Irish Affairs
Mayo's family business, property and acquaintances in Ireland, opinions on Irish affairs, and patronage.
Mayo's death in the Andaman Islands, the disposal of the body, condolences, and Lady Mayo's return to Britain.
Letters to Mayo relating to all aspects of government, and to Mayo's personal affairs.
Drafts or copies of Mayo's outgoing letters concerning personal and official business.
Letters from the Secretary of State
Originals of private correspondence between the Duke of Argyll and Mayo.