Richard Bourke, 6th Earl of Mayo: Papers

Scope and Content

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.

Government Organisation

Business of the Viceroy's Council, control of central and provincial governments, and the appointment and conduct of central and local government officials.

Home Affairs

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.

Internal Security

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.

Viceroy's Tours

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.

Government House

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 Assassination

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.

Letter Books

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.

Administrative / Biographical History

Richard Southwell Bourke (1822-1872), 6th Earl of Mayo, was Viceroy and Governor-General of India from 1869 until his assassination in 1872.


The collection is arranged in two different ways: (1) bundles of loose documents organised according to subject, mixing correspondence and other papers, and grouped as far as possible according to the department of government principally concerned, and (2) bundles and bound volumes of correspondence organised by author, occasionally with other appended papers.

Access Information

Open for consultation by holders of a Reader's Ticket valid for the Manuscripts Reading Room.

Acquisition Information

Transferred from the National Library of Ireland, 1953-1954.


Description compiled by Robert Steiner, Department of Manuscripts and University Archives.

Other Finding Aids

Additional Manuscripts Catalogue. A full catalogue is available in the Manuscripts Reading Room.

Alternative Form Available

Part of the collection is available on microfilm.

Related Material

(1) Cambridge University Library, Department of Manuscripts

Letters from Mayo can be found in the Duke of Cambridge Papers, MS.Add.8782, and the Duke of Marlborough Papers.

(2) India Office Collection

Burne Collection, MSS Eur D 951

Owen Tudor Burne was Mayo's private secretary. This collection covers the whole of Burne's working life, and includes material relating to Mayo's administration. There are a few letters to Mayo himself, from Indian rulers, Lord Lawrence and Sir Stafford Northcote; also some official letters written by Burne on Mayo's behalf, and letters to Burne from Charles Aitchison and John Strachey. There are some memoranda from Mayo's administration, as was as reflections on and eye-witness accounts of his assassination.

Argyll Collection, B 380

The Duke of Argyll was Secretary of State for India during Mayo's viceroyalty. This collection consists of 5 substantial letter-books from the years 1869-1870 containing letters received from Mayo. It contains the complete set of enclosures to Mayo's letters, consisting of copies of letters, memoranda, and sometimes maps and plans of buildings.

(3) The National Library of Ireland

The National Library holds a large collection of personal and political material relating to Mayo's life and work in Ireland and England.