Papers and Correspondence of James Dalyell

Scope and Content

Miscellaneous papers and correspondence, mainly relating to James Dalyell's career in the Royal Navy and in HM Coast Guard Service 1814-1860; notebook containing copies of letters to his father, Sir James Dalyell 1823-1833; copy correspondence to his father, Sir James Dalyell 1833-1837; copy correspondence to his father c.1836-1840; correspondence, mainly copies, with Robert [later General] Dalyell (third brother of Sir James Dalyell), 1819-1825; correspondence with his uncle, Colonel Robert Dalyell, 1841-1848; correspondence with his uncle, William Cunningham Cavendish Dalyell (youngest brother of Sir James and later 7th Bart of the Binns); miscellaneous correspondence of James Dalyell, with some correspondence of John James Dalyell 1832-1870; miscellaneous letters and documents, mainly relating to the career and financial affairs of James Dalyell; miscellaneous papers and correspondence of James Dalyell and John James Dalyell 1826-1883; notebooks and loose notes containing diaries of travels by James Dalyell in southern France during the summers of 1828 and 1832-1834;certificates, 1814-1857; literary essays and poems; commissions, 1862-1870; miscellaneous items, 1831-1881; newspaper cuttings, 1853-1927; receipts and accounts relating to the trust fund of David Guillan, 1854-1867; Miscellaneous receipts and accounts, 1717-1866; family trees and other papers relating to the Morgan and Crammond families, 1724-1970; prints of Egypt.

Administrative / Biographical History

James Dalyell, born in Edinburgh on 24 July 1798, was the illegitimate son of Sir James Dalyell, 5th Bart of the Binns, Linlithgow. He entered the Royal Navy in 1814 as a Volunteer and was stationed at St. Helena at the time of the death there of Napoleon Bonaparte in 1821. On qualifying as a ship's mate Dalyell served in the West Indies and was promoted to Lieutenant in 1826 on board the 'Tweed'. In 1827 he left the Navy and was placed on the half pay list. He went to live in France, and while there made strenuous attempts to secure a commission and promotion for himself mainly by seeking the assistance of his father. In France he made contact with his half-brother, Francis Aubert, but was repulsed by his mother. Dalyell undertook a series of extensive walking tours in France, with the aim of including descriptions of his experiences in a traveller's guide to France. In about 1835 he fathered a child, John James Dalyell, and married the mother, Marie Anne. Discouraged by his father from returning to Britain, Dalyell stayed on in France, mainly at Tarbes, until 1838. From 1838-1841 he served in the Coast Guard Service, mainly at Jury's Gap and Buckie.

In 1841 he was re-commissioned in the Royal Navy as 1st Lieutenant aboard 'HMS Champion', stationed in the Pacific and off the NW coast of Mexico. In 1845 he left the Navy and rejoined the Coast Guard Service, serving at Burnmouth, Berwick, Stonehaven, Carnoustie and Buckie. From 1841 Dalyell conducted long correspondences with his uncles, Colonel (later General) Robert Dalyell, and Captain William Cunningham Cavendish Dalyell R.N., Governor of the Royal Hospital, Greenwich. It was not until 1859 that James Dalyell was granted a pension by the Coast Guard Service and enabled to retire under the designation of Commander. He lived at West Point House, Carnoustie, with his wife and son up to his death on 18 September 1869.


Records are arranged chronologically within series.

Access Information

Open for consultation subject to preservation requirements. Access must also conform to the restrictions of the Data Protection Act and any other appropriate legislation.

Acquisition Information

Details of the original accession are unknown. Further records were deposited by Mrs Thornton in 1990 (AccM/268).

Other Finding Aids

Descriptive list. Subject source lists and databases are also available.

Alternative Form Available

No known copies.

Conditions Governing Use

Reproduction is available subject to preservation requirements. Charges are made for this service, and copyright and other restrictions may apply.


None expected.

Related Material

MS 17/10 Correspondence and Papers of John James Dalyell

Geographical Names