Miscellaneous literary and historical manuscripts apparently from the collection of the first or second Lord Melville

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 206 Brotherton Collection MS Misc. Letters 1 Melville 2
  • Dates of Creation
      ca. 1789-1805
  • Name of Creator
  • Language of Material
  • Physical Description
      Some 77 folios of manuscript material held in seven envelopes and one bound volume.  The material was formerly bound into 7 volumes, 2 containing also full or partial transcripts of the material included in their particular volumes, which are now shelved in a separate author/alphabetical sequence following the main sequence of Miscellaneous Letters.

Scope and Content

Comprises: (1) Alexander Peat, A.M.: 'The Briton, addressed principally to the people of Scotland', 74 pp.; with an autograph letter from the author, dated 28 September 1793; (2) Miscellaneous notes on the state of Europe. 2 ff. conjoined; (3) Epitaph on the Duke of Hamilton, with a criticism upon it. Incipit: 'Here lies reposed beneath this sculptur'd stone'. 6 ff. conjoined in 3 pairs; (4) Verses sacred to the memory of the honourable Mr James Drummond of Perth, Madderty, 19 August 1799. Incipit: 'Hark! How the sounds of woe deep murm'ring rise!' Together with verses from Miss Campbell of Monrie on the same occasion. Incipit: 'Go gentle spirit now supremely blest'. 2 ff.; (5) A few thoughts on the VIIth ch. of Daniel, December 1798. 4 ff. conjoined in 2 pairs; (6) An epistle in verse from Sir Colin Claymore in Edinburgh to his friend Sir Francis Ferrara in Mull, with annotations, Edinburgh, 1 February 1793. 16 ff.; (7) Miscellanea, comprising five poems, as follows: (i) Verses on the death of Lieut. Colonel Smollet, 2 ff. conjoined; (ii) Bridal serenade: a poem, 2 ff. conjoined; (iii) Verses on the Duke of Buccleuch's birthday, 13 September 1798, by a Volunteer, 2 ff. conjoined; (iv) Verses to the memory of Thomas Elder, Esqe., by A.T.T., Edinburgh, 13 June 1799, 2 ff. conjoined; (v) Verses on Lord Nelson, by Sir Grey Cooper, 1 f. The original manuscript of (1) above is retained in its bound volume, apart from the autograph letter. The text of (5) above is transcribed in its bound volume, as is that of (7)(i).

Administrative / Biographical History

Henry Dundas, the first Viscount Melville (1742-1811), statesman, was the father of Robert Saunders Dundas, the second Viscount Melville (1771-1851), also a statesman. Henry Dundas was educated at Edinburgh High School and University, before becoming solicitor-general for Scotland in 1766. He was M.P. for Midlothian 1774-1790, except for a few months in 1782, when he sat for Newtown, Isle of Wight. He was lord advocate 1775-1783, lord rector of Glasgow University 1781-1783, privy councillor, and treasurer of the navy 1782-1800. In 1788 he became chancellor of St Andrews and between 1790 and 1802 was M.P. for Edinburgh, during which time he was home secretary 1791-1794, president of the board of control 1793-1801, and secretary for war 1794-1801. He planned and carried out the Egyptian campaign of 1801 against the opinion of Pitt and the king. He was created Viscount Melville of Melville and Baron Dunira in 1802, and was first lord of the admiralty 1804-1805. After a period of impeachment, he was restored to the privy council in 1807. Robert Saunders Dundas was M.P. for Hastings in 1794, for Rye in 1796, and for Midlothian in 1801. He became keeper of the signet for Scotland in 1800, a privy councillor in 1807, president of the board of control in 1807 and 1809, Irish secretary in 1809, first lord of the admiralty 1812-1827, and chancellor of St Andrews University in 1814. He was knighted in 1821. Melville Sound was so named in recognition of his interest in Arctic exploration.

Access Information

Access is unrestricted.

Acquisition Information

From the library of Lord Brotherton.


In English.

Custodial History

The manuscripts in question derive from the same collection of Melville papers as the 'Collection of autograph letters, notes, and related material, mainly sent to the first and second Lords Melville', separately catalogued. Their connection with one or other of the Lords Melville is unclear.