Collection of autograph letters, notes, and related material, mainly sent to the first and second Lords Melville

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 206 Brotherton Collection MS Misc. Letters 1 Melville 1
  • Dates of Creation
  • Name of Creator
  • Language of Material
  • Physical Description
      107 letters held in 2 boxes, manuscript, some of them with associated printed material. The material was formerly bound into 52 volumes, 15 containing also transcripts of the letters 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 autograph letters from upwards of 52 main correspondents to one or other of the Viscounts Melville between 1755 and 1848 with some additional letters to or from different correspondents included, and 1 volume entirely devoted to typescript transcripts of some, but not all, of the manuscript material.

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.

Other Finding Aids

The letters are listed in the Letters database