Melville, General Robert

Scope and Content

Letters written by Robert George Bruce, engineer in charge of fortifying Dominica, to General Robert Melville, responsible as Governor of the Ceded Islands for the defence of the island. The letters are endorsed in Melville's hand. The letters refer to battlements, the purchasing of estates, and potential granting of official appointments.

Administrative / Biographical History

Melville was born in Scotland, 1723 and educated at Glasgow and Edinburgh universities. In 1744 he became an ensign in the Edinburgh Regiment where he steadily rose through the ranks and in 1751 obtained his own company in the regiment. In 1760, on the death of his current commander he was appointed Governor of Guadeloupe and from there in 1760 appointed Governor to the Ceded Islands (Grenada, the Grenadines, Dominica. St Vincent and Tobago). His interests as an antiquary motivated him to study numerous locations for historical military purposes and he was also as member of the Society of Arts. When he died, in 1809, he was the oldest General in the British Army.

Access Information

Access to the items in the collection is unrestricted for the purpose of private study and personal research within the controlled environment and restrictions of the Library's Palaeography Room. Uncatalogued material may not be seen. Please contact the University Archivist for details.

Acquisition Information

Bought at Sotheby's in 1978.

Other Finding Aids

Collection level description.

Archivist's Note

Separated Material

The National Library of Scotland holds correspondence, 1786-1800 (Ref: MS 9846); the National Archives of Scotland contain journals, correspondence and papers, 1760-1823 (Ref: GD126); Edinburgh University Library holds letters to M de Valmont, [1760] (Ref: Gen 863/2); the Royal Society of Arts has letters to the Society relating to the botanical gardens in St Vincent, 1797-1802; the British Library, London, contains correspondence with the 1st Earl of Liverpool, 1763-1782 (Ref: Add MSS 38201-210, 38304-309).

Conditions Governing Use

Copies may be made, subject to the condition of the original. Copying must be undertaken by the Palaeography Room staff, who will need a minimum of 24 hours to process requests.