Letters of Sir James St.Clair Erskine, 2nd Earl of Rosslyn (1762-1837)

Scope and Content

The correspondence is composed of: letters about a recruiting sergeant, 1815, and about the House of Lords, 1815, 1836; letter to Sir H. Torrens, about the application of Cornet M. N. Grant to be taken back on full pay, 1819; letter to Conway about taxes liable from (possibly) Lord Loughborough (his son and latterly the 3rd Earl of Rosslyn), 1834; franked postal cover addressed to Miss Thompson, 1836; and, letter to J. Wills about shares in the General Horticultural Company, 1880.

Administrative / Biographical History

Sir James St.Clair Erskine was born in 1762. He was educated at Edinburgh Academy before entering the army. In 1782 he was appointed Aide-de-Camp to the Viceroy of Ireland, and the same year he was elected as MP for Castle Rising, and then for Morpeth in 1784. In 1796 he was elected MP for Kirkcaldy burghs. In politics he was involved in the management of the impeachment of Warren Hastings and he also voted against Pitt. In the army he saw service not only in Ireland but also in the Mediterranean, the Iberian Peninsula, Denmark, and in the Walcheren. During Wellington's administration, Rosslyn was Lord Privy Seal and a member of the Privy Council. He was Lord President of the Council. The Earl had been a general officer, Colonel of the 9th Regiment of Dragoons, and a Knight Grand Cross of the Bath. Sir James St.Clair Erskine, 2nd Earl of Rosslyn, died on 18 January 1837 at Dysart House, Fife.

Access Information

Generally open for consultation to bona fide researchers, but please contact repository for details in advance.


The biographical/administrative history was compiled using the following material: (1) Stephen Leslie. and Lee, Sidney (eds.). Dictionary of national biography. Vol. 6. Drant-Finan. London: Smith, Elder and Co., 1908. (2) Burke, Sir Bernard. Burke, Asworth P. (eds.) A genealogical and heraldic history of the peerage and baronetage, the Privy Council, and knightage. 87th ed. p.2014. London: Burke's Peerage Ltd., 1929.

Compiled by Graeme D Eddie, Edinburgh University Library, Special Collections Division.

Other Finding Aids

Important finding aids generally are: the alphabetical Index to Manuscripts held at Edinburgh University Library, Special Collections and Archives, consisting of typed slips in sheaf binders and to which additions were made until 1987; and the Index to Accessions Since 1987.


Check the local Indexes for details of any additions.

Related Material

The local Indexes show various references to Sir James St.Clair Erskine related material in the Laing Collection and elsewhere (check the Indexes for more details): letters to Colonel Dirom, referring to military arrangements in Musselburgh, 1803, at La.II.128; and, letter from Lord Lynedoch summarised in a letter-book, 1830, at Gen.721D, f.31.

The UK National Register of Archives (NRA), updated by the Historical Manuscripts Commission, notes several locations of Sir James St.Clair Erskine related material.