Papers of William Waldegrave Palmer, 2nd Earl of Selborne

Scope and Content

Proofs of the first draft of The Selborne memorandum, areview of the present mutual relations of the British South Africancolonies by Palmer. Proofs prepared by L.G. Curtis, 1906.

Administrative / Biographical History

William Waldegrave Palmer, 2nd Earl of Selborne (1859-1942), PC (1900), GCMG (1905), KG (1909) graduated fromUniversity College, Oxford, 1881 and was Liberal, then Liberal UnionistMP for Petersfield, 1885, 1886-1892, and West Edinburgh, 1892-1895. He served asUnder-Secretary of State for the Colonies, 1895-1900 and First Lord of theAdmiralty, 1900-1905, during which period he established Osborne, Dartmouthand Royal Naval War Colleges, introduced the common entry system, fleet reserves,modern equipment, and approved Dreadnoughtdesign. He was High Commissioner for South Africa, 1905-1910, achieving SouthAfrican Union in 1909. He served as President, Board of Agriculture, 1915-1916,unsuccesfully advocating guaranteed minimum prices, and as Chairman of theAgricultural Policy Subcommittee, 1917 and the Joint Parliamentary Committeeon Government of India Bill, 1919. He was an advocate of reform of the Houseof Lords, a leading ecclesiastical statesman and chairman of the House ofLaity, 1924-1942.

Access Information

Bodleian reader's ticket required.


The final printed version of the memorandum was first published in a Cape blue-book and presented in the Cape Parliament, and was subsequently republished by the Colonial Office in July 1907.

Collection level description created by Paul Davidson, Bodleian Library of Commonwealth and African Studies at Rhodes House.

Other Finding Aids

The library holds a card index of all manuscript collections in its reading room.

Conditions Governing Use

No reproduction or publication of personal papers without permission. Contact the library in the first instance.