Collection of papers and manuscripts relating to British Colonial India, 1737-1947

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This assembled collection of 47 documents, largely manuscript letters, covers nearly the entire span of British rule in India and is arranged in rough chronological order. The collection includes governmental reports, personal correspondence, and a printed map. Most of the documents are quite short though there are a few longer pieces and collections including a plan for opium sales, a series of reports on Indo-American trade, and a long letter on army discipline prior to the Vellore Revolution.
0.5 Linear Feet
47 Items
Material in English
Collection ID:


Scope and content:

Miscellaneous items relating to the history of India, especially during the period of British rule, including a manuscript (12 pp.), 1798, by John Baird discussing a plan for increasing the opium trade in India; letters, 1799-1800, from Sir James Henry Craig, commander of a British division in Bengal, concerning the military situation in India; letters, 1801-1802, from John Chamier, chief secretary to the Madras government, pertaining to his desire for a seat on the Madras Council and future reforms; manuscripts, 1796-1805, discussing various aspects of the import and export trade between India and America, recording statistics and noting products involved; a map, 1820, of portions of Nagpur and Rewa provinces; and a letter, 1849, from Tomas Boaz requesting funds for a college to train Indian clergymen.

Other materials include a list, 1849, of goods purchased from Boston, Mass., merchants; letter, 1866, from Henry R. E. Wellesley, Madras 1st Light Cavalry, describing his duties and the climate in India, hunting trips, British politics, and the Sepoy army; letter, 1867, from Francis Napier, Tenth Baron Napier, governor of Madras, concerning the structure of the Indian government and his desire for a strong central government; letter, 1879, from General Frederick Sleigh Roberts, First Earl Roberts, discussing parts of his campaign in Afghanistan; letter, 1880, from Sir William Milbourne James criticizing British military ventures into Afghanistan; and a letter, 1882, from General Frederick Sleigh Roberts objecting to British policy of abandoning Kandahar and expressing fear of a Russian advance.

Additional items include a letter, 1883, from John Wodehouse, First Earl of Kimberley, secretary of state for India, concerning the Rajputana railway and the Egyptian telegraph; letters, 1886, from Sir Herbert Hope Risley discussing his work on a census glossary and on marriage customs in Bengal; letter, 1893, from Sir Henry Mortimer Durand, foreign secretary in India, discussing his book, Helen Trevelyan; letter, 1902, from Sir Evelyn Baring, First Earl of Cromer, pertaining to plans for the Indian railway; letter, 1915, from Sir Stephen George Sale reviewing the legal basis for viceroyalty in India; letter, 1930, from Sir William Malcolm Hailey criticizing English newspapers for using India as an issue against the Labour Party and discussing the Indian Congress Party; and a letter, 1947, of West Bengal, discussing some of the changes in India since Independence.

Acquisition information:

The Collection of papers and manuscripts relating to British Colonial India were received by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book Manuscript Library as purchases from 1961 to 1983.

Collection was formerly titled "India Papers." The library updated the title in 2022 in an attempt to better reflect the collection's contents.

Processing information:

Processed by Rubenstein Library Staff and Mitch Fraas

Encoded by Noah Huffman, December 2010

Accessions 61-297, 61-301, 61-418, 61-452, 63-38, 63-39, 65-146, 71-317, and 1983 Mar. 31 were merged into one collection, described in this finding aid.

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Collection is open for research.

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The copyright interests in this collection have not been transferred to Duke University. For more information, consult the copyright section of the Regulations and Procedures of the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library.

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Preferred citation:

[Identification of item], Collection of papers and manuscripts relating to British Colonial India, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University