Date range: 1786–1847
Number of items:
The Melville Papers, which were acquired by the John Rylands Library from various sources in the 1930s, comprise correspondence and papers of Henry Dundas (1742–1811), 1st Viscount Melville, and his son Robert Saunders Dundas (1771–1851), 2nd Viscount.
Henry was an ally of William Pitt the younger, and the two men formed a government in 1784. The India Act of that year owed a great deal to Dundas; his loyalty to Pitt was rewarded in 1791 with the Home Secretaryship. He served as Secretary of State for War from July 1794 until the government fell in 1801. Created Viscount Melville in 1802, he returned to government as First Lord of the Admiralty in 1804 and set about strengthening the Navy against the French threat. His son was president of the Board of Control for India, before serving as First Lord of the Admiralty, 1812–27.
The papers mainly concern India and the East India Company, Indian administration, finance, commerce and army matters. In addition to extensive general correspondence, there are calendars of documents and correspondence, lists of applications and appointments to offices, papers relating to the tea trade, and papers concerning the mutiny of officers in the Madras army in 1809.
Catalogue available online via ELGAR (English MSS 523 670-699, 926-927).