National Records of Scotland
Papers of the Dundas Family of Melville, Viscounts Melville (Melville Castle Papers)
Letters and papers on state and public affairs:-
GD51/1/1-194: Government, Parliament and politics, and constitutional matters, including applications for peerages and other marks of favour, 1778-1830.
GD51/1/195: Correspondence between Lord Melville and his son, Robert Dundas, 1801-1811.
GD51/1/196: Correspondence concerning electoral reform bill, 1775-1776.
GD51/1/197-198: Parliamentary elections: Scotland, including Peers' Elections, 1770-1879.
GD51/1/199-202: Parliamentary elections: England and Ireland,  - 1830.
GD51/1/203-216: Royal letters, 1793-1830.
GD51/216-320: General and local administration, 1761-1847. [See also GD51/16].
GD51/1/321-353: Irish affairs, 1791-1829.
GD51/1/354-474: Social, economic, commercial and revenue matters, 1752-1839.
GD51/1/475-591: Colonial and foreign affairs, 1782-1874. [See also GD51/2 and GD51/3].
GD51/1/592-767: Military and naval matters and operations, -1861. [See also GD51/2 and GD51/3].
GD51/1/768-805: Buonaparte's expedition to Egypt and the Egyptian campaign, 1798-1802.
GD51/1/806-817: Malta, 1798-1805.
GD51/1/818-1002: Militia, fencibles, volunteers and arrangements for local defence, 1778-1831.
GD51/1/1003-1034: Royal Midlothian Volunteer Cavalry, 1808-1825.
Letters and papers on Admiralty and naval affairs:-
GD51/2/1-747: Policy and departmental administration; projects and inventions; correspondence with officers on particular service (including foreign), 1782-1866.
GD51/2/748-937: Statistical and similar accounts and reports, and fleet dispositions, 1783-1861.
GD51/2/938-1023: Dockyards, barracks, and naval works and installations, 1788-1866.
GD51/2/1024-1049: Recruitment, 1788-1814.
GD51/2/1050-1054: Mutinies at the Nore, etc., 1795-1797.
GD51/2/1055-1080: Coastal defence, 1799-1858.
GD51/2/1081: Detention of Napoleon Bonaparte and his conveyance to St. Helena, 1815.
GD51/2/1082-1087: Correspondence with Admirals Nelson, Saumarez, Young, Hope, Fremantle and Malcolm, 1804-1830.
GD51/2/1088: Correspondence of Vice Admiral Sir Richard Saunders Dundas, son of 2nd Viscount Melville, 1824-1861.
GD51/2/1089: Correspondence of Robert Dundas, later 4th Viscount Melville, while successively Commissioner, Deputy Comptroller and Storekeeper General of the Navy, 1825-1867.
GD51/2/1090-1094: Patronage, appointments, promotions, pensions and miscellaneous applications, 1781-1844.
Documents relating to the East India Company, Board of Control, India and the East Indies, including Cape of Good Hope:-
GD51/3/1-2: Letters from Lord Mornington, later Marquis Wellesley, Governor General, to Henry Dundas, 1797-1805.
GD51/3/3: Letters from David Scott of Dunninald, sometime Chairman of the Company, to Henry Dundas, 1787-.
GD51/3/4-191: Administration, the Company's civil service, and Board of Control affairs, 1753-1860.
GD51/3/192-300: Finance, revenue, agriculture, commerce and shipping, 1784-1813.
GD51/3/301-498: Military and naval matters and operations, 1782-1872.
GD51/3/499-527: Matters relating to individual provinces, 1781-1830.
GD51/3/528-545: Relations with and policy towards other countries, 1796-1810.
GD51/3/546-616: Elections to the direction of the Company, ballots at East India House, 1786-1844.
GD51/3/617-675: Miscellaneous documents,  - 1818.
Patronage (East India Company): civil and military appointments and recommendations to the East Indies, including Cape of Good Hope, 1781-1830.
Letters and papers on Scottish affairs:-
GD51/5/1-166: Local affairs, including politics and local government, 1784-1940.
GD51/5/167-362: Social, economic, commercial and revenue matters, 1773-1843.
GD51/5/363-393: Customs and Excise and Revenue appointments, etc., including patronage, 1781-1826.
GD51/5/394-546: Law offices and legal affairs,  - 1842.
GD51/5/547-628: Communications, 1784-1849.
GD51/5/629-730: Churches, schools, universities and colleges, 1789-1847.
GD51/5/731-750: Miscellaneous documents, 1783-1825.
Military and Civil Patronage:-
GD51/6/1-767: Military, 1783-1860.
GD51/6/768-2380: Civil, 1780-1882.
Applications for pensions on the Scottish Civil List and for pecuniary relief, 1781-1882.
Letters on personal and family matters to:-
GD51/8/1: Robert Dundas, 2nd Viscount Melville, 1830-1851.
GD51/8/2: Lady Melville, wife of 2nd Viscount Melville, 1831-1841.
GD51/8/3: Ann Dundas, daughter of 2nd Viscount Melville, 1831-1848.
GD51/8/4: Jane Dundas, daughter of 2nd Viscount Melville, 1823-1857.
GD51/8/5: Richard Saunders Dundas, son of 2nd Viscount Melville, 1824-1858.
GD51/8/6: Henry Dundas, 3rd Viscount Melville, 1827-1871.
GD51/8/7: Robert Dundas, 4th Viscount Melville, 1811-1886.
GD51/8/8: Henry Dundas, 5th Viscount Melville, 1886-1889.
GD51/8/9: Charles Dundas, 6th Viscount Melville, Henry Dundas, 7th Viscount Melville, and Robert M. Dundas, 1907-1937.
Miscellaneous correspondence, mainly of topics of minor or personal interest (subscriptions to volumes, charitable institutions, etc.), 1781-1928.
Commissions and miscellaneous documents:-
GD51/10/1-11: Commissions, 1766-1905.
GD51/10/12-68: Miscellaneous, 1343/4 - 20th cent.
Legal, financial and estate letters and papers:-
GD51/11/1-88: Legal, financial and other business, [1760-1935].
GD51/11/89-93: Dunira estate, 1808-1811.
GD51/11/94-166: Melville Castle estate, 1746-1939.
GD51/11/167-168: Cotterstock, Northamptonshire., 1830-1889. [See also GD51/16].
Accounts and receipts:-
GD51/12/1-11: Legal business, 1789-1938.
GD51/12/12-13: Financial business, 1799-1824.
GD51/12/14: Dunira estate and household, 1783-1826.
GD51/12/15-16: Melville Castle estate and household, 1804-1936.
GD51/12/17: Cotterstock, Northamptonshire, estate and household, 1841-1927.
Personal and miscellaneous accounts and receipts, 1788-1936.
Printed sermons and other pamphlets on religious subjects, 1628-1847.
Miscellaneous printed material, including plates, engravings and photographs, 17th - 20th cents.
Documents deposited by A. B. Taylor, Esq., Edinburgh, and Miss J. M. Allardice, Dunira, on behalf of Mr. and Mrs. Macbeth of Dunira:-
GD51/16/1-72: Dunira and Melville Castle estates, 1780-1828.
GD51/16/73-110: Public affairs, 1777-1826.
Additional records deposited in April 1971:
GD51/17/1-4: Military and public affairs, 1766-c 1794
GD51/17/5-68: Admiralty and naval affairs, 1812-1866
GD51/17/69-73: India and East Indies, 1786-
GD51/17/74-77: Scottish affairs, 1763-1830
GD51/17/78-81: Estate records, Melville Castle, 1841-1876
GD51/17/82-83: Estate records, Cotterstock, Northamptonshire, 1813-1876
GD51/17/84-112: Volumes of personal and household accounts, 1818-1876
GD51/17/113-140: Miscellaneous volumes and documents, [16th cent]-
GD51/18/1-46: Political correspondence of Henry Dundas, 1st Viscount Melville, 1782-1810.
GD51/18/47-120: Correspondence between Duke of Wellington and Robert Dundas, 2nd Viscount Melville, 1812-1849.
GD51/18/121-201: Political Correspondence of Robert Dundas, 2nd Viscount Melville, 1809-1849.
GD51/18/202-206: Correspondence concerning Scottish Prisons and Prison Bill, 1849-1851.
GD51/18/207-213: Papers of Rear Admiral Richard Saunders Dundas, 1830-1860.
GD51/18/214-228: Correspondence and papers of Henry Dundas, 7th Viscount Melville, 1897-1923.
GD51/18/229-260: East India Patronage: Civil and Military appointments and recommendations to the East Indies, Including Bengal and Calcutta, 1793-1811.
GD51/18/261-289: Civil Patronage, 1781-1828.
GD51/18/290-300: Naval Patronage, 1804-1830.
GD51/18/301-312: Military Patronage, 1787-1801.
GD51/18/313-328: Local Administration, 1797-1849.
GD51/18/329-336: Miscellaneous papers concerning Scottish estates of the Viscounts Melville, 1790s-1872.
GD51/18/337-363: Papers relating to Melville and Perthshire estates and to personal finances of the Viscounts Melville, 1800-1888.
GD51/18/364-386: Accounts, receipts, discharges and acknowledgements concerning Melville and other Scottish Estates, 1748-1850
GD51/18/387-398: Papers concerning English Properties, 1841-1931.
GD51/18/399-423: Other financial and legal papers concerning the Melville family, 1805-1885.
GD51/18/424-441: Letters of Lady Jane Dundas, 1795-1803.
GD51/18/442-445: Family papers relating Robert Dundas, 2nd Viscount Melville and his family .
GD51/18/446-449: Miscellaneous family Papers late 19th Cent-Early 20th Cent.
GD51/18/450-458: Miscellaneous Papers.
RHP6699: Volume of plans of Melville Castle by James Playfair, 1786-1791.
RHP2059-RHP3232, RHP86185: Maps and plans incorporated in the Register House series.
List of Principal Offices Held
(a) Henry Dundas, 1st Viscount Melville, 1742 - 1811
1766 - 1775 - Solicitor General
1775 - 1783 - Lord Advocate
1782, Aug. 19 - 1783, Apr. -
1784, Jan. 5 - 1800. - Treasurer of the Navy
1784, Sep. 3 - 1793 - Commissioner of the India Board
1791, Jun. 8 - 1794, July - Home Secretary
1793, Jun. 28 - 1801, May - President of the India Board
1794, Jul. 11 - 1801, Mar. - Secretary for War
1804, May 15 - 1805, Apr. - First Lord of the Admiralty
1788 - 1811 - Chancellor of St. Andrews University
1790 - 1811 - Governor of the Bank of Scotland
(b) Robert Dundas, 2nd Viscount Melville, 1771 - 1851
1807, Apr. 6 - 1809, Jul. - President of the India Board
1809, Nov. 13 - 1812, Apr. - President of the India Board
1828, Feb. 7 - Sep. - President of the India Board
1809, Apr. 13 - Oct. - Irish Secretary
1812, Mar. 25 - 1827, Apr. -
1828, Sep. 19 - 1830, Nov. - First Lord of the Admiralty
1811 - 1821 - Governor of the Bank of Scotland
1814 - 1851 - Chancellor of St. Andrews University
List of Secretaries:
(a) To Henry Dundas, 1st Viscount Melville
William Bell (1775-1783); Robert Hepburn; William Garthshore (1794-1797); William Cabell (India Board); Benjamin S. Jones (India Board); William Budge (1797-1801); Henry Scott Alves.
(b) To Robert Dundas, 2nd Viscount Melville
Benjamin S. Jones (India Board); Robert W. Hay (Admiralty); George Baillie Hamilton (Admiralty)
N.B. Robert Dundas, 2nd Viscount Melville, acted as private secretary to his father, Henry Dundas, 1794 - 1801; Richard Saunders Dundas acted in a similar capacity to his father, 2nd Viscount Melville, at the Admiralty, 1829 - 1830.
Before the task of inventorying was begun, the collection was in some disarray, and most of the bundles of the former arrangement had been broken up. Where original groups were found, these were preserved, but generally speaking, the collection has been wholly reorganised. It was found impracticable to make any arrangement by means of the public appointments held by the various members of the family, sections by subject matter being adopted instead, and for this reason, a list of the principal offices held by the 1st and 2nd Viscounts is added to this note for reference.
The papers of the 1st and 2nd Viscounts were obviously well-arranged while of current interest, both men having a succession of competent secretaries (list below). The documents were kept in bundles, either alphabetically by senders or by subject matter, the whole system being governed by registry volumes of correspondence and correspondents with appropriate reference numbers usually being marked on the documents. Copy replies to letters received were entered in volumes as a rule. The 2nd Viscount was in the habit of marking on the back of letters received instructions for his secretary to draft the replies. No reference is made in the inventory entries to these notes unless they are of material importance; if the copy reply itself exists as a document, it is noted and put up with the letter received.
M Fry, 'The Dundas Despotism' (Edinburgh UP, 1992, 2004)
G W T Omond, 'The Arniston Memoirs' (Edinburgh, 1887)
J A Lovat-Fraser, 'Henry Dundas, Viscount Melville', (Cambridge UP, 1916)
Holden Furber, 'Henry Dundas, 1st Viscount Melville' (Oxford UP, 1931)
Cyril Matheson, 'The life of Henry Dundas, 1st Viscount Melville' (Constable, 1933)
It must be emphasised that this collection of papers from Melville Castle represents only part of the Melville muniments, wide dispersal having been effected by sales, numerous references to which may be found in the 'MSS. Migrations' section of the 'Bulletin of the Institute of Historical Research.' An account of this dispersal is given in an article in the 'The American Archivist', Oct. 1963.
The most up to date published list of Melville papers in public and other archives is in 'Papers of British Cabinet Ministers, 1782-1900', The Royal Commission on Historical Manuscripts, (London, 1981). There are only a very few omissions, as follows:
Location: National Records of Scotland. Reference: GD235
Location: Mrs G B Sanderson, Keltie Castle, Dunning, Perthshire. Reference: Few MS. items only - see letter of Nov. 1970 on File T/248.
Location: Institute of South Asian Studies, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia 4, USA. Reference: per Dr Holden Furber.
Location: Cleveland Public Library, Cleveland, Ohio, USA. Reference: per Dr Holden Furber.
Location: University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, USA. Reference: Charles Ames Deposit
Location: Archives Departementales de la Vienne, Poitiers, France. Reference: See letter of 20/10/65 on File T/248.
Deposited on indefinite loan in the Scottish Record Office, H.M. General Register House, Edinburgh, 1951-1982. The collection was purchased for the National Records of Scotland in 2012, with funding from the Scottish Government and a generous grant from the National Heritage Memorial Fund.