Erskine Papers: Microfilm 44b

Private memoirs of the life of Walter Coningsby Erskine, third child of the third son of John Francis Erskine 12th Earl of Mar:

MS notebook, written in 1844 and covering the years 1810-44. Describes his life up to time of obtaining a cadetship (through his aunt) in the H.E.I.C.S. Leaves for India in April 1828; gives list of passengers; arrives Madras in August; arrives Calcutta 4 September 1828; life as a cadet in the Fort; buys a house with James Sleeman in 1830 at Bandah (Banda, U.P.); (Major Yates commanding); gives a portrait of all his fellow-officers. Remains until May 1832; description of the way in which the officers passed their time; the station; the civil servants there. Takes duty at hill Fort nearby; goes to Benares in 1832 with his Corps, where he has two happy and gay years; marries 1834. Regiment moves to Barrackpore; there 1835-36; in that year he is offered by Lord Auckland, Governor-General, opportunity to do duty with the Assam Light Infantry; appointed Adjutant of the 73rd in the meantime.

The Regiment sent with the 70th Regiment N.I. to Sylhet, to protect the S.E. frontier from the Burmese. Arrives Sylhet 1837-38; builds own bungalow, as there are none; takes his wife and child to the hills, but the child dies in 1838; description of the bungalow; second daughter dies in 1840, after the third child, a boy, was born; boy sent to Scotland in December 1840.

The Regiment sent to Allahabad in 1841; on the journey there, a second instance of the conflict between civilians and military; arrive Allahabad in March; a second son born; his brother visits him, and is eventually persuaded to resign and return; Erskine gets up a band in the Regiment.

The Regiment suddenly sent to Meerut; outbreaks in Kabul (Cabool): long account of the movements and promotions of officers; account of the men and women he has met in the various stations.

March to Delhi and arrive 1842; third son born; Lord Ellenborough arrives and is entertained by the Regiment to a ball and supper for 400 people; Rajah of Bhurtpore and others come to meet him and give a dinner, nautch and fireworks; one child taken to the hills, the rest follow later. Appointed to the 2nd Regiment at Lullutpore; on way there alone he joins a Lt. Warburton at Gwalior (Artillery) and marches there with him; builds bungalow as there are none; has civil work as a Magistrate; death of one of his sons.

Routes marched by the 73rd Regiment from Benares to Barrackpore in 1835, with an account of some of the stations, and places passed through; journal of route of 73rd Regiment from Barrackpore to Sylhet 1837.

Route from Allahabad to Delhi, 1841-1842.

Route or dak stages between Delhi and Mussoorie.

Journal of a voyage from Madras to England on board the Hon. Company’s ship, David Scott 22 October 1804-8 March 1805; author unknown:

Small notebook. MS. Describes weather, position, speed, sailing technique, flora and fauna. Arrive at St. Helena 31 December 1804; brief description, purely demographic; sail from St. Helena 13 January 1805; arrive Ascension Island 19 January; each ship receives a turtle from a whaler. The journal ends with an entry on 8 March 1805, fifteen miles from the start point, and in sight of men-of-war making for France; spoke to them.

Letters from John Francis Erskine (brother of W.C. Erskine) to his family, 1836-40, from Pallavaram, Honavar, French Rocks near Seringapatam. Accounts of shikar, daily life, promotion prospects; mentions beginning of overland post 1839-40. 5 August 1842 from Chin-Kiang Fu 35 miles E, of Nankin, describes an attack on a Fort, during the war.

Letters from Lady Marjorie Erskine in India, mainly to her eldest son John Erskine at school in England, written while her husband, Lord Erskine, was Governor of Madras, 1934-37.

Printed books:

‘History of Fort St. George and Government Houses Madras and Guindy 1938,’ compiled from official records by Captain S.J. Cuthbert, A.D.C. (one of 50 copies printed 7 March 1938.)

‘Two important men: a biographical record’, by Nilkan Perumal. R. J. Ram & Co., 768 Triplicane High Road, Madras, 1938. (Lord Erskine, Governor of Madras and the Hon. Mr. C. Rajagopalachari, the Prime Minister.) Author’s preface: ‘my chief purpose is to present the human side of their lives … I … confine my references only up to the time the Congress Ministry actually took office on 14 July 1937 …. This is no authorized publication. In fact, neither His Excellency nor the Hon. Prime Minister ever knew I was engaged writing a book of this sort ….’

Erskine Papers: Microfilm 44a

Lent by the Earl of Mar and Kellie

Microfilm Box 6 No. 44A

Journals of Walter Coningsby Erskine:

Brief journals kept in the Delhi Almanac and Souvenir for the years 1854-57 inclusive.

Brief journal for 1858 kept on paper folded and sewn into a notebook.

Private journal, 1851-52. This is mainly concerned with marches and weather, as well as the domestic issues.

Military notebook 1843-44 (with pen illustrations).

Private journal 1844-50. Is offered (and accepts) the post of Second-in-Command of the Infantry Corps raised by Lord Ellenborough in Gwalior; goes to Lullutpore; builds bungalow. His eldest son dies and he sends the other home; his wife goes eventually with two more sons; mentions Colonel Sleeman often. Day to day account of weather, work, marches and appointments, and family news; ends in 1850 waiting for his wife to return. It is very domestic and personal, and as such gives a good impression of the hard life of the Englishman at that time.

Voyage to India 1828, which includes a preface and list of passengers, and the journals for 1829 and 1830 follow, which give his first impressions of India when he arrives in Calcutta, and give a picture of the social life there of the time. Illustrated with pen sketches.

Eighteen MS copies of Military Reports from Erskine, Commissioner Jubbulpore Division 19 October 1857 – 11 June 1860 (including report on the mutiny at Sohagpoor).

Five MS Proclamations of Amnesties to those who sensibly give up, seeing the British power, dated 15 June 1857; 5 March 1858; 12 June 1858; 27 June 1858, with account of fall of Gwalior; 15 July 1858, amnesty.

Four printed circular orders and three MSS copies of circulars dated 1857-58, from the Secretary to the Government, N.W. Provinces, about rewarding natives loyal to the British during the mutiny and about clemency in general. One of the MSS copies, dated 31 October 1857 is directed against wholesale destruction of villages in reprisal.

Printed Resolution about reconstituting Jubbulpore Commissionership.

Copy of MS letter written by Erskine to Viscount Canning from Jubbulpore, 31 July 1857, about his differences with Brigadier Sage who separated the Indians from the English and left them unattended with arms, and would not even let the loyal ones join the Europeans. His policy has left Sangor in a state of anarchy.

MS copy of long letter from Lt. A. Gordon, Deputy Commissioner 2nd Class Chundergree to Major Erskine, Commissioner Sangor Division 24 September 1857. A continuation of a letter written on 17 September about the traitorous conduct of the Deputy Collector Sangor Division, Nissar Ahmed and their treatment by the Rajah of Banpore and Tehree Ranee and the Rajah of Shahgurh, who subsequently held them prisoner; mutiny at Shahgurh; ill-treatment; feeling in the Banpore, Tehree, and Shahgurh districts; captivity at Buretha, and subsequent release.

Printed material:

‘Narrative of events attending the outbreak of disturbances and the restoration of authority in the Sangor and Nerbudda Territories in 1857-58.’ From Major W.C. Erskine, Commissioner of the Jubbulpore Division, to William Muir, Secretary to Government N.W. Provinces, 10 August 1858. 73 pp.

‘A chapter of the Bengal Mutiny as seen in Central India by one who was there in 1857-58.’ Blackwood, 1871. (i.e. W.C. Erskine 12th Earl of Kellie. Given to his son, the 13th Earl, by his mother 1908). 34 pp. map.

Memorandum by the Earl of Kellie on the supersession of retired officers by officers of the Indian Staff Corps etc. London, 1870. Annotated. 7 pp.