Archive / Papers / 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 ….’