Archive / Papers / Verney Papers


Microfilm Box No. 67

Frederick Verney (father of Sir Ralph Verney); Sir Ralph and Lady Verney

Lent by Sir John Verney.

India general; Burma; Siam. 1891-1918

Sir Ralph Verney was Military Secretary to Lord Chelmsford 1916-21.

  1. Exercise book containing edited copies of letters written by Frederick Verney who accompanied Prince Damrong of Siam on his tour of India, Malaya and Burma in 1891-2. Throughout he gives accounts of his conversations with the Civil Service Administrators he meets.Egypt – gives accounts of conversations with Sir Evelyn Baring, Sir Francis Grenfell and Sir Colin Moncrieff, and the Khedive of Egypt.
    On board S.S. Carthage to India 1892. Accounts of conversations with other passengers about India. Constant references to self-government and attitudes towards it. Opinions and attitudes of Anglo-Indians towards Indians. Opinion of Lord and Lady Harris. Conversations with Gaekwar of Baroda, Sir Raymond West. Describes Hyderabad – comments on vulgarisation of native dyes and crafts by European influence.
    Poona. Meets people connected with Deccan College, and former private secretary to Sir Bartle Frere. Further comments on Indians and government. Comments on Forestry Department and policy of Sir Richard Temple.
    Continues to meet people in Khandala and Poona, including President of Savarjanic Sabha and continually asks them their opinion of the possibility of Indians governing themselves.
    Describes Baroda, villages, talks with Patel and discusses how improvements can be made. Comments on temples; Mount Abu; Jaipur where they see an elephant fight.
    Talks with Sir Auckland Colvin I.C.S. on local self-government – village rents and zemindars.
    Benares described.
    Gaya – meets Collector G. A. Grierson and reads his paper on land tenure, zemindars and ryots – comments.
    Calcutta and Darjeeling described.
    On board the S.S. Bengal on the way to Rangoon, he reads Blue Books on Bengal Local Government given him by Mr H.J.S. Cotton, I.C.S., the Secretary. Comments. Meets Burmese (Mounghpo Mhyin) who comments on village administration and British rule. Comments on Lord Ripon’s reforms.
    Rangoon – stays with Sir Alexander Mackenzie and discusses with him Bengal Tenancy Act, and the practicality of StateĀ  Banks.
    Comments on survival of indigenous village administration in Burma. Meets E. S. Symes, I.C.S. Further talks with Mounghpo Mhyin and Sir Alexander Mackenzie on village administration in Burma.
    Across Malay Peninsula to Renong (sic).
    Describes journey and bamboo hut construction, and elephant ride through jungle.
    Goes to Siam at the invitation of Prince Devawongse and stays in Bangkok. Describes work and life of Prince, and the city – returns.
  2. Exercise book containing Mrs. Ralph Verney’s journal in Rawalpindi 1 January 1913; home alone 5 April 1913, London, their son’s birth September 1913, and return to India in October 1913.
  3. TS copies of letters from Sir Ralph and Lady Verney (Nita) to their parents and to one another January-December 1916, from Viceregal Lodge in Delhi and Simla, and from Mashobra, etc. Social life described in detail, Viceregal activities, characters, etc., nothing political.
  4. MS diary written by Lady Verney, 13 January-11 June 1916 (including newspaper and magazine cuttings, invitations, etc. relevant). Detailed personal diary of voyage to India, and life in Government. House. Describes in detail her husband’s appointment as Military Secretary to Lord Chelmsford.
  5. TS copies of letters as (3), January December 1917.
  6. TS copies of letters from Ralph Verney to his wife, a few to his mother, January-December 1918.
  7. Miscellaneous letters, mainly from Otto Lund to Mrs. Verney, and including some from Lord Cromer; Lord Willingdon, Aubrey Metcalf, A. D. Drummond, Leslie Wilson, Maharajah of Jaipur S. Madho Singh, Jack Maffey and Lord Birdwood, also photos, invitations, etc.