Monthly Archives: May 2014

3 New British Online Archives Resources

Columbia University Libraries has purchased three new British Online Archives historical collections:

The Indian papers of the 4th Earl of Minto
(From the National Library of Scotland) The papers of Gilbert John Elliot-Murray-Kynynmound, the 4th Earl of Minto, (1845-1914), Viceroy of India between 1905 and 1910, cover a period of dramatic and momentous change in the history of colonial India. The beginning of Minto’s tenure in India was marked by unprecedented anti-colonial protests against the partition of Bengal, initiated by his predecessor, Lord Curzon of Kedleston. It ended with the crucial ‘Morley-Minto reforms’ contained in the Government of India Act and the Indian Councils Act, both of 1909. These two new laws established, among other things, the constitutional principle of separate electorates for India’s Muslim communities.

The Indian papers of Colonel Clive and Brigadier-General Carnac, 1752-1774
(From the National Library of Wales) The papers of two leading actors in the East India Company in mid-18th century Bengal. By reproducing in full Clive’s English and Persian correspondence, it is possible to compare firsthand Indian and European accounts of Clive’s resounding victory in 1757 at Plassey over the superior French-backed force of the Nawab of Bengal in the aftermath of the notorious ‘Black Hole of Calcutta’ incident; of the conclusive routing of the Dutch in 1759; or of the ill-fated career of Clive’s chief administrator of revenues, Maharaja Nandakumara, including supplementary material on his trial and execution in 1775 for forgery drawn from the 1st Earl of Minto’s papers at National Library of Scotland. Complementing our understanding of this turning point in the history of British power in South Asia, are some 2,000 items of John Carnac’s correspondence. This correspondece’s emphasis on the years between 1763 and 1766 helps to fill the gap in events during Clive’s absence from India between March 1760 and April 1765, when he returned to Britain. At the same time, the collection amplifies our understanding of Clive’s third and final tour of duty, providing an opportunity to contrast how two senior British figures set about implementing the EIC’s new approach, combining commercial with growing political power.

The Meerut Conspiracy Trial, 1929-1933
(From the National Library of Scotland) Part 1 of the BOA series, People & Protest in Britain and Abroad, 1800-2000. Collectively drawn from the British Library, Labour History Archive & Study Centre and Working Class Movement Library, these documents bring together an array of differing, and balanced, perspectives on both the trial itself as well as its consequences for British imperialism as the sun was beginning to set on the Empire.