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National Library of Wales
Malcolm, John, Sir, papers

Reference code(s): GB 0210 JOMALC

Held at: National Library of Wales

Title: Sir John Malcolm Papers

Short Title: Malcolm, John, Sir, papers

Creation date(s): [c. 1824]-[c. 1829]

Level of description: Fonds

Extent: 0.058 cubic metres (4 boxes)

Name of creator(s): Sir John Malcolm


Administrative/Biographical history: Sir John Malcolm, Indian administrator and diplomat, and biographer of Robert Clive (Clive of India), was born in Westerkirk, Dumfriesshire, Scotland, in 1769, to George and Margaret Malcolm (née Pasley). He entered the service of the East Indian Company in 1782. He undertook three tours of duties in India, from 1783 to 1812, from 1817 to 1821, and from 1827 to 1830. During his service with the East Indian Company he was involved in numerous military campaigns and eventually reached the rank of Major General. As a diplomat he was dispatched on a range of diplomatic missions in different parts of India and in Persia, before being appointed governor of Bombay in 1827. He married, in 1807, Charlotte Campbell, daughter of Colonel Alexander Campbell who later became commander-in-chief of the Madras army. He published a number of pamphlets and books on India and Persia as well as his biography of Clive of India. When Malcolm died in 1833, however, he had only written the first fifteen chapters of the biography; the remainder was completed by an anonymous acquaintance of his and the book was eventually published in 1836. The anonymous acquaintance was in fact William Erskine (1773-1852), the noted historian and orientalist who came to Bombay in 1804. He was commissioned by Malcolm's widow to complete Malcolm's biography of Clive.


Scope and content/abstract: The archive comprises almost entirely of Sir John Malcolm's transcript of some of Clive's papers held now at the National Library of Wales, [c. 1824]-[c. 1828], compiled for his biography of Clive, together with drafts of the biography, and an index and abstracts of some of Clive's correspondence. The fonds does not include any of Malcolm's personal and public papers, apart from a single file relating to his governorship of Bombay.


Language/scripts of material: English, French

System of arrangement: Arranged into two groups: transcripts,drafts and abstracts, [c. 1824]-[c. 1828], and papers relating to Malcolm's governorship of Bombay, 1828.

Conditions governing access: Readers consulting modern papers in the National Library of Wales are required to sign the 'Modern papers - data protection' form.

Conditions governing reproduction: Usual copyright laws apply

Finding aids: Malcolm's papers are briefly listed in 'Schedule of Clive MSS and Papers (Second Series)', National Library of Wales, 1954. However, the dates given in the Schedule are the dates when the originals were written and not the dates when the transcripts were compiled. A hard copy of the current catalogue is available in NLW and at the India Office Library.


Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information: All of Sir John Malcolm's papers acquired by the Library have been retained.

Accruals: Accruals are not expected.

Archival history: Sometime after Malcolm's biography of Clive was published in 1836, his transcripts and a draft of the biography were handed to the Powis family along with Clive's original papers, which Malcolm had borrowed. The transcripts and the draft biography remained with the Powis family until 1952. Whilst in the family's possession the transcripts became so inextricably confused with Clive's own papers that it was not until 1985 that the historian Huw Bowen realised that earlier researchers had used the transcripts in the mistaken belief that they were originals, despite the fact that the transcripts' watermarks are dated half a century after Clive's death. Malcolm's transcripts were separated from Clive's papers at NLW in 1999.

Immediate source of acquisition: The papers were deposited, along with the papers of Robert Clive, by George William Herbert, seventh earl of Powis in 1952, and purchased by the Library from his son John George Herbert, eighth earl of Powis, in January 1996.


Related material: A letterbook containing copies of letters, 1799-1801, from Malcolm to the Marquess of Wellesley, Governor-General of India, about his mission to Persia is NLW MS 4903E.

Publication note: The transcripts served as the basis for Malcolm's The Life of Robert, Lord Clive; from the Family Papers Communicated by the Earl of Powis (London, 1836).


Note: Originally listed as part of the Clive MSS and Papers - see file level descriptions.

Archivist's note: Compiled by Tudor Barnes.
The following sources were used in the compilation of this list: Dictionary of National Biography, vol.35 (1893); Kaye, Sir J.W., The Life and Correspondence of...Sir John Malcolm; Bowen, Huw, 'The Clive Papers at the National Library of Wales - A cautionary note', The National Library of Wales Journal, Vol. XXIV, No. 2, Winter 1985; e-mail from John Malcolm, 8 Nov. 2004 and a note on the authorship of the biography of Clive by John Malcolm, now NLW ex2345.

Rules or conventions: This description follows NLW guidelines based on ISAD(G) Second Edition; AACR2; and LCSH.

Date(s) of descriptions: June 2001

Clive, Robert Clive, | Baron, | 1725-1774 | Archives
India | History | 18th century
India | History | 19th century
Malcolm, John, | Sir, | 1769-1833 | Archives

Personal names
Clive , Robert Clive , 1725-1774 , Baron
Malcolm , John , 1769-1833 , Sir

Corporate names


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