Tag Archives: Palmerston Papers

Ask an Archivist Day: Responding to enquiries

Archivists and curators of Special Collections possess a detailed knowledge of the collections in their care and are always delighted to share this. To mark Ask an Archivist Day we provide a brief breakdown of the process involved in responding to researcher enquiries…

Enquiries come by four main routes: by email, phone, via post, or in person. Perhaps unsurprisingly, these days the majority of enquiries we receive are by email. The Archives inbox is managed on a rota, with Archivists taking turns in dealing with enquiries. However, if there is a large volume they will be shared out among the team. Enquiries come from a range of users both national and international, including students, scholars, educators, authors, family historians, genealogists, and filmmakers. The nature of enquiries can vary dramatically and they continually highlight the richness of the resources housed in Special Collections. While some enquiries can take minutes to process, others can take significantly longer. Below are examples of two relatively straightforward enquiries: one relating to a broad topic and the other with a more specific focus.

Enquiry #1: I’ve found material relating to the slave trade listed on the Wellington Papers Database. What other material do you have on the slave trade in the 19th century?

The topic of slavery and the slave trade is covered by both our manuscript and Printed Special Collections. Turning first to the manuscript collections, material can be found among the papers of two nineteenth-century politicians: those of the first Duke of Wellington (MS 61) and of third Viscount Palmerston (MS 62).

Searching the Palmerston Papers Database

Searching the Palmerston Papers Database

As was noted by the researcher, material on the topic can be found listed on the Wellington Papers Database. The database contains item level descriptions of material from the collection, enabling the researcher to narrow their focus to specific letters or documents. Meanwhile, a look at the catalogue for the Palmerston Papers shows there is a series of letters and papers relating to slavery and the slave trade (MS 62 PP/SLT) among the Papers on Foreign Affairs. Having identified these, a search of the Palmerston Papers Database highlights other parts of the collection containing material on the topic. Again, the database contains item level descriptions for identifying relevant documents.

It is now time to turn to the Printed Special Collections. Two collections immediately spring to mind: the Oates collection and the Wellington pamphlets. The Oates collection contains over 220 books and pamphlets on the West Indies and the abolition of slavery, dating from the 18th and 19th centuries. While the Wellington pamphlets cover a broader range of topics, the pamphlets on the abolition of slavery in the British West Indies complement those held in the Oates Collection.

An address to the inhabitants of Europe on the iniquity of the slave trade [Rare Books HT 1322]

An address to the inhabitants of Europe on the iniquity of the slave trade [Rare Books HT 1322]

Material from both of these collections can be searched on WebCat, the library’s online catalogue. As with the manuscript databases, this will help the researcher identify particular items relevant to their research. Additionally, a selection of pamphlets from the Oates collection have been digitised and can be accessed remotely on the Internet Archive.

On replying to the researcher’s enquiry, they are invited to visit to consult the collections and access details are provided.

Enquiry #2: My grandfather was a student at the university sometime between 1900 and 1905. Can you provide me with further details?

This is quite a specific enquiry and relates directly to a single manuscript collection: MS 1 Records of the University of Southampton. The first step is to examine the collection’s catalogue for listings of material relating to students covering the date range provided. PDF versions of catalogues for each collection are available to download on the Special Collections website.

Consulting the paper catalogues

Consulting the paper catalogues

At this point, it should be noted that the University manuscript collection does not contain personnel files for individual members of staff or students. However, a quick search of the catalogue provides a number of potential resources:

MS 1/3/476/3/1 Record of students, 1870-1900

MS 1/3/476/2/5 Register of students of the day training department, 1899-1915

MS 1/3/476/2/6 University examination results, arranged alphabetically by student name, 1905-36

Now it’s time to have a look at the records in the strongrooms! A location guide provides details of where items from the collections are located as there are several kilometres of shelving to navigate.

Accessing material in the strongrooms

Accessing material in the strongrooms

A search of the first volume doesn’t yield any results. The dates covered are possibly too early. The second volume, however, does contain an entry for the individual. Having graduated in 1905 their examination results are also listed in the third volume. As the individual is deceased, data protection rules do not apply and a response it sent to the researcher. They are invited to visit to consult the material themselves or, if they prefer, to order copies of the records (for the purposes of private study and research) through our reprographics service.

So please feel free to contact us if you have any questions regarding our collections or service. We are always happy to hear from users! Contact details can be found on our website at: https://www.southampton.ac.uk/archives/contact.page

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The trade in slaves and its abolition

On 25 March 1807 the royal assent was given to an Act of Parliament abolishing the slave trade. To commemorate the bicentenary in 2007 many events took place in the UK, including an exhibition in the Special Collections Exhibition Gallery. In this week’s blog post we draw on material from the exhibition to explore some of the key issues surrounding abolition.

The origins of slavery and the case for abolition
Why had there been slavery in the first place? To late eighteenth-century Englishmen, the notion that their own countrymen might be slaves was abhorrent. Slavery had been widespread in the Roman empire, and there had probably been slaves in Anglo-Saxon England. The unfree villeins of medieval England had a status that was in some ways similar; but the idea that humans might be chattels had been put aside after the Black Death, in changed economic circumstances. Slavery was uncommon in northern Europe, but it was not so in southern Europe and Africa. Here it had a different basis and it may be closely linked to the growth in the trade in tropical commodities, especially those of great value — sugar, coffee, chocolate, tobacco, rice and cotton. Some of these crops were grown in Europe in the Middle Ages: for example, the cultivation of sugar moved westwards through the Mediterranean during the medieval period. Slave labour, at least on a small scale, had been used in cultivating these commodities before the European discovery of America. On the Cape Verde Islands (about 300 miles west of Senegal), in the 1460s, a Genoese, Antonio da Noli, failing to attract European settlers to these territories, recently discovered by the Portuguese, established a sugar plantation that was entirely dependent on slave labour. The extension of this enterprise westwards — and the slave economy with it — first by the Spanish and the Portuguese, and then by northern Europeans, was not an inexplicable step.

Illustration from an album containing anti-slavery tracts and pamphlets, late 1820s [Rare Books HT1163 71-082284]

Illustration from an album containing anti-slavery tracts and pamphlets, late 1820s [Rare Books HT1163 71-082284]. During the 19th century, examples of the outrages of the trade served to maintain anti-slavery as a cause at the forefront of the public mind. Among the contents of this album were passages drawn from the works of Granville Sharp and Charles James Fox.

The slaves of the Mediterranean derived from a long-standing trade in humans as chattels especially within Africa, but also within Ottoman and Asian territories. In the medieval period, slaves had been brought up to the Mediterranean from sub-Saharan Africa; from the sixteenth century, a direct trade was opened up between the West African coast and the Americas. Slavery was usually the result of legal and other penalties, and resulted as well from capture in warfare. It was a trade of many nations and was an established part of many societies. The exception was northern Europe, and it was from here that the challenge to slavery came. If it was reprehensible for there to be slaves in Britain, why should there be slaves in British colonies?

Slavery and the West Indian economy: Jamaica
Between the seventeenth century and Abolition in the region of 12.5 million slaves were traded from Africa. The numbers and pattern can be established with some certainty, especially from financial records. These point to significant differences in the use of slaves. Many worked with tropical goods: some 3.5 million slaves, for example, went to Brazil, whereas as few as 500,000 went taken to North America. The disparity arose partly because of the type of work undertaken: in tropical climates, the slaves were used for hard manual labour, particularly with sugar cane, and they had a low life expectancy — here the slave population could be sustained only by continued import of labour. In North America, on the other hand, where the slaves were primarily used for cotton and tobacco growing, the dynamics of the slave population were similar to the white population, even increasing modestly.

In 1788, there were on Jamaica some 250,000 slaves, who provided heavy labour crucial to the success of the plantation economy. The West India merchants constituted a powerful interest, to which governments might defer. The resolutions of the Jamaican House of Assembly, faced with the prospect of abolition, refuted charges of improper and inhuman treatment of slaves. They noted, however, that the labour force would be reduced; that it was impossible to cultivate the West Indies with white labour; and that the wider economy of Great Britain and its empire was closely bound to the West Indies. Credit, mortgages and annuities required stability. The property and slaves on Jamaica were valued at £39 million: ‘The whole profits and produce of which capital, as also of the various branches of commerce to which it give rise, center in Great Britain, and add to the national wealth; while the navigation, necessary to all its branches, establishes a strength which wealth can neither purchase nor balance.’ Changes in slave ownership would require compensation.

‘Trelawney Town, the chief residence of the Maroons’

‘Trelawney Town, the chief residence of the Maroons’: plate from B.Edwards History of the British West Indies … with a continuation to the present time (5 vols., and plates, London, 1818-19) [Rare Books F2131 52-045439]. The Maroons were in origin free or runaway negro slaves. After the British captured Jamaica from the Spanish in 1655, the Maroons remained at liberty and were able to harass the British for sustained periods of time. Their numbers were never large, but their effectiveness at guerrilla warfare forced the British to conclude a peace treaty with them in 1739, which guaranteed them land and some freedoms, including exemption from taxation.

Abolition brought severe economic consequences to the West Indies, where new slaves had been important to maintain the size of the labour force. Prohibition on the importation of slaves into the United States of America, in 1808, however, had a very different impact, as new slaves were not continually required to replenish the work force, which was already self-sustaining.

Abolition: 1807
Despite considerable parliamentary support in 1792 — in that year the Commons resolved that the trade should be gradually abolished, concluding in 1796 — there were significant setbacks. The climate engendered by the outbreak of revolution in France and slave revolts, particularly in St Domingue (Haiti), a French colony, made the early 1790s unpropitious for the cause. There was some anxiety that the anti-slave trade movement was a cloak for sedition and radicalism, and there was a real concern at the destabilising effect that might be brought by abolition. Although these fears were allayed, the political climate at the turn of the century was not one fertile for the aspirations of the abolitionists. It was not until 1804-5 that the balance of interests in Parliament had shifted sufficiently far for Wilberforce to bring an abolition bill successfully through three readings in the Commons; but it proved too late in that parliamentary session for it to be taken through the House of Lords. Pitt was able to promote the cause of abolition in other ways: significantly, at this point, in September 1805, the government made an Order in Council which put an end to the slave trade in the former Dutch Guiana, a precursor of later orders managing the condition of slaves in the West Indian colonies. A procedural measure in mid-1806, designed to enable Parliament to confirm the Order in Council, passed both Houses; and on 10 June 1806 Fox, the leader of the government in the Commons, moved a resolution for the general abolition of the trade, which Lord Grenville (the Prime Minister) also moved in the House of Lords. An Abolition Bill followed in early 1807, receiving the royal assent on 25 March.

Substance of the debates on a resolution for abolishing the slave trade (1806)

Substance of the debates on a resolution for abolishing the slave trade … (London, 1806). [Rare Books HT1163 71-082480] After nearly twenty years of debate in Parliament, Lord Grenville was able to move in the House of Lords the order of the day, the resolution of the House of Commons for the abolition of the African slave trade. A further resolution was carried, as in the Commons, for an address to the Crown, to invite other powers to concert with Great Britain the best means for abolishing the trade.

After 1807, there was continued pressure for further measures against slavery. Parliament increased the severity of penalties for British involvement in the slave trade: in 1811, a bill introduced by Brougham made it a felony, for which the punishment was transportation; and, from 1824, it was a capital offence. Other measures involved slave registration, to curb interisland traffic in the West Indies, starting with the creation of a registry for Trinidad in 1812, and culminating in an Act of 1819 which established a central registry in London. Bilateral agreements were concluded with other powers, European, American and African, in order to bring the trade to a halt. This was a long process and little progress was made until after the defeat of Napoleon. Typical was the Treaty of Ghent, 24 December 1814, between Great Britain and the United States, which declared:

Whereas the traffic in slaves is irreconcileable with the principles of humanity and justice, and whereas both His Majesty and the United States are desirous of continuing their efforts to promote its entire abolition, it is hereby agreed that both the contracting parties shall use their best endeavours to accomplish so desirable an object.

Not all countries believed that British altruism was a credible explanation for what was happening. Some alleged that motivation centred on British concern at the numbers of slaves, which, given unrest and rebellion, might have placed her colonial empire in jeopardy. That notwithstanding, work to suppress the trade continued in the international congresses that followed the Napoleonic wars. Thomas Clarkson was present to apply pressure at both the Congress of Paris in 1814 and the Congress of Aix-la-Chapelle in 1818, and the theme was revisited at Verona in 1822.

The process of abolition: the 1820s
The formation in 1823 of the Society for the Mitigation and Gradual Improvement of Slavery Throughout the British Dominions, popularly known as the Anti-Slavery Society, assured continued public interest in the cause in Britain. Its establishment defined two contrasting approaches: ‘gradualism’, the Anti-Slavery Society’s aspiration, seeking an on-going amelioration of the position of the slaves, a stance criticised by those who believed this was in the interest of the plantation owners in the colonies; and ‘immediatism’, favoured by those who wanted an immediate end to slavery — a position which drew together the younger and more radical supporters of the cause, especially from the early 1830s.

Copy of a letter from Wellington to Sir George Murray, Secretary of State for War and the Colonies, about instructions to the governors in the West Indies, the slave trade and the colonies in Africa, 20 August 1828: contemporary copy [MS 61 Wellington Papers 1/951/14]

Through the 1820s, the British government put in place practical measures to assist slaves, to address the questions of compensation of slave-owners. Progress could also be made through administrative measures; Orders in Council could direct local governors, where they had authority, to advance reform in colonies; elsewhere colonial legislatures might be encouraged to adopt measures that ameliorated the position of the slaves. The government of the first Duke of Wellington, 1828-30, made a number of direct contributions to this end. The Royal Navy might also be employed more effectively to enforce the ban on the slave trade.

Abolition: 1830 to 1865, and beyond
The Jamaican House of Assembly and the West Indian planters overplayed their hand in failing to embrace the Orders in Council. In 1833 the British Parliament passed legislation to emancipate the slaves of the British West Indies, and the Jamaica House of Assembly adopted the Act with considerable ill grace, rather than lose its share of the £20 million compensation that had been provided for slave owners. The institution of slavery was thereby abolished in the British West Indies, with compensation for slave owners — but not for slaves. Apprenticeship systems effectively delayed economic changes in the plantation systems. Further pressure, particularly from Daniel O’Connell and Joseph Sturge, brought apprenticeship to an end in 1838.

Letter from Stratford Canning to Palmerston on Ottoman actions against the slave trade

Letter from Stratford Canning, the British ambassador at Constantinople, to Palmerston on Ottoman actions against the slave trade, 3 January 1851 [MS 62 Palmerston Papers GC/CA228]

Slavery had not been abolished outside the British empire. Anti-slavery societies, the British government, the Royal Navy, enforcing anti-slavery conventions, and the governments of other Western powers continued to work for general abolition into the second half of the nineteenth century. Cases of British subjects in slavery continued to cause widespread outrage, a litmus test of the commitment of government to abolition of slavery wherever it occurred. A guide for naval officers set out for them the legal framework that was created for abolition, listing some twenty-seven groups of treaties, conventions, engagements and declarations from 1817 to 1842, with European and American states, and African kingdoms and chiefdoms. Putting this into operation was complex. By about 1865, however, very substantial progress had been made; the trade to South America was largely stopped. If the British government had been able to make progress by compensating its slave owners, however, the United States faced a much larger problem; and without a central government that was able to resolve the issue, the ordeal of civil war almost destroyed the country. The Atlantic trade abolished, the British government turned from the 1870s onwards to the trade from the east coast of Africa. The European powers came together in Brussels in 1889-90 and their conference produced a general act suppressing the trade, not only at sea, but also within Africa.

International observances
In 2007 the United Nations designated the 25 March the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade, offering an opportunity to honour and remember those who suffered and died at the hands of the brutal slavery system. The International Day also aims to raise awareness about the dangers of racism and prejudice today. Other international observances include the International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition on 23 August and the International Day for the Abolition of Slavery on 2 December.

Material on the slave trade can be found in two of the archive collections nineteenth-century politicians held at Southampton: that of the first Duke of Wellington (MS 61) and of third Viscount Palmerston (MS 62). The most notable printed collection is the Oates collection of over 220 books and pamphlets on the West Indies and the abolition of slavery, dating from the 18th and 19th centuries. The 1820s and 1830s are particularly well represented as are works of prominent abolitionists such as Thomas Clarkson and William Wilberforce.

Turbulent times for PMs

This week parliament returns after the summer recess with a new Prime Minister taking charge of the UK at one of the most turbulent times in recent political history. We take the opportunity to look at the challenges facing two former PMs whose papers are held by Special Collections…

Arthur Wellesley, first Duke of Wellington
Arthur Wellesley, first Duke of Wellington (1769–1852), became a national hero after successes against the French in the Peninsular War, 1808–14, and the Waterloo campaign, 1815. While he is best remembered for his military service, the Duke had a parallel political career. Starting as aide de camp to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland in 1787, he sat in both the Irish and UK Parliaments, 1790–7 and 1806–9 respectively, and was Chief Secretary for Ireland, 1807-9.

Illustration of the Duke of Wellington writing the despatches after the Battle of Waterloo, 1815: Illustrated London News, 20 November 1852 [Rare Books quarto per A]

Illustration of the Duke of Wellington writing the despatches after the Battle of Waterloo, 1815: Illustrated London News, 20 November 1852 [Rare Books quarto per A]

His ability to manage the politics of the war was a crucial element in the success of his command in the wars against Napoleon and in the occupation of France, 1815–18. The Duke returned to Britain and politics, taking a seat in Lord Liverpool’s Cabinet in 1818 as Master General of the Ordnance. However, in post-war politics he was characterised as a reactionary, and his reputation waxed and waned through the debates on Catholic emancipation and parliamentary reform.

Wellington became Prime Minister in 1828. One of his first achievements was overseeing Catholic emancipation, the most significant measure of which was the passing of the Roman Catholic Relief Act 1829 which permitted members of the Catholic Church to sit in the parliament at Westminster. Wellington had been converted to the cause when he came to realise the role emancipation could play in ending the conflict which had arisen from the Act of Union between Britain and Ireland in 1801. However, there was strong opposition to the bill which was seen as a threat to both the Protestant constitution and the supremacy of the Church of England. Lord Winchilsea, a popular hero of Protestant constitutionalists, was one of those hostile to the bill and his criticism of Wellington led to a duel between the two men which took place in Battersea Park in March 1829. They both deliberately missed each other in firing, and honour was satisfied.

In a letter dated 22 March 1829, Jeremy Bentham remonstrates with Wellington for fighting the duel:

Ill-advised man! Think of the confusion, in which the whole fabric of government would have been thrown had you been killed or had the trial of you for the murder of another man been substituted in the House of Lords to the passing of the emancipation Bill!
[MS 61 Wellington Papers 1/1004/17]

By 1830 the need for parliamentary reform was gaining broad support. The current system was recognised as neither representative nor balanced, with many urban areas underrepresented and qualifications for voting limited. When the issue was raised in Parliament on 2 November, Wellington took a strong stance against reform, defending the existing system and refusing to support expansion of the political franchise. His anti-reform position led a high degree of personal and political unpopularity.

The same year saw the Swing Riots, centred in many areas on the economic difficulties of agricultural labourers, with machine-breaking and rural unrest. The fictitious Captain Swing also expressed general discontent with the Wellington government and lack of progress with the popular cause of reform. The Wellington papers contain a series of letters attributed to Swing in which the Duke is threaten, including the following, dated 4 November 1830:

Sir, Your base vile conduct to and treatment of your fellow subjects, your determination to turn a deaf ear to their remonstrances, has made you an object of popular vengeance and of popular hatred.

Take my advice, act openly and nobly as becomes a Briton: reform that vile nest of corruption which is bred in Downing Street, destroy those vultures that prey on the public liver or beware! I say beware! Beware! Beware!
[MS 61 Wellington Papers 1/1159/93]

Later that month, on 15 November 1830, Wellington was forced to resign after he was defeated in a motion of no confidence. He was replaced by Earl Grey, leading a Whig government, and continued to fight reform in opposition before finally consenting to the Great Reform Bill in 1832.

Illustration of the funeral procession for the Duke of Wellington passing Apsley House: Illustrated London News, 27 November 1852 [Rare Books quarto per A]

Illustration of the funeral procession for the Duke of Wellington passing Apsley House: Illustrated London News, 27 November 1852 [Rare Books quarto per A]

Wellington briefly returned to the role of Prime Minister in 1834 while waiting for Peel to return from the Continent, after which he held the positions of Home Secretary and Foreign Secretary. Much of his later political career was spent leading the Conservative peers in the House of Lords, and he sat in Peel’s Cabinet of 1841–6 as a minister without portfolio. He was Commander-in-Chief of the army for the third time from 1842 until his death: on earlier occasions conflict with his political duties brought his tenure of office to an abrupt conclusion. Nonetheless he remained popular in the mind of the nation. His death in 1852 was marked by unprecedented scenes of public mourning and, as befitted his status as a national hero, Wellington was given a state funeral.

Henry John Temple, third Viscount Palmerston
The renown of Henry John Temple, third Viscount Palmerston (1784–1865), rests on his service in high political office: he was Foreign Secretary, 1830–4, 1835–41 and 1846–51; Home Secretary, 1852–5; and Prime Minister, 1855–8, 1859–65. These posts he held in Whig/Liberal governments. He had formerly served in Tory administrations, as a junior minister — a Lord of the Admiralty in 1807–9 and Secretary at War, 1809–28, joining Wellington’s cabinet for an uneasy five months in the last year, departing with Huskisson after disagreements with Wellington on foreign affairs and parliamentary reform. The Duke had said little to Palmerston at the end, reporting later that ‘he did not choose to fire great guns at sparrows.’ While Palmerston’s commitment to service can be seen in terms of national rather than party interest, he became increasingly reliant on Liberal support, especially during his time as Prime Minister.

Illustration of Lord Palmerston making the Ministerial Statement on Dano-German Affairs in the House of Commons: Illustrated London News, 2 July 1864 [quarto per A]

Illustration of Lord Palmerston making the Ministerial Statement on Dano-German Affairs in the House of Commons: Illustrated London News, 2 July 1864 [quarto per A]

Palmerston was serving as Home Secretary when the Crimean War broke out in March 1854. As such, he had limited control over British policy during the lead up to the war. In a memorandum, date 20 January 1855, he writes of the “present lamentable condition of our army in the Crimea” and places the blame directly on those in authority. [MS 62 Broadlands Archives BR22(i)/1/96] Palmerston’s view that poor administration was to blame for the current state of the war was widely shared. Shortly after Parliament passed a bill to investigate the conduct of the war, Lord Aberdeen was compelled to resign as Prime Minister. Despite Queen Victoria’s reservations, Palmerston was generally seen as the best man for the job and was invited to form a government on 4 February 1855.

Palmerston was over 70 when he finally became Prime Minister, a position he was to hold almost continuously from 1855 until his death in October 1865. On his accession to the premiership, the resolution of the Crimean conflict was a pressing concern. Palmerston took a hard line on the war with the aim of permanently reducing the Russian threat to Europe. Following the surrender of Sebastopolin in September 1855, Russia came to terms and the war ended in the spring of 1856 with the signing of the Treaty of Paris on 30 March.

During the remainder of his first term in office Palmerston oversaw British responses to Second Opium War in China, beginning in 1856 when Chinese authorities’ seized a British-registered ship engaged in piracy, and the Indian Mutiny of 1857. The following year, an assassination attempt on Napoleon III by Italian republican Felice Orsini led Palmerston to introduce a Conspiracy Bill, making it a felony to conspire in Britain to murder someone outside the jurisdiction. The bill was defeated on its second reading and Palmerston was forced to resign in February 1858. However, Lord Derby’s subsequent minority government was short lived and resigned after only one year. In reply to a letter from Disraeli asking him to join a Conservative led administration, Palmerston writes:

I am very much obliged to you for the kind and friendly terms of your letter, and if I say in answer that many reasons which it is unnecessary to go into would prevent me from entering into such an arrangement as that which you suggest might be possible, I trust it is needless for me to assure you that no want of personal good feeling towards Lord Derby or yourself, or towards any others members of your government, could form a part of those reasons.
[MS 62 Palmerston Papers GC/DI/140]

Palmerston formed a Liberal government the following month, returning to power in June 1859. His second terms saw his support for Italian unification during the period 1859-61 and commitment to British neutrality during the course of the American Civil War, despite his personal sympathies lying with the secessionist Southern Confederacy. While he was strongly opposed to slavery and the slave trade, he had a fraught relationship with the United States throughout his career and felt that successful Southern secession was in Britain’s best interests. In a letter to Sir George Cornewall Lewis, Secretary of State for War, dated 30 December [1862], he writes of the likelihood of an attempted invasion of Canada by the Northern States:

I cannot say that I believe there is much real danger of an American invasion of Canada. They are making no progress towards the subjugation of the South, and if they were to gain some decisive victories, and compel the south to sign a treaty, they would be compelled to occupy the country with troops, in order to prevent rebellion from again raising its head. At the same time, the language of the Washington government is so insolent and menacing, and their demands so unreasonable, that they may at any moment render it impossible for us to avoid war any longer.
[MS 62 Palmerston Papers GC/LE/167]

Having served fifteen years as Foreign Secretary, foreign policy continued to be Palmerston’s main strength during his time as Prime Minister. However, in terms of domestic policy, he oversaw the passage of important legislation, including reform of the divorce laws in 1857, the Companies Acts of 1858 and 1862, Offences against the Person Act of 1861, and the Poor Law Act of 1865.

Lord Palmerston as an elder statesman, West Front, Broadlands: an albumen print probably from the 1850s [MS 62 Broadlands Archives BR22(i)/17]

Lord Palmerston as an elder statesman, West Front, Broadlands: an albumen print probably from the 1850s [MS 62 Broadlands Archives BR22(i)/17]

Three months after winning another general election in July 1865, Palmerston died on 18 October, aged 80. He was the fourth person not of royalty to be granted a state funeral, after Sir Isaac Newton, Lord Nelson, and the Duke of Wellington.

The development of Special Collections

From June until December 2016, there will be a building project taking place in the Hartley Library. As a result, between June and September, the Archives and Manuscripts and Rare Books reading room will be running a restricted service: this might include brief periods of closure. While updates will be made available through our website, we take the opportunity to reflect on the development of the Special Collections division down through the years…

Early developments
The archive holdings date back to the 1860s, soon after the foundation of the Hartley Institution, the earliest predecessor of the University of Southampton. The Institution was founded as a local learned institution and had among its facilities both a library and museum. Between them, they gathered in or were presented with a number of manuscript collections. The early collections were eclectic in nature, ranging from the papers of local seamen and materials clearly brought back from their travels; to records that may have their origins in the archives of the corporation of Southampton, with which the Hartley Institution was closely associated; and groups of letters, some coherent archive groups, put together by autograph collectors. As early as 1873, the minute book of the library committee records the presentation of ‘Specimens of old English writing in the form of deeds, upon condition that they be bound’ (now MS 28).

Item from a collection of deeds relating to property in Petersfield and Mapledurham, principally for ‘Gobyesmede', together with lands in Liss and Sheet, Hampshire [MS 36 AO143]

Item from a collection of deeds relating to property in Petersfield and Mapledurham, principally for ‘Gobyesmede’, together with lands in Liss and Sheet, Hampshire [MS 36 AO143]

The Institution’s collections included items of more general interest, ranging from Renaissance drawings to manuscripts from among purchases and bequests of books. The Library and Museum received materials relating to the locality, to Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, the most important of which, the Cope bequest, contained manuscript (now MS 5) as well as printed items. With the establishment of local record offices, in Hampshire, for the county and city of Winchester, in and after 1947, for the corporation of Southampton in 1951 and for the corporation of Portsmouth, papers of local interest were directed there and local topographical manuscripts ceased to be an active focus for the University’s collecting policy. In 1972, the University dispersed to local record offices all the local material that it did not own; the material was transferred principally to the Hampshire Record Office, where it now has the reference 46M72 and 7M87-110m87. At the same time the remnants of the holdings of the museum of the Hartley Institution were transferred to Southampton City Museums, with the exception of some of the rock collections, which remain in the Geology Department. The maintenance of the Cope collection as a collection of materials of local interest continues, although its accessions are now almost exclusively printed.

Acquiring the Wellington and Broadlands archives
A new chapter of the University’s archive collecting commenced in 1983, when the papers of the first Duke of Wellington were allocated to the University under the national heritage legislation. There are close links between the University and the Dukes of Wellington: the seventh Duke became in 1952 the first Chancellor of the new University of Southampton, the fruition of a campaign supported by his family for a university of Wessex. Further significant acquisitions of manuscripts ensued, the Broadlands archive in 1985-7 (including the Palmerston and Mountbatten papers), followed by accessions of supporting collections. The conversion of a part of the University Library in 1982-3 to provide appropriate accommodation for the Wellington Papers was followed in 1987 by the provision of new archive strongrooms and an enlarged reading room.

The official opening of the Wellington Suite, 14 May 1983. Dr Chris Woolgar shows a bound volume of the papers to the Duke and Duchess of Wellington.

The official opening of the Wellington Suite, 14 May 1983. Dr Chris Woolgar shows a bound volume of the papers to the Duke and Duchess of Wellington.

The development of the Anglo-Jewish collections
The University has had through the collections of C.G.Montefiore, a former President of the University College, and through the library of Dr James Parkes, a special interest in papers concerning the relations of the Jewish people with other peoples; since 1989 this has been developed with a particular focus on the records of Anglo-Jewry, of national organisations and of individuals, and in 1990 many of the collections of the Anglo-Jewish Archives were transferred to the Library. The principal genealogical holdings of the Anglo-Jewish Archives, the Montefiore-Hyamson, D’Arcy Hart and Colyer-Fergusson collections were transferred at this date to the Society of Genealogists in London. In the range of these materials, the University and researchers have good reason to thank those individuals who, since 1963, had worked through Anglo-Jewish Archives towards the preservation of the records of the Anglo-Jewish community. A considerable number of major accessions relating to Anglo-Jewry has been received since 1990 and this continues to be an area where collecting is most active.

Expanded accommodation
As part of a major building project in the Hartley Library in 2002-4, the Special Collections accommodation was greatly enlarged. This included an additional strongroom and a new reading room, which doubled reader spaces. The extension also provided an opportunity to incorporate public exhibition space as an integral part of the library environment. This space includes the Special Collections Exhibition Gallery and the Level 4 Gallery.

Visitors to the Wellington and Waterloo exhibition in the Special Collections Gallery

Visitors to the Wellington and Waterloo exhibition in the Special Collections Gallery

The Special Collections Gallery was funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund primarily for the display of material from the collections to encourage public awareness and access. The exhibition programme focuses on themes within the collection and links in with University academic activity including celebrations of research, conferences and contributions to national and international events and commemorations.

Recent developments
The range of collections continues to expand and develop with recent acquisitions including papers relating to Basque child refugees (MS 370 and MS 404), the papers of Ian Herman Karten (MS 409), and new collection of Wellington related material (MS 351/6). Meanwhile our first group of digitised collections are available to access online through the Virtual Reading Room, with other recent developments including the establishment of our social media channels, including our WordPress blog and Facebook page.

For updates on other developments and how the building project will impact on our services please visit our website at:
http://www.southampton.ac.uk/archives/.

Elections and electioneering

With the 2015 General Election on 7 May, it seems timely to consider how elections and electioneering were practiced in earlier times. The Special Collections holds a range of material relating to politicians and politics. Below is a piece discussing the Southampton Poll Books which form part of the Cope Collection rare books.

MS 62 Broadlands Archives BR95 Photograph of the aftermath of an election speech by Evelyn Ashley at the Shanklin Institute, 1880

MS 62 Broadlands Archives BR95 Photograph of the aftermath of an election speech by Evelyn Ashley at the Shanklin Institute, 1880

Major manuscript collections relating to politics from the eighteenth century onwards include the archives of the first Duke of Wellington; the Congleton Archive —with material for the Parnell family, which provides a fascinating insight into politics in Ireland; the papers of Lord Thorneycroft of Dunstan, who was a Conservative MP and Minister; and the Broadlands Archives.  Within the vast array of material in the Broadlands Archives are sections of papers that tell specific stories: such as the correspondence relating to endeavours to secure a seat for Henry Temple, third Viscount Palmerston, in the House of Commons in 1805-7, or the photographs documenting the violent aftermath of an election address by Evelyn Ashley in Shanklin Institute in 1880.

MS 134 AJ33/43 Leaflet for the Cheetham Ward Municipal election featuring Mrs Sarah Laski as a candidate, Nov 1933

MS 134 AJ33/43 Leaflet for the Cheetham Ward Municipal election featuring Mrs Sarah Laski as a candidate, Nov 1933

Amongst the Anglo-Jewish Archives are papers of a number of individuals who were involved in politics on a local, national and European level, this ranges from the leaflets produced by Sarah Laski during her election campaigns as a local councillor in Cheetham from the 1920s, to those of Fred Tuckman who was both a councillor for Camden in London and a MEP for Leicester.

Southampton Poll Books
As you cast your vote in the General Election, you can be reasonably sure that your decision will remain private and certain that it will not become a matter of public record, open to the scrutiny of all. But the set of Southampton poll books in the Cope Collection shows that in earlier parliamentary elections this was not always the case.

From 1696 until the Ballot Act of 1872 there was a legal requirement that returning officers should be able to provide a copy of the poll if requested, the aim being to prevent electoral fraud. As printing became more widely established in the provinces, it became customary for poll books to be published by local printers and booksellers, rival businesses sometimes publishing their own copies of the same poll.

A True copy of the Poll at the Election of Two Burgesses to Serve in Parliament for the Town of Southampton

A True copy of the Poll at the Election of Two Burgesses to Serve in Parliament for the Town of Southampton … 1774
Southampton: T. Baker, 1774
Rare Books Cope SOU 31

For Southampton, there are nineteen locally printed poll books running from 1774, shortly after the first printer appeared in the town, to 1865. They record the names of the voters and identify the candidates for whom they voted. In many cases addresses and occupations are also included, information which is of value to researchers today, despite the limited nature of the franchise. The books vary in arrangement, some listing the voters in the order in which they voted – the poll usually being held over several days, and others by alphabetical order or with the names grouped by candidate.

Alphabetical List of the Voters who Polled at the Election of Two Burgesses to Serve in Parliament for the Town of Southampton … June 1818

Alphabetical List of the Voters who Polled at the Election of Two Burgesses to Serve in Parliament for the Town of Southampton … June 1818
Southampton: E. Skelton, [1818]
Rare Books Cope SOU 31

The 1818 poll book records the votes cast for William Chamberlayne of Weston Grove, Lord Ashtown, of Chessel House and Sir William Champion de Crespigny of Anspach House at the end of a particularly divisive campaign which had seen the swearing in of 100 special constables in order to keep the peace. Most of the abuse had been directed towards Lord Ashtown, an Irish peer, who failed in his attempt to secure one of the two seats on offer for the town.

List of the Voters who Polled at the Election of Two Members to Serve in Parliament … for the Town of Southampton … August 1842

List of the Voters who Polled at the Election of Two Members to Serve in Parliament … for the Town of Southampton … August 1842
Southampton: Best & Snowden, [1842]
Rare Books Cope SOU 31

The presentation copy of the poll book of 1842 shows the newly elected M.P.s, Humphrey St. John Mildmay and George William Hope, rewarding Thomas Wood, one of their voters, with a printed copy of the poll. That Southampton’s voters were often more lavishly rewarded is suggested by the fact that this vote was held only because the poll in the previous year’s general election had been declared void, the two successful candidates having been found guilty of bribery.

User perspectives: Researching Royal Refugees using the Palmerston Papers

Matthew Brand, who is a post-graduate research student at the University of East Anglia, reflects on his use of the Palmerston collection at Southampton.

“When one thinks of refugees, royalty don’t usually come to mind. This is perhaps also true of the 19th century, when countless European liberals and revolutionaries fled to Britain. However, many politicians and royal families also arrived, including French Kings and their families (Charles X in 1830 and Louis Philippe in 1848), and Spanish pretenders who sought to acquire the throne by force of arms – Don Carlos in 1834, and his son Carlos Luis, Count Montemolin in 1846.

Ships sailing near the Culver Down cliffs

Ships sailing near the Culver Down cliffs

I first made use of the Palmerston Papers for my MA dissertation, and have continued to use them whilst studying for my PhD. The collection is vast in scope; the nineteenth century was an era of ‘government by correspondence’, and private, rather than “official” letters often contained sensitive information.

Among the most intriguing items I have found is a letter from Don Carlos to King William IV, in which Carlos arrogantly excused his departure to lead his troops in a brutal civil war. He also wished that his family, who had remained in Britain, returned to Spain and left the damp English climate behind. Palmerston appears to have kept the letter because Britain did not recognise Carlos as King of Spain.

Other interesting documents include a disagreement between Palmerston and his Ambassador to France, Lord Normanby, in December 1851, about whether French President Louis Napoleon’s coup d’état had been in response to the exiled royal family’s rumoured plots. Another extraordinary exchange, with Prime Minister Lord Grey and Ambassador to France Lord Granville, discusses the potential implications of Charles X and his family’s departure to Austria in 1832. Charles’s daughter-in-law, the Duchesse de Berry, was then evading capture in France after a failed rebellion.

Palmerston’s diaries, draft newspaper articles and correspondence have helped me to piece together the story of a neglected but often important group in Victorian Britain. This fascinating collection and the archivists’ endless patience and professionalism have been of enormous benefit to my research.”

International Day for the Abolition of Slavery

2 December has been designated the International Day for the Abolition of Slavery, focusing on eradicating contemporary forms of slavery. It is estimated that 21 million people are still trapped in forms of slavery across the globe.

Plan of a slave ship

Plan of a slave ship

2007 marked the bicentenary of the Act of Parliament abolishing the slave trade. Many events took place in the UK to commemorate this, including an exhibition in the Special Collections Gallery at the University of Southampton. Drawing on material from its manuscript and printed collections, this Special Collections exhibition looked at the origins of slavery and the case for abolition, slavery and the West Indies, abolition in 1807 and the process of abolition throughout the nineteenth century. After 1807, there were continued pressure for further measures against slavery and bilateral agreements were concluded with other powers, European, American and African, in order to bring the trade to a halt. Throughout the nineteenth century anti-slavery societies, the British government, the Royal Navy, enforcing anti-slavery conventions, and the governments of other western powers continued to work for the general abolition of slavery.

Material on the slave trade can be found in two of the archive collections nineteenth-century politicians held at Southampton: that of the first Duke of Wellington (MS 61) and of third Viscount Palmerston (MS 62). During Wellington’s time as Prime Minister, 1828-30, for instance, endeavours were made to encourage colonial legislatures to adopt measures that ameliorated the position of the slaves. The Palmerston archive includes papers on the abolition of the African slave trade into Brazil.

Album of the Female Society of Birmingham... for the Relief of British Negro Slaves - Rare Books HT 1163

Album of the Female Society of Birmingham… for the Relief of British Negro Slaves – Rare Books HT 1163

The most notable printed collection is the Oates collection of over 220 books and pamphlets on the West Indies and the abolition of slavery, dating from the 18th and 19th centuries. The 1820s and 1830s are particularly well represented as are works of prominent abolitionists such as Thomas Clarkson and William Wilberforce.

10th Anniversary of the Special Collections Gallery

In the autumn of 2004 the University of Southampton welcomed visitors to the first exhibition to be held in the new Special Collections Gallery. The Gallery was created with support from the Heritage Lottery Fund and a major investment by the University in the remodelling and extension of the Hartley Library. Since then there have been three or four exhibitions on display each year based on manuscript and printed materials housed by the Special Collection Division.

The first exhibition, titled The Special Collections, sampled some of the main collections, to convey their range, importance and flavour. It was divided into five sections, reflecting the growth of the holdings and some of the principal themes that are to be found in them. These included materials relating to Hampshire; Prime Ministers’ papers of the first Duke of Wellington and the third Viscount Palmerston; Anglo-Jewish materials; materials relating to Lord Mountbatten and the transfer of power in India; as well as early materials from the Parkes Library.

Banners for exhibitions from 2007 to 2014

Banners for exhibitions from 2007 to 2014

Subsequent exhibitions have expanded on these themes. The exhibition Cecil Roth and Anglo-Jewish intellectuals in 2005 drew from the significant range of materials for Jewish individuals held by the Division. Focusing on the papers of five Anglo-Jewish intellectuals, the exhibition provided a snapshot of the overall holdings. The following year, to mark the 350th anniversary of the re-admission of the Jewish population into Britain, ‘In a style fitting to us Jewes’: Anglo-Jewish life from the Resettlement reflected more broadly on the Anglo-Jewish community and aspects of Jewish life in the UK.

A number of exhibitions have drawn on the official, diplomatic, military and political papers of the Duke of Wellington. Wellington and his papers in 2008 celebrated twenty-five years since the archive was allocated to the University under national heritage legislation in 1983. Showcasing the scale of the collection, the exhibition reflected the entire span of Wellington’s career from his first military commission to his political career. Meanwhile, exhibitions held in conjunction with the Wellington Congress have included The War against Napoleon in 2006, examining the impact of the Napoleonic War across Europe; and ‘Victory searches for her son’: defending Spain and Portugal against Napoleon, 1810 in 2010, focusing on two of the key moments in the Peninsular War – the Lines of Torres Vedras and the Battle of Buçaco – as well as Britain’s relationship with Spain and Portugal.

The Broadlands Archives in 2010 offered a look at the extensive range of materials in the Broadlands collection. Centred on the Temple (Palmerston), Ashley, Cassel and Mountbatten families, the documents in the collection cover major political, diplomatic, social and economic events of the 19th and 20th centuries. One such event was the focus of the exhibition The Independence of India and Pakistan, 1947 in 2007 which offered a fascinating perspective on the transfer of power from the British Raj to the newly-created states of India and Pakistan in 1947. Drawing largely on the Papers of Earl Mountbatten of Burma, the exhibition marked the sixtieth anniversary of this historic event.

In 2012 the University of Southampton celebrated its diamond jubilee as the first university to be created in the reign of Queen Elizabeth II, receiving its royal charter on 29 April 1952. It also celebrated the foundation of the Hartley Institution, the University’s predecessor, which was opened on 15 October 1862. To mark the occasion the exhibition ‘To constitute and found a university …’: from Hartley Institution to the University of Southampton’s diamond jubilee set out to reflect development over 150 years, both in terms of the experience of students, from the nineteenth century onwards, and in the physical changes to the institution. The same year saw The Poetry of F.T.Prince (1912-2003) examining the life and work of one of the University’s first Professors of English and a significant poet of the twentieth century.

Visitors at the Special Collections Gallery

Visitors at the Special Collections Gallery

Other exhibitions have focused on a wide range of topics, including ‘Irreconcileable with the principles of humanity and justice’: the trade in slaves and its abolition in 2007; ‘A Most Laborious Undertaking’: The Art of Maps and Map-Making in 2008; Unreliable memories: documenting personal and official experience in 2009; Britain and South Asia, 1760–1960 in 2011; Here, look after him’: los niños, refugee children from the Spanish Civil War in 2012; and ‘When a traveller is in a strange place …’: perspectives on romanticism and revolution, 1790–1840 in 2013. Exhibitions offering perspectives on artistic subjects have included In the Loop: Highlights of the Montse Stanley Knitting Collection in 2008; Print Matters: A visual journey through the artist’s book in 2011; and The early modern image: patronage, kings and peoples in 2014.

As well as drawing on material held by the Special Collections Division, exhibitions have included materials from the Hampshire Records Office, the Southampton City Archives, the British Museum, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Knitting Reference Library, and the University of Southampton School of Ocean and Earth Science.

Upcoming exhibitions in 2015 will focus on the role of music at the University, the Battle of Waterloo, and the Parkes library on Jewish/non-Jewish relations. The current exhibition ‘When “the days of conquest are passed”: reflections on war and warfare’ will run until 12 December 2014.

Opening of the Hartley Institution, Wednesday 15 October 1862

The Hartley Institution – the linear predecessor of the University of Southampton – was opened by Henry John Temple, third Viscount Palmerston, on Wednesday 15 October 1862. The Inauguration was a great civic event, “a red-lettered day” according to the Southampton Times – when Lord Palmerston, the Prime Minister, was cheered into the city by enthusiastic crowds.

“Lord Palmerston frequently bowed his acknowledgments to the people and seemed fairly affected by the hearty and affectionate welcome he received.” [Supplement to the Southampton Times, 18 October 1862, BR115/8/49/2]

“Lord Palmerston frequently bowed his acknowledgments to the people and seemed fairly affected by the hearty and affectionate welcome he received.” [Supplement to the Southampton Times, 18 October 1862, BR115/8/49/2]

A special supplement to the Southampton Times chronicled the excitement: “From early dawn the streets were all alive, workmen were engaged in putting the finishing touch to the decorations, the shops were almost without exception closed, and everyone seemed bent on having a joyous holiday. The church bells rang out their merriest peals and the strains of martial music every now and then arrested the ear as the various bodies who were to join in the procession marched to the rendezvous headed by numerous bands that had been engaged for the occasion.” [BR115/8/49/2]

The Mayor of Southampton and the Corporation assembled at the Guildhall at noon. From there they were conveyed in carriages to the Second Common-gate (the boundary of the borough) to meet Lord and Lady Palmerston, who had driven over from Broadlands. A “vast concourse of persons” welcomed them with cheering; a salute was fired from a battery on Southampton Common; the bands struck up; and then the great procession wended its way to the High Street, passing through triumphal arches decorated with flags, flowers, and evergreens.

The Special Collections at the University of Southampton is home to Lord Palmerston’s diaries and also those of Anthony Evelyn Melbourne Ashley, his private secretary. Evelyn was the son of the famous seventh Earl of Shaftesbury; his maternal grandmother, Emily, had married (as her second husband) Lord Palmerston and Evelyn would subsequently inherit Broadlands. Both men refer to the Inauguration at Hartley in their diaries:

Palmerston’s entry for 15th October 1862 reads: “To Southampton with Emily in barouche; Fanny, Joscelyn, and girls, and governess, with Dutton in omnibus. Met procession at one o’clock at second turnpike from Southampton to Winchester – followed to Hartley Institution for opening. Took Mr Perkins the Mayor in our carriage.  Speeches in theatre by Bishop of Rochester, the mayor, myself, Professor Owen and others. Many very handsome triumphal arches through which procession passed. Emily and others went home. Toasts and speeches after dinner… Home by half past 11. A good deal of rain in course of day. Mild night.” [MS 62 PP/D/22]