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Description found in Archives

Diplomatic correspondence [textual record, cartographic record] 

Sub-series consists of


1819-1858 (predominantly 1848-1858)

Place of creation

Various places

20 cm of textual records.
5 maps.

Scope and content

This sub-series encompasses four bundles of correspondence exchanged between Lord Elgin and diplomatic colleagues or agents, which include a variety of printed and manuscript texts enclosed with or related to those private letters and official despatches, plus the Royal Warrant authorizing him to negotiate the Reciprocity Treaty on behalf of all the colonies of North America. Each bundle focuses on one correspondent and contains two chronological sequences: letters received and copies of letters sent. The exchange of private letters with John Fiennes Twistleton Crampton (pages 1-266) began in 1848 when he was Secretary to the British Legation at Washington and continued after he was promoted British Minister in 1852, addressing issues of boundaries, defence, fisheries, secret societies (the Hunters' Lodges), fugitive slaves, trade and tariffs. The exchange of private letters with William Henry Lytton Earle Bulwer (pages 267-403) covers only two years of Sir Henry's term as British Minister at Washington, 1850-1851. Its range of topics extends to salmon fishing in Arctic waters and naval vessels on the Great Lakes. The correspondence with J. D. Andrews (pages 404-600) illustrates the employment of agents and lobbyists to gather information and facilitate not only the negotiation and ratification of the Reciprocity Treaty but also the role of consuls . The bundle of private letters despatches exchanged with successive Foreign Secretaries, 1852-1854 (pages 601-864) includes copies of various documents dated as early as 1819 relative to the fisheries clauses in the Treaty and copies of the treaty text at various stages of its development. Copies of letters exchanged with other British and colonial officials, as well as with the Secretary of State and other American officials appear as enclosures throughout these four bundles. The supplementary printed documents of 1854-1858 reflect Elgin's on-going interest in and role as an advisor on matters relating to the colonies of British North America.

Textual records
90: Open
from 38 to 41
90: Open
Cartographic material
90: Open
90: Open
Archival reference no.

Additional information

Custodial history
The arrangement of Elgin's correspondence with diplomatic colleagues in four 4 bundles, each with parallel sequences of incoming and copies of outgoing communications, has remained essentially undisturbed since its creation, with the exception of several large confidential prints. Ribbons and cords holding items together remained intact until removed to facilitate digitization. Most printed items bear internal page numbers, hence they remain outside the numbering applied to facilitate digitization.

Availability of other formats note
The correspondence and confidential prints are available on microfilm, reels A-398 to A-400 as bundles 4B to 4D (private letters exchanged with Crampton, Bulwer and Andrews); 6 (despatches exchanged with the Foreign Office); and 7 parts 1 and 4 (printed items).