Culture Minister Patricia Ferguson has announced that a priceless collection of historical documents has been secured for Scotland. The Dalhousie papers cover 900 years of Scotland's history and its people, and how Scots have influenced the wider world.
The Scottish Executive and the National Heritage Memorial Fund - the UK fund of last resort - are both contributing £800,000 towards the total cost of securing the collection for the National Archives of Scotland.
Ms. Ferguson, said: "The Dalhousie papers are of outstanding importance to the history of this country covering nearly 900 years of Scottish history. I'm also pleased that the National Archives of Scotland will be using the latest digital technology to open this collection to an ever widening public, both at home and abroad."
George MacKenzie, Keeper of the Records of Scotland said: "This wonderful news has secured the long-term future of this marvelous collection. We are grateful that the Dalhousie family offered us the first chance to acquire the collection when they decided to sell it. The Dalhousie papers have been extensively used by readers since they were first loaned to us, and now that they have been acquired for the nation we will be working to make them even more widely available".
Stephen Johnson, Head of the National Heritage Memorial Fund, said: "This archive contains a wealth of information, not only giving an insight into Scotland's history, but also the history of the British Empire and wider Commonwealth. We're delighted we've been able to join forces to make sure this collection remains available for future generations to learn from and enjoy."
Highlights from the large quantity of Dalhousie papers include:
- The earliest Scottish charter still in Scotland, made about 1127 by King David I, part of the monastic charters for Holyrood
- A manuscript of Scotichronicon, a 15th century history of Scotland, is unique for its illuminated initial letters and additional notes
- A manuscript history of Norway, Historia Norvegiae, copied in Scotland in 1510, contains the earliest surviving account of the Norse settlement of Orkney and reports a myth that the Picts built towns morning and evening but hid in underground chambers at midday
- Papers on the Darien expeditions of the 1690s and the Jacobite rebellion of 1715
- The papers of General John Forbes who fought in the American War (1757-63) include seven letters from George Washington
- The papers of the 9th Earl of Dalhousie as Governor in Chief of Canada (1820-1828) and C-in-C in India (1829-32) and of the 10th Earl, who was Governor General of India, 1845-56
- The papers of Fox Maule as Secretary for War (1855-58) covering the Crimean War, including remarkable letters from Florence Nightingale
More information, including some sample images of the documents, may be found at http://www.nas.gov.uk/about/070309.asp.