George IV Bridge – celebrating 50 years

Letter from Keir Hardie in India: acquired in 1958

With over 2,500 volumes, the papers of the Elliots of Minto are the National Library of Scotland's largest family collection.

They are particularly rich for material on India, as the 1st Earl was Governor-General and the 4th Earl was Viceroy. However, they are also a major source for many aspects of British and Scottish history in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Among the papers is a letter dated 8 October 1907 from the then Labour Party leader, James Keir Hardie, to his fellow Scot, Gilbert, 4th Earl of Minto, the Viceroy.

'It may not have escaped your notice that I am at the present time visiting India', Hardie writes from Varanasi. His pointed opening words perhaps reveal his awareness of heavy-handed imperial police surveillance during his visit to India.

However his Simla visit to the good-natured Minto went well, the latter declaring: 'I rather liked him ... though much of what he said is entirely wrong-headed there are grains of truth in some of it.'

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