Catalogue description Secretaries of State: State Papers Scotland Series II

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Details of SP 54
Reference: SP 54
Title: Secretaries of State: State Papers Scotland Series II

The first in the second series of State Papers relating to Scotland, containing original letters and papers received from Scotland by the Secretaries of State, as well as drafts or copies of letters and papers sent by the Secretary's Office to Scotland. The main Scottish correspondents were senior office holders (such as the Lord Advocate, the Lord Justice Clerk, the Keeper of the Signet, the Commander in Chief of forces in Scotland, senior military officers and the governors of forts and castles, the Lord High Commissioner to the General Assembly, the Postmaster, Excise officers, etc), their deputies or their clerks.

The Lord Advocate, in charge of state prosecutions, was in regular contact both as regards political or otherwise controversial trials (with subsequent appeals for mercy) and the enforcement of unpopular laws, such as those which caused the Malt Tax Riots and the Porteous Riot. The Lord Justice Clerk was also in regular contact.

Even when not reacting directly to the risings of 1715 and 1745, official correspondents were preoccupied with the Jacobites and the Catholic threat. Correspondence concerning the economy, education, the universities and the church reflects this anxiety, and the attempts to promote loyalty and Protestantism.

Much material relates to the imposition of excise, and popular resentment of this.

Date: 1688-1783

The series was relisted in 1994. The original order of the old manuscript list, which was roughly chronological, was largely retained. Many documents were found in the series that had not been included in the manuscript list: these were given a new number and listed at the end of the piece in which they were found. Where several documents were previously described under one number, these were renumbered individually.

Held by: The National Archives, Kew
Legal status: Public Record(s)
Language: English and French
Physical description: 48 bundles and volumes
Publication note:

Many of the documents from 1760 to 1775 were included in the Calendar of Home Office Papers of the Reign of George III, eds J Redington and R A Roberts (London, 1878-1899).

Administrative / biographical background:

Between 1709 and 1726, and again from 1742 to 1746, there was a separate Secretary of State for Scotland: outside these years, the responsibility was taken by the Secretary of State for the Northern Department.

The Lord Justice Clerk was the chief officer of the Court of Justiciary. The office was held for long terms by Adam Cockburne of Ormiston and Duncan Forbes of Culloden, both important figures in the political history of the time.

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