Breadalbane letters

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Here I present copies of correspondence between Patrick Matthew and John Campbell, the 2nd Marquess of Breadalbane, between 1837 and 1841. The letters are held at the National Records of Scotland, under references GD112/74/42/11, GD112/74/42/26, and GD112/74/44/29-30, and I am grateful for their assistance.

The first letter asks that two of Matthew’s sons be considered to help manage a proposed trigonometric land survey of Scotland, and the second accompanies a complementary copy of Matthew’s book Emigration Fields. The third is the longest and most interesting, and establishes that Matthew lived for some period with his family away from Scotland, first in Spain and then in Germany. After offering to buy some antiques in Hamburg for Breadalbane’s estate, Matthew ends with a digression into politics, promoting once again the benefits of free trade and competition.

The last letter in particular suggests some level of personal familiarity between Matthew and Breadalbane. This may have resulted from an incident during Breadalbane’s campaign to become Member of Parliament for Perthshire in the 1832 general election (Breadalbane, then known as the Earl of Ormelie, had run as a pro-Reform Whig and won the seat from the Tories). Matthew, an Ormelie supporter, had publicly accused some pro-Tory landlords of election interference, leading to some heated exchanges in the local papers (see Newspaper Articles > 1832 General Election controversy).

It’s unclear for how long Matthew remained away from Scotland with his family. The relevant Breadalbane letter is dated November 22 1841 and states “I have been more than a year, with my family, absent from Britain, in Spain, Denmark, Germany. We are now settled down at Hamburg.” This would suggest he left in 1840. A newspaper article in August 1843 (see Miscellanea > Gourdiehill rental ) notes that Gourdiehill had been let out to a Free Church minister, which suggests that Matthew’s date of return was sometime after 1843.

 
Matthew (1837-10-02): Matthew to the 2nd Marquess of Breadalbane, 2 October 1837
Matthew asks Breadalbane to consider employing two of his sons to help manage a proposed trigonometric land survey of Scotland.

 
Matthew (1839-02-26): Matthew to the 2nd Marquess of Breadalbane, 26 February 1839
Matthew encloses a complementary copy of his book Emigration Fields. He proposes that colonisation would be beneficial to all: the working classes, the middle classes and the aristocracy.

 
Matthew (1841-11-22): Matthew to the 2nd Marquess of Breadalbane, 22 November 1841
Matthew reveals that he has been living since 1840 with his family away from Scotland, first in Spain and then in Germany. After offering to buy some antiques in Hamburg for Breadalbane’s estate, Matthew ends with a digression into politics, promoting once again the benefits of free trade and competition.

 
Page created: 27 January 2019
Last modified: 27 January 2019

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