Emerson Tennent Papers

Political, literary and personal correspondence of Sir James Emerson Tennent, 1st Bt (1804-69), of Belfast and Tempo Manor, Co. Fermanagh, MP for Belfast, 1832-45, promoter of the Copyright & Designs Act, 1842, Joint Secretary of the Board of Control of India, 1841-5, Colonial Secretary in Ceylon, 1845-49, Permanent Secretary to the Board of Trade, 1852-67, author of major books on Greece, Ceylon, natural history, antiquities etc., friend of Dickens and other literary figures, and traveller.

The archive reflects and documents Emerson Tennent’s varied career and interests featuring a wide ranging general correspondence on local politics, literature and the arts, c. 1824-1869; political letters and papers relating to local elections and official positions held by Emerson Tennant, c. 1820-1869; and literary and travel papers, c. 1824-1867, comprising letters and journals concerning tours of Italy, Greece, Egypt and India, and literary notes and drafts in connection with various published and unpublished works such as his History of Modern Greece (1830), Natural History of Ceylon (1858), Christianity in Ceylon and The Story of Guns (1864). The collection also features a strong series of personal correspondence of Emerson Tennent and other family members, 1831-1916, and a range of estate papers relating to the Tempo estate, Co. Fermanagh, comprising leases, title deeds, rent rolls, account books etc; architectural plans relating to the rebuilding of Tempo and correspondence with W.H. Lynn and Charles Lanyon; a catalogue of the Tempo Manor library.


Of interest to researchers of political, literary and travel history, and estate management

Physical characteristics

c. 5,575 documents and volumes occupying c.30 PRONI boxes

Description or Catalogue

See PRONI reference D/2922 for catalogue of the papers. The catalogue is available for consultation in PRONI's Public Search Room.

See also http://www.proni.gov.uk/records/private/emerten.htm for a more detailed introduction to the collection.


Accrual Policy
Accrual Periodicity

The papers were deposited as an indefinite loan apart from a small consignment of nine volumes which were purchased by PRONI from Sotheby's in 1980.

Added by PRONI | Last updated on: 25 August 2018