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Collection Level Description: Papers of William Waldegrave Palmer, 2nd Earl of Selborne

Reference: GB 0162 MSS. Afr. r. 266
Title: Papers of William Waldegrave Palmer, 2nd Earl of Selborne
Dates of Creation: 1906
Extent: 1 vol.

Language of Material: English

Administrative/Biographical History

William Waldegrave Palmer, 2nd Earl of Selborne (1859-1942), PC (1900), GCMG (1905), KG (1909) graduated from University College, Oxford, 1881 and was Liberal, then Liberal Unionist MP for Petersfield, 1885, 1886-1892, and West Edinburgh, 1892-1895. He served as Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies, 1895-1900 and First Lord of the Admiralty, 1900-1905, during which period he established Osborne, Dartmouth and Royal Naval War Colleges, introduced the common entry system, fleet reserves, modern equipment, and approved Dreadnought design. He was High Commissioner for South Africa, 1905-1910, achieving South African Union in 1909. He served as President, Board of Agriculture, 1915-1916, unsuccesfully advocating guaranteed minimum prices, and as Chairman of the Agricultural Policy Subcommittee, 1917 and the Joint Parliamentary Committee on Government of India Bill, 1919. He was an advocate of reform of the House of Lords, a leading ecclesiastical statesman and chairman of the House of Laity, 1924-1942.

Scope and Content

Proofs of the first draft of The Selborne memorandum, a review of the present mutual relations of the British South African colonies by Palmer. Proofs prepared by L.G. Curtis, 1906.

Administrative Information

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The papers were transferred from the library stack on 12th January 2000.

Access Conditions

Bodleian reader's ticket required.

Reproduction Restrictions

No reproduction or publication of personal papers without permission. Contact the library in the first instance.


The final printed version of the memorandum was first published in a Cape blue-book and presented in the Cape Parliament, and was subsequently republished by the Colonial Office in July 1907.

Further Information

Finding Aids

The library holds a card index of all manuscript collections in its reading room.

Access Points

Palmer | William Waldegrave | 1859-1942 | 2nd Earl of Selborne | statesman

South Africa | History | 1836-1909

Great Britain. High Commissioner for South Africa

Transformation from XML to HTML by Lawrence Mielniczuk
01 March 2012