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Charles Hope Papers

Identifier: MSS-4215

Content Description

The Charles Hope Papers contain a twelve-page memorandum, with accompanying three-page cover letter, written by Scottish judge and politician Charles Hope on October 22, 1804. The memo, titled "Hints as to the Conduct of this Country, in the event of a Spanish war,” is addressed to Scottish politician Henry Dundas, then head of the British Royal Navy.

The memorandum outlines a plan for how Britain could use a potential war with Spain to gain commercial supremacy in Latin America. Hope proposes that in such a war, “it is not in our interest to humble and weaken Spain.” Instead of seeking to govern Spanish colonies, he says, Britain should occupy regions in South America, Mexico, and the Caribbean for the purpose of creating opportunities there for British trade. Hope says that this more peaceful tactic would win over the Spanish government and its colonies in the Americas and weaken the influence of the French Empire. “It will give us a great part of the Bullion [sic] of America, without bringing with it the evils which Spain experienced from the possession of the riches of Mexico & Peru,” Hope writes. “To us the gold & silver of these countries will flow in the natural & beneficial channels of industry & commerce.”


  • 1804 October 22

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research. Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection. Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations. Due to the nature of certain archival formats, including digital and audio-visual materials, access to certain materials may require additional advance notice.

Conditions Governing Use

Researchers are responsible for using the materials in conformance with United States copyright law as well as any donor restrictions accompanying the materials. The user assumes all responsibility for identifying and satisfying any copyright claimants in collection materials. For more information about copyright policy, please visit: Any materials used for academic research or otherwise should be fully credited with the source.

Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals without the consent of those individuals may have legal implications, for which the University of Alabama assumes no responsibility. Copyright for Official University records is held by The University of Alabama; all other copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.

Biographical / Historical

Charles Hope was born in Scotland on June 29, 1763. He studied law at Edinburgh University and later held many roles as a lawyer, Tory politician, and judge, including Member of Parliament for Edinburgh (1803-1805) and Lord Advocate, the chief legal officer for the government of Scotland (1801-1804). He was appointed Lord Justice Clerk (the second most senior judge in Scotland) in November 1804, taking on the title of Lord Granton; and served as Lord President of the Court of Session, Scotland’s senior judge, from 1811 to 1841. Hope was also a colonel in the Royal Edinburgh Volunteers, a military group convened to defend the city against a potential invasion by the French. Hope retired as a judge in 1841. He died at his home in Edinburgh on October 30, 1851.

Hope worked closely with Henry Dundas, 1st Viscount Melville, a Scottish Tory politician who was First Lord of the Admiralty — the political chief of the British Royal Navy — from 1804 to 1805.


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Language of Materials



Charles Hope (1763-1851) was a judge and politician in Edinburgh, Scotland. This collection contains a cover letter and memorandum that Hope wrote to another Scottish politician, Henry Dundas, on October 22, 1804, proposing wartime strategies for British commercial advancement in Latin America. The memorandum is titled "Hints as to the Conduct of this Country, in the event of a Spanish war."

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The University of Alabama Libraries acquired the Charles Hope Papers in 2017.

Digital Materials

This collection is part of the digital Latin America collection. Please view the individual folder or item in this finding aid for a link to those materials.

Related Materials

Papers of Henry Dundas and Robert Saunders Dundas, 1st and 2nd Viscounts Melville, University Library Special Collections, University of St Andrews, Fife, Scotland.

Processing Information

Processed by Erin Ryan, February 2018.
Guide to the Charles Hope Papers
Erin Ryan
February 2018
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Repository Details

Part of the The University of Alabama Libraries Special Collections Repository

Box 870266
Tuscaloosa AL 35487-0266