Guide to the Papers of James Romney [MSS 313]

Finding Aid Index Request Information


Overview | Administrative Information | Container List

Each Finding Aid can be keyword searched using the Ctrl F function on your keyboard.

Manuscript Name Papers of James Romney
Manuscript Number MSS 313
Last Updated October 2021
Extent 10 cm (2 boxes)
Location Special Collections, UNSW Canberra
Abstract This collection comprises letters to the Editor and manuscript drafts of plays, poetry and articles written by James Romney whilst serving as a Lieutenant Colonel in the East India Service.

Collection Subject Type


Contains Digitised Content?


Scope and Content

This collection comprises ca. 600 sheets, mostly annotated folio manuscript drafts of plays, poetry, articles and letters written by James Romney whilst serving as a Lieutenant Colonel in the East India Service. Items in this substantial collection date between 1775 to 1802, and regularly refer to the European experience in India. Many of the pieces were written for publication and were addressed to the Editors of local journals.

Date Range of Content


Biographical Note

James Romney served as a Lieutenant Colonel in the East India Service and was very close to his brother, artist George Romney.  They were both born in the same year (1734), George on 26 December and James probably in January.  James Romney served in the Bombay Army from 1779-1804.

Administrative Information

Access and Copying Conditions

Access: Open Access

Copying: Copying of material authored by James Romney under section 51 (1) of the Copyright Act (more than 50 years since the death of the author) is approved. 

Preferred Citation

[Manuscript Item], Papers of James Romney, Special Collections, UNSW Canberra, MSS 313, Box [Number], Folder [Number].


The collection was purchased by the Academy Library in 1992.

Related Material

Further papers of James Romney are held by the British Library, in Romney, James (b 1734; fl 1779-1804) Lieutenant Colonel Bombay Army at MS Eur F 198 and MSS Eur F 254.  An early portrait of James by his brother George hangs in the Abbot Hall Art Gallery in Cumbria and another (painted c 1760-62) forms part of the Yale Center for British Art collection.

Keywords and Tags

Personal Names

Romney, James, 1734-?


English literature -- 18th century -- Manuscripts

Authors, English -- 18th century -- Manuscripts

Geographical Names

India -- Description and travel -- Early works to 1800 -- Manuscripts



Army officers

Container List

Box 1

Box-folder 1
Annotated manuscript drafts, 1777-1802

'The humbug : a tragi comic farce; or, A sketch; and is merely, a study from nature', begun the 13th of May 1777 on board the Rochford East Indiaman at sea, Latt. 21,00.S Long. 32,00.W., 4 to., 34 pages. (last and first pages torn), together with incomplete notes on the piece, 6 May 1777

'Critique of The rights of man' etc., by Thomas Paine, together with notes, folio: 17 pages

'The speculator : a glance at the present state of things on the western side of the continent of India', also includes music scores for Violino secondo and Allegro conspirito, ca. 50 p. in a misbound folio notebook, [1791]

'The invitation', 4 p. folio

'An occasional prologue', intended to have been spoken previous to the performance of the comedy by Samuel Foote entitled The mayor of Garret : a comedy in two acts (also spelt Garratt), February 1779 at Bombay, folio, various drafts 20 pages

'What's love', folio, six drafts: 18 pages

'Europe in Asia : a comedy', 4 p. folio

To the Bombay herald 'An oriental anecdote', dated Bombay 26th Oct. 1791, 3 p. folio

'The simple Hibernian : a tale after the manner of Peter Pindar Esq.', dated Bombay 1794, 3 p. folio

To Cynthia. 'An ode', folio, various drafts: 45 pages

'The pad, a new song to the tune of A cobbler there was', Bombay, 9th October 1793 and other new song drafts: 52 pages

'One from the East : a comedy in five acts', 32 p. folio (incomplete) 

'The young traveller', 27 p. folio. Apparently the beginning of a novel or short story about Henry Jackson, the youngest son of a respectable yeoman in Westmorland.

Poetry drafts: 40 pages

Box 2

Box-folder 2
Annotated manuscript drafts, 1775-1802. Difficult to read, unsorted, crossed through, damaged and fragile including a letter to the editor and prose drafts.


Letter to the editor: 2 pages

Draft letters to a 'dear friend' (love interest?): 69 pages

Epilogue by William Page: 4 pages

Pygmalion: 58 pages

To Rebba: 21 pages

Lists: 6 pages

Misc papers 1: 24 pages

Misc papers 2: 31 pages

Misc papers 3: 30 pages

Misc papers 4: 43 pages

Misc papers 5: 43 pages

Misc papers 6: 58 pages

Misc papers 7: 52 pages

Misc Papers 8: 57 pages