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Papers of General Sir Richard Bourke


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Correspondence and papers mainly relating to his administration of the Cape of Good Hope colony (Cape Colony), with a summary of content. Comprises:
  1. Letters to Bourke, 1825-1829 (5 volumes)
  2. Drafts and copies of letters from Bourke, 1826-1845 (3 volumes)
  3. Indexes to despatches received, 1826-1828 (2 volumes)
  4. Instructions to Bourke, 1816-1827 (2 volumes)
  5. Instructions to civil commissioners, 1827-1828 (2 volumes)
  6. Correspondence and papers relating to frontier wars and relations with the Zulus, 1826 and some undated (3 volumes)
  7. Papers relating to finance, the judiciary, etc., 1821-1828 (14 volumes).


  • 1816-1845


31 Volumes

Language of Materials


Preferred Citation

Oxford, Bodleian Libraries [followed by shelfmark and folio or page reference, e.g. MSS.Afr.t.7].
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Collection ID (for staff)

CMD ID 853

Biographical / Historical

General Sir Richard Bourke was born in 1777 in Dublin, Ireland. In 1825 the Colonial Office appointed him lieutenant-governor of the Eastern District of Cape Colony. When the governor, Lord Charles Somerset, returned to England on leave (and later resigned), Bourke assumed office as acting governor of the whole colony (1825-1828). In 1831 he transferred to Australia as governor of New South Wales; he resigned his office in December 1837. Bourke died in 1855 at his estate, Thornfield, Castleconnell, county Limerick, Ireland. Compiled with reference to the Dictionary of National Biography.

Other Finding Aids

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

Listed as no. 791 in Manuscript Collections of Africana in Rhodes House Library, Oxford, compiled by Louis B. Frewer (Oxford, Bodleian Library, 1968).

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchased in 1941.


  • Listed in Private Papers of British Colonial Governors, 1782-1900, by The Historical Manuscripts Commission (1986).
Papers of General Sir Richard Bourke
Marion Lowman
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Bodleian Libraries Repository

Weston Library
Broad Street
Oxford OX1 3BG United Kingdom