A collection of original documents relating to the Darien Scheme, a failed attempt to found a Scots trading colony at Darien in the isthmus of Panama at the end of the 17th century. The collection comprises around one hundred pamphlets, broadsides and maps, together with a few manuscripts, relating to the Scheme, and its consequences.
The collection was presented to the Library in 1931 by John James Spencer of Glasgow. He was a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland (elected 1910). According to the historian G P Insh, who consulted Spencer's Darien papers in 1921-1922, the family had been merchants in the West Indies for generations (referred to in Insh's Historian's Odyssey (1934).
How to find material in the Spencer Collection
- Browse through a list of printed items in the collection (Sp Coll Spencer) or use the rare books search to find a specific item.
- Browse through a list of manuscript items (MS Gen 1681-1696) in the collection: go to Spencer manuscripts collection level record (and click on 'list collection content' for listing of all items held); or, search for a specific item using the manuscripts search.
- A small number of the manuscript letters have been transcribed in Darien Letters (Glasgow: College Press, 1971).
- Catalogue of a collection of books and manuscripts relating to the Darien Scheme presented to the University of Glasgow by Mr J.J. Spencer (Glasgow, 1932).
See also the following article featuring items from the Spencer Collection:
- The Darien Scheme (Collection Highlight)