The contents are as follows.
(i) Miscellaneous letters. Among the writers are:
The Earl of Mar, to Sir George Bowes, Marshal of Berwick, 1579 (number 1);
Edward Kellie, Receiver and Director of Music of the Chapel Royal, on arrangements made by him for services in Holyrood, 1632 (number 3); printed in Charles Rogers, ‘History of the Chapel Royal of Scotland’ (Grampian Club, 1882), page clxvi;
Nicolas Briot, making recommendations regarding the copper coinage of Scotland, 1631 (number 4);
The Governors and Masters of the College of Glasgow, acknowledging the receipt from James Heriot, Jeweller to the King, of money for their buildings and library, 1633 (number 6);
The Marquess of Huntly to the Earl of Argyll, referring to the Scots Commissioners, 1641 (number 7);
The Marquess of Montrose, writing from his camp at Kirkton of Bothwell, to the Marquess of Douglas and Lord Ogilvy, 1645 (number 8);
Sir Ewen Cameron of Lochiel, on his way to London, ?1691 (number 13);
Colin Macdonell of Keppoch, in his own name and that of other Macdonells, authorizing the Earl of Breadalbane to act for them in making terms with the Government, 1691 (number 14);
The Duke of Marlborough, referring to Prince James Edward, 1716 (number 18);
Allan Ramsay, the poet, acknowledging a payment for books, 1726, and remarking on the ban laid on play-acting, 1738-1739 (numbers 19, 22-24);
Lord Kilmarnock to Mr Murray (probably his mother's husband), on his mother's affairs, 1727 (number 20);
Lord Lovat, on politics, 1736 (number 21);
Major-General Joshua Guest, on Army and other news, 1740 (number 25);
George Brown, Lord Colstoun, on the upkeep of roads in Scotland, 1757 (number 28);
Lord Beauchamp, on Irish affairs, 1761 (number 30);
Scholars and others, writing to Thomas Thomson and Alexander Macdonald, H M Register House, Edinburgh, 1824-1850, undated (numbers 36, 38-40);
Dickens, 1847 (number 66); Lord Roberts, 1914 (number 73); Bishop Gilbert Burnet, undated (number 75); Thackeray, undated (number 86).
Several of the earlier letters are addressed to the 1st Earl of Breadalbane.
(ii) Letters of Thomas, Lord Binning, later Earl of Melrose and Earl of Haddington, to the Earl of Mar, Lord High Treasurer of Scotland, and James Primrose, Clerk to the Privy Council, with one to King James I and VI and some letters of Sir John Campbell of Cawdor and the Archbishop of Glasgow, 1618-1628, undated (numbers 94-114). They speak of delays of the post between London and Edinburgh, 1618; fishing by Dutch boats in British waters, 1618; the financial difficulties of Scotland, 1622; piracy by the Clan MacIain, 1625; the marriage of Charles I, 1625; and home, foreign, and Court politics. Transcripts, by Alexander Macdonald, of most of the letters are in MS.3177.
(iii) Visit of Charles I to Edinburgh, 1633 (numbers 115-117): arrangements for the supply of food, furniture, 'banquetting stuff', etc., the care of the crown and sceptre, the payment of officials, etc.; the king's itinerary from Whitehall to Falkland and back to Berwick; accounts of James Quhytehead for transport.
(iv) Papers of the 2nd Earl of Tweeddale, afterwards 1st Marquess: 'Instructions for my sone going abroad, 1663' (number 118); Memorial on the differences between the Earl of Tweeddale and the Duke of Lauderdale from 1666 to 1682 (two drafts) (numbers 119-120); two other memorials of Tweeddale, 1691, undated (numbers 121-122). Transcripts of numbers 119, 121-122 are to be found in MS.3177.
(v) Letter of the 2nd Earl of Kincardine to Sir James Nicolson, Baronet, of Cockburnspath, 1670 (number 123); letters of the 3rd Earl of Linlithgow to Sir John Nicolson, Baronet, of that Ilk, Lieutenant-Colonel of the Duke of Lauderdale's Regiment of Militia, giving orders about movements and quartering in and about Glasgow, Hamilton, and Lanark, in the course of operations against the Covenanters, 1678 (numbers 124-127).
(vi) Letters of Sir George Mackenzie of Rosehaugh, Lord Advocate, to the Earl of Tweeddale, afterwards 1st Marquess, the Earl of Morton, the Duke of Lauderdale, and Lord Yester, afterwards 2nd Marquess of Tweeddale, with one of the 1st Marquess of Tweeddale, ?1670-1689, undated (numbers 128-138). They deal with material for a 'historie of our tymes' on which he was engaged, certain trials, negotiations regarding trade with England, current affairs, and personal matters. Transcripts, by Alexander Macdonald, of most of the letters are to be found in MS.3177.
(vii) Order of precedency in the Riding of the Scottish Parliament, ?1681 (numbers 139-140), with a certificate of David Clyne, interim Clerk and Keeper of the Registers of the Lord Lyon's Office, 1820, regarding the order observed in 1685 (number 141).
(viii) Scottish Peerages: extracts from official records regarding precedence of peers (number 142); 'A list of the names & designations of Knight Barronets in Scotland from ye first Institution of ye order in Anno 1625 till the year 1704: Inclusive', the heading being in the hand of Robert Mylne (number 143); 'The Votes at the Election of the Sixteen Peers of Scotland at Holyrudehouse, 10th Nov'., 1710' (number 144); 'Note of the Titles of Honour in the Family of Athole', 1753, perhaps drawn up in the interest of John Murray of Strowan, afterwards 3rd Duke (number 145); letter of Sir William Ogilvy, 1819, enclosing his Memoir to the Peers of Scotland, 1818, claiming the titles of Findlater and Banff (number 147); 'Minutes of a Meeting of the Peers of Scotland held at Edinburgh the 11th April, 1820' (number 148).
(ix) Letters of Lady (Grisell) Murray of Stanhope to Lord Kimmerghame and his wife, 1715-1727 (numbers 149-165).
(x) Letter of John, Earl of Mar, signing himself 'John Murray', to the Earl of Stair, whom he calls 'Capt. Broun', and copy of another letter of Mar to Stair, 1719 (numbers 166-167), both printed in Hardwicke's ‘State papers’ (London, 1778), volume ii, pages 566-567; letter, apparently of Mar, referring to a duel of 'Chartress', probably Colonel Frank Charteris, undated (number 168).
(xi) Letters of Sir Walter Scott to Thomas Thomson, chiefly regarding works edited by the latter for the Bannatyne Club, with other material relating to Scott, 1791-1831, 1844 (numbers 169-205). The collection includes letters of Scott regarding the Regalia, ?1818 (numbers 170-171), and his coat of arms, 1820 (numbers 173-174); a contract for the ‘Provincial antiquities’ (London, 1826), signed by Scott and the artists, engravers, and publishers concerned, ?1818 (number 172); an address of the Faculty of Advocates to George IV, drafted by Thomson, with a note by Scott, 1822 (number 175); undated notes by Scott on the Douglases (number 202) and ghosts and witches (number 203); a letter of John Buchanan, Scott's amanuensis, describing his reception and first days at Abbotsford, 1829 (number 185); notes by Alexander Macdonald of a visit to Abbotsford, including rough pencil reminders of good stories, etc., hastily jotted down, 1829 (numbers 186-187); and a sketch of Abbotsford as it was before the old house was removed, undated (number 205). See also MSS.3168-3169.
(xii) Account by Charles Kirkpatrick Sharpe of Lady (Grisell) Murray of Stanhope, 1815 (number 206), and two letters of Sharpe, 1829, 1835 (numbers 207-208).
(xiii) Letters of Thomas McCrie, the Elder, to Alexander Macdonald and Thomas Thomson, 1820-1834, undated (numbers 209-215).
(xiv) Letters of James Chalmers, nephew of George Chalmers, to Thomas Thomson, 1825-1826 (numbers 216-218).
(xv) Letters of Robert Chambers to Alexander Macdonald, 1826-1842 (numbers 219-223).
(xvi) Letters of Dr John Jamieson to Alexander Macdonald, 1828-1834 (numbers 224-229).
(xvii) Letters of Dr Thomas Chalmers to Alexander Macdonald and Dr Sanderson, Musselburgh, 1831-1838 (numbers 230-232).