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Description found in Archives

Civil Secretary's correspondence. Upper Canada and Canada West [textual record]. 



Place of creation


22.02 m of textual records.

Scope and content

The principal series of letters, petitions, addresses and other communications handled by the Civil Secretary's office is known as the Upper Canada Sundries (series A 1). Some undated petitions, Addresses on special questions, and communications with the Legislature were segregated to form series B 3. Correspondence relating to specific subjects was sometimes segregated, resulting in the education records in B 11 and immigration records in B 21. Surviving drafts or copies of replies to incoming correspondence form series A 2. Although only they cover only the last decade of activity in Upper Canada, the registers of petitions received by the Civil Secretary (RG 5, B 3, volumes 1-6) illustrate the volume and variety of business handled. They can also be used to determine the extent to which the records have survived, in RG 5 or elsewhere. The office books in series B 31 offer additional information on the Secretary's activities and routines.

Textual records
90: Open
The series which have been microfilmed a
re now withdrawn from circulation as a protective conservation measure. Researchers must use the microfilm for consultation and for reproduction purposeurposes. Only photographic copies can be made of the documents written on parchment.
Textual records
90: Open
90: Open
Archival reference no.
Former archival reference no.

Textual records The shelf lists in the Guide for RG 5 identify the reel numbers for the series which have been microfilmed and provide descriptive detail to the volume level. MSS2434 90 (Electronic)

Textual records Finding Aid 842 provides a descriptive list of the petitions and addresses in series B 3, in the order of their appearance in that series. MSS0842 90 (Electronic)

Textual records Finding Aid 881 provides detailed description of the Upper Canada Sundries (series A 1). In the calendar, each document (with its enclosures) is described in chronological order. The card index provides nominal and geographical references to a relatively small selection ofdocuments relating to land grants or leases; these include petitions, letters, and reports of surveys. When precise dates of events or documents are not known, an extensive search of Finding Aids 842 and 881 can be avoided through consultation of the Civil Secretary's letterbooks (RG 7, G 16 C). The indexes to the letterbooks identify the names of persons to whom replies were sent; the texts of the replies identify the date, subject and nature of the incoming letter or petition. With those clues, the range of search for documents in RG 5, series A 1 and B 3 can be narrowed substantially. MSS0881 90 (Electronic)

Biography / Administrative history

The pre-eminent responsibility of the Civil or private Secretary to the Lieutenant Governor was management of correspondence: ensuring that it was duly acknowledged, referred onward or filed. Closely relted were the duties of receiving and acknowledging Addresses, petitions, memorials and applications for office; transmitting Messages and public documents to the Legislature; and referring petitions to the appropriate public offices for opinion or advice prior to submission to the Executive Council. The responsibilities of the Civil Secretary for general correspondence were transferred to the Provincial Secretary and Registar in 1839, following a study of both offices (the Report of which is published in the Journals of the Legislative Assembly, 1839, Appendix, volume 2 part 1, pages 310-321).

In managing communications for the Lieutenant Governor, the Civil Secretary maintained a distinction between the correspondence to which replies were made in the governor's name and that to which the Secretary responded on his behalf. Despatches to colleagues and letters to senior officials were signed by the governor. Letters to invididuals were written on the governor's behalf by the Secretary. The governor's despatches are found in RG 7; the Civil Secretary's correspondence is divided between RG 7 and RG 5. As a result of the transmission of files from one office to another for action or advice, documents relating to a case may be found with the Secretaries' correspondence (RG 5, A 1 or C 1), with submissions to the Executive Council (see RG 1), or with records retained in the governor's office (see RG 7, notably series G 14, G 18 and G 20).

Additional information

Although the province of Upper Canada did not come into existence until 1791, supporting documents of earlier date have been incorporated into some series of its records.

Availability of other formats note
Microfilming of the Upper Canada Sundries was completed in 1971. The complete series is available on reels C-4502 to C-4508, C-4543 to C-4549, C-4600 to C-4618 and C-6862 to C-6918. The calendar portion of Finding Aid 881, with a shelf list indentifying the microfilm reel numbers for the Sundries, was microfilmed in 1974 and is available on reels C-9822 to C-9825.

Subject heading

1. Warrents (law) - Upper Canada, [1791-1841] Sir Charles Poulett Thomson, 1839-1840.
2. Upper Canada - Proclamations, [1791-1841] Lord Elgin, [1849-]
3. Legal opinions - Upper Canada, [1791-1841] Upper Canada. Legislature, 1796-1840, [1804-1840]
4. Upper Canada - Accounts, [1791-1841] Upper Canada. Lieutenant Governor, 1796-1840, [1804-1840]
5. Delegated legislation - Upper Canada, [1791-1841] Canada. Civil Secretary's Office, [1797-1843], 1850.
6. Educational reports - Upper Canada, ]1797-1843] Canada. Chief Emigration Agent, 1843.
7. Speeches, addresses, etc. - Upper Canada, [1796-1840], 1849, 1856 A.B. Hawke, 1843.
8. Quebec (Province) - History - 1841-1867, [1849-] Upper Canada. Civil Secretary, [1791-1843]
9. Montréal (Quebec) - History - Riot, 1849, [1849-]
10. Temperance - Upper Canada, 1856.
11. Pardon - Upper Canada, [1792-1841]
12. Pensions - Upper Canada, [1792-1841]
13. Upper Canada - Officials and employees - Selection and appointment, [1792-1841]
14. Educational reports - Canada West, [1797-1843, 1850]
15. Petitions - Canada West, [1797-1843, 1850]
16. Education - Upper Canada, [1787-1843]
17. Education - Canada West, [1797-1843], 1841-1866]
18. Canada - Registers, [after 1865]
19. Circular letters, [1840-1844]
20. Upper Canada - Emigration and immigration - Government policy, 1840-1841.
21. Canada West - Emigration and immigration - Government policy, 1843.
22. Agriculture - Societies, etc., [1840-1844]
23. Sheriffs - Upper Canada, [1840-1844]
24. Sheriffs - Canada West, [1840-1844]
25. Land settlement - Upper Canada, [1840-1844]
26. Land Settlement - Canada West, [1840-1844]
27. Great Britain. Colonial Office - Despatches, [1804-1840]
28. Upper Canada - Officials and employees, [n.d., 1804-1840]
29. Petitions - Upper Canada, n.d., [1791-1843]
30. History Canada
31. Histoire Canada
32. Upper Canada. Chief Emigration Agent, 1840-1841.


Other system control no.