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Description found in Archives
Sub-series consists of
Sub-series part of
Place of creation
Scope and content
Sub-series consists of records of the Civil Secretary to the Governor at Quebec divided into two sub-sub-series comprised of letter books and letters to Crown law officers.
Copyright belongs to the Government of Canada.
In order to protect the fragile originals, records in this sub-series have been microfilmed and the originals withdrawn from circulation. The microfilm must be used for consultation and copying rather than the originals.
Customarily an index, table of contents or "schedule" was compiled at the beginning or end of each entrybook. Some volumes contain both an index and a schedule. The arrangement within each volume is predominantly chronological, with some classification by subject. The shelf lists in the Guide for RG 7 identify both the volume contents by date and the reel numbers for the microfilm.
The index to a letterbook can facilitate access to records outside the series in which it is located and to which it immediately relates. Incoming correspondence can be traced and identified through the dates and other clues provided in the replies.
Biography / Administrative history
While a governor communicated with colleagues in other jurisdictions and with senior officials in his own name, letters and petitions from individuals (even when addressed to the governor) were responded to by the Secretaries on his behalf. By convention, despatches from colleagues were filed separately from general correspondence, and the replies were recorded in separate entry books. Matters relating to the civil administration of the province were handled by the Civil Secretary and those relating to military affairs by the Military Secretary. The superintendence of Indian affairs was at various times classed as a matter of civil or military administration; the appropriate Secretary to the governor preserved the correspondence and letter books in separate series.
Distinctions between the responsibilities of various offices are often not readily apparent. While the Private Secretary was on the personal staff of the Governor and the Civil Secretary was part of the permanent staff of the province, on occasion one individual held both offices. Continuity of operations was provided by the Civil and Military Secretaries remaining in office while Governor succeeded Governor. Of much greater import for record-keeping at this period was the imprecise demarcation of responsibilities between the Civil Secretary and the Provincial Secretary. A further layer of confusion was added when through plurality of office-holding a Secretary took responsibility for widely varying functions but did not maintain separate record series for each (see RG 4, A 1 and RG 5, A 1).
The practice of preparing duplicate entry books, such that a governor might retain one set for future personal reference, extended to the Secretaries' letter books. Examples of these private copies are found in the Robert Prescott fonds (R6918-0-9-E) and the Peter Hunter collection (R2456-0-1-E). Where the official record has not survived, these private volumes take on new significance.
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