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Description found in Archives

Correspondence with the Colonial Office [textual record]. 

Series consists of

Date(s)

1784-1923

Place of creation

Canada

ca. 22.75 m of textual records.
0.05 m photostats.

Scope and content

Series consists of correspondence between the Governor General and the Colonial Office. The series includes despatches from the Colonial Office, 1784-1909; despatches from the Secretary of State for War and the Colonies, 1794-1867; despatches from the Colonial Secretary to the Governor General, 1868-1909; secret and confidential despatches to and from the Colonial Office, 1843-1909; letter books of despatches from the Colonial Office, 1793-1855; drafts of despatches to the Colonial Office, 1790-1913; drafts of enclosures to despatches from the Lieutenant Governor, Upper Canada, to the Colonial Office, 1838-1841, 1861-1869; correspondence and drafts of secret and confidential despatches to the Colonial Office, 1856-1913; letter books of despatches to the Colonial Office, 1799-1902; and telegraphic despatches from the Colonial Office, 1902-1923. The official correspondence between the Governor and the Colonial Office was the means of communicating all manner of instructions on what was desired by the Crown and reporting on concerns and accomplishments of the colonial government. From its creation, this correspondence was organized chronologically within series of in-coming and out-going despatches, according to jurisdiction - for Quebec and Lower Canada, for Upper Canada, for the Province of Canada and, after 1867, for the Dominion of Canada - and to some extent by nature - as for the secret and confidential despatches. Entry books of despatches received are grouped together, as are the drafts and entry books or letter books of out-going despatches. The text of any one despatch may be found in multiple locations: as received by the addressee; as recorded (in an entry book) by the signatory for future reference; or as a duplicate/copy sent to a third party for reference. Thus, while no one series can be said to be complete, the texts of all documents relevant to a specific question can generally be tracked down in at least one location. Numbering of despatches, chronological sequence within entry books and other record-keeping practices of the past facilitate searches between and within series.

Terms of use

Copyright belongs to the Crown.
In order to protect the fragile originals, many records in this series have been microfilmed and the originals withdrawn from circulation. The microfilm must be used for consultation and copying rather than the originals. Further details are provided in the relevant sub-series and sub-sub-series descriptions.

Textual records This finding aid, prepared initially ca. 1922 and revised in 1976, may also be of some use in tracing despatches from the Colonial Office to both Lower and Upper Canada, 1784-1841. It provides a chronological listing of despatches as found in the original "G" Series volumes as well as those found in a number of other holdings in National Archives custody - e.g., the Colonial Office 42, Canada, formerly British North America, Original Correspondence series (MG11-CO42) of the Colonial Office fonds; the Haldimand Papers fonds (MG21-Add.MSS.-21661-21892); the John George Lambton, 1st Earl of Durham fonds (R2469, formerly MG24-A27); or the British Military and Naval Records, "C" Series fonds (RG8-I). Finding aids that relate to the contents of specific sub-series and sub-sub-series are described in the entries for those lower levels. See also the finding aids cited in the fonds-level description. Although they were prepared many years ago according to an arrangement schema which has been superseded, those finding aids continue to have descriptive value for records in this series. MSS0178 90 (Electronic)
http://data2.archives.ca/pdf/pdf001/p000001183.pdf

Textual records Volumes 405-408 of RG 7, G 1 were shelved as Finding Aid 985 until September 1989; they contain both subject and nominal indexes as well as a register of despatches by number and date. Many of the entrybooks contain a table of contents or index. Within series of entrybooks, there are numerous schedules or registers of correspondence to be found, as indicated by the shelf lists. Finding aids that relate to the contents of specific sub-series and sub-sub-series are described in the entries for those lower levels. See also the finding aids cited in the fonds-level description. Although they were prepared many years ago according to an arrangement schema which has been superseded, those finding aids continue to have descriptive value for records in this series. MSS0985 90 (Electronic)

Additional information

The term letter book has been used generally to describe volumes in which the text of documents was recorded. Entry book is the more correct generic term for such volumes, when all manner of documents are recorded therein; letter book should be reserved for volumes in which only correspondence was recorded.

The index to an entry book 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 replies.

Custodial responsibility for the records in this series is shared between the Canadian Archives Branch (CAB) and the Government Records Branch (GRB). Please see lower level records for more details.

Accruals
No further accruals are expected.

Related materials
Not all despatches were preserved in the series described here. Despatches received and referred to the Executive Council are preserved in RG 1, E4. The texts of all despatches sent from England appear in the entry books forming the series Colonial Office 43, Canada, formerly British North America, Entry Books (MG11-CO43) and the series Colonial Office 570, Colonies General, Secret Entry Books and Registers of Out-letters (MG11-CO570), both of which are found in the Colonial Office fonds. Equally, the texts of suspected omissions from the despatches received in England - the series Colonial Office 42, Canada, formerly British North America, Original Correspondence (MG11-CO42) within the Colonial Office fonds, or the Duplicates Despatches fonds (MG40-A2) - may be found amongst the drafts and entry books of despatches sent from Canada. Some duplicate entry books and duplicates or copies of despatches are also found amongst the private papers of various Governors.

Availability of other formats note
Many records in this series are available on microfilm. Microfilming of the despatches in the Despatches from the Colonial Office sub-series was completed in 1952; that of the registers and indexes of the same sub-series was completed in 1991. Filming of three sub-series (Despatches from the Secretary of State for War and the Colonies; Secret and confidential despatches to and from the Colonial Office; and Letter books of despatches from the Colonial Office) was done in 1980. Those portions of the Drafts of despatches to the Colonial Office sub-series (vols. 1-46) and of the Letter books of despatches to the Colonial Office sub-series (vols. 1-71) which are under CAB physical custody were filmed in 1981, as was all of the sub-series Drafts of enclosures to despatches from the Lieutenant Governor, Upper Canada to the Colonial Office. Further details are provided in the relevant sub-series and sub-sub-series descriptions.

Government

Other system control no.